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Taiga Forum 2011 Provocative Statements

Posted by Editor on November 11, 2011

On 11/1/2010, Taiga Forum6 met in Palo Alto to begin developing a new set of provocative statements regarding some future challenges to academic libraries. Another group discussed the draft statements at ALA Midwinter in San Diego in January, 2011.
The Taiga Forum Steering Committee has taken that input and created this third round of Taiga Forum Provocative Statements. As before, the statements are intended to provoke conversation rather than attempt to predict the future. Taiga Forum participants write these statements in recognition of the value of considering potential medium-term futures in planning and decision making.
These statements are not intended to comprehensively cover all issues; they simply represent some of the topics that arose in our discussions. We welcome and encourage comments.
Within five years, the current university organizational structures will have been forced to dissolve, finally flattening the organization. Libraries will have less autonomy and librarian roles will have been subsumed into other parts of the university.
Within five years, campus administrators will expect research libraries to significantly reduce library budgets by engaging in radical cooperation among competing universities: jointly-owned collections, deep outsourcing, shared staffing, and shared services.

3. collaborative space partners

Within five years, academic libraries will either choose collaborative space partners or have them chosen for them. Librarians will not be able to play the “library as place” card without opening up their spaces to complementary programs.

Within five years, graduate students and faculty will fill all their information needs online, never coming into the library, yet they will continue to idealize the library as a sacred place to commune with books. Libraries will respond by flipping their stacks into designer reading rooms that use books as decor.
Within five years, information needs will be met through on-demand purchasing. Big deals will have been eliminated and collection building will only be meaningful for a select few designated libraries.

6. new model of liaison librarianship

Within five years, efforts to develop research data management and curation services will have led to a wholly new model of liaison librarianship that is focused on institutional content.

7. staff reallocation, elimination, and retraining

Within five years, libraries will have undergone skills inventories and begun addressing identified gaps. Successful libraries will have developed rolling plans for staff reallocation, elimination, and retraining. Unsuccessful libraries will have failed to root out resistance to change, driving out their best and brightest.

8. library in the cloud

Within five years, all library collections, systems, and services will be driven into the cloud. This will enable more “above campus” collaboration for libraries.
Within five years, libraries will be forced to acknowledge that our boutique services have been collecting “in the basement.” To clean house, libraries will implement planned abandonment.
Within five years, library programs will have overproduced MLSs at a rate greater even than humanities PhDs and glutted a permanently diminished market.

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