Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Article Type: Editorial From: New Library World, Volume 112, Issue 9/10
In the UK, the beautiful old Bancroft Library in the old vestry office, Tower Hamlets is restored and open again. It houses local history and archives including more than 20,000 printed books and pamphlets dating from the seventeenth century and some local authority records from the sixteenth century. Funding is needed for some further work, but it no longer seems to be under threat. The article from Lesneski focuses on library buildings, but from a completely different angle. She discusses the opportunities, implications and challenges of converting “big box” retail stores into libraries and provides some examples of such conversions in the US. Re-use is a topical issue and the potential stumbling blocks of such conversion are discussed, as are the many advantages.
Manil (Make a Noise in Libraries) fortnight is an annual event for people with visual impairment. Run by RNIB (Royal National Institute of Blind People), Manil is a good opportunity for libraries to hold events and make displays of large print and spoken word, so raising awareness about library services with customers, specialist teams in social services and VIPs. Library services for a different type of minority is the topic of the article from Hansson. He reports on the findings of a Swedish national study designed to create a picture of Swedish public library services for five minority groups defined as “national minorities”. The findings of the study show that there are very limited services for these minority groups and the findings provide a good point of departure for developing these services.
JISC and SCONUL (Society of College, National and University Libraries) have been collaborating on the Shared Services for Electronic Resources Management project and this has involved of use case studies in universities. In order to find out what can be delivered widely that is currently done locally, the case study work involves interviews, workshops and discussions. Data gathering and analysis is being carried out in partnership with Sero Consulting. Besara and Kinsley discuss the use of assessment data in their article, specifically describing how Florida State University Libraries used assessment data with other campus partners in order to gain funding and resources for new initiatives at a time when general funding sources were threatened. They demonstrate how libraries can take a leadership role in gathering and sharing such data with other campus constituents in order to place libraries in a strategic position to receive alternative funding for shared initiatives.
In the UK financial cuts are beginning to bite in higher education. These changes in higher education are starting to bring changes for higher education libraries. At London Metropolitan University, 2 libraries and ten library posts are to be cut. The impact on library and information services of a shift towards shared services is not yet clear. In their article, Chang and Chen discuss three changes in higher education and explore what librarians and libraries should reinforce and adjust in the ways that they serve students. They highlight two new core competencies for university librarians as information literacy and problem-based learning, and they point out that collaboration among all members of staff, particularly between librarians and teachers is essential.
A public meeting on “The fragmentation death of the information professions” drew attendees from a wide range of organisations. The nature of questions that arose focused on whether an over-fragmented information profession fails to get noticed and fails to speak with one voice on important topics, perhaps not demonstrating well its positive effect on organisations and users (theinformationprofessions.wikispaces.com/). In her article, Mavodza discusses changes in academic librarianship in a new, increasingly competitive information environment and the impact of this on the profession. In order for success, as the both content and demands of users change, the academic library needs to move from a support role to take a leadership position as campus innovator and change agent.
Google is another high profile partner helping the British Library to digitise its vast collection. Although representing a small part of the British Library collection, this new initiative is covering a quarter of a million printed books, pamphlets and periodicals from 1700 to 1870. Digitisation helps preservation of fragile copies and opens up access to millions of remote users. The article from Madden and Seifi focuses on digital preservation. Specifically, they consider the historical context for digitization and interdisciplinary research regarding digital surrogates of historical Persian manuscripts in the National Library and Archives of Iran and similar institutions. They address issues of availability and access in global contexts.