Towards the academic library of the future

Added by Sarah on 22 January 2010

Key national organisations in the library field are to collaborate on a major programme of consultation to help shape the future of the academic library.

A visionary project is being funded as part of a joint initiative to explore future scenarios for academic libraries and information services, particularly in the context of a rapidly-changing environment. It will help higher education institutions and organisations look at the challenges faced from a fresh focus and formulate strategies to ensure the sector continues to be a leading global force.

The project partners are the British Library, Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC), Research Information Network (RIN), Research Libraries UK (RLUK) and the Society of College, National and University Libraries (SCONUL). ‘Academic libraries of the future’ is an 18-month project being undertaken by Curtis+Cartwright Consulting Ltd.

Libraries are fundamental to learning, teaching and research. But the world is changing. How will UK higher education be funded and operated in the long term future? What will be the information needs of users? Factors such as the digital revolution, the knowledge economy, students and researchers as ‘consumers’ and the global economic crisis, are all transforming the landscape.



Developing and implementing business strategies over a three- to five-year timescale is now commonplace in higher education. Looking beyond this horizon (over ten to 20 years, or more) is less common, and more challenging - but to improve decision-making and plan effectively for the future, this longer-term time scale must be considered.



A series of workshops will be held during 2010-2011 with the aim of imagining and describing possible futures for libraries. They will bring together a wide range of influential stakeholders, including institutional senior managers, librarians, funders, students, researchers, suppliers, technologists, legal specialists and others.



The first two workshops are taking place in February and March 2010 to scope out the broad global environment and consider possible futures for higher education and the information needs of users within these scenarios. These will be followed by smaller focused workshops during the summer of 2010 to gain a more in-depth analysis.



The consultants welcome input from all stakeholders, if you are interested in finding out more or being involved in the project, please contact Dr Claire Davies, email claire.davies@curtiscartwright.co.uk or telephone 01483 685022. www.futurelibraries.info


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