Libraries and IT: together forever?

This week I’ve been working with colleagues on an MLA presentation proposal about libraries’ alternative management techniques. While doing preliminary research I stumbled across today’s (January 18, 2008) Chronicle of Higher Education. One of the front page stories, “Strains and joys color mergers between libraries and tech units” caught my attention.

I work in a small liberal arts college with no library director but a “management team”. We are fortunate to have a non-librarian as part of our team who oversees our Educational Technology department. She offers insight that the librarians tend to overlook especially from a technological perspective. While reading the article I was surprised to learn that some libraries struggle with the concept of “blended” environments particularly when we use the term so often.

The article mentions a half dozen various colleges and universities, both private and public, and the trials, tribulations, and triumphs each experienced. Each institute had its own reasons for combining the library with information technology services. These blended “learning commons” or “information commons” allow for stream-lined accessibility for our users. David Dodd, CIO at Xavier University in Cincinnati, says that “colleges ‘have to be better than Google'” and I believe that to be true.

It’s time libraries shed the dusty, quiet book repository image and started to become (or continued to be, whichever the case may be) the information mecca for the institute complete with appropriate technology and support that today’s students expect.

-dana pawloski

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