[UKOLN] Follett Lecture Series

Organised by UKOLN on behalf of JISC

Synopsis: 25/30 September 1996

Transforming Libraries and Librarians for the Twenty-first Century

Sheila D. Creth, University of Iowa

In planning for the 21st century, librarians have great possibilities for enhancing and enriching their services as well as considerable liabilities if changes are not initiated. The world of information at the end of this century is very different to what it was at the beginning, and libraries and librarians need to reflect this extraordinary change. Librarians now work within a turbulent environment characterised by unrelenting change, a flood of new and different electronic resources joining the continuing expansion of print materials, and a global networked information world that has no regard for regional, national or institutional boundaries.

In this environment, librarians everywhere are faced with fundamental issues to address: translating and reshaping traditional values into the electronic and networked information reality; defining new roles and responsibilities for librarians; identifying and initiating new services to meet user information needs; determining who are the primary users for a library as more information sources and services are provided online; identifying the new knowledge and skills required of librarians as well as support staff, and how these will be acquired; and, finally, determining new organisation structures and processes to be most effective in the fast-paced, networked world. However, the real challenges are personal and organisational rather than technical.

[Biographical Note] : [Full Paper]