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  • Print publication year: 2016
  • Online publication date: June 2018

1 - Constructing a model for Mexican libraries in the 21st century




Changes in the academic practices of universities are requiring the research libraries that support them to transform in order to provide effective and relevant information services. The rise of digital scholarship in social sciences and humanities requires liberal arts institutions to adopt new strategies for conducting research and instruction. Unfortunately, older libraries are often ill-equipped to support the ever-growing needs of their academic communities. This is especially true in countries such as Mexico, where many research libraries continue to uphold traditional service models. This can pose a significant challenge to the knowledge production and dissemination of the local campus community.

This chapter presents a case study of the library renovation and expansion project implemented at The Daniel Cosío Villegas Library at El Colegio de México (Colmex) in Mexico City. In 2012, the university took on the task of renovating and expanding its sole library. The project goal was to create a flagship library that would be a model for 21st-century research libraries across Mexico. However, defining what a Mexican library should be for the 21st century is a daunting task, given that national literature on the topic is sparse and international models may not be relevant for Mexican libraries in general, nor in the unique situation of the Colmex library. The library conducted a series of studies to understand the behaviour, opinions and requirements of the campus community with the intention of creating a useroriented solution.

Through an iterative planning process, we developed a plan that pairs traditional library services (to which the community was accustomed) along with new types of digital scholarship support services. This was accomplished in part by designing spaces that adapt to evolving research and pedagogical practices while also considering the library's regional context. The result is a plan that will transform the traditional model of the Daniel Cosío Villegas Library into one that caters to new modes of information access, interaction, learning, creation and dissemination. Implementing this plan will result in significant organizational restructuring as well as the acquisition and the development of new technologies, tools and services.

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