How College Students in the 21st Century View their Libraries

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Academic libraries have come a long way since their early days. The days when the students and faculty who made up the university were of little consequence have gone. For many decades, the future of the university library has been closely connected with their associated students and faculty. University libraries across the world have strived to become hubs of research and socialization for their academic patrons, and for generations of students they have been. However, 21st century students have something previous generation did not have; a surge of rapidly changing technology which shapes and defines their social, personal, and academic lives. This emergence of fast paced and convenient technology has created a rift between many academic libraries and their patrons. Two papers by the OCLC membership and the New York University Libraries in conjunction with Katzenbach Partners LLC (KPL) have undergone the task of reporting how college students in the 21st century view their libraries and what they want in the library of the future.

A report prepared by New York University Libraries entitled NYU 21st Century Project: Designing a research library of the future for New York University was conducted by the Elmer Holmes Bobst Library using faculty and graduate student focus groups. The initial reason for the study was to determine how the library could improve their environment (both physically and intellectually) and improve services in the era of readily available access to research resources.

Through extensive literature review and focus groups consisting of faculty and graduate students selected with the assistance of university deans, the library was able to select several factors which would help support and nurture scholar...

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...he academic library community. Their role as leaders rely heavily on if they can implement the changes noted in their report and if they can continue to be a significant part of university life. While researching and acknowledging ways to efficiently service and enhance scholarship among their students and faculty is an admirable first step in meeting their goals, it is the long term implication of the research provided and the continual presence in the life of the university throughout the life of the library which will determine their role as leaders.

Works Cited

De Rosa, C. (2006). College students' perceptions of libraries and information resources: A report to the OCLC membership. Dublin, OH.

Marcus, C., Covert-Vail, L., & Mandel, C. A. (2007). NYU 21st century library project: Designing a research library of the futrue for New York University.

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