Carla J. Stoffle
Dean of Libraries, University of Arizona
Introduced by John Martin, Director, Computing Centre, University of Wales Cardiff
University of Wales Cardiff, Wales, 13th November, 1996
It is an honor to have been invited to participate in the Follett Lecture Series. Opportunities like this are important to our joint success. We must together create and implement a shared vision of the new academic library; a vision transformed from the chaos that now abounds in our rapidly changing, increasingly digital, world. As I struggled over the last 18 months with what I might say that would make a meaningful contribution to your dialog on building digital libraries, I, at first, decided to focus on the human and organizational dimensions of the transformation to a digital library. This made sense for two reasons. One was that my own library was going through a major reengineering process and upper most in my mind were the difficulties of working through changing the climate, attitudes, and behaviors, of a staff of over 200 to create a customer focussed, continuous learning, constantly improving, flexible, quality-based library. Plus, the University of Arizona was one of the first major research libraries to attempt such a transformation based on responding to the new realities of higher education and the potential of the new information technologies. So, it seemed that our experience--the mistakes, difficulties, and successes--might be instructive for others who are considering embarking on the same path. However, upon reflection, it occurred to me that it is important not to focus on "us" at Arizona or even libraries themselves, but to place the insights we are gaining into the context of why we made the changes--the needs of our users--and what academic libraries and librarians are really about--education and the organization and dissemination of scholarly information. Therefore, I changed the focus of this presentation to what in my mind are the two major roles for librarians in the next century and will proceed as follows. After briefly discussing the environment for higher education, I will describe the education and knowledge management roles as I think they will emerge through the application of information and telecommunication technologies to the work of our libraries. From that discussion, I will move to what I believe are the challenges that face us and what has to be done within our organizations and among our staff to actualize the education and knowledge management roles. Finally, I will spend some time describing what we have learned at the University of Arizona from our efforts to create the library of the 21st century.
Before I begin, I think it is important to share with you my own beliefs and biases that are relevant to the topics at hand. First, I began my career and spent ten years actively engaged in library instruction activities as a government documents and reference librarian. In addition, I have published and spoken on the evolution, importance, administration, and "how tos" of instruction for the last 25 years. I even gave a paper here in England at one of the Anglo-American instruction conferences held during the late 1970s. From these experiences, I have developed a deep commitment to user self-sufficiency and information literacy as primary goals of the library and to the concept of "teaching libraries"--an evolving term that I have used to describe the set of values and activities that characterize libraries with successful educational programs (Stoffle and Williams 1995; Stoffle, Guskin, and Boisse 1984). In sum, I believe the educational role of the librarian is central to the library and the institutions we serve.
Secondly, I am not a "techie""even though I have been involved with the automation of two major research libraries and have reallocated a considerable amount of the current library budget and human resources to actively support the purchase of as many items as possible in electronic format, the cost of digitizing existing print materials in the Arizona collections, and the purchase of hardware and software to keep the public and staff functioning at the electronic leading edge. To me, technology and the application of the new technologies should not be drivers of our work and should only be used when they provide the best solution. However, I believe that the new information and telecommunication technologies are the transformative tools that will help us escape from our old paradigms and will help us achieve our ends in the new environments we face.
Also, I think it is important to note here that even though I have been an administrator for almost 20 years, I am an activist and have supported radical, transformative, organizational and service changes for all libraries, not just at the University of Arizona Library. I am among those in the profession who believe that librarianship and libraries are at a crossroads. We must change fundamentally what we do, how we do it, and the structures and climates within which we work. Also, these changes must come quickly. If we do not act now, we risk being left as "storehouses" with little importance or relevance to our institution and their programs. The members of our communities--the faculty and students--have become customers and they have a rich and growing array of choices from which to select their information providers and support services. Academic libraries are no longer the only game in town or the monopolies we once were.
Having said that, let me hasten to assure you that I am an optimist and extremely proud to be a librarian. I believe that academic libraries and librarians have a very bright future. I believe that librarians perform a unique and essential role in the academy. I believe that we are uniquely placed to help our institutions adjust to the education and research demands of a global, information based economy and that by taking an institutional/customer focus, we will ensure that academic libraries are a vital part of our 21st century universities. In sum, I think we have the skills, knowledge, experience and values to choose very exciting futures for ourselves and to make choices that will lead to meaningful contributions to society. Most importantly, I believe that we have the will to step up to these challenges and that we will emerge stronger and more vital.
