Redefining the Academic Library

Managing the Migration to Digital Information Services

Topics: Academic Affairs, Outsourcing, Administrative Service Delivery Models, Administration and Finance, Space Utilization, Facilities and Operations, Leadership and Professional Development, Human Resources, Cost Savings, Student Experience, Student Affairs, Academic Support Programs, Data Management, Information Technology, Instructional Technology, Staffing, Organizational Structures, Library

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By reading this study, members will learn to:

  • Understand the implications of digital technology for information services
  • Manage investment in ebooks and third-party digital collections
  • Transition to “just-in-time” acquisition models
  • Explore alternative access models for scholarly literature
  • Rightsize print collections while repurposing library space
  • Develop new roles for library staff in teaching and research support

Executive Summary

Academic libraries are faced with a daunting series of challenges brought on by the digital revolution.  In an era when millions of books, articles, images, and videos available instantaneously via the web, libraries across all institutional types are experiencing declining demand for their traditional services, built around the storage and dissemination of physical resources.

At the same time, new demand for digital information services and collaborative learning spaces promise new areas of opportunity and engagement with patrons. A rapid and orderly transition to “the library of the future” requires difficult trade-offs, however, as no institution can afford to continue expanding both its commitment to comprehensive, local print collections as well as new investments in staff, technology, and renovations.

This report illustrates how progressive academic libraries are evolving in response to these challenges, providing case studies and best practices in managing library space, staff, and resources.

Top Lessons from the Research