The purpose of this paper is to examine past and future predictions about academic libraries and identify the skills that librarians will need to survive in an increasingly digital environment.
A review of relevant literature, including ephemeral material such as job advertisements, indicates a broad consensus about the skills required. The life cycle of an academic librarian is considered from initial training, through recruitment and performance management to staff development and training.
Various predictions about the future of academic libraries that were made during the 1990s have largely proved accurate. Therefore, this paper presumes that predictions about the skills of academic librarians for the forthcoming decade may prove useful in their recruitment and management.
Managers in library and information services are encouraged to maintain an awareness of developing skills requirements within the sector in order to inform good practice in staff management.
Some visions for the future are drawn together with the aim of defining a set of professional skills.
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