Category Archives: Future of Libraries and Higher Education

ACRL Joins Library Groups in Support of Lending Rights

Today the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) joined the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) and the American Library Association (ALA) (who all work collectively as the Library Copyright Alliance (LCA),) to file an amicus curiae brief (pdf) with the Supreme Court of the United States in support of petitioner Supap Kirtsaeng in the case Kirtsaeng v. Wiley & Sons. On the eve of Independence Day, the LCA asks the Court to be true to the values of our country’s founders—people like Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin, who were both founders of libraries and great champions of library lending.

Wiley, a publisher of textbooks and other materials, claims Kirtsaeng infringed its copyrights by re-selling in the US cheaper foreign editions of Wiley textbooks that his family lawfully purchased abroad. The LCA believes an adverse decision in this case could affect libraries’ right to lend books and other materials manufactured abroad.

The “first-sale doctrine” is the provision in the Copyright Act that allows any purchaser of a legal copy of a book or other copyrighted work to sell or lend that copy.  However, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled that the first-sale doctrine applied only to copies manufactured in the United States. This odd interpretation of the law effectively strips libraries of their first- sale right to lend their own copies of works made abroad.

In its friend of the court brief, the LCA asks the Supreme Court to reverse the Second Circuit and apply the first-sale doctrine to all copies manufactured with the lawful authorization of the holder of a work’s U.S. copyright.

This is the second case the Supreme Court has heard on this issue in the last two years.  In Costco v. Omega (LCA brief here), a case involving the importation of luxury watches with copyrighted logos on them, the Court was deadlocked 4-4, leaving the issue unresolved.  Justice Kagan recused herself from the case due to her participation in the litigation when she was Solicitor General, but Justice Kagan will participate in Kirtsaeng.

“Just as we did in Costco, libraries are standing up for common sense as well as their own rights and the rights of their patrons,” said Winston Tabb, President of ARL and Sheridan Dean of University Libraries and Museums at the Johns Hopkins University. “It simply makes no sense that the law would treat lawful owners of legitimate copies differently depending on where their copies were printed.  Why would Congress impose this arbitrary limit on the fundamental rights of libraries and our patrons – to reward publishers who send printing jobs overseas?”

The LCA brief explains that this case is critically important to libraries and their users because a significant portion of U.S. library collections consist of resources that were manufactured overseas.  More than 200 million books in U.S. libraries have foreign publishers.  Additionally, many books published by U.S. publishers were actually printed in other countries, and often these books do not indicate where they were printed.  If a book does not specify that it was printed in the United States, a library would not know whether it could lend it without being exposed to a copyright lawsuit.

“If the Supreme Court gets this wrong, the cost to libraries and their users could be immense,” said Steven J. Bell, President of ACRL and Associate University Librarian for Research and Instructional Services at Temple University.  “It could impact our most basic functions and jeopardize our ability to effectively serve our communities.”

The LCA believes it is critically important for the court to recognize the impact this case could have on library services to the public and consider possible solutions.

“For almost four hundred years, libraries in America have promoted democratic values by collecting and lending books and other materials to their users,” said Maureen Sullivan, President of ALA and organization development consultant. “The LCA has a responsibility to ensure that the Court understands the stakes, here, and does not needlessly strip away fundamental First Amendment rights of the public to lawfully access materials at their libraries.”

For more information, contact Jonathan Band, legal counsel to LCA and co-author of the brief.

Standards for Libraries in Higher Education Revision – Comment by April 11

The ACRL Standards for Libraries in Higher Education Task Force welcomes your comments on the draft revision of the 2011 Standards for Libraries in Higher Education (PDF). Visit the Task Force website, which introduces the various sections of the draft Standards and leave your feedback.  The site contains links to the draft revision, as well as the 2004 version of the  Standards. The commenting period will close on Monday, April 11.

The Task Force is also holding a  public hearing on the Standards revision at the upcoming ACRL 2011 conference in Philadelphia. The hearings is scheduled for 1:30-3:00 p.m. on Friday, April 1,  in the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown Hotel Independence Ballroom, located at 1201 Market Street. Join your ACRL colleagues to discuss the revision of this important document.

Additional avenues for input on the draft revision are available on the Task Force website.

The Atlas of New Librarianship

The Atlas of New LibrarianshipACRL and MIT Press announce the co-publication of a new title, The Atlas of New Librarianship by R. David Lankes of the Syracuse University School of Information Studies. Libraries have existed for millennia, but today the library field is searching for solid footing in an increasingly fragmented (and increasingly digital) information environment. What is librarianship when it is unmoored from cataloging, books, buildings and committees?

