The Social Future of Academic Libraries

New Perspectives on Communities, Networks, and Engagement

Tim Schlak,

The Social Future of Academic Libraries: New Perspectives on Communities, Networks, and Engagement
 
 

The current focus in higher education institutions on student engagement, partnership formation, community development and social relations requires a significant mind-shift in academic libraries and librarians if they are to regain their place at the heart of the academic enterprise. Libraries need to move beyond incremental and peripheral development of services, spaces and structures to a more fundamental and radical rethinking of their core mission and service philosophy to realign their resources, processes and practices to contemporary demands. Academic librarians have seen the need for change in response to the social turn in the academy and society, and have been exploring concepts such as converged and shared services, partnership and relationship management, blended and engaged librarians, embedded and participatory librarianship, and inside-out and pop-up libraries. But such work has generally been limited to small parts of the organization, and has not usually resulted in the largescale change in strategy and culture needed for libraries to operate effectively as dynamic social organizations in the connected digital world. New ways of working are not enough; they must be informed by new ways of thinking that empower librarians to look at all areas of their practice in a unified holistic way through a social lens. Concepts and theories of intellectual and social capital can give practitioners new perspectives on their work and provide a framework for the hard reset needed for academic libraries to remain relevant in the 21st century.

This book introduces readers to these ideas and uses case studies from real-world experience to show how intellectual and social capital perspectives and social network theory can strengthen strategic development, collaborative relationships and professional leadership across all areas of library activity. Examples of application areas include academic liaison, collection development, data services, information literacy, library fundraising, service design, space utilization, and student success.



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