Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Academic libraries’ Category

I found this series of videos about James B. Hunt Jr. Library at North Carolina State University to be really inspiring.  In particular I like the reinforcement about importance of how a space is experienced.  I do see some potential challenges in ongoing maintenance over time (e.g. 80 different types of chairs) and I wonder what happens when the BookBot is having a bad day.  But overall the planners and designers clearly had savvy, vision and passion and the ability to get past some typical barriers as they took an important leap forward.  Good for them!!

Read Full Post »

With Labour Day now over post-secondary institutions and their libraries are once again welcoming new and returning students on campus. Many of these libraries are discussing and planning services that match the current trends in the field.  What are these trends?  According to a June 2010 report of the Association of College & Research Libraries there are 10 top trends underway in academic libraries.  I’m listing the trends below exactly as they are written in the report, except that I’ve changed the order.  The report has them in alphabetical order, which is oh so librarian-like, don’t you think?

  • The definition of the library space will change as physical space is repurposed and virtual space expands;
  • Changes in higher education will require that librarians possess diverse skill sets;
  • Increased collaboration will expand the role of the library within the institution and beyond;
  • Libraries will continue to lead efforts to develop scholarly communication and intellectual property services;
  • Technology will continue to change services and required skills;
  • Explosive growth of mobile devices and applications will drive new services;
  • Academic library collection growth is driven by patron demand and will include new resource types;
  • Digitization of unique library collections will increase and require a larger share of resources;
  • Demands for accountability and assessment will increase;
  • Budget challenges will continue and libraries will evolve as a result.

I live in Metro Vancouver, so as I discuss trends and issues with colleagues and visit library buildings and websites I see what one would expect, namely that each institution is aware of these trends but is incorporating services that align with them at its own pace.  For example the development of a Learning Commons or Research Commons as a key set of resource for academic success is expanding in local post-secondary institutions, both in terms of physical spaces and virtual content.  This development involves a convergence of a number of the top 10 trends described by ACRL, including collaboration between libraries and other partners, technological shifts, repurposing of physical space, diverse skill sets amongst library staff and assessment of and accountability for the resources invested in these initiatives.

Read Full Post »

Since 2002 the New Media Consortium’s Horizon Project has issued an annual report describing and predicting the impact of emerging technologies in the coming five years.  Libraries of all kinds, but particularly academic libraries use this report as a guide to planning for investments in new technology, training and initiatives that will help them to better serve their users.

Not surprisingly, the 2011 Horizon Report states that eBooks and mobile devices are moving closer to mainstream adoption for educational institutions in the near term.  In the report’s “second adoption horizon” (two to three years) augmented reality and game-based learning are seen as the two technologies most likely to influence post-secondary education.  Augmented reality layers information on top of a view of the normal world (typically on a mobile device).  For example students walking by a building on campus can sync their device to a positional signal and it will display information about the building (e.g. a directory of offices inside, when it was built, the architect, etc.).  Game based learning for individual students or small groups can be integrated into coursework.  Great potential lies in the ability to stimulate technology-supported collaboration, problem-solving and procedural thinking.

Looking still farther ahead, the report suggests that in four to five years, gesture-based computing and learning analytics will become more commonplace on campuses.  Gesture based computing is essentially “wearable technology” that responds to body motion instead of a keyboard or mouse for computer input.  Learning analytics uses data gathering tools to enable study of student engagement, performance and practice, with the goal of using this data to revise curricula, teaching and assessment in real time.  In other words, this is technology designed to stimulate and support very dynamic learning environments.

Academic libraries will no doubt be watching these trends and collaborating with faculty and instructors to review and evaluate the predictions described in the report, and then plan services around their findings.

Read Full Post »