The New University Library: Four Case Studies

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  • Description
  • Table of Contents
  • About the Author
  • Reviews
What is the future of the academic library, and how are institutions coping with the challenges that are already being imposed by its changing functions and purpose? Using the results of a year-long study, Conner profiles four academic libraries that are transforming themselves with extraordinary ingenuity and diligence. Topics such as reference, personnel, technology, collections, buildings, campus roles, and library culture—and how they're changing in response to current trends—are examined at 
  • The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, which has adapted amidst the forces of change to become one of the premier academic libraries in the nation 
  • The University of California at Merced, an institution which prioritizes collaboration and networking, offering a living, working example of the library of the future
  • The University of Hawaii at Manoa, whose focused rebuilding after a disastrous flood in 2004 spurred a rethinking of priorities, showing how a library can thrive despite limited resources
  • The University of California at Davis, a model of the public university system, with an agricultural legacy that makes it a paradigm of the land-grant university 
Eschewing abstract theory and speculation, Conner details real-world practices and innovations that point the way forward for all academic libraries.

Read more about Conner's research in these interviews at the ACRL blog (part 1, part 2, part 3) and the ALCTS blog.

Part I History
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Campus Roles
Chapter 8
Library Culture
Part II Case Studies
Case Study 1
University of California, Davis
Case Study 2
University of California, Merced
Case Study 3
University of Hawaii at Mānoa
Case Study 4
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Works Cited

Matthew Conner

Matthew Conner has a PhD in American literature and an MLS in library science, both from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is currently an instruction/reference librarian at the Peter J. Shields Library at the University of California, Davis, and President-Elect of the Librarians Association of the University of California (LAUC). As chair of the LAUC Professional Governance Committee, he recently led a systemwide study of the future of the University of California libraries, which forms the basis of this book. He is also pursuing research on information visualization and the pedagogy of keyword searching, which he has reported on at numerous conferences and in an article in Reference Services Review.

"Given the morphing culture of higher education and changes in how we access information in the age of electronic access to resources, the question: ‘What is the future of the academic library?' is often posed. Conner (librarian, Univ. of California, Davis) examines that query here, but rather than providing a list of ways in which libraries need to change, the author approaches the subject by discussing trends in seven specific areas relevant to academic librarians: reference, personnel, technology, collections, buildings, campus roles, and library culture, in a chapter each … academic librarians interested in learning about trends in their profession will be engaged with Connor's essays."
— Library Journal

"Conner compares the library to a living organism seeking its way through its own environment ... Managers and leaders of academic libraries will gain insights into the way other libraries are responding to their own changing environments and will draw inspiration from their stories."
— Australian Library Journal

"Rather than offer a list of recommendations or identify best practices from these cases, Conner invites his readers to draw their own ideas and inspiration … most librarians and administrators will find it easy to read and applicable to their own circumstances."
— Portal