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Redefining Academic Library Roles: How Trends in Higher Education are Driving Change


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Redefining Academic Library Roles: How Trends in Higher Education are Driving Change

  1. 1. ACRL President’s Program | 27 June 2015 The Power of Mindset: Fostering Grit on the Way to New Roles Redefining Academic Library Roles: How Trends in Higher Education are Driving Change Constance Malpas OCLC Research
  2. 2. Source: PR_314106?WT.mc_id US Higher Education: Continued Drought Mixed & negative forecasts since 2009… Success in the future won’t look like the past.
  3. 3. • Increasing fragmentation, stratification of HE sector elite, middle, convenience on different paths • Fiscal constraints: limited public funding, growing reliance on tuition for operating costs renewed emphasis on student success • Learning, research workflows transformed by technology flipped classroom, online learning, open science • More attention to managing performance, reputation learning analytics, research management Key Trends in Higher Education
  4. 4. • 26,606 academic librarians in US (NCES, 2012) Represents 16% of all US librarians • Represent <1% of total college, university and professional school employment in US (BLS, 2014) Very small part of very large industry • Majority of US academic libraries (66%) support ‘4 years +’ institutions (NCES, 2012) Market segment most influenced by expectations from ‘Golden Age’ of US higher education (1945-1970) Libraries and US Higher Education Change will be hard. And necessary.
  5. 5. M. Van der Werf and G. Sabatier. The College of 2020: Students. Chronicle Research Services, 2009. 1. Elite – brand-name private colleges/universities, public flagships global reputation, ‘student experience’, social/business elites, large endowments 1. Middle – regional public and private universities, small liberal arts emulate experience, amenities of elite with fewer resources 2. Convenience – community colleges, for-profit private providers emphasis on career-ready credentials, online education
  6. 6. Chart derived from NCES Digest of Educational Statistics, 2012, Table 255. ‘Convenience’ models driving change in HE system as a whole
  7. 7. Doctoral/Research Master’s Baccalaureate Baccalaureate/ Associate’s Associate’s Specialized 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% Distribution of US Academic Librarians by Carnegie Classification N = 26,606 (NCES 2012) Source: NCES Academic Libraries Survey, 2012. Derived from Table 6. 75% of academic library community has aspired to look more and more alike Normative Isomorphism
  8. 8. American Sociological Review Vol. 48, No. 2 (Apr., 1983), pp. 147-160 Organizations adopt similar practices to gain legitimacy (without necessarily improving efficiency) Cf. Matthew S. Kraatz “Learning by Association? Interorganizational Networks and Adaptation to Environmental Change” The Academy of Management Journal Vol. 41, No. 6 (Dec., 1998), pp. 621-643
  9. 9. “You don’t need libraries and research infrastructure and football teams and this insane race for status,” [Carey] says. “If you only have to pay for the things that you actually need, education doesn’t cost $60,000 a year.” J. Nocera, New York Times, 3 March 2015
  10. 10. My research was accomplished with card catalogues stored in the university’s biggest building, the library, along with copies of the Readers Guide to periodical Literature, bound in green hardcover on shelves near the reference desk. When the library closed, I had to find something else to do. K. Carey (2015), p. 87 Johnwilliamsphd “Glenn G. Bartle Library Tower” CC-by-nc-sa
  11. 11. "Gelman GWU Air" by Pjn1990 - Own work. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons Organizational similarities…more than skin deep "WidenerLibrary HarvardUniversity Springtime" by Unknown. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.
  12. 12. No... a disruption of the institutional isomorphism that makes colleges/universities and their libraries look alike The ‘End of Academic Libraries’? The ‘50 Most Amazing College Libraries’ built on the same model Org. charts, too.
  13. 13. Education & Related Expenses per FTE Student, 1990-2010 W.G. Bowen and E.M. Tobin Locus of Authority: The Evolution of Faculty Roles in the Governance of Higher Education Princeton University Press, 2014. Figures 3 & 4. A widening gap between elite and general educational offer at private 4-year institutions …and at public 4-year institutions Remember: this is where most academic librarians are
  14. 14. 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% Doctoral/Research Master’s I and II Baccalaureate Baccalaureate/Associate’s Associate’s Allocation of Library Expenditures by Carnegie Classification Salaries and Wages Information Resources Operating Expenses Source: NCES Academic Libraries Survey, 2012. Derived from Table 8. Library staff will need to support different institutional priorities >70% of expenditures for staff >40%
  15. 15. Operational goals will evolve cataloging metadata management curation creation, publishing customer relationship management community engagement reference bibliographic instruction data literacy, visualization integrating library, student support svcs assessment custom analytics acquisitions discovery, facilitated access Old roles Emerging needs
  16. 16. New roles in a reconfigured library organization Elite, research: Brand management - personal and institutional Digital scholarship, creation and curation Coordinated stewardship *Outreach/Community Engagement Specialist Middle Convenience Pre-packaged content for competency-based learning Library integration with student/learning support *Adaptive Learning Specialist Facilitated collections – cooperative management Visible library contribution to student success *Preemptive Support & Response Specialist *UX Design Librarian *Creative Learning Specialist *Neighborhood Liaison & Public Education Specialist *”New roles” from S.Bell, L, Dempsey, B. Fister (ACRL, 2015)
  17. 17. Locus of operations will shift Shared • Elite will selectively affiliate around cooperative solutions, retaining ‘distinctive’ local services that contribute to brand, prestige • Middle will rely on blend of cooperative and commercial sourcing • Convenience will increasingly rely on commercial NB! reliance on commercial doesn’t mean ‘no librarians’ think of travel nursing, on-demand staffing in a variety of sectors infrastructure services staffing Specialist cataloging Preservation … DDA profiling Shared print … Shared storage Shared ILS …
  18. 18.
  19. 19. Affects library credentialing models too? *19 years to catch up with high school grad…
  20. 20. + alternative credentialing . . .
  21. 21. Academic librarianship will change and so will you.
  22. 22. Greg Woodhouse “El Camino Real Bell (165/366)” CC-BY-NC Old roads, new ways . . .
  23. 23. SM Together we make breakthroughs possible. Thanks for your attention. Constance Malpas OCLC Research ACRL President’s Program | 27 June 2015

