College & Research Libraries News

Academic colleagues in concert

By Hannelore B. Rader

Director of Libraries Cleveland State University

A summary of the 1987 ACRL President’s Program in San Francisco.

The ACRL President’s Program at ALA Annual Conference in San Francisco, entitled “Academic Colleagues in Concert,” was held June 29,1987, at the University of San Francisco. The program featured three speakers: Chancellor Sheila Kaplan, University of Wisconsin-Parkside, spoke on “State Colleges and Universities and Academic Libraries”; Professor John Lanning, University of Colorado, addressed “The Library-Faculty Partnership in Curriculum Development”; and Library and Computer Center director Michael Kathman, St. Johns College/St. Benedict College, talked about “The Impact of Technology on Information Handling in Higher Education.”

After these excellent presentations the audience of about 400 academic librarians formed discussion groups and addressed one or more of the questions listed below. These questions were derived from the national symposium, “Libraries and the Search for Academic Excellence,” sponsored by Columbia University and the University of Colorado, held at the Arden House, New York, March 15-17, 1987.

1. How can academic librarians take part in general education and curriculum planning to ensure that information literacy will be a demonstrable outcome of undergraduate education?

2. Plow can academic librarians create new and productive partnerships with faculty to prepare students for life-long learning in an information society?

3. How can information-gathering skills become an integral part of the curriculum?

4. How can academic libraries continue to provide their users with free and equitable access to information given the tremendous expense related to using new technology?

5. Which key concepts define academic librari- anship in the age of information technologies?

6. How can librarians assist users in solving problems by using new information technologies?

7. How can the librarian’s role in the information society be explained to the public and relevant funding agencies (TV, media, etc.)?

8. What should be included in a National Information Policy as related to higher education?

9. What role should the library play in the campus governance of technology?

10. What will the new role for academic libraries be within the network of scholarly communication?

11. How should a new type of publishing system be developed on campuses given the fact that principal research producers, peer reviewers, and electronic publishing mechanisms are available on the campuses? What part should the library assume in this endeavor?

12. How could academic libraries assume a leading role in assessing, selecting and managing electronically advanced information resources for the academic community?

13. How can academic libraries provide information service for the business community?

14. How can academic library services be realistically assessed using statistics, research, etc.?

Twenty-two discussion leaders provided summaries of the group discussions. (Questions 6, 8,11, 13 and 14 were not chosen for discussion.)*

Questions 1, 2 and 3

In order to be successful, the general education program must utilize those faculty who have both high status and in whom library interest has been cultivated. The academic librarian must become an advocate for the library through professional, social and intellectual contacts. Participation in student faculty discussions can enhance the librarian’s status by broadening the student’s knowledge and making faculty aware of information resources. Librarian responsibility for both collection development and user education in a given subject area is another vehicle to bring about cooperative efforts. Librarians must be prepared to continue their education and write materials that will demonstrate their special expertise.

There was unanimous agreement that librarians should be members of an institution’s curriculum committees in order to ensure integration between course matter and the library’s resources. Librarians must be part of long-range planning committees and task forces for proposed new courses and/ or general changes in the curriculum and direction of the university. Common priorities for the library and institution must be agreed upon by the academic and library administration to make the best use of limited resources.

Without an agreement on priorities, the library staff will continue the struggle to try to provide an increasing number of services with inadequate staffing and resources.

Librarians must be involved with and active in various professional accreditation associations. By so doing, pressure can be brought to bear on institutions to show evidence that the student in a particular discipline can conduct library research, and that students can indeed find information as required of practicing members of the discipline.

The library director must be seen as a key member of the administration and thus be informed of issues that affect the curriculum. This position would increase the probability that librarians would gain entrance to the relevant committees.

Librarians were not in agreement that they should urge their institutions to establish library or research competency testing as a requirement for course completion or graduation. Librarians doing their own subject-oriented research seem to enjoy a special relationship with faculty, and this might be a model to encourage.

*Eugene Engeldinger, Jacquelyn Morris, Patricia D. Maughan, Alan Ritch and Mary Beth Bunge, George Lupone, Cecily Johns and Bill Moffett, Collette Wagner, William F. Rogers, Marva L. DeLoach and Philip Tramdack, Ann Meronet, Anne Beaubien, Jo Ann Carr and Margaret Auer, Marian Winner, Dwight Burlingame, Bob Carmack, Susan Allen, Pat Weaver-Meyers, Liz Salzer.

Librarians must try for appointment to relevant faculty committees and involve faculty more on library committees. They must clarify for faculty the role of the library in the educational process and build faculty-librarian partnerships. Whenever possible librarians should become involved in faculty departmental meetings. They could also involve faculty in the librarian recruitment process.

