Monday, November 21, 2011

Innovative Academic Libraries...on a budget?

The library director and staff at my university library have been discussing ways in which we can implement innovative changes in our library space to better meet the changing needs of our users. These conversations have been happening for some time but space changes and innovative technologies come at a cost, and budgets have never been tighter for many of us in higher education.

I'm a believer in the value of the library as a hub of the university. The videos and links below showcasing the University of Calgary's new Taylor Family Digital Library (TFDL), exemplify what is possible when a university (and a city!) fully realize the value of investing in the library (to the tune of $205 million!). The University of Calgary and others see the library as the place that can help shape the future of learning. This is an extreme example, I'm sure it's a dream come true for many on that campus, and will surely be a major draw for the institution.

Many university libraries are looking at ways to meet changing user needs. Besides smart planning, we need buy-in from university administrators in the way of dollars to implement changes. A good deal of student, faculty, and staff time is now spent in digital space. How can our libraries, especially those on a tight budget, help meet the space and technology needs of our users? What can we do to facilitate learning, to help our users build the 21st century skills needed to succeed in our digital world?

Harvard has been holding conversations on the "Future of Libraries" as have many of us in higher education.

This topic is one I have followed for some time, the "Libraries of the Future" and "Academic Libraries As Place" are blog posts I've written in the past. I believe it's time for action.

Below is a video of the grand opening this past October of the University of Calgary's Taylor Family Digital Library. For those who want to learn more about the TFDL, I'll also link to a story I created to pull in information from various sources on University of Calgary’s Taylor Family Digital Library and how it's shaping the future of learning.

Please feel free to comment on how libraries with limited budgets might begin to implement change within their space.