New White Paper from CLIR Explores Challenges and Opportunities for Library and Information Services

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As digital technologies and a changing economy force colleges and universities to re-examine business models, a group of chief information officers identify opportunities for library and information technology services to help improve student outcomes, increase revenue, and manage costs.

The writing is on the wall: Institutions that rely solely on old solutions to address the growing challenges to the higher education busienss model are unlikely to thrive.

Rapidly evolving digital technologies and services, coupled with a changing economy, are profoundly influencing the financial model supporting many colleges and universities. Institutions that rely solely on a traditional business approach are unlikely to thrive; they must identify and seize new opportunities in pursuit of their mission.

A new white paper from the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR), The Changing Landscape of Library and Information Services: What Presidents, Provosts, and Finance Officers Need to Know, explores emerging opportunities for colleges and universities, and the key role of library and information technology services (LITS) organizations in realizing that potential.

The report is based on a workshop organized by the CLIR Chief Information Officers(CIOs) group, comprising individuals from liberal arts colleges and small universities that have merged their library and information services organizations.

CIOs Richard Holmgren and Gene Spencer draw on the workshop discussions to summarize the key challenges and opportunities facing LITS organizations and academic institutions. Developments of the past decade—from the ubiquity of cell phones to the growth of virtual server infrastructure and the maturation of open-source software support models—have created new opportunities for LITS organizations to improve student outcomes, increase revenue, and manage costs. The authors discuss these opportunities and identify the core competencies that LITS organizations will need to support positive institutional change in the decade ahead.

Richard Holmgren is vice president of information services and assessment at Allegheny College. Gene Spencer is chief information officer and leader of a merging library and information technology organization at Ursinus College.

The Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) is an independent, nonprofit organization that forges strategies to enhance research, teaching, and learning environments in collaboration with libraries, cultural institutions, and communities of higher learning.

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Kathlin Smith
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