There’s a great article in the new issue of Educause which shares the result of a recent survey of librarian and faculty views of libraries (quick, now go read it). Most of the results are not surprising and it suggests that librarians and faculty still don’t always see eye-to-eye. I found it unsurprising that faculty are using the library less frequently but that’s not to say they’re not using our resources. While faculty see the library becoming less relevant they do not want library funds to be directed elsewhere and still see the library serving a preservation need. Libraries provide essential resources and this role will unlikely change, it is the manner in which we offer these resources and even our services that will change. Unsurprisingly, both faculty and librarians see electronic resources become an increasingly dominant format.
One thing that I tend to disagree with is that the article suggests that librarians generally see their role remaining unchanged. This may be what the survey suggested but many of the librarians I know, myself included, do not feel this is the case. A session I attended at CNI on the future of academic libraries also suggested the need for libraries and librarians to start reconsidering their positions and roles and I think many of his predictions, although they may be hard to take, may not be far off the mark.
I do agree with the idea that libraries need to take a leadership role in a number of areas, including preservation and collections (the future of the e-book and the move to online journals).
Surveys such as this are essential in reminding librarians that faculty may not have the same opinions on important issues. Libraries are a’changin’ and we as librarians will need to change too.