Old dogs, new tricks.
Evolution can be described as a gradual development; progress, expansion or advancement. In the same way academic libraries evolve, and at an ever increasing pace.
We live in exciting times; and whilst there is still a nostalgic hunger for beautifully bound volumes arranged in perfect sequence, in hushed and light dappled reading rooms, the reality is that readers for research, academia and pleasure also relish and devour information in the digital age. Our library spaces have become collaborative, interactive areas stretching beyond physical walls and toward infinite possibilities. We have not only utilised, but exploited technologies to meet our needs, discovering and opening up new approaches and practises. Print is our foundation – robust and static repositories centuries old built upon by generations – and still weathering the test of time. Our future information superstructures are built upon historic substructures. Physical spaces for learning, researching and reading are precious. Whilst encouraging spending on useful and credible resources, we also beware the fund-cutters and space-stealers.
As time has moved on librarians and information assistants have become ‘hybrarians’ (Sidorko 2004). Hybrid beings, dynamic and effective research facilitators, more necessary now than ever before as information becomes vast and varied. We care about the Library print resources; we are protectors of the print. We are also endorsers of the e-resource. Library staff can be described as ‘cybrarians’ – championing the ever expanding range of online resources, we also care about users’ experience; the challenges faced by researchers and academics of too much information, fake news, and unreliable non-credible sources for example (Dey, 2012). Library staff are still the go-to information resource for direction and quality control. We hunt down rare out of print books, we direct you to maths textbooks and photography journals, and we demonstrate an incredible range of e-resources.
Academic library users then, are no longer bound by walls, by closing time and shutters. Our resources for information and research are vast and instant. Our twenty-four-seven lifestyles are facilitated, our demands for new, fast access are being met. Our library is changing – this old dog can learn new tricks.
Braun, L. (2002). New roles: A librarian by any name. Library Journal, 127(2), 46-49. Retrieved September 20, 2017 from https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.napier.ac.uk/docview/196838068?rfr_id=info%3Axri%2Fsid%3Aprimo
Dey, T. (2012). Cybrarian: the librarian of future digital library. International Journal of Information Dissemination and Technology, 2(3), 209-211. Retrieved September 20, 2017 from http://www.ijidt.com/index.php/ijidt/article/viewFile/99/99
Gelfand, A. (2015). From Page to Oixel: the Evolution of the Academic Library. Superscript, 5(1), 6-12. Retrieved September 26, 2017 from https://gsas.columbia.edu/sites/default/files/inline-files/superscript-winter-2015-interactive_0.pdf
Murray, J. (2000). Librarians evolving into Cybrarians. Multimedia Schools, 7(2), 26-28. Retrieved September 21, 2017 from http://go.galegroup.com.ezproxy.napier.ac.uk/ps/i.do?&id=GALE|A30317346&v=2.1&u=napier&it=r&p=EAIM&sw=w
Sidorko, P.E. (2004). The remaking of the librarian: average customer review 3 out of 5. Retrieved September 21, 2017 from http://hub.hku.hk/bitstream/10722/114212/4/Content_02.pdf