McMaster University Libraries: Transforming our Future

August 24, 2006

August 18, 2006

Embracing Change?!

Filed under: Library 2.0 — by ultransform @ 10:22 am

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

August 15, 2006

McMaster Libraries 2.0

Filed under: mandate — by ultransform @ 5:22 pm

Libraries today are at the heart of unprecedented change.  This change is fueled primarily by new technologies, new resources and new services that were unimaginable as recently as three years ago.  Never before have the challenges we face been so exciting or the opportunities so great.   

Increasingly our organizations are being called upon to do more; do it more effectively and more efficiently; and do it in a way that distinguishes us from our competitors.  Successful organizations will be measured, in part, by our ability to adapt quickly to the changing needs and expectations of our users.  Adaptation will require a culture of risk-taking and innovation that encourages and rewards the radical rethinking of library resources and services  The McMaster University community is recognized for its ability to lead by reinterpreting/reinventing itself each generation based on long-standing traditions of creative thinking & innovation.  The recent hiring of a new University Librarian coupled with several librarian vacancies provides us with an opportunity to make some significant organizational changes to meet the needs of the 21st century academic library user. 

 – Jeff Trzeciak, University Librarian, McMaster University –


Filed under: mandate — by ultransform @ 2:54 pm

As you heard in the recent message from the President, the University and the library face budget challenges.  I saw his message as a positive!  It is our opportunity to make a case for the library.  Now is our chance!  Our campus community is aware of the difficulty we face in meeting their expectations.   

However, we must not sit idly by and hope for increased funding simply because ‘we are the library and we do good things’.  We need to think beyond where we are now to where we need to be as a 21st century library.  We must redefine ourselves to meet the needs of a changing clientele by identifying what functions must continue; the functions that are no longer necessary; and the new functions that we should start doing to meet our users’ needs. 

– Jeff Trzeciak, University Librarian, McMaster University –

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