The More Things Change…

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2001-10

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Lowry, Charles B., “The More Things Change…” portal: Libraries and the Academy vol.1, no.4 (October, 2001): pp.vii-ix.

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Do you need to read another column about change in academic libraries? Can one be written that is not a hackneyed cliché-ridden rehash? You are forewarned that the answer to both questions is a resounding "maybe!" I want to establish a premise that reverses an old aphorism, arguing that "the more things change, the less they are the same" for our libraries. When I began studies at the School of Information and Library Science in Chapel Hill nearly three decades ago, the kind of library organization I prepared to work in was fundamentally different from the one I find myself in today. This is because the external environment has stimulated change, not because we have actively sought it--the change has been largely reactive. The primary forces of change are easy to recognize and they are not of our making--shifts in pedagogy and research; the transformational impact of networked information technology; a revolution in scholarly information and in the intellectual property regime; and the ever-present restraint of budget, both inputs and outputs.

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