Academic libraries are the heart of the academy. The value of these libraries should never be minimized. The college library is relevant and vital for student success. You can not effectively argue against the library given all the positive research. Vital, relevant, and influential to student success. Students need a place to read and study. In the library students create and share knowledge. Critical thinking is nourished and students actually learn. The librarian is also part of the process. An academic librarian is a helper, student-centered, and a finder of answers. We do not have all the answers, but we know where to find them.
I would say the current state of academic libraries is misunderstood maybe even bleak. Libraries must tell their stories and define their purposes based on current technology and patron needs. The print collection serves a purpose. The electronic resources serve a purpose. There is balance in the development of collections that support the curriculum and we use both mediums.. We must be good stewards of library funds as we create pathways for student success. We need to know the tools of the trade, including how to buy and use the best databases. The mastery of searching is only accomplished through use. If you do not know the tools of the trade, you are not a very good librarian.
In may stops at three universities and one community college, I have learned from some great librarians. Some could never break away from the print collection. Others saw electronic resources as a way to create value. It is naive to think the library does not need to change. In my opinion, change is the only constant. We have to advocate for ourselves and sell our value in every situation.
The state of academic libraries will only improve as we market and use effective outreach to share what we offer. Tell your story librarian!
Keith lives in an amazing city, Tucson, Arizona.