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Future of Community College Libraries


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  • 1. The Future of Community College Libraries
    Scott Gilbert • Lone Star College •
  • 2. Functions of Community Colleges
    • Providing affordable access to higher education.
    • 3. Providing an education within communities which puts community members on an equal intellectual footing the rest of the country (and world).
    • 4. Creating an educational environment which introduces community members (of all ages & social classes) to higher learning and makes them feel welcome.
    • 5. Bridging the precarious gap between high school and higher education.
    • 6. Retraining the population during economic and technological shifts.
  • The Life-Long Learning Continuum
    Public Libraries
    K-12 Libraries
    Academic Libraries
    Community College Libraries
  • 7. Libraries as Part of a Continuum of Life-Long Learning
    Public libraries welcome children into the learning environment and familiarize them with educational resources.
    Dual-use public/academic facilities in particular introduce & welcome children to the college environment and create a new generation of possible students.
  • 8. Libraries as Part of a Continuum of Life-Long Learning (cont.)
    The Power of the public library to introduce children to the learning environment: Summer Reading Programs
    Here are the statistics for Catch the Reading Express from
    June 4th to June 30th:
    Children Registered: 11,708
    Number of books read: 274,782
    Number of children who have read 10 books or 500 pages or minutes: 3,632
    Here are the statistics for Within Arms Reach from June 4th to June 30th:
    Teens registered: 1,238
    Number of books read: 5,464
    Number of minutes spent reading: 95,709
    Number of teens who read 5 books or 600 minutes: 359
    Figures courtesy of
    Monique Franklin
    Children's Materials Selection Librarian
    Harris County Public Library
  • 9. Libraries as Part of a Continuum of Life-Long Learning (cont.)
    K-12 school libraries facilitate elementary learning, create foundations of knowledge, and prepare students for further education.
    Dual-enrollment programs (high school students in colleges) smooth the path and encourage the precarious transition between elementary and higher education.
  • 10. Libraries as Part of a Continuum of Life-Long Learning (cont.)
    Community college librariesprovide entry to higher education, bridge the gap between high school and college, and also supply low-cost education to non-traditional age students.
    Multiple Institution Teaching Centers (partnerships between community colleges and universities) reduce educational costs. MITC libraries coordinate delivery of services between partner university libraries to students.
    Distance learning programs provide greater reductions in educational costs, but conversely create new information access challenges. Embedded librarians in e-classrooms plus tools for facilitating access to library resources directly through the e-classroom tools are essential.
  • 11. Libraries as Part of a Continuum of Life-Long Learning (cont.)
    Academic libraries fulfill long term educational goals by providing substantial research resources and information access supporting the success of advanced degree students, and enriching the intellectual life of American society.
  • 12. Challenges to community college libraries in the future
    • A perception of libraries as economically inefficient by nature (in terms of space, staffing, & cost of materials) leading to funding cuts
    • 13. A perception that libraries are replaceable by the Internet, non-professionals, or even volunteers
    • 14. A perception that the Internet is “good enough”
    • 15. Poor marketing of library services (they’re not good services if nobody knows about them)
    • 16. Maintaining relevance in technologically-driven marketplace (“perception is reality”)
    • 17. Division and lack of collaboration and awareness between various types of libraries (the public does not differentiate)
    • Integration of various types of libraries & services
    • 18. Power in numbers
    • 19. Shared expenses
    • 20. Shared resources
    • 21. Greater opportunities to introduce public to library/educational environment
    • 22. Promotion of library services
    • 23. Librarians as effective lobbyists and public advocates of value and role of libraries in lifelong education
    • 24. Librarians provide excellent, high quality services, but their role in society must be better marketed.
    • 25. Your suggestions?
  • A nation without school librarians
    Losing Libraries
    “Each time a library closes, we blow out a candle.”
    --James Carville
    “Cutting libraries in a recession is like cutting hospitals in an epidemic.”
    --Eleanor Crumblehume
  • 26. New Spice