Academic journal article
By Irvine, Kate
Australian Academic & Research Libraries , Vol. 41, No. 1
The development of NSLA's collaborative strategic plan in 2008 began with stepping back to analyse what the primary roles are for our libraries and then assessing and exploring:
* what we could and should be doing collaboratively;
* what is most effective done locally;
* what is no longer feasible individually; and
* what is holding libraries back from the systemic change required for relevance in an online networked environment.
This analysis, conducted initially with Deloittes as consultants, was not undertaken just as a precursor to the development of the Re-imagining Libraries Strategic Plan, but is ongoing. As the projects under the plan begin to firm up their deliverables, and as the environment around us continues to change, this analysis is being frequently revisited.
Though NSLA felt some urgency in initiating this work in 2008, the global economic climate and the continuing shift in technologies are driving an accelerated need for change. At the same time as the pressure to change increases, the resources that can be committed outside of our traditional boundaries are tightening. NSLA Libraries are moving as fast as they can within this complex political, economic, and technological environment.
The push for new approaches is also coining from changes in society and expectations. The onsite role of libraries is evolving rapidly. The number of people coming in to NSLA libraries has increased by more than 10% since 2006, reflecting an increase in visitation across major international libraries. People clearly value our welcoming and safe community space, access to free wireless broadband, and other services that together support the education, community building, and social inclusion goals of government.
Behind Re-imagining Libraries is the drive to separate aspects of our work that have always been addressed predominantly within a one-organisation context, moving key parts to a collaborative approach. NSLA has defined these parts within a framework of strategies: One Library; Transforming our Culture; and Accessible Content.
* One Library aims for a welcoming, easy, open, and consistent experience for those using NSLA libraries and collections, with services available at the point of need and community contributions collected and valued.
* Transforming our Culture is both a product of the process of Re-imagining Libraries and a means of supporting staff as they reshape our libraries.
* Accessible Content is a key driver for this program of work. All our content must be easily discoverable online, as most information-seeking is now centred in the digital sphere. The infrastructure and services behind discovering and connecting to our content online are where many gains can be made in an integrated collaborative approach.
There are currently nine major projects in Re-imagining Libraries. They have been underway for over a year and are moving from research and scoping phases into agreement on deliverables. Important in these early phases has been the establishment of the program office led by the Program Manager, coalescing the project teams, developing a common understanding of what each project is setting out to achieve and, in several cases, coming to agreement on underlying principles.
The projects address:
* next-generation reference services;
* improved digital delivery of material;
* a shared framework for supporting and collecting community created content;
* collaborative collection management; consortial purchasing;
* re-engineered acquisition, description and cataloguing processes;
* standard free wireless services;
* clearer copyright messaging; and
* central discovery services, called Trove in Australia and Find in New Zealand, that form the backbone of efforts to connect users to improved online access to our collections and services. …