The library has taken on new responsibilities in the last ten years, including language labs, AV, and satellite classrooms. Consequently, traditional services may have been less emphasized. Librarians’ familiarity with new technology has been helpful in faculty relationships, because librarians have taken on a different type of teaching role.

Faculty are interested in technology, but do not want to be taught in groups or in the traditional manner; therefore, other ways of teaching have to be developed. Teaching people to be self-sufficient really takes more staff time and, consequently, more staff will be playing a role in the teaching process.

Technology is presenting new and more visible problems, but can be used to enhance the librarian in a teacher role. Librarians are more and more becoming managers: more non-librarians are in supervisory or department head roles; computers are making this possible by taking over routine tasks such as filing.

It is most important to keep up on the electronic advancements. Scholars are forming electronic networks and bypassing traditional communication methods (e.g., periodicals and letters). Libraries will receive the synthesis of this communication, not necessarily the primary resources. Remote access can be seen as something that would bring the librarian into the network of scholarly- communication. It can be a tool to increase contact between faculty and librarians and to increase library use.

Aggressive marketing should be stressed as a vehicle for increasing cooperation between faculty and librarians: especially important here is to project the right image of librarians.

Librarians must also work with accrediting agencies and play a significant role in the program accrediting process. An ACRL-sponsored program on library standards and program accreditation would be useful.

Question 4

Free and equitable access to libraries for campus users will be a major concern for academic librarians. Financial support for library services varies greatly among academic libraries. It was felt that some services will have to become fee-based, although some subsidies for most services will be preferable.

Socioeconomic forces affect equitable access to February 1988 / 71 information. Academic users may be information- rich because of existing structures to access information; even so, there may be information “haves” and “have nots” determined by academic discipline. Those in the sciences and business have greater technologically advanced information resources than those in the humanities. To create equitable access, it must be advantageous for the information “haves” to finance the information needs of the “have nots.” There also was general concern that the cost of information could push up the cost of higher education to the point where society at large would not be willing to support it.

The means of providing equitable access to information lie beyond the library. Librarians must continue to lobby faculty, administrators, and legislators to provide funds for information. Universities should absorb the costs of providing information in technologically advanced formats. As CD-ROM technology develops, the cost of accessing information might stabilize. Information industries might look for ways to make data entry cheaper, thus lowering the cost of information. A bold step would be nationalizing information utilities such as OCLC and DIALOG.

Question 5

Librarians must have an interest in the academic enterprise and play academic politics successfully. They must serve as “filters” between information and users. Librarians must be aware of “hi tech,” move with it, and show it to users; if librarians do not take the initiative here, others will take away much of the librarian’s role. They must be “agitators” for providing information/access/instruction in a wide variety of resource areas. Included in this must be a range of viewpoints and evaluation of sources.

Question 7

Is it necessary to improve actively the image of librarians? Reasons to do so include making it easier to do BI, enhancing creditibility among students and faculty members, and, in effect, to “compete” with information-oriented corporations with large advertising budgets. One example was Apple’s ad for the Macintosh, which stated that through end-user searching one could “check out of the library for good.”

It was felt that because service is often taken for subservience, the librarian’s role must be examined. There is a need to establish a target market and go after it. Service orientation coupled with technological and bibliographical expertise might well be seen as an asset, particularly by academic clientele. As the professional role of librarians is newly recognized, a move away from the faculty status issue may result: however, faculty status for some may increase initial visibility among classroom faculty.

One new role for the academic library may be as a collection of materials, with access possible from outside its physical location. In this context librarians will increasingly become consultants to their constituents in the areas of access and evaluation of sources. In BI, this will necessarily change the emphasis from teaching library use to teaching “information literacy skills.”

Because there are so many users, it may not be appropriate to target the entire market. Some users will be served by commercial end-user services, others by library services. Relationships with commercial services may be synergistic—as more of the public becomes interested in and aware of the potential for accessing information, so their awareness of all library services may greatly increase.

Question 9

The combining of library services and computer services under one administrative structure should take the following issues into consideration:

•There is a danger of non-librarians directing the library.

•Different skills may be required.

•Efforts should be made to determine how the two services complement each other.

•The governance situation should be handled on a campus-by-campus basis which it is hoped will lead to a campus-wide and senior administrative basis for a knowledgeable sharing of what libraries are about.

•Become a member of a campus computing committee and develop and use library liaison.

•Librarians should be able and willing to catalog and manage computer software.

Question 10

The scholarly communication network will be greatly affected by the information infrastructure which is the province of academic libraries. Librarians will play a major role in the maintenance and merging of old and new information technologies. Compounding this role will be the question of the preservation of information—both that which is contained in brittle paper form and that which is in electronic format and easily changed. The impact of the loss of direct communication between the library and its users will require that libraries serve as the fulcrum for the balancing of user needs and the availability of information. This role will be most important in interdisciplinary areas. In order to compete against commercial information brokers, librarians must be their own—and their users’—best advocates.

