On Mon, 27 Mar 2006, Jack Palmer wrote:
> I guess I'll just end this long discussion on libraries to mention that
> my small metropolitan area of less than 100,000 has just built a new branch
> library costing over $1,000,000. They have a permanent tax base and use the
> money to stock the latest CDs and DVDs as well as books, both audio and
> print. And both the main library and the branch are always busy. As a
> library user for over 75 years I was impressed when I first moved here 26
> years ago and I am still impressed today with the operation of the library.
For me, the future of acadmemic libraries can be seen by
looking at the Association of Research Libraries statistics. In general,
even with salary increases, the general trend shows a decline in the staff
expenditures. For 2003-4 the average increase in library materials
expenditures was 6.93% with electronic resources increases being 31.99%.
From 1986-2004 the total number of staff has declined by 19%, monographs
purchased declined by 17%, volumes added by 15%.
There are wonderful libraries out there and I doubt they will
disappear anytime soon. However, it seems to me, that with the exponential
growth of information, and indeed, I realize much of that information is
likely to be redundant, there would need to be an exponential increase in
support, or an exponential increase in efficiency or some fundamental
changes in the way they do business, if they are to hold on to even their
current piece of the information pie.