INDIANA UNIVERSITY NORTHWEST LIBRARY IN 2005
The core activities of libraries, the management of information, and instruction in effective and efficient access to information, will be more, not less, important in 2005. While computers make it possible for everyone to have ready access to information of importance in their lives and careers, this ready access will merely reduce the frequency of visits to the library. The library's services will continue to be central to the university's students and faculty.
The Indiana University Northwest Library will use information technology to organize information and knowledge of relevance to students, faculty and staff, deliver much of this information and knowledge to them no matter where they are located, and instruct and assist its clients in the effective and efficient access to the information and knowledge they seek. The library building with its book collection will not disappear. Rather, it will be a vital node in the still developing world-wide information grid. In this broadened understanding of the library and its services, members of the community will join students, faculty, staff as primary clients.
The information age is upon us. The proportion of the Gross National Product produced by service industries whose primary resource is information has been growing. Ready access to information, and the ability to continue to learn, are identified as prime competitive advantages among business firms. The World Wide Web has brought huge quantities of facts and opinion, some accurate and some inaccurate, within the touch of anyone who has access to a computer. Information is power, and those who understand how to organize and provide ready access to the facts, information, and knowledge needed at a particular time find their services more in demand.
In this context, it will not be surprising to find that in 2005 the importance of the Indiana University Northwest Library an academic unit central to the success of the university will have grown. Its responsibilities will remain similar to those it has in 2000. It will be the primary campus unit for access to the recorded knowledge, information and facts which students will require for their papers, speeches, and projects, and it will be one of the gateways for faculty to published and unpublished research.
Its physical location will remain the same, and it will house books, other print sources and media. Personal assistance and instruction will be readily available for students and faculty who need it. The increased quantity and variety of electronic sources, the larger proportion of library services delivered to users outside the library building, and broader involvement in the teaching and research activities of the university will differentiate and define the IUN library in 2005.
Electronic sources and services will have removed the time and space boundaries of library service. By the year 2005, the transition from library service located in a building to service available anywhere students and faculty happen to be, will be complete. Students will be able to read "reserve" assignments, gather data for a report, and identify and then obtain texts needed for papers from their homes, offices, campus study areas or the library. Similarly, faculty will have this ready access to the most recent developments in teaching and in their research interests, and administrators and department heads will have ready access to information for decision making. All this will be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The library described here will be effective because means for the effective organization of knowledge electronically stored and delivered will have been identified and implemented, and because the library will continue its traditional role of teaching students and faculty how information is organized and where to find the best starting points for gathering information.
Development of electronic services will proceed. In 2000, many IUN students do not have ready access to computers when they are not on campus. Disenfranchisement of those with limited financial resources is a concern now and will remain so; an adequate number of computers in the library along with the book collection will serve as the prime means for assuring equal access.
Prime Library Responsibilities
The IUN library faculty and staff will have two primary responsibilities; the organization of information resources relevant to IUN students and faculty, and assistance to students and faculty. First, print, non print and electronic sources of value to the students and faculty at Indiana University Northwest will be identified and validated, and then organized, structured access to the full range of these sources will be developed. These organizing activities will be much more extensive than traditional acquisition, cataloging and indexing; library personnel will also evaluate Web sites, create databases of texts and facts of special value at IUN, create indexes to otherwise unorganized knowledge, and publish library, student and faculty research. The ease of publishing in electronic form will lead to the distribution of this formerly centralized function, with the library advantageously positioned to "make public" what is produced locally.
The second primary responsibility of the library will be assisting and instructing those approaching this panorama of knowledge. If it has been impossible for an individual independently to be aware of the full range of print sources of relevance to his/her learning or research, it will be just as impossible without the library's intervention for an individual to have this full understanding of the broad array of electronic indexes, full text databases, and digital archives in addition to printed sources. The library staff will focus much of its effort on assisting and instructing students and faculty.
In their roles as the teachers of information organization and access, the IUN librarians will partner with other faculty in the development and delivery of the curriculum. In an environment in which teaching continues the transition from the lecture model to more interactive methods, librarians will develop research modules for new classes, will be invited to class meetings to explain effective information access, and will keep their colleagues aware of the continuing developments in information access and storage. As members of teaching teams, they will be expected to be as available to the students as the other members of the team, to answer questions and help with difficult problems.
Though technology will pervade the library, the personal touch will remain. People have always learned from people and this will remain true in 2005. This personal library assistance will be available in a multitude of ways including librarians on duty in the library building during all its open hours, assistance on the phone and over fax and e-mail, and formal classes and scheduled research consultations.
The Library Building
The library building will house the book collection and a limited number of print journals. In addition to these collections, the library will have places for individual and collaborative study and for informal gathering, and work space for the librarians and staff. It will have a technology infrastructure which will provide access to information sources outside the library, and which will include workstations where locally housed and off-site facts, information and knowledge can be incorporated into the papers and projects produced by the library's users. Finally, although services similar to reference, circulation and reserve will be there, the familiar circulation and reference desks likely will not.
Service to the Community
The library's clientele will expand to include more community organizations and individuals as regular users. The growing recognition of the need for universities to partner more frequently with those in the region within which they reside will provide the rationale for this broadening of the academic library's clientele. The Calumet Regional Archives, the Northwest Center for Data and Analysis, and the Environmental Justice Resource Center are community oriented services that exist in 2000. Others will be developed as the university increases its collaboration with groups and individuals from Northwest Indiana. The library will require expanded resources to serve this larger clientele effectively; a portion of these new resources will need to come from some of these community partners.
In 2005, the library will be even more involved in the education of IUN students, the research of its faculty, and the activity of its administration and staff and the interests of the residents of Northwest Indiana. This higher level of involvement will be due to a variety of changes which have already begun, including technology-enhanced access to information, a broadened array of information sources, changes in the methods and loci of instruction, as well as technology-facilitated improvements in the library operations which will allow the library to leave behind some of the clerical work which print based services require. The development and transmission of knowledge is the essence of a university; the IUN library in 2005 will function as an essential university component as it organizes and delivers knowledge and information relevant to the faculty, students, staff and the community.