The following presentation, then, is based on my own experiences and understanding of the challenges we face and my values as a librarian. Throughout, I have attempted to be challenging and thought provoking to generate new thinking and stimulate dialog.
It is impossible to talk about the academic library without first discussing the broader institutional context. Here, I will focus on the environment within the United States and especially the challenges faced by public higher education. I think you will find that there are many similarities between our situations.
Public higher education in the United States faces unprecedented challenges. Public confidence in the ability of the academy to engage, let alone help solve, some of society's most pressing problems is at an all time low. The academy is seen by many as self-serving and bloated. Students are becoming vocal about their unhappiness with the quality of their experience, the length of time it takes to get a degree, and the potential lack of economic return on their educational investment in terms of meaningful employment in today's market. In addition, employers question the education and skills of the workers they are hiring from our programs.
At the same time, the costs of education are rising at a much faster rate than inflation and the ability or willingness of the public to support through taxes or tuition. Institutions cannot keep pace with current costs, let alone make the needed investments in infrastructure, especially in the telecommunications and information technology area, that are necessary for the future viability of the institution. The fact that the majority of the institution's budget is tied up in instructional salaries means that as long as instructional delivery and teaching methodology remains the same, costs will continue to rise.
Additionally, demographic projections and forecasters of societal changes based on the needs of a global, information based economy, suggest that institutions of higher education need to gear up for a massive increase in the demand for educational services. Traditional college age populations will increase and will need the baccalaureate degree just to get into, let alone, compete in the job market. Further, to stay competitive throughout a work life time, some pundits estimate that professionals will need the equivalent of six to nine credits beyond the degree every seven years. This translates to a demand that cannot be met with current resources, present bureaucratic structures, and traditional methods for delivering instruction.
Finally, the emerging new information and telecommunication technologies are having an increasing effect on educational content, programs, and structures. It is now recognized that university graduates must be continual learners who understand and can participate effectively in the evolving information based economy. This includes knowing how to utilize information technologies and understanding information structures, being able to evaluate new information sources, and being a knowledgeable citizen participant in national information policy development.
Among other effects, new technologies have created the possibility of real competition for the delivery of postsecondary education among existing kinds of institutions and between them and the corporate world and new commercial educational ventures. In the United States, for example, the governors of 13 of our Western states have joined to create a new educational entity called the Western Governors' University (WGU) which is seen as a way to deliver instruction any time and any place through the internet at a cost much lower than through the existing postsecondary structure ( http://www.westgov.org). The WGU would purchase courses from individuals and institutions across the country and create an accredited degree based on competencies. Other such ventures are under development utilizing a variety of formats and some are international in scope.
Further, the technology now makes it possible for courses, modules, and training programs that are interactive and multimedia based to be delivered on an any time any place basis. It has become possible for the public to realistically demand that education be student-learning centered rather than instructor centered. Online collaboration and active student participation in the learning process are now achievable even in large classes. In fact, the potential of this technology goes beyond creating the possibility of losing enrollment and financial support to competing educational enterprises and extends to a redefining of traditional residential education and its cost structure. Distance education is becoming distributed education and no longer will be a separate entity within our institutions or from our institutions. This will lead to a reexamination of all of the traditional methods and frameworks for a university education, such as seat time, class attendance, credit hour requirements, the lecture, time and location boundaries, etc. In doing so, the discussion about this reexamination of the university will move into the same kind of paradigm shifting realm as that about libraries. We are now starting to talk about "virtual universities" and the changes this implies. The upshot of the foregoing is that universities are facing the need for massive change. This change will need to be transformative, one that leads to new kinds of institutions.
As our institutions grapple with the challenges of this paradigm shift, they will look to see which campus units are able to focus on the central needs and mission of the institution and therefore provide leadership and apply new solutions. Innovative approaches and "outside the box" rethinking of instruction and research activities that are core to the university will be the focus of attention by those seeking to support transformative change. It is in this area that academic libraries have a unique window of opportunity to help shape the future of both the library and the institution and it is the library's educational and knowledge management roles that hold the keys to success in this new arena.
