Those responsible for delivering library and support services are dealing with unprecedented change as countries, sectors and individuals face challenge and uncertainty brought about by major shifts in financial and fiscal policies. Higher education and other public institutions are responding strategically and with vigour to this challenge and universities and colleges are developing new ways of working with others, to provide better value for money and to maintain and enhance the student experience. In parallel, ubiquitous web technologies are enabling fundamental shifts in relationships between students, staff and institutions, creating a learning experience that is more student-led and founded on communities of online collaborators.
This book of essays recognizes and uncovers the innovations that leaders and practitioners are implementing to transform and develop the provision of sustainable and creative support services. Such innovations are resulting in diverse models of delivery, including the convergence of many different student-facing services, innovative approaches to the use of IT and the development of more active collaborative networks and commercial partnerships. This collection of accounts from the UK, USA, Canada and Australasia considers the changing context and the broad principles affecting the ways in which we need to manage and provide services, and also offers alternative methods, written by experts in their field.
Because this book advocates and addresses the need to work across traditional boundaries, the authors include professionals from outside library and information services as well as those responsible for leading multiply converged or joint service teams. The editors believe that it is only by getting into a real conversation with such colleagues and by looking at alternative approaches to providing support, especially during times of adversity, that we can be successful in meeting the changing needs and expectations of users of our services in a cost-effective manner.
The authors of the chapters in this volume are working within a rapidly changing environment, influenced by the global economy, government intervention and increasing client expectations. The premise of this book is that the options available might be either to become insular, emphasizing specialist skills and communities, or (as we advocate) to broaden one's mission and vision, recognizing that collaboration can enrich services by introducing new ways of doing things, creating possibilities through economies of scale and through purposefully subjecting plans, thoughts and processes to partnership working.