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The Future of University Research Libraries: Using Scenarios to Envision New Organizations

Advances in Library Administration and Organization

ISBN: 978-1-78441-910-3, eISBN: 978-1-78441-909-7

Publication date: 16 June 2015


This research highlights the scenarios that might serve as a strategic vision to describe a future beyond the current library, one which both guides provosts and creates a map for the transformation of human resources and technology in the university research libraries. The scenarios offer managerial leaders an opportunity to envision new roles for librarians and staff which brings a much needed focus on the development of human resources as well as a thought-stream to understand decisions which effectively and systematically move the organization toward a strategic vision.

These scenarios also outline possible future directions research libraries could take by focusing on perspectives from library directors, provosts, and administrators for human resources. The four case study scenarios introduce potential future roles for librarians and highlight the unsustainability of the current scholarly communications model as well as uncertain factors related to the political, social, technical, and demographic issues facing campuses. Given the changes institutions face, scenarios allow directors to include more uncertainty when developing and articulating a vision. These scenarios may start a discussion, before a strategic planning process, to sharpen the evaluations and measures necessary to monitor achievements that define the value of the library.



Cawthorne, J.E. (2015), "The Future of University Research Libraries: Using Scenarios to Envision New Organizations", Advances in Library Administration and Organization (Advances in Library Administration and Organization, Vol. 33), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 43-88.



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