It is perhaps at this point that I should define what I mean by education and knowledge management. By our educational role, I am referring to engagement in a process that goes beyond teaching our specialty--how to access, retrieve, and evaluate information regardless of format. I am even talking about more than our most recent ambitious focus on creating "information literate" graduates defined as graduates who: are self-sufficient, self-directed, lifelong learners; understand when they need information and what kind of information they need; know how to effectively gather information; know how information is organized and structured; and understand how the organization, structure, and availability of information is influenced by the dominant culture. The educational role we must embrace includes all the foregoing in addition to becoming full partners with faculty and other professionals in the redesign and support of the curriculum and individual courses to achieve successful learning outcomes. We must see our educational role as not only making faculty aware of, and able to use, the new technologies that are central to their disciplines, but as including helping the faculty integrate the new information tools into the fabric of the instructional program in ways that enhance learning and offer new structures for program delivery. We must help faculty design learning activities that are student centered and that engage students as active participants capturing the educational potential of collaborative learning activities. It is by adopting this broader definition of our educational role that we will accomplish the more narrow educational goals we had in the past for our instruction efforts while enriching the learning process and helping faculty move beyond traditional instructional modes. We will actually be helping the university deal with quality and customer satisfaction issues while opening the possibility of expanding the institution's education market and reducing the cost of instruction. Before describing some of the new activities that are part of the educational role, it should be noted here that by engaging in this role, it is understood that librarians will not usurp the faculty roles and responsibilities. Nor will librarians determine course goals, curriculum content, or even the new frameworks for course delivery that will certainly emerge in the next few years. What librarians will do is help faculty think creatively and help them implement new methods, content, frameworks, etc. Librarians will be change agents and carriers of innovation by the experience and knowledge they bring to the enterprise; experience and knowledge faculty do not have nor do they have the need or desire to develop.
Examples of academic libraries who have adopted this broader educational role are those at University of Washington (Monaghan 1994; Murdock 1994), the University of Iowa (Lowry 1994), and the University of Arizona. At the University of Arizona, we have joined with the computing center, teaching center, multimedia lab, and video production unit in a partnership with faculty to redesign instruction. Librarians spearhead the partnership by identifying faculty who are open to instructional changes through their connection development or outreach activities. Faculty who wish help, can work with members of the partnership to learn about the technology and develop the materials and instructional activities that are appropriate. Currently, librarians are working with faculty who are redesigning the core curriculum, our general education program. An example of the kind of support given, is the case of an anthropology faculty member teaching a lower division course with about three hundred students. A social sciences librarian with a library staff member have been working with the faculty member to identify appropriate materials for a web page. The course syllabus, reading list, some full text articles, and supplemental materials have been scanned and organized for internet access. In addition, slides used in class, course notes, and hot links to international resources as well as local support services have been entered into the web page. Audio materials are being added. All students have email and were given instruction in how to access and use email and the internet browsers as well as how to identify print materials in the library. The library, through its mini "information commons", a high tech area with multimedia, advanced function workstations, and its electronic classroom, supplies support and access for students well over 100 hours per week. The initial results of this effort have included much greater student participation in the course, greater student interest, better student performance, and an increased ability of the faculty member to interact with students and enhance in class learning. In fact, the faculty member reports that as the result of class and email interactions, he is able to use the web page to clarify and expand on issues that come up in class. These are issues that in the past he would have to let remain unclear. The faculty member also reports that he is motivated to spend more time on instruction because of the enthusiastic student response. The new instructional delivery mode has increased the quality of teaching and the quality of learning, as well as making it possible to provide a new kind of experience to 300 students at once.
Just as this expanded educational role grows out of traditional librarian functions, so does the knowledge management function. Academic libraries have always seen themselves as adding value in the scholarly communication and information delivery processes by organizing knowledge that is created and packaged (usually in book or journal form) outside the library. We have done this primarily by providing access through cataloging and classification systems, and by creating in-house indexes and bibliographies. Now libraries have the potential to participate in the creation of new knowledge packages and access tools. We can increase the availabilities of information that heretofore have not been accessible, by using electronic publishing and new information access and telecommunication advances including the internet, web browsers, multimedia programming and mark-up languages, scanning and imaging hardware and software. It is this latter activity that is coming to be known as knowledge management. By expanding our information organization role into knowledge management and electronic publishing, libraries can greatly enhance the availability of information for teaching and research. We can ensure that information packages are structured, as they are created, for maximum accessibility. We can bring order and standards to the new electronic environment. We can create exciting new alternatives to commercial products and use the power of the technology to create value-added, access-enriched products not just digitized print materials. We can begin also to break the monopoly that is making information prohibitively expensive by becoming the publishing agents for our faculty and the scholarly societies. We can create a whole new scholarly communication system. We can work with our university presses to create new online products. Thereby, we will immensely help our institutions resolve the current internal challenges in the undergraduate educational arena, and more effectively supporting the information needs of the general public as well as educational communities, reduce information costs, and actualize a new vision of university education for the 21st Century.