Editor's Notes

  • Four year drought

    This is what makes change hard, and necessary.
  • Predictions largely borne out…
  • Driving a wedge
    Private, for-profits: more institutions and more enrollments
  • Professional norms created incentives to make academic libraries and librarians look more and more alike.
    75% of academic library community aligned around similar model of what constitutes appropriate service and staffing.
  • Sees traditional academic library as part of outmoded understanding of HE infrastructure
    GW campus and library viewed as a pastiche of traditional iconography of a great university (Bologna, Harvard)

    Places blame (in part) on elective system promoted at Harvard which requires proliferation of infrastructure to support a ‘university of everything’
  • A memory of undergraduate experience at Binghamton University, late 1980s.
  • Suzzallo
    U OK
    Boston College
  • Applegate now Chair of the Dept of Library and Info Science at IUPUI School of Informatics
  • convenience: certification, work or transfer-ready
    stretched middle: + career/profession-ready
    elite: + institutional reputation, student experience
  • Creative Learning Specialist “identify and communicate with other faculty those pedagogies, methods, and assessments that will best help integrate research skill development into the curriculum.”
    UX Design Librarian “shapes the ways in which users experience the process of discovery, of the creation of knowledge, and of the use of resources, tools, data, and more in the context of the work of the user.”
    Neighborhood Liaison and Public Education Specialist “focus is on extending the education mission of the academic library to the neighborhood”
    Outreach/Community Engagement Specialist “connecting with high school students and their parents at the schools…to create more recognition for his or her institution and to demonstrate that the library is an active participant in contributing to student success”
    Preemptive Support and Response Specialist “monitors student performance on research assignments and identifies as-risk students who need additional attention and personalized assistance”
    Adaptive Learning Specialist “works with instructors to customize an adaptive learning process for the student”