Friday, October 31, 2008

Academic Health Center Libraries and Information Commons

Today Janet Stith kicked off our year-long conversation, "Rethinking Research Libraries in the 21st Century" with a presentation on academic health center libraries. I learned a great deal about future expectations and how changes at UK will impact the future of our medical center library. Much of it was new to me, and it was pretty interesting stuff.

One thing that particularly struck me was that the information commons concept isn't just for undergraduates anymore. We've started talking about the concept in terms of faculty, but here we are thinking about the same sort of thing for physicians and other medical professionals. While Janet didn't specifically call the future Medical Campus Library an information commons, many of the desired services and amenities are very commons-like:
  • Multiple kinds and styles of collaboration spaces--some pods, some rooms, maybe even some "study huts"
  • Open, attractive, inspiring spaces
  • Comfortable, movable furniture
  • Collections that are largely electronic--at least 90% of it may have moved online
  • Multimedia assistance and instruction
  • Lounge/food--this is always an important one...where else do you get your diet Coke?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Readings That Started It All...

During the Faculty Retreat back in August, part of the day focused on "Rethinking Research Libraries in the 21st Century." The basis for the discussion was a group of papers compiled by the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR).

Here's the CLIR abstract:

How should we be rethinking the research library in a swiftly changing information landscape?

In February 2008, CLIR convened 25 leading librarians,
publishers, faculty members, and information technology specialists to consider this question. Participants discussed the challenges and opportunities that libraries are likely to face in the next five to ten years, and how changes in scholarly communication will affect the future library. Essays by eight of the participants—Paul Courant, Andrew Dillon, Rick Luce, Stephen Nichols, Daphnée
Rentfrow, Abby Smith, Kate Wittenberg, and Lee Zia—were circulated to participants in advance and provided background for the conversation. This report contains these background essays as well as a summary of the meeting.

CLIR has since published the collection as a report entitled "No Brief Candle: Reconceiving Research Libraries for the 21st Century." It's available as a PDF (along with many other interesting and relevant publications) at the CLIR website.