The most prominent examples of libraries engaged in knowledge management are Johns Hopkins University where the term originated with Nina Matheson and Dick Lucier (Lucier 1988; Lucier 1990) and the University of California San Francisco (Lucier 1992; Lucier 1995). Other libraries are beginning to move in this direction and they include the University of California at Berkeley, the University of Virginia and Columbia University. At the University of Arizona, our knowledge management activities have included:
I could go on with more examples, but this should give you an idea of the kinds of things a library would be doing when engaged in knowledge management. Since this presentation focusses on the education and knowledge management roles, I will not go into what I believe are the other emerging functions for librarians other than to enumerate them here; these are Needs Assessment, Connection Development, and Information Resource Development, and Indepth Information Provision (Stoffle 1995:12). As you will note, these are not traditionally used terms and each has a specific meaning which I will not describe here.
If you asked any academic librarian to enumerate the challenges of the current environment that could inhibit or make taking on the role of institutional leadership difficult, "inadequate funding for the task" would undoubtedly be the number one response. Libraries have insufficient resources both for the initial purchase of hardware and software for both public and staff use and for the ongoing costs of technology including software and hardware maintenance, equipment replacement, computing supplies, and technical staff to install equipment and software and keep systems up and working. Also, there is not enough staff to maintain the current services and activities while taking on and devoting the time necessary to the new education and knowledge management tasks that are required for success in the digital environment. Clearly in today's libraries, the prevailing philosophy is that the faculty and students will not allow us to stop doing anything and thus, we need to maintain current services that are based on print collections for the indefinite future. Therefore, new activities require new personnel for which there is no new money.
Second, a response might also be the inability of personnel to deal with the rapid pace of change. There is too much to learn, too little time, not enough formal and informal training opportunities or time to just "digest" and "absorb" the potential of the new technologies. How can we learn the new technologies fast enough to teach them to faculty and students and to make effective use of them in the classroom and knowledge management work? The combination of too much change, too much to learn, too little staff to do it all, and no new money generally means that library personnel are worn down and demoralized rather than excited and energized.
In the United States, the impact of proposed copyright legislation and the limitations to access and use of digital information that publishers and public policy makers are proposing would likely be a third inhibitor. Educational information moving from a public good to a commercial commodity has profound cost and policy implications for library collections and services and the current teaching environment. How these policies are worked out impacts how the library can implement the expanded education and knowledge management roles.
What would likely not come up in the conversation is a fourth item that should concern us--the emerging competition libraries are facing both on and off campus. In the past, libraries were necessary for every campus. If we chose not to take on certain tasks, it was unlikely that another unit or source of that service would emerge. Now, there is the real potential that if we drop the education and knowledge management challenge or do it poorly, others will replace us. On campus, units like computing centers, teaching/faculty development centers, instructional technology units, and even academic departments and bookstores are looking for new roles in the changing campus and technological environment. They must change or face diminished funding or elimination. Education and knowledge management are likely targets for their attention. Off campus, vendors, bibliographic utilities, publishers, and even scholarly societies, are looking for ways to directly "sell" to end users and bypass the academic library altogether. While this might be costly at first because of the need to develop support systems, the long term benefit of getting rid of those pesky librarians who are challenging pricing structures and insisting on fair use make this a viable, potential alternative--to which librarians should respond. Do we understand the potential of this competition for diminishing our roles? And, can we learn to compete effectively under these conditions?
Lastly, there are questions about the adequacy and flexibility of the current library organizational and management systems for the tasks at hand. While we complain about the pace of change, our structures make it impossible for us to change as quickly as our customers need us to change and introduce new services. We exist in environments characterized by fear of mistakes and we act on the premise that it is better to miss an opportunity than experience a failure. We fear any reallocation of present resources. We are inefficient and we have too many redundant, non-value added processes and tasks. We are focussed on things and tasks; we are focussed on ourselves and our needs, not the needs of our community members. We judge success in terms of our own assessment of quality and what libraries ought to do. We are organized around traditional library functions and expend our energies on making library personnel effective. We are not organized to respond to customers' needs for new services and we do not focus our efforts on customer effectiveness and success as outcomes of our efforts. We cling to familiar roles and see activities such as reference, teaching, acquisitions, cataloging, and the management of facilities and collections as ends not means. We have too much staff involved in backroom activities that can be equally or better done at lower cost by others. We are locked into limiting staff contributions in order to hold onto our librarian "professional" status.
