Mia Breitkopf has a summary of Roy Tennant’s 2012 talk to the Academic Librarians Conference at Syracuse (yes, I’m late to this party but it’s still worth highlighting). Tennant (and R. David Lankes) emphasized the need for academic librarians to focus more on services, less on collections, and the need to be out in the community instead of behind a desk or in an office. What particularly caught my attention was “Tennant’s Ideas for Tugging Your Library Into the Future”:

  1. Outsource back-office work
  2. Get rid of the office
  3. Plan for continual change
  4. Reattach the library to the institution
  5. Dream up big ideas and try them
  6. Change collection development policies (i.e. reduce and move offsite)
  7. Have fun

Given what Tennant calls the “Four Horsemen of the Library Apocalypse” (unsustainable costs, viable alternatives, declining usage, and new patron demands), there isn’t much standing in the way of one bull-in-the-china-shop university administrator shutting the whole library system down in favor of an outsourcing option. In fact, as more universities adopt corporate world-inspired business models, I’m surprised we haven’t seen more of it already.

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