Many of us participated in an “Embracing Change” workshop earlier this summer and recognize that change involves a lot of uncertainty. Since the Transformation Team was established many colleagues have asked me – ‘what exactly will this change look like?’ or ‘what exactly am I supposed to embrace?’ My answer: we don’t know. yet.
I’m not about to predict the future but I feel an obligation to think strategically about it!
For me, embracing change means looking forward with a deliberately positive approach. It also means: taking individual responsibility while working collegially, and being well informed about a multitude of issues (libraries, learning, higher education….). Personally I found the Taiga Forum (March 2006) Provocative Statements to be an interesting snapshot of the possible future of academic libraries. Some excerpts:
Within the next FIVE YEARS:
- traditional library organizational structures will no longer be functional.
- libraries will have reduced the physical footprint of the physical collection within the library proper by at least 50 percent.
- the majority of reference questions will be answered through Google Answer or something like it. There will no longer be reference desks or reference offices in the library. Instead, public services staff offices will be located outside the physical library. Metasearching will render reference librarians obsolete.
- a large number of libraries will no longer have local OPACs.
- academic computing and libraries will have merged. The library will be a partner in the Learning and Research Support Services Infrastructure.
- there will be no more librarians as we know them. Staff may have MBAs or be computer/data scientists. All library staff will need the technical skills equivalent to today’s systems and web services personnel.
Very provocative. For more background on why we are looking at the ‘transformed library’ at all, check out Libraries Dealing with the Future Now .
Cheers, Barbara McDonald