This entry provides an introduction to academic libraries throughout the world including an overview of the mission, history, governance, external influences, collections, services, organizational structure, personnel, administration, and facilities of academic libraries. The issues and future of academic libraries are also discussed.
The Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) is the higher education association for librarians. Representing more than 10,500 academic and research librarians and interested individuals, ACRL (the largest division of the American Library Association) is the only individual membership organization in North America that develops programs, products, and services to help academic and research librarians learn, innovate, and lead within the academic community.
The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) is a not-for-profit membership organization comprising over 120 libraries of North American research institutions. ARL influences the changing environment of scholarly communication and the public policies that affect research libraries and the diverse communities they serve. ARL pursues this mission by advancing the goals of its member research libraries, providing leadership in public and information policy to the scholarly and higher education communities, fostering the exchange of ideas and expertise, and shaping a future environment that leverages its interests with those of allied organizations. This account of association priorities and activities updates the entries in the first and second editions of the encyclopedia and focuses on the years 2001–2007.
College libraries, through a combination of forces have made unprecedented strides in the development of access to information resources and in offering services to help students and faculty make greater use of these resources. In so doing, college libraries have become more critical to the success of the host institution. They are now poised to build on the advancements of the past 30 years to respond to the environmental changes and user expectations and to meet the challenges of being even more integral to the academic program.
The core concept of strategic planning is addressed, as well as the historical context of its development in academic libraries, and contemporary approaches to library strategic management. It reviews published literature and current practice, concentrating on planning processes, strategy documents and key elements of strategic planning.