Before describing some of the needed changes for our successful transformation to a digital library, let me digress to talk about what I do not see as an inhibitor. Often in the past, we in libraries said we couldn't do something because the faculty wouldn't let us or were not interested. In the current circumstance, we will not be able to use this excuse. Many faculty are ready to change or at least willing to accept they must change. In faculty focus groups at the University of Arizona, faculty responded that this was the "new work" of the library. It is these faculty that should be the prime candidates for our initial efforts and they will be the leaders and advocates of the organizational changes that have to take place in the university. They welcome our partnership, they value our skills and knowledge and they will support, and even demand, our involvement.
Academic libraries must take advantage of the leadership opportunities in our institutions. To do this, we must change our focus from things and our own activities to a focus on our customers, their needs, and the mission of the institution. We must begin defining quality through customer satisfaction and customer value added assessments rather than numerical input indexes and abstract professional standards.
We also must do a thorough assessment of our organizations and our activities. We must go back to basics and question all of our present activities and work assumptions. We must return to a definition of the business of the library as maximizing the social utility of the graphic record (Shera 1965;16) rather than cataloging, reference, acquisitions, interlibrary loan, circulation, and management of buildings and print collections. We must see education and knowledge management as our primary work without getting locked into maintaining specific activities to achieve that work and we must be wary of our activities and functions becoming ends rather than means to achieving outcomes for our customers.
We must flatten our organizations and eliminate the bureaucracies that make us inflexible and slow in our response to our environment and the opportunities that are constantly presented. We must be able to create new services and eliminate old ones in very short time cycles. We must streamline our organizations and eliminate redundancies, unnecessary complexity, and non-value added work and we must create structures that allow us to achieve breakthrough performance and dramatic improvements. We must eliminate competition and turf protection with our organizations.
To stretch our resources, we must create strategic partnerships. Within the institution we must identify units that complement our strengths and allow us to leverage our resources. With vendors and suppliers, we need to strike "win-win" relationships that get us what our customers need, not what the vendor has to sell at the vendor's price. We must also identify non-traditional sources of partnerships outside the library or publishing markets. We must expand donor interest and donor "pools" to encourage them to assist us with the investment in new technologies.
We must create communication and training mechanisms that empower staff to come to work each day and make decisions about the work to be done based on which tasks will best serve the customer and help the library achieve its strategic priorities. This will involve discovering and setting explicit strategic goals and clearly identifying the priorities of the library in a way that staff can share in the commitment to their accomplishment.
We must become quality based, learning organizations--a community
"where the people continually expand their capacity to create the results they truly desire, where new and expansive patterns of thinking are nurtured, where collective aspiration is set free, and where people are continually learning how to learn together"(Senge 1990:3). We must value the talents and potential of each member of our organization eliminating unnecessary distinctions between staff. We must value continuous learning and continual quality improvement and learn process improvement skills that allow us to improve quality while reducing costs. It is in this manner that we will not only become more valued in our communities, but we will generate the resources to allow us to reallocate to new opportunities.
Finally, we must redirect our budgets to achieve the future, not fund the present. There will never be enough money to do both. The only success we can hope to have is funding what it takes to make the future happen.
Three years ago, the University of Arizona Library reengineered its organization into a team-based learning organization. Public services personnel were organized into teams that mirrored the organization of the faculty. One complete level of management and half of the then current departments were eliminated. A new mission and vision statement were developed and the organizational values were identified as customer focus, continual learning, constantly improving quality, diversity, flexibility, and integrity. Customer self-sufficiency was identified as the primary goal and education, knowledge management, assessment, indepth information provision (reference by appointment), information resource development, and connection development were identified as the primary functions of librarians. Decision making was delegated to functional and cross functional teams and all decisions were to be based on data. Extensive training and staff development activities were initiated around building teams, learning new process improvement tools, understanding learning organizations, and learning how to identify and use data. We eliminated individual performance evaluations and are experimenting with a new customer driven team assessment program.
