Libraries Thriving Offers Collaborative Opportunities

Article excerpt

The future of the library in the digital age is an issue that many people are focusing on, from librarians and educators to researchers, publishers, and library vendors. With shrinking library budgets and increasing demand for digital materials, librarians face challenges for discovery, access, and delivery, as well as opportunities to tackle these challenges with creative and collaborative solutions.

Libraries Thriving (www.librariesthriving.org), which Credo Reference launched in March 2011, is a collaborative space dedicated to "communicating the value of libraries and their ability to impact the learning moment." Members of the community include librarians, faculty, publishers, library vendors, researchers, and other educators interested in sharing ideas and working together toward the common goal of increasing innovative use of e-resources. A diverse international advisory board helps to guide direction and programming.

The goals of Libraries Thriving include the following:

* Helping libraries to realize their possibility for impact and to address challenges

* Developing case studies of success that can be replicated

* Resolving key technical issues that limit progress

The problems that it addresses include the following:

* Increasing effective use of e-resources

* Increasing visibility and discoverability of libraries on the open web

* Helping alleviate users' information overload

* Creating seamless access between resources

* Promoting information and digital literacy

"Hundreds of registered community members read our quarterly newsletter, engage in our learning communities, have conversations on our discussion forum, and participate in our campaigns," according to Laura Warren, Libraries Thriving coordinator. "Our members and resident editors span the globe from the U.S. and U.K. to Egypt and Morocco and more."

Credo recently offered an online session that drew more than 100 library professionals. It featured Ithaca College librarians Lisabeth Chabot and Ron Gilmour, who demonstrated how the open source tool SubjectsPlus can help librarians manage interrelated parts of their websites.

The idea for Libraries Thriving was conceived at the Charleston Conference in 2010, the result of a plenary session on collaboration and moving libraries forward. Warren says that an "Oxford style debate" has been scheduled for the 2012 Charleston Conference in November. She says the next series of online seminars is in the works and will be posted on the site and shared in Libraries Thriving's quarterly newsletter. …