My peers are not my tribe

Today I read the Ithaka S+R Library Survey 2010: Insights from U.S. Academic Library Directors.  Then I tweeted, “Reading the Ithaka Library Directors report, and am disappointed in my peer group, based on this evidence. This is not the benchmark I want.” I was asked what caught my eye, and what I do want from my peers in library administration.

Well, here’s what caught my eye.

  1. 65% of respondents either Strongly Disagree (7%) or Neither Agree Nor Disagree (58%) that their library has a well-developed strategy to meet changing user needs and research habits.
  2. Library Directors and Faculty Members have a strong difference in perception of importance of the Librarian as Teaching Facilitator — More than 90% of Library Directors believe that, vs 60% of Faculty Members.
  3. More than 90% of Library Directors declared the Teaching Facilitator role to be of great importance in 5 years (most important role), vs 80% who felt the same about our role as Buyers (4th most important role), yet 55% of Library Directors chose Online or Digital Journals as the place they would put an unanticipated 10% increase in their budgets (first priority), vs 35% who said it would go for Staff for reference and user services (third priority).
  4. Only 47% of Library Directors reported that they have all the information they need to make informed decisions about when to deaccession print journals that they have access to digitally.
  5. Nearly 100% of Library Directors indicated that “Supporting faculty instruction and student learning” is a priority in their libraries, but between 40-65% indicated that “working with instructional technologists…” and “working with faculty to incorporate digital information resources into their curricula” were priorities.
  6. 75% of Library Directors still think it’s very important that libraries be “gateway”s.

I could go on.  Instead, I’ll give my [admittedly ranty and whacked out over my lunch hour] reaction to each of the above.

  1. These are Library Directors.  The chief administrative officer of the library.  The one person tasked with vision and leadership for their institutions. NO WONDER PEOPLE THINK WE SUCK. We DO suck, as a group, if 65% of us can’t say “Yes, I have a strategic plan to meet changing user needs.”  Good god, people.
  2. We are staking our professional relevance on Information Literacy, yet 40% of faculty members don’t think that it’s an important role for libraries? See above re: absence of leadership.
  3. So, Information Literacy = our Great Big Future Goal (for which we have no strategic plan, see 1), but we would put our money, if we got more, into collections? Which is our 4th priority? The cliched statements that come to mind are plentiful, with “Put your money where your mouth is” being at the top of my list.
  4. OH MY GOD HOW MUCH MORE INFORMATION DO YOU NEED??
  5. Wait. So, we want to stake it all on Information Literacy, and so 100% of us want to be awesome supporters of teaching and learning, but 35-60% of us don’t want to partner with the people who influence teaching and learning? I MUST be reading this wrong.
  6. Dude. Accept it. That ship SAILED. In about 1998. Stop trying to swim after it.

Or, boiled down, the Twitter response (140 characters!) is that I want “benchmarks from ppl taking on the future w/purpose, not people who admittedly don’t have a strategy to meet changing needs.”

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