The Future is Now


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Presentation delivered to Clemson University Libraries, February 3, 2012.

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  • Good Morning. Thank you for inviting me to share some thoughts with you. I have deep respect for your Dean, Kay Wall, and commend her as a leader who is willing to look ahead and position your library to be ready for the future – in fact – to lead change into the future. I have two messages here: URGENCY and EXCITEMENTUrgency that the current situation is such that action needs to be takenAnd Excitement at the opportunity we have to lead change on our campuses
  • This may be how you are feeling right now - at the precipice, just about to step off into the unknown.I am going to detail a long list of uncertainties in a minute that will show how rapidly our world is changing.
  • But then I am going to detail how the academic library can address these uncertainties and lead the campus in embracing the changes that we all feel in the information world.
  • Declining usage: Clemson, like other libraries, has shown declining use of reference, etcNew patron demands: multimedia, data management,
  • Unsustainable costs: I suspect most people in the room have seen this graphic at some point or another in the last decade; it hasn’t changed much.It shows soaring costs, primarily in scholarly journal literature (Boycott Elsevier movement this week); Even Harvard cannot sustain these costs and has publicly (rather clumsily) declared it needs to cut costs in library
  • ARL looking for new measures, no longer makes sense to value collections by their size and pile up volumes that are not being used. As soon as Google and the publishers reach agreement over copyright on the Google Books project (and they will, because there is too much money to be made on both sides), we will all have digital access to the same corpus of literature and libraries will either move those print volumes to storage or throw them out altogether.
  • Viable alternatives: Google and Amazon. Google’s mission sounds rather like traditional library missions: “Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”
  • Doctoral institutions decline in Average General Collection Circulation transactions 1998 – 2008 (ACRL data)
  • 71% decline in Average Weekly Reference Transactions in doctoral institutions – ACRL data
  • To make it more difficult:Here are the two constituencies we face in our libraries: students and facultyOur job, impossible as it seems to be, is to make sure the needs of both are met.
  • So our task is nothing less than Transformational Change or what I call my “Look down the beach” slideThe digital future is out there and the path we will take is not immediateWill print 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
  • I am going to suggest a number of things to consider as a way to transform your library. A few disclaimers:I was not hired as a consultant, so I have not studied your library extensively to know whether all of these make sense or whether you have already done them.I will probably make someone mad in the process. I apologize in advance: my intent is only to get you thinking, not make you mad.
  • We really shouldn’t build our libraries and create our policies to make it more convenient for us.Example: Not many adults enjoy staying up all night, but our students do, so we stay open 24 hours for them. Same can apply to many of our other rules and approaches.
  • All about YOU, the userWhen you make this flip, and look at everything from the side of the user, decisions become easy.What will help our students, faculty and staff succeed?Think of a way to say Yes, before you start to say No
  • Next: we need to embrace the digital future, because it is inevitably coming.
  • 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.
  • I tried this back in 2002 with netLibrary and it was a bit before its time
  • Rick Lugg
  • SOPA: Stop Online Piracy Act (Wikipedia went dark)PIPA: Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property ActBerlin: Berlin declaration on Open Access to Scientific Knowledge
  • I am going to suggest a number of things to consider as a way to transform your library. A few disclaimers:I was not hired as a consultant, so I have not studied your library extensively to know whether all of these make sense or whether you have already done them.I will probably make someone mad in the process. I apologize in advance: my intent is only to get you thinking, not make you mad.
  • Some of these will strike a nerve; I hit just about every area in the librarySome will make no sense for your library; but play devil’s advocate and think it throughApply the NOT ABOUT US, flipped mission test. IF you stopped these things, would users know or care?
  • While you are helping students, faculty and staff succeed, I believe a Library can, and should, help lead the University to its desired future. We are in a great position with campus-wide roles and responsibilities. We talk to faculty and students, all the time. We see from a 10,000 view and can help visualize and lead to the future in ways that other departments cannot.
  • No matter the format of the material, people will still need help in navigating the information landscape.15 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, 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Lest you think I stole all these images, here are the credits.
  • The Future is Now

