5th to 8th April, 2023
Delhi University Library System, University of Delhi
The networked digital information environment has greatly affected the library user behavior and posed many challenges for academic libraries. A shift in present activities and practices is expected in future academic libraries. Some assumptions regarding the future of academic libraries and users’ behavior are:
• An increased emphasis on digital collection and their preservation; and improved methods of data storage and retrieval are expected;
• Intellectual property rights related issues will become important in higher education;
• The demand for technology induced services will grow and require additional funding;
• Students and faculty will increasingly demand faster and easier access to library resources and services;
• Students will view libraries not merely as a ‘building with books’ rather they will expect high-quality facilities and services as consumers;
• The skill set for librarians will continue to evolve in response to the growing needs and expectations of the users’ groups (i e students and faculty) they serve;
• Free public access to information or data (i e open access movement) which are results of publicly funded research projects will continue to grow; and
• Privacy of data or limited access to individuals’ (or unit level) data will continue to be an important issue in librarianship.
In addition, the conference intends to focus on some of the recent developments in the information world that are likely to impact the future of academic libraries in India as well as in other parts of the world. The libraries attached to the educational institutions like universities, colleges, schools etc. and those maintained by the specialized research organizations are normally reckoned as academic libraries. Education for all project envisaged by the UNESCO is designed to overcome the challenge of global illiteracy. It may achieve this goal in the long run. The future model of education is not just access. The real challenge is to transform it so that it is culturally appropriate and planned in a manner to develop whole human beings. The world now needs people who are capable of dealing with the complexity of various environmental, economic and societal changes. Keeping this in view, the academic libraries have to be developed with the resources that generate new ideas for research and innovation. This conference would like to make following assumptions to debate and comprehend the conceptual framework for developing a Road Map. Hence, the rationale for organizing this conference goes with the premises that:
• The recent developments in the information and communication technology (ICT) have influenced libraries immensely. They have transformed the traditional back end library procedures and operations, collection development policies and programs as well as service delivery models;
• ICT applications have encouraged the new age library professionals to adopt innovative library practices resulting in digital libraries, virtual network based library consortia, and institutional repositories, making academic contents easily accessible.
• The new ICT environment has been leveraged by database providers. This has increased users’ expectations. Academic libraries are now required to organize information literacy programs for different users’ groups. During the global pandemic, e-teaching, e tutorials and remote library services have underlined the need for building stronger library-faculty linkages and organizing user oriented services;
• Image of a library as a collection of print material is now changing. It is gradually becoming an information hub providing 24 hoursx7 day access to a wide variety of digital collections.
It is true that the benefits derived from the advances in ICT based library technologies have not reached uniformly in academic libraries of the developing countries. There are many libraries which are operating in a traditional mode. There is another category comprising stand-alone libraries which have hardly any coordination with the academic programs of their parent institutions. There is a lack of vitality and academic orientation in their operations and services. It is realized that there is an urgent need for introspection to identify the factors and constraints responsible for the present state of affairs. Tentatively, the factors and constraints thereof could be several such as:
• Lack of proper infrastructure,
• Inadequate number of trained professionals
• Lower visibility of libraries resulting in indifferent attitude of academic administrators,
• Leadership crises in libraries due to vacant positions of librarians
• Poor acceptance of changes proposed in policies and programs of libraries.
It is believed that mere adoption of new technology is not sufficient for effective operations and services. Libraries are also required to address accompanying organizational and management issues such as of good governance, best practices, customer relation, leadership etc. This dimension of change management is more important to understand because organizational and management issues are crucial as well as central to the overall performance of academic libraries.
Academic libraries in the foreseeable period should no longer be seen as standalone independent systems. Instead, they should emerge as a composite entity on the cyberspace; cooperating and collaborating even with major libraries in the science and technology sector for global access. The academic libraries also need to draw up new and innovative programs for national and international collaboration. Surely, such an agenda will accelerate the pace of education, research and learning as well as help to achieve excellence in higher education system in the country.
Taking into account all these factors, it is felt that there is a need to organize an international conference. The main purpose would be to draw a road map which can eventually place academic libraries at the center stage of the education system of the nation. The conference through its deliberations would identify the strengths and weaknesses of the existing academic library system in the country and prioritize tasks for action that are designed to improve the system. New models, mechanisms, and programs would be discussed. The conference would enable the host institution i e University of Delhi to prepare a catalytic policy document for consideration of the government.
Hence, we invite all stakeholders to present their views through research papers, surveys, case studies etc. in this conference which would have far reaching implications on the future of academic libraries.
The conference will maintain its proceedings of high standard and hence would evaluate each and every paper in accordance with the international standards. Hence, all stakeholders who would like to participate in the conference by contributing their valuable knowledge are advised to go through the CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK to understand the thrust areas on which the conference intends to deliberate and accordingly make a choice of the relevant theme.