Question 12

There was concern about who makes decisions and how librarians become involved in decisionmaking processes relating to technology and electronically advanced information resources. Librarians must assert the role of the library in this important area, and at an early stage in the decision-making. Should librarians not be able to become a part of the process, they should form their own committees and processes. Politically, campus dynamics might prevail, but librarians could influence the process. Librarians can play a leadership role in building scholarly work-station networks. Librarians must be aware of the needs of users and provide them with information in any format.


The discussions focused on an overview of the library’s role today and what will likely be the future demands placed on it in the areas of providing access, selection and resources management. Part of the problem in defining the library’s role is in meeting the demands of the patrons (including faculty) who will understand only imperfectly, if at all, the direction in which the library and information industry is going, and what services will be provided.

Besides traditional kinds of library service, there will be much more instruction in the structure of information sources. Vendors will compete with libraries in providing direct access to some resources. Libraries will be required to provide traditional services, but will be in competition with vendors providing new and more specific (and profitable) access. While profit will be found in serving as a broker, pressure will be on libraries as university information utilities to facilitate direct access to information through vendors. In fact, the role of the library as a partner in research will need to be redefined.

As academic librarians address the future these issues will continuously have to be reexamined and problems will have to be solved in creative ways. Librarians agreed on the following:

•The focus must be on the primary beneficiaries of library development, the users.

•A wider range of services will have to be identified.

•The library will continue as a social entity.

•The “top end” of the market will be taken by vendors.

•Information may be fee-based.

•The library role as information broker on campus is directly proportional to the funding for information access which the library receives.

•The library must see the big picture and understand the degree of entrepreneurship appropriate for a positive environment.

•Traditional views of the library’s role will have to be moderated by an understanding of the access issues involved and by the reality of budgets.

•Libraries will participate in the distribution of financial resources for the development of information access systems by the university in a competitive and uncertain environment. ■ ■

ACRL executive summary

Professional education

The following local CE course presentations were held: Librarians as Supervisors (CE101) in Las Cruces, New Mexico, with 31 participants; and Principles of Strategic Planning in the Library Environment (CE111) at the University of Puerto Rico.

Work continues on details regarding the WESS Conference in Florence, Italy. Several contributions were received as a result of the work of the Fundraising Subcommittee chair Martha Brogan, special events chair Anna Perrault, and Florence Conference Committee chair Assunta Pisani.

Enhancing library service capability

Anne Beaubien attended a meeting of the LAMA/PLA/Office for Research Project on Non- Tax Sources of Revenue for Public Libraries to listen for ideas on extending the project to academic libraries.

The ACRL Performance Measures Committee discussed and evaluated proposals for an Output Measures Manual. The Committee planned at the time of writing to present a final proposal to the

Budget and Finance Committee and the Board of Directors at the Midwinter Meeting in January.

Advocacy and liaison

JoAn Segal and Cathleen Bourdon met informally with Elaine Didier, president of the Association for Educational Communications and Technology, to discuss the progress of a joint ACRL/AECT Standards Committee.

Charles Cullen, president of the Newberry Library, and Donald B. Simpson, president of the Center for Research Libraries, visited ALA on December 10. They made presentations about their respective libraries and organizations and had discussions with our staff about ACRL.

Research and publications

Temporary staff members have been added to the Books for College Libraries project to help bring the manuscript to completion. Project director Patricia Sabosik discussed with UTLAS steps to move automation aspects of the project forward.

The ANSS, CLS, and EBSS section newsletters February 1988 / 73were mailed, bringing to a close the Fall cycle of section newsletter publication.

Headquarters activities

A new computer and printer have been installed that will primarily be used for C&RL News production. The new equipment will allow magazine production to switch from a dedicated word processing system to microcomputers.

ACRL staff worked on preparing the 1989 budget for approval at the Midwinter Conference.

JoAn Segal and Mary Ellen Davis served on the ALA Word Processing Task Force and helped to develop a policy for ALA on hardware and soft- ware configurations.

ALA staff heard a presentation on the implications of the new tax law with regard to associations, including rules for the deduction of professional expenses for travel to meetings.

ACRL staff worked on the 1989 Operating Plan. A draft was sent to the Planning Committee for discussion at the Midwinter Meeting.

President Joanne Euster planned a Leadership meeting for ACRL Board members and guests for Midwinter and has set up several other opportunities for member leaders to obtain help with their duties and responsibilities.—JoAn S. Segal, ACRL Executive Director. ■ ■

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