Category Archives: Future of Libraries and Higher Education

ACRL to Host Mellon / ACLS Public Fellow

Mellon ACLS Public Fellows Program logoACRL is pleased to announce its selection as a host organization for the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) Mellon/ACLS Public Fellows Program, a career-building fellowship initiative designed to expand the reach of doctoral education in the humanities. In 2017, the Public Fellows program will place up to 22 recent PhDs from the humanities and humanistic social sciences in two-year staff positions at partnering organizations in government and the nonprofit sector. Fellows will participate in the substantive work of these organizations and will receive professional mentoring, an annual stipend, and health insurance.

The Public Fellow placed at ACRL will advance one of the association’s highest priorities by contributing to efforts to improve research around library contributions to student learning and success, which ties directly to our strategic goal that academic libraries demonstrate alignment with and impact on institutional outcomes.

“We are delighted to be selected by ACLS to participate in this important program,” said ACRL Executive Director Mary Ellen Davis. “The work of ACRL’s fellow will expand our capacity to focus on student success and the value of academic libraries.”

Working with an engaged community of academic librarians and library researchers, the Mellon/ACLS Public Fellow placed at ACRL will advance research focused on student learning and success and promote findings from our forthcoming action-oriented research agenda to resonate across the network of higher education stakeholders. Additionally, the fellow will contribute to the work of ALA’s Center for the Future of Libraries to help academic library professionals more fully embrace the future of information and libraries in higher education.

The deadline to apply for the ACRL fellow position is March 22, 2017. ACLS seeks applications from recent PhDs in the humanities who aspire to careers in administration, management, and public service by choice rather than circumstance. For more information on the program and the position description (pdf), please visit the ACLS website.

Mellon/ACLS Public Fellows is a fellowship program offered by the American Council of Learned Societies with generous funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Please direct all inquiries about the fellowship program to ACLS.

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


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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.

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