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Virtual and non-virtual realities: the changing roles of libraries and librarians

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What is the future for libraries and their librarians? In trying to give an answer to this pressing question we do not deal with utopian libraries of the next century, but with the library and the librarian of the next decade. The emphasis is on libraries within educational and research institutions, especially university libraries. We examine the changes confronting the library of the future and identify four key aspects of the library of the future. It will be (i) a gateway to information, whatever format this information comes in and wherever it is located; (ii) an expertise centre; (iii) a physical entity, not only in the sense of being a social meeting place and place of scholarly interaction, but also as a place where students and other users are provided with modern study facilities and adequate user support; and (iv) a collection centre of printed material. Such libraries can only take on an appropriate shape and will only survive if the institutions that librarians serve in meet the four criteria outlined above. We look at the demands that will be made on professional library knowledge and skills and the new job responsibilities and job attitudes required.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2001-07-01

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  • Editor in Chief: Pippa Smart
    North American Editor: Judy Luther

    Learned Publishing is the journal of the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers, published in collaboration with the Society for Scholarly Publishing. The journal is published quarterly in January/April/July/October.

    Learned Publishing articles are available free online to members of ALPSP and SSP.
    ALPSP members: log in to www.alpsp.org. If you do not have a password contact [email protected]
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    Learned Publishing will be moving to Wiley-Blackwell as of January 1, 2016. Please contact the publisher at [email protected] for information on how to continue access to this title.
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