Still Converging: Information Services in the Library

This collection of case studies (see below) is now almost 10 years old and the studies it contains are at least that old if not older. The idea of convergence and collaboration in campus information services, however, continues to drive the current operations and future planning of most academic libraries even today, and probably rightly so. A cursory review of the most recent (2015) Academic Library Trends and Statistics as published by Association of College and Research Libraries certainly confirms this. By the way, this ACRL study is crazy overpriced at $599 — come on, ACRL, don’t price gouge.  Convergence and Collaboration of Campus Information Services (2008) argues that when campus departments converge they more efficiently further their shared mission of supporting teaching, learning, and inquiry, and that collaboration may lead to a convergence of collections. Good stuff. The case studies highlighted in this book demonstrate how academic libraries can show their value and contributions alongside other campus departments contributing to the mission of their colleges or universities.

My concern today, though, is that the exponential growth in the availability of information resources, the ubiquitous discovery and retrieval of those resources, and the common (though largely false) confidence of students in their ability to efficiently navigate this terrain, have not prompted much creativity on the part of academic libraries in the last 10 years since this publication. I am afraid that libraries are again contributing to the digging of their own graves and are failing to show how much value they bring to the academic environment. Lead the way, librarians. Don’t just rely on external vendors.  Don’t let the IT guardians dictate the extent of your creativity and innovation.  Don’t let campus support services like student success centers take your place in research assistance. Put data to work for you and lead the way.

All in all, though, this book is a helpful summary of what other libraries have done in the past as attempts to convergence and collaboration.  Unfortunately, though, trends and statistics would indicate that this book remains as current as ever.  View it in my TinyCat library here: