OCLC and Ithaka S+R publish report on aligning library strategies with university directions

DUBLIN, Ohio, 18 October 2018OCLC and Ithaka S+R have published a new report, University Futures, Library Futures: Aligning library strategies with institutional directions, which establishes a new framework for understanding the fit between emerging library service paradigms and university types. The report is available on the OCLC Research website.

Supported in part by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, project leads Constance Malpas, Lorcan Dempsey, and Rona Stein from OCLC Research and Roger Schonfeld and Deanna Marcum of Ithaka S+R, examined the impact of increased institutional differentiation in universities on the organization of academic libraries and the services they provide.

As libraries move away from a collections model in which libraries measure their success by how large their collections are, this report puts a framework around library services, explores emerging patterns in different institutional settings, and gauges the importance of these services areas—now and for the future—according to surveyed library directors.

The work has three main components:

  • a working model of U.S. higher education institutions
  • a library services framework
  • comparison of the above two to test the hypothesis that the services portfolio of libraries map onto the institutional priorities of their host university

The first component developed institutional typologies that provide a nuanced description of institutional characteristics. This led to a model in which university emphases can be characterized in two dimensions: 1) educational activity relative to three "poles"—research, liberal education, and career-directed educational programs, and 2) mode of provision—a traditional-residential mode and a new-traditional-flexible (or convenience) mode.

The second component developed a framework of library services, and then explored patterns of adoption of those services through a survey of university libraries. The framework covers nine key areas:

  • Convene Campus Community
  • Enable Academic Success
  • Facilitate Information Access
  • Foster Scholarship and Creation
  • Include and Support Off-Campus Users
  • Preserve and Promote Unique Collections
  • Provide Study Space
  • Showcase Scholarly Expertise
  • Transform Scholarly Publishing

The third component tested the hypothesis by comparing the outputs of the first two components to see if libraries were, in fact, adapting to fit the institutional priorities of their institutions.

Read the findings of this work in the new report, available for free download.

About Ithaka S+R

Ithaka S+R is a not-for-profit service that helps the academic and cultural communities serve the public good and navigate economic, technological, and demographic change. We deliver strategic guidance, research, and publications through two program areas: Educational Transformation and Libraries & Scholarly Communication.

About OCLC

OCLC is a nonprofit global library cooperative providing shared technology services, original research and community programs so that libraries can better fuel learning, research and innovation. Through OCLC, member libraries cooperatively produce and maintain WorldCat, the most comprehensive global network of data about library collections and services. Libraries gain efficiencies through OCLC's WorldShare, a complete set of library management applications and services built on an open, cloud-based platform. It is through collaboration and sharing of the world’s collected knowledge that libraries can help people find answers they need to solve problems. Together as OCLC, member libraries, staff and partners make breakthroughs possible.

OCLC, WorldCat, WorldCat.org and WorldShare are trademarks and/or service marks of OCLC, Inc. Third-party product, service and business names are trademarks and/or service marks of their respective owners.


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