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Library of the Future (Is Here Today): Home

library services and new directions

Welcome to your enhanced library.

The SXU Stump Library is a place for exploration of ideas, critical thinking about the quality of discovered materials, the capture of all types of media and materials, and the organization and sharing of information as it becomes knowledge. We offer delightful spaces for individual and group learning, embedded resources in online and physical learning spaces, and guidance in advanced research support skills. We provide $400,000 worth of materials not found in Google, reliable information not found in Wikipedia, a full range of movies, raw datasets for experiential learning, and subject librarians to assist researchers at all levels. We are part of national cooperative networks that provide access to all significant research collections.  

Today's library is radically different than the library of even ten years ago. No longer a place primarily for information discovery and quiet reflection, the physical library is now a center for discovery, data creation and manipulation - and a place that encourages creativity and facilitates collaboration. We have moved from "collections" to "connections."

In terms of services and assistance, the library should demonstrate novel technologies to encourage creative data handling and information sharing. Personal knowledge management  services (i.e. Zotero and diigo) facilitate new learning and research possibilities.

The library should be a leader in demonstrating the power of customization and personalization of services. We offer RSS and autolert feeds that provide proactive notification of newly released materials in specific subject areas. We also provide timely self-help options at a distance for our 24X7 remote users.  We continue to enhance Virtual services enhancing our chat capabilities with synchronous personal interaction techniques such as remote shared screens with side-by-side online assistance.

 The library should be seen as a primary location for explorations and demonstrations of information tools, techniques, and visualization possibilities. In addition to providing individual and group study spaces, the library should offer venues such as classroom learning spaces adjacent to collection materials, auditorium spaces for group discussions, and in-depth research consultation spaces. Finally, the library facility should serve as a home for non-traditional student populations.

The physical library can also serve as a social center for interdisciplinary activity, and an atheneum-type space to encourage and house novel conversations and collaborations. The modern library can also serve as a blended service location, offering just-in-time services from related organizations, such as  writing clinic consultation, technology support, and a faculty pedagogy support service.

The library should also be a key player in campus initiatives through the coordination of research and teaching support with other campus units. Areas in which the library should be able to present enhancements, solutions, and savings include the organization and stewardship of big data for various units, the re-purposing of unique local data within Institutional Repositories for pedagogical and records management purposes, and providing corporate intelligence and competitive advantage through utilizing the power of semantic linking, structured ontologies, and visualization techniques on administrative data. Other organizational information sharing platforms and analysis tools can provide demonstrable Return on Investment results.

All of these possibilities exist within an atmosphere of high inflation, with many other disruptive influences that must be proactively identified and addressed. Flexible and agile responses require an organization with appropriate stakeholder input, and the adoption of national and consortial best practices after performing environmental scans. A high-performing organization also requires the training and development of vested and involved employees, and a Service Quality Improvement program that emphasizes continual impact assessment, and demonstrates successful project management aligned with clear Mission and vision aspirations. A library must also supplement these resources with grants and development gifts for additional infrastructure support.

The challenge for today's library is to respect and support traditional services while enhancing our services with new and powerful options. Crafting the appropriate balance of sometimes conflicting user desires requires careful resource evaluation, continuous service quality assessment and revisions, and even purposeful abandonment of some lesser tasks. Your input is greatly appreciated.


David Stern
Updated: 12/14/2018

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