Thursday, April 2, 2015

University libraries face uncertain future in a crowded information marketplace | University Affairs

For the record, Ken Haycock believes the future of libraries
“can be very bright.” The long-time consultant and expert in library and
information management said he’s “very optimistic,” adding for
emphasis, “I am a critical friend of libraries.”


But those who heard his presentation at the Ontario Library Association annual conference
in Toronto at the end of January may not have felt reassured. Dr.
Haycock spent the next hour outlining serious challenges facing both
public and academic libraries.


There are some “very basic questions we need to ask ourselves in
order to figure out our future and our place in the information
marketplace,” he said. Top among these questions: “What exactly is our
mission?”


Dr. Haycock offered this rhetorical response: “to organize the
world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful” –
except that is already the mission statement of Google. His point was
that “the information marketplace is a very crowded place to be, and we
can’t distinguish ourselves very well there. So, if we’re going to play
in that marketplace we have to have a unique value proposition or we
have to redefine what that playground is going to be.” Read more...

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