College & Research Libraries News / vol. 71 no. 6 / pp. 286-292 / June 2010
ACRL Research Planning and Review Committee
The ACRL Research, Planning and Review Committee, a component of the Research Coordinating Committee, is responsible for creating and updating a continuous and dynamic environmental scan for the association that encompasses trends in academic librarianship, higher education, and the broader environment. As a part of this effort, the committee develops a list of the top ten trends that are affecting academic libraries now and in the near future. This list was compiled based on an extensive review of current literature (see selected bibliography at the end of this article). The committee also developed an e-mail survey that was sent to 9,812 ACRL members in February 2010. Although the response rate was small (about five percent), it helped to clarify the trends.
The trends are listed in alphabetical order.
Explosive growth of mobile devices and applications will drive new services. Smart phones, e-book readers, iPads, and other handheld devices will drive user demands and expectations. The 2009 ECAR study of undergraduate students and information technology found that 51.2 percent of respondents owned an Internet-capable handheld device and another 11.8 percent planned to purchase one within the next 12 months.8 Students indicated that they most wanted to use their institution’s e-mail service, administrative services, and course management system from their handheld devices. While only 14.8 percent of respondents indicated that they wanted to use library services, this percentage is likely to grow quickly, as vendors offer mobile interfaces to electronic resources, mobile applications for OPACs increase, and more libraries offer reference services via text messaging and mobile interfaces to their own digital collections.
Librarians will need to think creatively about developing services for users of mobile devices and take into account both user needs and preferences and the relationship of services to the academic program of their institution.9 Regardless of the services a library chooses to offer, there will be staffing, training, budgeting, marketing, and instruction implications.
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