Corporate Libraries: Bellwether of Change for the Library World at Large
In this article, the authors argue that the lessons learned from the increasing closures of corporate li- braries that began in the 1980s can be applied to the wider library community. These closures have accelerated since the 1990s due to corporate cost cutting measures and the ever increasing availability of internet services that bypass the information professional. Above all, the authors argue that corporate librarians have often failed to align their services to the priorities of the companies they serve. This has resulted in their institutional marginalization and the eventual closure of the library. The authors make the case that, among other types of libraries, the sacrosanct place of the academic library at the center of the university is not guaranteed. The information era with its vast digital resources has and will under- mine the physical assets of traditional libraries as well as the customary role of librarians who staff them. Academic librarians will increasingly be expected to show administrators that their services are aligned to their institution’s strategic priorities and that their libraries are providing added value to its customers, namely, the students, faculty and staff of their college or university. If they do not do so, they very well may face, in the not so distant future, what may now seem unimaginable –the reduction or closure of the academic library in favor of customer-accessed digital information services.
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