Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Future of Military Libraries

Virginia Suzy Young, PhD, Vice Chancellor for Research, University of Alabama
Military Libraries Workshop, Von Braun Center, Huntsville, Alabama
December 10, 2013

Dr. Young spoke from her experience as the Director, U.S. Army Advanced Science andTechnology Directorate at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama.  Currently she is advising Redstone on the future of their libraries.

Dr. Young has seen a gradual decline in
  1. Library Resources
  2. Expectations for libraries
  3. Interest in libraries

The entry to the library is no longer the front door.

We need to talk to people about the return on investment (ROI) for libraries to their agencies.

How is it that other areas at an agency develop so quickly and are able to respond to needs yet libraries don’t?  It is a matter of funding – other departments get more funding.

New Requirements for librarians:
  1. A previous evolution of operations and management has become a revolution.
  2. Other duties as assigned – For librarians this is becoming full-blown new Military Operational Skills (MOS) – becoming more active intellectual partners with our customers.
  3. Maintaining the pace of technology development may become impossible and certainly cost prohibitive.
  4. Balancing traditional values and managing customer expectations.

What is the future?

Libraries should transform from being centers of information to being centers of culture. Become enmeshed with the culture of your agency or office.  Not the place to go to – because you are already engaged with your customers.

Plan for obvious advances that will require flexibility to accommodate:
  • Verbal communication
  • Access to all global information
  • Partnerships with non-traditional partners
  • New service requirements for IT

Concentrate on an enterprise approach:
  • Consortial buying
  • Priorities for our customers
  • Make the best of virtual services
  • How can libraries become more lean?

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