Lorcan Dempsey, Vice President of the Membership and Research Division and Chief Strategist, and Constance Malpas, Strategic Intelligence Manager and Research Scientist, have authored a chapter in the book Higher Education in the Era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution just released by Springer, and available for open access download. In the chapter “Academic Library Futures in a Diversified University System,” Dempsey and Malpas consider the future of the academic library in the context of a diversifying higher education system.
They explore ways in which libraries are responding to the transition from a collections-based model to a more diffuse services-based model, and describe diversification of the higher education system around poles of research, liberal education, and career preparation.
The academic library is not fixed. It is changing as it adapts to the changing research and learning behaviors of its home institution, which are the principal drivers of the library service. This is in parallel with the evolving influence of the network on student, teacher and researcher practices and with the shift from print to digital.
Just as the higher education system is diversifying, academic libraries similarly will diverge, with different service bundles depending on the type of educational institution they serve. This means that the model of excellence for libraries also will need to be plural, based on strategic fit to the needs of the institution they serve and not on collection size or gate count.