    1. 1. The Future is Now!How the Academic Library can Thrive in Uncertain Times Lynn Sutton, Ph.D. February 3, 2012
    2. 2. Where we are
    3. 3. Where we need to go
    4. 4. Advisory Board CompanyFour Horsemen of the Library Apocalypse – Unsustainable costs – Viable alternatives – Declining usage – New patron demands
    5. 5. Unsustainable costs
    6. 6. Abandon the arms race
    7. 7. Viable alternativesGoogle: mission is to “organize the world’sinformation and make it universally accessible anduseful” April 2011, e-books out-sold all printbooksWikipediA: beats libraries 7 to 1 on wherestudents start searches
    8. 8. National decline in circulation200,000180,000160,000140,000120,000100,000 1998 80,000 2008 60,000 40,000 20,000 0 Circulation
    9. 9. National decline in reference transactions250020001500 19981000 2008500 0 Weekly Reference
    10. 10. Discovery failureWhere do students start a search? 83% Search engine 7% Wikipedia <1% Library website
    11. 11. Predicting our own doom“The new consumer utopia of instantly availabledigital books is leaving the library behind as arelic of a bygone age when users were not self-sufficient and when the information or book auser wanted was not simply a click away.”Dennis Dillon, Associate Director for Research ServicesUniversity of Texas at Austin Libraries
    12. 12. Straddling two eras• Demand for traditional services declining• Model for meeting digital demand not yet sustainable – Copyright issues not yet settled – Budgets flat while costs rise – Conflicting demands of users
    13. 13. Two different constituenciesStudents Faculty
    14. 14. Transformational change
    15. 15. The Way Forward (Things to Do)
    16. 16. Flip Your MissionOld:The mission of the XYZ Library is toselect, acquire, organize, describe and provideaccess to yada, yada, yadaNew:The mission of the XYZ Library is to help ourstudents, faculty and staff SUCCEED!
    17. 17. New:
    18. 18. Not about US
    19. 19. All about YOU
    20. 20. Embrace DigitalDigital content: • Journals (went first 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 (born digital publishing )•Digitize your own unique material
    21. 21. Love up the rare books
    22. 22. Experiment• Try Patron-Driven Acquisitions for a “just in time” strategy.• Mix of free access, short term rentals, purchases
    23. 23. Weed• Identify pre-1923 out-of-copyright titles already available digitally from HathiTrust; either store or weed those titles from your collection• Use ASERL’s shared journal repository to weed print journals• Ask R2 Consulting to help expedite weeding
    24. 24. Government documents• Reduce footprint to reflect use of collection• De-select print wherever practical• Minimize processing
    25. 25. Scholarly communication• Work to achieve fundamental, radical change in scholarly communication• Consider an open access mandate for faculty; start with library faculty; subsidize fees• Be politically active against bills like SOPA/PIPA• Sign the Berlin Declaration• Educate your faculty on author rights• Build digital/institutional repository
    26. 26. Repurpose library space• Move books out, move people in• Welcome campus partners to share library space; one-stop shopping for academic success
    27. 27. New roles for staff• 70-30 challenge for technical services• Maximize shelf-ready• Right-size Reference – Tiered service – Staff at peak hours only – Combine service points
    28. 28. More new roles for staff• Teach, teach, teach• Embed in classes, departments, websites, CMS, residenc e halls
    29. 29. More new roles for staff• Emerging technologies• Data management• Publishing partnerships
    30. 30. The Way Forward(Things to Stop Doing)
    31. 31. STOP!• Buying print when digital edition available• Binding• Journal check-in• Authority control• Automatic replacement of lost books• Double-staffing service desks• Keeping unnecessary statistics• Item level processing for low demand material
    32. 32. Lead the campus• Scholarly communication• Student success• Technological change• Curriculum innovation• Online education• Use your imagination!
    33. 33. Continuing Roles for Libraries
    34. 34. Library as Teacher
    35. 35. Library as Technology Leader
    36. 36. Library as Place
    37. 37. Library as Thinking Partner
    38. 38. Image Credits• Jump: uploaded to Flickr on October 6, 2008 by rosiehardy• Change: christianmenchristianwarrior.files.wordpress• Baby:• sizes/m/in/photostream/• Old men:• sizes/z/in/pool-554700@N23/• Footprints:• Gutenberg:• gutenberg/
    39. 39. Lynn Sutton, Ph.D.Dean, Z Smith Reynolds LibraryWake Forest UniversityWinston-Salem, NC