Thursday, May 17, 2012

Where will independent learners get library services?

I'm reading all these articles on how the "strangle hold" that universities have higher education is being disrupted. Some seem to imagine a world of self-directed learners mixing and matching online courses, setting up their own personal learning networks, finding their own way learning based on their interests. Are these learners going to have the same access to library resources currently available at major institutions? I hope that the open access movement will thrive, but in the meantime we're still talking about plenty of proprietary books, articles, media, etc. (Any chance that scholarly publishers will drastically lower prices? What if scholarly articles cost each user a dollar - or less?) For that matter what role will librarians play? We're used to cooperating, sharing, etc. but our license agreements restrict how much sharing we can do. What will happen to all these independent learners? How can we serve their information needs?

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