Monday, January 29, 2007

If the Academic Library Ceased to Exist, Would We Have to Invent It?

There’s an interesting article by Lynn Scott Cochrane in the Jan/Feb 2007 issue of Educause – E-Content arguing that the academic library is far from being a dinosaur and obsolete. The author contends, rather, that if it didn’t exist – and if librarians didn’t exist – that they’d have to be invented or at least re-invented!

Article: If the Academic Library Ceased to Exist, Would We Have to Invent It?

1 comment:

Ken Liss said...

Maybe I’m being overly critical (as my kids say I am about movies), but I don’t find her arguments very compelling. Her fairy tale about the redistribution of library budgets to faculty and students seems a simplistic way to say research materials are expensive. (And ignores the fact that without libraries the economic and distribution model from vendors and publishers to users would be very different.) Her complaints about Google are old hat and come off as so much librarian-whine. She seems to overemphasize the archival and records management role of libraries -- she’s written about presidential libraries, so that may be a special interest of hers -- while making no mention of the role of librarians in helping students and faculty navigate the growing volume of information available to them (reference, instruction, consultation). And while she makes a bow toward a user-centered model, she says nothing about how libraries need to adjust to changing user expectations, needs, and skills. All of which may be no big deal, except I worry that a weak argument for libraries to an audience as up on technology and education as is Educause may do more harm than good.