Information and the Future

This is the blog of the Information and the Future task force of the Rolfing Library at Trinity International University. The IF task force exists to explore the role of libraries in the future of Christian higher education.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Academic Libraries: “Social” or “Communal?”

Continuing with the conversation on developing community in the library, there is an article in the January issue of Journal of Academic Librarianship on the topic. I haven't read the article, but I thought I'd share the abstract!

The apparent death of academic libraries, as measured by declining circulation of print materials, reduced use of reference services, and falling gate counts, has led to calls for a more “social” approach to academic libraries: installing cafés, expanding group study spaces, and developing “information commons.” This study compares these social models with the traditional academic library, whose spirit is best understood as “communal.” It argues that this communal spirit is unique and greatly valued by academic library users. Efforts to create a more social academic library threaten this communal spirit and may do more harm than good.

There is also a book that was just published called Social Software in Libraries: Building Collaboration, Communication, and Community Online by Meredith G. Farkas.

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