The academic library and its users

Lorcan 1 min read

I mentioned Jim Collins’ book on the social sectors the other day. I have just acquired Susan Gibbons’ book, The academic library and the net gen student: making the connections. I was interested to see her make use of Collins’ material in the opening chapter where she suggests the following as the mission of an academic library:

The goal of an academic library is to be the best in the world at serving the unique teaching, learning and research needs of its home academic institution by being active participants in the creation, transmission and dissemination of knowledge. [p. 10]

She closes the chapter like so:

We cannot simply rest on our knowledge that the students, members of the rising Net Generation, are different. We must understand how and why and embrace those differences – not ignore, reject, or dismiss them. Our roles as translators requires us to meet undergraduates where they are, mentally, physically, and virtually, and help bring them to where the faculty reside. If we cannot begin to deepen our affinity with undergraduate students now, how much more daunting and difficult the task will be when they become our Net Generation faculty. [p. 11]

I have been in a couple of discussions recently which raise a related issue. To what extent is faculty’s perception of the library based on memories of their use when they were undergraduates and graduate students?
In her final chapter, the author discusses five guiding principles for the academic library under the following headings:

  1. Adopting an R&D culture
  2. Rethinking “library as place”
  3. Accepting that the library is not the virtual place
  4. Supporting authorship in the digital age
  5. Understanding our users
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