Another semester is winding down, the trees are blooming, pollen dances through the air, and here in our library you can cut the final exams stress with a knife. This is a great time of year to be an academic librarian; we never feel more needed than when our spaces are filled with students hard at work on their final papers and projects, or when they seek us out for research help (even when it’s five minutes before a paper is due…).
And the acquisitions abound! Now that the buzz has died down from the EBSCO/YBP acquisition, we see that ProQuest has made a big purchase of their own, acquiring SIPX, a product that compiles, delivers, and manages copyright concerns for digital reading lists. Much has been debated and speculated on library listservs and at recent conferences on what this means for librarians and our options to diversify purchases. As the big fish continue to swallow the medium and small fish, are we all destined to become an EBSCO/ProQuest/OCLC/name your poison shop? How are your libraries reacting or changing buying policies in light of these mergers?
Our library director recently sent around some food for thought in the form of Steven Bell’s Top 10 Academic Library Issues for 2015. Bell seems to have captured most of the buzziest issues, but I have a couple of extra thoughts:
- We aren’t going to see user acceptance of ebooks in academia until academic ebook publishers/aggregators figure out a way to mirror the ease of accessibility, the interface, and the variety of the retail ebook market. This isn’t a “chicken or the egg” conundrum; if you build it, they will come.
- Bell touches on “student data”, but I’m surprised he didn’t include patron data privacy issues on this list. Particularly after the Adobe e-reader debacle last year.
- I hope to see an uptick in women in leadership positions. ARL data from 2010 shows that among research library directors, around 60% are women, but leadership takes on more forms than directorship.
What do you think about Bell’s list?
Tom is originally from Brooklyn N.Y but has spent his entire professional career in South Carolina, most recently as Head of Reference Services at the College of Charleston. As part of the Against the Grain and Charleston Conference team, he serves as the associate editor of the print ATG as well as the co-editor of the webpage. Tom’s conference duties include coordinating the Penthouse Suite interviews as well as the conference poster sessions.
He received his MLS from the University of Buffalo, SUNY and a second master’s in public administration from the College of Charleston and the Univ. of South Carolina. His wife Carol and he live in downtown Charleston and she is an artist and a tour guide offering historic walking tours of the city.