The university library role has changed over the years. Currently, its importance is unquestionable within the context of the academic community since it serves as the primary resource center for learning and research.
In order to consider the future of the university library, let’s analyze 5 reasons why it will continue to play an important role:
1. The library´s mission will continue to support the university community in the work of learning, teaching and research. But also, it will promote creativity and critical discussion among the academic community, in such a way that the transformation of information into knowledge will be done in a professional, flexible and innovative way.
2. Library services must continue, as they have in the past, to accompany technological advances, but more oriented to the final user (students, faculty and researchers). To maintain these current library services, it will be necessary to highlight some opportunities for improvement:
• Dissemination of information through data mining, aka “bibliomining”, can help us acquire in-depth information about the library user’s needs. In addition, through digital marketing, library users will receive relevant news about their area of research.
• Access to information through the Web-Scale Discovery service (WSD) will give the library a wide selection of bibliographic data of all published information resources. During the research strategy, the e-library platform will guide the user through interactive online tutorials.
• Institutional repositories will allow research works of the university community to continue to be published and will be available through the Web-Scale Discovery Service. The academic works will be indexed following a universal and unambiguous academic thesaurus.
• Geographic information systems will provide spatial access to library printed documents. With this service, the user will be guided to where the document is located.
• Immediate and interactive communication with library users, following the trends and changes of social media or other types of media.
• Mobile devices will provide access to digital contents of the e-library using specialized applications.
3. Information Literacy (IL) will continue to play a key role in the training of library users. The training will be accessible through personalized tutorials, where the end user will be able to interact. The user will be his/her own teacher, choosing the most suitable training material for the task at hand. Also, the records of training courses will be automatically saved, in order to anticipate users’ future training needs.
4. The Staff of the library needs to be multidisciplinary. There will be people with different profiles, performing different tasks. The focus of their work will continue being the end user (students, faculty and researchers).
5. The physical space of the library will not disappear, but it will no longer be just a place for studying. Moreover, the collective activities will be promoted at the library building. As a virtual space, the access to information will not have spatial limits. With just a mobile device, users will be able to open a world of possibilities.
In conclusion, the university library will continue holding its value as the same fundamental pillar for transforming information into knowledge, but the principal actor of this transformation will be the end user. The university library will provide the tools, so that through creativity and innovation, we can all promote and expand knowledge among society.