Tuesday, June 22, 2010

PL 28/10: Top ten trends

Filed under: education, future, library 2.0 — plinius @ 11:20 am

I have just read 2010 top ten trends in academic libraries.

Together with the 2010 Horizon Report, which deals with education rather than libraries, it provides a good scan of the near future (2-3 years).

This authoritative and handy document covers a lot of ground. Below I indicate some patches that appeal to me.

1. Academic library collection growth is driven by patron demand

  • Libraries shift from a “just-in-case” to a “just-in-time” philosophy.
  • Libraries are acquiring local collections and unique materials and digitizing them
  • Access to full-text sources, not the discovery of the sources, is a major issue for scholars.
  • Visual data analysis tools is one of the emerging technologies most likely to enter mainstream use on campuses within the next four-to-five years.

2. Budget challenges will continue

3. Changes in higher education will require that librarians possess diverse skill sets.

  • Librarians need to broaden their portfolio of skills
  • Academic librarians will need ongoing formal training to continue in the profession.
  • We may see an increasing number of non-MLS professionals in academic libraries
  • Graduate LIS programs and professional organizations will be challenged to provide new and relevant professional development
  • Leadership training and mentoring, both formal and informal, are critical to a smooth transition.

4. Demands for accountability and assessment will increase.

  • Increasingly, academic libraries are required to demonstrate the value they provide to their clientele and institutions.
  • This trend is part of a broader accountability movement within higher education,

It is increasingly important to demonstrate the library’s impact on

  • student learning outcomes
  • student engagement
  • student recruitment and retention
  • successful grant application
  • faculty research productivity

5. Digitization of unique library collections will increase and require a larger share of resources.

  • Digitization projects make hidden and underused special collections available to researchers worldwide.
  • Clifford Lynch: “special collections are a nexus where technology and content are meeting to advance scholarship in extraordinary new ways.”

6. Explosive growth of mobile devices and applications will drive new services.

  • Smart phones, e-book readers, iPads, and other handheld devices will drive user demands and expectations.
  • Students indicated that they most wanted to use their institution’s e-mail service, administrative services, and course management system from their handheld devices.

7. Increased collaboration will expand the role of the library within the institution and beyond.

  • collaborating with faculty to integrate library resources into the curriculum and to seek out information literacy instruction, and as an embedded librarian
  • working with scholars to provide access to their data sets, project notes, papers, etc. in virtual research environments and digital repositories
  • collaborating with information technology experts to develop online tutorials and user-friendly interfaces to local digital collections
  • collaborating with student support services to provide integrated services to students
  • collaborating with librarians at other institutions to improve open source software, share resources, purchase materials, and preserve collections
  • Librarians are making use of Google Docs, Doodle, wikis, and other tools that facilitate collaboration regardless of physical proximity.

8. Libraries will continue to lead efforts to develop scholarly communication and intellectual property services.

  • Academic libraries have recognized the importance of scholarly communication and intellectual property issues for many years.
  • Recruiting content for IRs provides a natural entrée for conversations about scholarly communication issues.
  • This also illustrates the need for libraries to provide guidance and user education on copyright law

9. Technology will continue to change services and required skills.

  • Cloud computing, augmented and virtual reality, discovery tools, open content, open source software, and new social networking tools are some of the most important technological changes affecting academic libraries.
  • Many librarians see challenges in determining which tools to use, how many resources to devote, and how to assess effectiveness.

10. The definition of the library will change as physical space is repurposed and virtual space expands.

  • The number of physical items in many libraries is declining, as libraries withdraw journal runs to which they have permanent online archival access and/or move lesser-used materials to off-site or shared storage facilities, thus freeing up areas that are repurposed to provide space for individual student and collaborative work.
  • Libraries are expanding their virtual space, reducing space within the library facility for collections, and re-purposing it for student use.
  • Some libraries have added writing, tutoring, and media centers to provide multiple academic support services in one convenient location.
  • Librarians are also expanding the library’s virtual presence through involvement in course management systems and online social networking sites, the creation of online tutorials and other instruction aids, and more vibrant and interactive Web sites.


The ACRL Research, Planning and Review Committee, a component of the Research Coordinating Committee, is responsible for creating and updating a continuous and dynamic environmental scan for the association that encompasses trends in academic librarianship, higher education, and the broader environment. As a part of this effort, the committee develops a list of the top ten trends that are affecting academic libraries now and in the near future.



Leave a Comment »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at

%d bloggers like this: