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ERIC Number: EJ1058071
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Mar
Pages: 6
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0010-0870
Still "Choosing Our Futures": How Many Apples in the Seed?
Neal, James G.
College & Research Libraries, v76 n3 p310-315 Mar 2015
James Neal begins this essay with the introduction of the 1996 paper, "Choosing Our Futures," by calling it a provocation, and a call to arms for the academic library community to challenge complacency and move forward toward fundamental change. Neal writes here that in the context of extraordinary economic pressures, the early transformation of scholarly communication, new thinking about the role and nature of higher education, rampant technological innovation, rapidly shifting user behaviors and expectations, the authors confront the classic debate on the nature of transformation. Will it be incremental, evolutionary, or revolutionary? They also flirt with the prospect of extinction: that is, will it be terminal, the demise of the academic library, or will it be phyletic, the library surviving by progressing to a new species? They call for the systematic application of new knowledge to new resources to produce new goods and new services, responsive to the market. They advocate a process of lowering the costs and increasing the benefits of the work, adding value. They encourage new and deliberate thinking about existing challenges and unmet needs, a focus on solutions. Neal maintains that the "Choosing Our Futures" essay that was an important think piece when it was written in the 1990s remains so today because it translates thoughtful reflection about local practice into a series of observations and thoughts about the future of academic libraries. Neal concludes that this sort of writing still has a place in "College and Research Libraries " today because research libraries must continue to deliberate the past, document and analyze the present, and debate prospects and evolution to grow and remain strong, and relative.
Association of College and Research Libraries. 50 East Huron Street, Chicago, IL 60611. e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A