This is an article that appeared in LJ written by Barbara Fister that comments on one of those “top ten trends in libraries” lists that periodically makes an appearance. This one comes from a recent ACRL document and Barbara notes that “most of the ten trends are about collections, preservation, and digital access.” She then goes on to say that while these issues are “important to those of us in smaller libraries, … student learning is much more front and center.” Oddly, this same ACRL document only mentions the role of libraries in student learning in passing as one of the “growth areas where new skill sets are needed.” And it is not only smaller libraries experiencing a disconnect. According to Barbara, even big libraries find this type top ten trends list more “aspirational than descriptive.”
As you might expect Barbara decides to act on her observations and conducts a “small and totally unscientific poll” to find out if there “are there neat things happening that are not represented in the trends document?” and if “the definition of “neat things” look really different in smaller libraries? Some of what Barbara discovers may surprise you while other things will confirm your assumptions. Regardless, her observations are worth reading and thinking about.