Academic librarianship is a fast-changing profession that reflects the transformation of academic libraries in the recent past. Although the primary responsibility of supporting the parent institution’s teaching, learning, and research mission remains the same, the expertise and skills needed by academic librarians, their work environments, and the actual work they do have all undergone great changes. This entry will discuss the profession of academic librarianship and its history, literature, and associations and will provide information about academic librarians and their demographics, education, work responsibilities, work environments, and careers.
The following articles are taken from the Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science 3rd ed. Browse the encyclopedia for more articles!
This entry provides an introduction to academic libraries 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.
As the largest division of the American Library Association (ALA), the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) is a national organization of academic and research libraries and librarians. The ACRL represents librarians working with all types of academic libraries—community and junior college, college, and university—as well as comprehensive and specialized research libraries and their professional staffs. Founded in 1890 as the College Library Section, this ALA division has a long history of working toward the improvement of services in academic libraries. After highlighting the accomplishments of the division, the authors discuss its current structure and key concerns.
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 phenomenal growth of distance learning programs in higher education worldwide offers immense implications for the provision of networked library services to students learning at a distance. This entry defines the virtual library within its emergent online instructional context and references the several components of generally accepted good practice in the establishment of virtual libraries supportive of online distance delivered programs. Additionally some typical regulatory expectations for such libraries are noted. As educational globalization continues with the dramatic growth in technologically-based instructional delivery systems, globalization of library services also will expand to address students working in these new educational environments.
Since the early 1990s the Information Commons has evolved from a library facility with computers and a service desk to an integrated service center, offering learning support to students. While there is not one service model that totally encompasses all of the possible variations, there are key elements that define and describe the Information Commons. How the user will make use of the technology, adapt to the environment, and access the resources are some of the questions library planners need to consider when undertaking the development of this service. This entry reviews the implementation process, physical layout and design considerations, and staffing and training considerations of an Information Commons. It also considers both benefits and issues regarding this service and points to a possible future for academic libraries.
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.