The Atlas of New Librarianship offers a guide to this new landscape for practitioners. Lankes describes a new librarianship based not on books and artifacts but on knowledge and learning, and suggests a new mission for librarians: to improve society through facilitating knowledge creation in their communities. To help librarians navigate this new terrain, Lankes offers a map, a visual representation of the discipline.

The book contains more than 140 Agreements, statements about librarianship that range from relevant theories to examples of practice; and Threads, arrangements of Agreements to explain key ideas, covering such topics as conceptual foundations and skills and values. Agreement Supplements at the end of the book offer expanded discussions. Although it touches on theory as well as practice, the work is meant to be a tool: textbook, conversation guide, platform for social networking and call to action.

This exciting new work will debut with a launch event at the ACRL 2011 conference in Philadelphia. Lankes will speak and sign copies of the book at 2 p.m. EDT on Thursday, March 31, 2011, in Room 103 of the Philadelphia Convention Center.

The Atlas of New Librarianship will be available for purchase at the launch event in Philadelphia and is also available through the MIT Press online store.

Futures Thinking for Academic Librarians

ACRL has released a new report, “Futures Thinking for Academic Librarians: Higher Education in 2025,” to prompt academic librarians to consider what trends may impact the future of higher education in order to take strategic action now.  Authored by David J. Staley, director of the Harvey Goldberg Center for Excellence in Teaching in the History Department of Ohio State University, and Kara J. Malenfant, ACRL scholarly communications and government relations specialist, the report presents 26 possible scenarios for the future which may have an impact on all types of academic libraries over the next 15 years. The scenarios are based on implications assessment of current trends and reflect a variety of potential futures for higher education. The scenarios represent a variety of themes relating to academic culture, demographics, distance education, funding, globalization, infrastructure/facilities, libraries, political climate, publishing industry, societal values, students/learning and technology.

To learn more about the report and futures research, listen to the latest ACRL Podcast.

The full “Futures Thinking for Academic Librarians: Higher Education in 2025” report is freely available on the ACRL Website.

About the Music:
The music in ACRL Podcasts is “Don’t you,” mixed by stefsax and available on ccMixter. The music is used under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 license.

ROI: Measuring the Library’s Contribution to the Academic Enterprise

ACRL President Lori Goetsch and I presented a briefing on the ACRL value of academic libraries project to a standing room only crowd at the Spring Coalition for Networked Information (CNI) meeting in Baltimore last week. We had optimistically promised preliminary results of the comprehensive review of the quantitative and qualitative literature, methodologies and best practices currently in place for demonstrating the value of academic libraries.

However, our extremely capable and diligent researcher, Megan Oakleaf, assistant professor at the Syracuse University iSchool, really felt it was too soon to draw preliminary conclusions.  So Lori and I explained that the session would be an informational update only and gave folks the opportunity to choose another session. Only one person in the 50 plus audience left the session — evidence of how important this work is to the profession.

So what did we talk about?  We reviewed the goals of the project:

•    To define value in terms of institutional, not library, goals.
•    To identify measurable surrogates that demonstrate the library’s impact on institutional goals.
•    To provide best practices on measuring identified surrogates.
•    To explain how the findings should inform data collection decisions of academic libraries going forward

We reviewed the types of ROI studies Megan was finding for public and school libraries (special libraries research is being reviewed, too) and how these studies might suggest avenues for additional research.  We  explained that Megan is looking at existing data sets – (including ARL, ACRL, NSSE, CSSE, NCES, etc.) to see if there are elements that might correlate with student success and use of the library. We also suggested that librarians may need to collect different kinds of data from the traditional inputs/outputs because usage and  collection size do not necessarily equal value. While inputs/outputs are useful performance measures for making decisions about resource and service decisions within the library, they are not as effective for demonstrating the value of the library within the institution. Libraries need to develop and collect data that demonstrates impact/influence on student learning outcomes, faculty teaching success, and faculty research output.

We discussed the pressure —for data-driven evidence that demonstrates the value of the academic library and the many ways that value might be defined. While there are many kinds of value the library provides (and many ways we might consider measuring it) this research project is particularly interested in student engagement and what impact the library has on student success.

Those in attendance agreed that pressure from campus administrators to demonstrate the library’s value would continue. One attendee said that her CAO is interested in any correlation between group study space and graduation rates! We agreed that different institutions would have different interests and approaches to articulating value and that it was important to clearly define and articulate how libraries help their institutions succeed.

We are confident that ACRL’s research will shed some light on how libraries enhance institutional success with respect to student enrollment, achievement, retention, graduation rates, and learning. ACRL will continue to build on this important work to create tools and research that members can use.

The final project report will be posted to the ACRL Web site by July 31, 2010.

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