In a comprehensive, engaging report released this week, the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) has laid out the challenges–and opportunities–for the next generation of research libraries. Overall, the report: No Brief Candle: Reconceiving Research Libraries for the 21st Century, addresses a common theme–that a “transformation” is underway in research libraries. Harnessing the insight and experience of some two dozen stakeholders, however, the report offers a forceful call to action, and a penetrating take on the forces shaping the future of libraries and the academic enterprise.
Among the report’s most notable aspects, an exciting, provocative thread suggesting a “redefinition” of the library workforce. “We tend to think of technology as the enabling factor in the new information environment, but the human aspect is just as important,” the report states, noting that libraries must think about staffing in new ways–including looking beyond the MLIS degree. “Hiring only staff with the MLIS is unlikely to bring in the breadth of skill and experience that is needed,” it concludes. “We need new career paths for people who want to work in academic libraries, and we need the means to support them.”