Campus libraries embrace future with technology

From eBooks, to online card catalogs, to entirely digital collections, research libraries are shifting further and further away from the dusty old buildings many associate with their college years.

It’s time that librarians took an active role in creating the future of libraries, said Todd Kelley, Vice President for Library & Information Services at Carthage College.

In 2008, Virginia Tech offered just 157,000 eBooks to patrons. Today, that collection has grown to half a million, and the library spends 80 percent of its budget on its digital collection.

If that’s the difference that just five years can make, what will libraries look like in 20 years?

This summer, Carthage College aimed to answer that question with a new combination of technology they called a “course-ference.”

“We started thinking that if things change even as much in the next twenty years as they have in the past twenty for libraries, then holy cats, we’d better stop for a moment and get a bead on it,” said Todd Kelley, vice president for Library & Information Services at Carthage. “Otherwise we’re not going to be prepared.”

The course-ference combined an online course and a conference to discuss the future of libraries. Each week between July 1 and August 19, a new multi-media presentation was posted on the conference website.

Participants were able to watch the panels and then post questions and comments.

The panels featured a variety of guests including Bradford Lee Eden, dean of library services at Valparaiso University; Bryan Alexander, a senior fellow at the National Institute for Technology in Liberal Education; Terry Reese, head of digital initiatives at Ohio State University; Suzanne Tapp, executive director of the Teaching, Learning and Professional Development Center at Texas Tech University; and Tim Ryan, director of author services at John Wiley & Sons.

See Page 2 for details on how some libraries are already making drastic changes to the way they work.

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