Keynote Presentations 2018

Do Students and Scholars still need Libraries?
Academic Library Response to the Transformation of Learning and Research

Jim Neal

University Librarian Emeritus at Columbia University



What trends are provoking new thinking about the 21st century academic library?  Do 20th century visions and skills still matter to learners and researchers?  How do we align with the “human” objectives of our users and how are we essential to our universities, and to the larger scholarly community?  How can we build organizations that are more oriented toward research and development, entrepreneurial initiative, and strategic thinking and action?  What is the political advocacy role of the academic library? What are the implications of changes in education and scholarship for library expertise, structure and culture?  How do we move from the kumbaya of library cooperation to more radical collaboration and systemic partnerships?  What do we mean by innovation, that is how do we think differently about market, about the value we add, and about the importance of solutions?  What do we mean by transform, that
is what we are and what we do, how we are viewed and understood, and how we do it?  This session will explore these questions through the lens of leadership and the context of our relationship with students and faculty, and stimulate debate about the meaning and substance of relevance, impact, disruption, chaos, phyletic extinction and survival.


Building on Strength:  Preparing the Academic Library Workforce to Support Transformation

Vivian Lews

University Librarian at McMaster University



Research libraries don’t transform themselves.  Rather, they are changed in deep and enduring ways by library staff who are both prepared and supported by their organizations to think in big, innovative ways.

Building a transformation-ready workforce is no easy task.  Gone are the days when librarians and other library workers were revered as the trusted “keepers of the book.”  In addition to their traditional roles collecting and providing access to published text, they are now called upon to manage, structure and create information. They are expected to support new technology-infused methods of scholarly research, to explore new models for academic publishing and to speak with authority about a host of critical issues – intellectual property, human-computer interaction, bibliometrics and data visualization to name just a few.

Lewis will shed light on the power of consortial action to support library workforce development as evidenced both in Canada and the United States.   She will describe the Canadian Association of Research Libraries’ efforts to analyze training gaps and to document the core competencies required to be successful in 21st century research libraries.  She will also describe the efforts of the Association of Research Libraries ARL Academy, a new, collaborative effort to foster the development of an “agile, diverse and highly motivated workforce.”  Come prepared to discuss the benefits of building communities of practice around workforce development to support library transformation at both the local and national level.