Over the last three years, the Library has had some outstanding successes and faced some very difficult situations. We have been very successful in our initial education and knowledge management activities. We have made some incredible improvements in our operations--reducing reshelving time from an average of 60 hours to under 5 hours while reducing the cost of the operation by $30,000 a year--and even have won some campus and state awards for our quality efforts. We have initiated successful staff-driven strategic planning and budgeting activities. We have redesigned our information resource budget to be allocated based on data and information on customer need. We are introducing new resources and services to the campus with increasing frequency. We are creating faculty partnerships and beginning to be valued as contributors to curriculum development. We have reallocated hundreds of thousands of dollars and numerous positions to support strategic needs.
Further, we have learned a lot about the kind of organizational change we believe is necessary for a successful transition to the digital library. We have learned that the literature is correct in its prediction that it takes five to ten years to make real changes in the culture and climate of an organization. We know we must be prepared to invest for the long term, accepting short term difficulties and even periodic declines in service. It is with a few others of these learnings that I would like end since these are often insights that are not generally shared during presentations.
Communication: There is never enough communication. Many staff still feel uninformed and do not yet have a shared vision for the organization although every member of the staff has email, access to almost all budget and organizational information, receives biweekly updates on the organizations progress toward its goals, and has had multiple opportunities to participate in the development of the mission, vision, values, and goals development processes. Complaints about not knowing about specific decisions or priorities abound while at the same time staff feel information overload and, to cope, simply do not read many communications or attend meetings. Having eliminated a layer of bureaucracy and turned department heads into team leaders, we have eliminated some of the information filters that helped staff focus on what is important. It takes time for individual staff members to learn the necessary skills to select and use information effectively.
Organizational Support Systems: Many of the traditional personnel systems including those dealing with compensation, rank, development, and performance management and evaluation are not adequate and do not support the kind of organizational behaviors required in the digital environment. Traditional job descriptions are too narrow. Pay systems reward people for control and turf and isolated expertise, not the ability to work across a range of duties and adopt to new demands. Merit systems create disincentives for team work. Staff Development has focussed on training and teacher centered workshops. Radical new systems are necessary which reward continual growth, the ability to adapt to constant change, a willingness to eliminate needless complexity and work, cooperation, and the development of team work skills.
Continual learning and Staff Development: It is exhausting to be engaged in continual learning. It takes a new mind set. It is also a waste of time to offer just-in-case education or training programs. Until individuals feel a need to know, are faced with problems they are committed to solving, and have an opportunity to immediately practice or implement a new skill or knowledge effective learning will not take place.
Creating Self-Managing Teams and Team Accountability: It takes a great deal of training to create effective teams and team members. It takes even more time and practice to become self-managing and able to make good decisions in reasonable time frames. We have become used to jumping to solutions without data-based analysis or consideration of diverse viewpoints. We see meetings as process impediments rather than means for accomplishing work. Finally, we are not used to being personally accountable for our actions and decisions. Hierarchical structures have supported selective accountability--at the top. Providing regular reports on progress and accepting responsibility for finding solutions, rather than excuses for work not getting done is a radical change in behavior and feels threatening and uncomfortable. Learning to give constructive, helpful feedback is difficult.
Focus on Customers: Keeping our customers interests first, and having the goal of exceeding customer expectations, is harder than we expected. This is especially true when customer needs require, for example, that we introduce a new data base before we have mastered it, do work that we would rather not do, eliminate our favorite tasks for those duties that we at least feel competent in and comfortable with, or work hours that are nonstandard or not convenient. We often assume that we know what customers want or that customers don't know what they need. It is hard to break the habit of being the expert, and, instead asking and listening.
Driving fear out of the organization: We are perfectionists and fear making mistakes. We also fear that if we truly eliminate our tasks through process improvement we will lose our jobs. We also fear data and diverse opinions and using data and expanded viewpoints to make decisions. These fears are not overcome easily and by logic, or rational approaches. It takes years of support, encouragement, practice, and repeated positive experiences to overcome fear.
Diversity: It is often easy to say that we will deal with the value issue of diversity or diversifying our staff when we have accomplished our harder organizational imperatives. However, it is critical that we recognize the need to have a diversified workforce to serve an increasingly diversified customer base. Diversity is hard to achieve. It is hard to truly value difference. Yet we can't succeed without a multicultural workforce that finds our institutions hospitable.
In closing, I would like to say that despite the challenges and difficulties, it is exciting to be a librarian in these future defining times. We each have the power to make the academic library more central and meaningful to our institutions and to ensure the success of the learning processes for the next generation--the digital generation. Individuals do make a difference in the digital world and librarians will make a tremendous difference.