Recognizing the critical and evolving role of libraries in the digital age, the theme of this year’s National Library Week (and their ongoing public awareness campaign) is “Libraries Transform.” In support of this observance and of libraries everywhere, we asked some of our staff members to share their thoughts on how libraries are transforming and how librarians continue to impact their local communities and institutions. Read their responses below.
How do libraries transform?
“Libraries continue to become research instructors by helping students to better understand methods and to efficiently access the sea of resources available to them. As student needs change, libraries become their interlocutors among publishers and faculty.” –Todd Baldwin, Executive Director, Online Library & Reference Publishing
“Library value – From a researcher perspective, the curation of and access to resources provided by the library is critical to their success.
“Library impact – There are loads of hard metrics available (cost per use, accreditation reporting, etc.), but it’s the soft benefits that stick with researchers the most – learning information literacy techniques that last a lifetime or that go-to subject librarian who answers late-night emails while writing your dissertation, etc.
“Transformation – I’m most struck these days with how libraries are bringing in new roles/skill sets to address the evolving needs of digital scholarship – for example, User Experience Librarianship didn’t exist ten years ago and is now an optional career path for MLIS graduates!”- Lettie Conrad, Executive Manager of Product Analysis
“The libraries are undeniably undergoing significant transformations nowadays. Despite many challenges they are facing related to the digital revolution or budget cuts, they are still at the core of knowledge dissemination.”- Marcin Kwiatkowski, Regional Sales Manager
“The best run libraries don’t change the mission but the delivery method.” –Christopher Dappen, District Library Sales Manger
“Libraries transform expectations. A person can be limited by their environment to expect the same old same old. A library allows that person to experience fantastic things through reading, learning and researching – expanding their expectations to the new and wonderful. Giving her the confidence to demand to experience these things for herself.
“Libraries transform communities. With more and more people looking to their phones to make connections with the world, personal interactions are being whittled down to binary code. Libraries demand people to look up and out at their local community and the global community, finding connections through local programs, philanthropy, and just meeting in person.
“Libraries transform children. Who doesn’t remember the first time they stepped into their local library and smelled the books, saw their neighbors, and took pride in getting their first library card? Technology may bring more books to more people, but nothing will replace the joy in knowing you are finally old enough to shoulder the responsibility of a book that will be read by your best friend next week and someone else the week after. Reading is celebrated as an event, and children are expected to be accountable for their actions, with the joy of a new fantastic adventure as their prize.
“Libraries transform students. No matter the name, rank or size of the school, the library makes the campus real for many freshmen. That feeling of fear when your first real college project is assigned…you walk into the library and see miles of books, upperclassmen who look so much wiser than you, and librarians who are just a bit intimidating because they already know where the information you need is. That’s the moment when it’s real…you are in college and that means you have to figure it out yourself. The library just became your lifeline, and that first step toward the help desk is your first act as a professional student.” –Kate Brummitt, Senior Marketing Manager
Check out the other ways we’re recognizing National Library Week, from this interview we held with Gwen Bird on the Community Scholar Program at Simon Fraser University Library to this collection of library-focused articles from our editorial and marketing teams. You can also keep up-to-date with our National Library Week celebration by checking out our Twitter channel @SAGElibrarynews.