CLIR publication: No Brief Candle: Reconceiving Research Libraries for the 21st Century

Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) invited about 25 individuals on February 2008 and had discussion with topic “How should we be rethinking the research library in a swiftly changing information landscape?”  It then published a report in August 2008 titled No Brief Candle: Reconceiving Research Libraries for the 21st Century.

This report contains “…a series of provocative essays, the proceedings of a lively and informed symposium earlier this year in Washington, and a set of recommendations extrapolated from both. While several of the subject headings are familiar—scholarly communication, peer review, preservation of data, and e-science—the conclusions and recommendations are not. The consensus derived from these efforts was unambiguous in calling for more aggressive intervention to better structure and manage the challenges we face.”

The report comes in two version: HTML and PDF (81 pages).  The first part contains the summary of the meeting and the recommendations, which you can read at http://www.clir.org/pubs/reports/pub142/part1.html

I am very interested in the recommendation no.4, “Institutions need to support environments, within and external to libraries, that not only promote but demand change. More funds should be allocated for experimental projects and new approaches; staff with nontraditional or new areas of expertise must be hired.”  It fits nicely with my thinking that we need more staff to do research and development.  Yeah, any opinion/suggestion/conclusion that match with my opinion is always a good opinion/suggestion/conclusion. ;-)   The reality is, of course, no library should hire staff with nontraditional or new areas of expertise unless it is ready to support such staff (human resource and working infrastructure.)

I also support the recommendation no. 8, “Institutions should use studio and design experiences as the basis of a new library school curriculum. Students of library and information sciences should learn to participate in the design and delivery of information resources that serve the scholarly community. Academic librarians should be engaged in the process through project provision and supervision.”