Good Morning. Thank you for inviting me to share some thoughts with you.
The three topics I’d like to cover (which bears at least some relation, I think, to what I was asked to cover) are:The Future of the BookThe Future of LibrariesAnd then one example of A Library with a Future (mine)
It may help for me to acknowledge my past, as my perspective is largely shaped by my experiences. I speak primarily from experience as an academic librarian, with apologies to school library colleagues in the audience. I will say that during my doctoral research, I spent one semester observing the media center of my local high school. Perhaps during the Q&A you can tell me how it is similar or different in your world.I think we do have a strong connection, though, in that you have the students in your libraries who will one day soon come to libraries like mine.
I believe the first two topics are connected.As we know, Books and Libraries have a long,lovely interrelated relationship. You can have books without libraries, but until recently you could hardly have a library without books.
Story in Time Magazine recently about the Library Learning Terrace at Drexel University where the tag line is "We don't just house books, we house learning.“ On our own campus, the Dean of the Business School is determined to have a bookless library in the new building that is currently under construction.As I talk to BOT and BOV, a number of them are on boards of private schools and doing strategic plans. They ask me if they should plan space for books or not?
To appreciate where we are going, I’d like to start with where we’ve beenI think Gatekeeper is an accurate reflection of a library’s traditional role – and not in a bad sense.The gates are open to let people in – not closed to keep people out.Maybe less true in your libraries than mine. I think of school libraries as happy places that encourage the love of reading. Academic libraries are more intimidating and gatekeeper-like.
Books and Libraries were so synonymous for so long that in one of its early Reports, OCLC declared that “Books” is the library BRAND. That may have been true in 2005 for all libraries, but in 2008, I conducted a research study with my colleagues from UNC-Greensboro and we demonstrated that in our libraries, different as they are, the library brand was already something else: Library as Place.
So, if the Gatekeeper is where we’ve been, where are we now in libraries?I has been feeling for a while that we are right now at the precipice, just about to step off into the unknown.
I used to say we were at the tipping pointBut recently, it feels like things have already tipped.Tipped to a digital future
I think there is no doubt: THE FUTURE IS DIGITAL.
When I say “the future is digital,” many people have said, “but I love books. Are we really going to get rid of all print books?I say, “I love print books too, but you have to lookfurther down the beach.”Will print books still be around in 5 years? Certainly. 10 Years? Most Probably. 50 years? Not likely being published in print 100 years? I don’t think so, except at artifacts in Rare Book Rooms like ours
This is one of my favorite slides. These are my constituents. The baby is how I think about entering first year students at Wake, but the students in your libraries are even closer to the baby than that.The old men, forgive me, are typical faculty members in higher education. Perhaps you might have teachers in your schools in this demographic??The needs of these two groups vary, as you might guess. In my library, we need to meet the needs of both. One is going to be much more comfortable with the digital age than the other.We, as librarians, know that part of our job is to lead our users to this future. We need to move established faculty into the digital world and we need to teach younger students to value printed words that do not come up in the top 3 results of a Google search.It is a challenge to make sure the needs of both are met.
This is a Gutenberg Bible from the University of Texas at Austin.One happy, ironic side note from everything becoming digital is that as ordinary books become the same, and all libraries have access to them equally, special books like this one will remain our responsibility and even become areas of distinction for their libraries. Extra care will be given and extra pride taken in preserving original printed materials, making them available digitally, to be sure, but also caring for them as the rare and valuable artifacts that they are.
So, let us move now to the future of libraries.The first point is that I believe there IS a future for libraries.
Perhaps the greatest bond we share in commn in our different types of libraries, and one that I believe will continue into the digital age is the role of the Library as Teacher. Tell story of Janet Nichols, each side surprised15 sections of elective, one-credit Lib100 each semester: Accessing Information in the 21st Century4 sections of subject specific: Business, Science, Social Science, Humanities
I believe one of the strongest roles libraries of all types have played in the 35 years that I have been a librarian is the role of Technology Leader.In some rural areas in America, the library is the only place to have high speed Internet.In some schools, the library is the only place poor children have access to technology.And in universities like mine, it is the Library that is introducing new technologies and showing both faculty and students how to incorporate them into their work and into their lives.
This is another role I see for libraries in the future: Thinking PartnersI spent most of my working life striving for the epitome of SERVICE. Service, service, service was the theme. But in the last several years, I have raised that model a notch, from just serving the faculty to a place where librarians and teaching faculty sit down together to plan the curriculum, to plan the learning objectives for a course, and to determine together how information resources (in whatever format) fit into that plan.
In the academic library, the phenomenon known as “Library as Place” is important. We are freeing up space formerly used to house print books and journals as people space, especially open, flexible, collaborative space.Some lay people ask: do we even need a library any more? Does anyone still come to the library? The answer is YES! In fact, attendance in our library increased about 55% last year. I find that students CHOOSE to come to the library when they could choose to stay in their rooms or go to the student union. They choose to come to the library because they are surrounded by resources and perhaps just as importantly, surrounded by the people who will help them make best use of those resources. So a student can meet with a librarian in an hour-long personal research session, go get resources, check back with the Reference Desk if he has trouble, practice his presentation, print out his paper, and leave feeling good about the library. That’s why I think students still choose to come to the library.
The last thing I was asked to talk about was some examples from my library on how we engage students.So I will shamelessly show you some of the fun things we do.NCAA championship
Lest you think I stole all these images, here are the credits.
A Look into the Future Lynn Sutton, Ph.D. January 25, 2012
Topics to cover• Future of the Book• Future of Libraries• A Library with a Future
Where I Come From• Director of Hospital Library• Director of Science and Engineering Library• Director of Undergraduate Library• Associate Dean of ARL library system• Dean of Library at Wake Forest University
Z Smith Reynolds Library Wake Forest University• 6500 students including Undergrad, Medical, La w, Business, Divinity• 2 million volumes• 2,000 print journals, 50,000 e- journals• Open 140 hours/week• 53 library faculty/staff• $ 7 million budget• 2011 ACRL award
The Future is DigitalDigital content: • Journals (went first in scholarly world more than a decade ago) • Newspapers (fastest popular media to fall) • Books (tipping fast right now) • Media (with mega storage needs) • Data (next frontier for academic libraries) • Publishing (office of digital publishing at Wake)
Our MissionThe mission of the Z Smith Reynolds Library Is to help our students, faculty and staff SUCCEED!
Image Credits• Books: http://www.flickr.com/photos/denverjeffrey/304220561/• sizes/m/in/photostream/• Terrace: http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/• 0,8599,2079800,00.html• Gate: http://www.art.com/products/p12209923-sa-i1584106/alan-blaustein- hampton-gate.htm• Jump: uploaded to Flickr on October 6, 2008 by rosiehardy• Tipping point: uploaded to Flickr on April 10, 2009 by Max Z• Footprints: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kfergos/37070037/• Baby: http://www.flickr.com/photos/umpcportal/4581962986/• sizes/m/in/photostream/• Old men: http://www.flickr.com/photos/nicnac/3121705656/• sizes/z/in/pool-554700@N23/• Gutenberg: http://www.hrc.utexas.edu/exhibitions/permanent/• gutenberg/
Lynn Sutton, Ph.D.Dean, Z Smith Reynolds LibraryWake Forest UniversityWinston-Salem, NC firstname.lastname@example.org