People before paper, that’s what the academic library is about.
The most effective academic libraries are informed by the idea of student and faculty members as customers. All are served by learning commons with scores of group workspaces and reference advisors in locations modeled after the concierge desks of hip hotels.
Until recently, the quality of a library was measured by the number of volumes it held. Now librarians strive to measure the standing of their libraries by the quality of service even as their physical print holdings are shrinking. Their success is critical to the survival of their institutions. Continue reading
The irreplaceable value of campuses lies in building community. Without that they will gradually become hollow shells.
Robert Putnam wrote Bowling Alone about the decline of community involvement over the last 50 years, including the demise of many civic organizations and bowling alleys that once were common fixtures of American life. He documented waves of technological change from television to two-earner households, and the fraying of community activities.
Perhaps the college campus is the vanishing bowling alley of the 21st century. Many have documented the waves of technological change from Internet to MITx and Udacity, and the lone student at laptop is a common image. Continue reading