In an information world in which Google apparently offers us everything, what place is there for the traditional, and even the digital, library? In a library environment which is increasingly moving to the delivery of online rather than print resources, what of the academic library’s traditional place at the heart of campus life?

What about the impact of repositories and open access on the delivery of library resources? And the need to digitise and make more widely accessible key scholarly resources? And what of the calls for libraries to play a central role in the promotion of ‘information literacy’? Libraries will continue to be essential to academic success and the future of education and research

Through ‘Libraries of the Future’, JISC is hoping to explore these and many other questions, to open up – with partner organisations and librarians themselves – a debate about the future of the academic and research library. The theme will encompass a variety of activities and communication vehicles – events, printed resources, interactive Web 2.0 services, podcast interviews, and so on – but encouraging debate and discussion will be at the heart of all of them.

None of us yet knows what our libraries of the future will look like. But one thing is sure – libraries will continue to be essential to academic success and the future of education and research. We look forward to hearing from you… Let the debate begin!

The eLib programme

Since the JISC’s eLib programme, academic libraries have changed more than many of those involved ever imagined. Duke & Jordan’s study for the JISC of the impact of eLib demonstrated not only the extent to which the programme had influenced academic libraries but also how effective it has been in the long term. The report is based on interviews with a wide range of stakeholders, some international, and with others related to the library business as well as on case studies of ten libraries.

The report shows that eLib promoted a cultural change in UK academic libraries: it produced a cohort of library staff with experience of managing sizeable projects that involved IT, a significant number of whom are making senior contributions to librarianship and information services. The size of the programme caused it to permeate the whole sector and therefore ready it for later changes, a number of which have been led in the UK by the JISC. These developments have all helped academic libraries in the UK to compete globally. The report also shows that appreciable elements of the programme have remained alive and still serve communities of users.

The E lib report can be found at: http://www.jisc.ac.uk/publications/publications/elibimpactstudyreport.aspx

About the elib prgramme:

An (unmaintained) archive of eLib programme and project information:

JISC Information Environment:

JISC E-resources:

About the e lib programme

The Electronic Libraries programme (eLib) resulted from the recommendations in chapter 7 of the Joint Funding Councils’ Libraries Review Group, chaired by Sir Brian Follett. This Group reviewed libraries and related provision in higher education in the UK, and was commissioned jointly by the four UK HE funding bodies, HEFCE, SHEFC, HEFCW and DENI. Its report (known as the Follett report) was published in December 1993.

The programme had £15,000,000 of funding over three years. The aim of eLib was to ‘transform the use and storage of knowledge in higher education institutions’. It was managed by the JISC’s Committee on Electronic Information, though the JISC committee which was set up initially to take forward the Follett recommendation was the Follett Implementation Group for Information Technology, FIGIT.

There were two phases to the early part of eLib, but effectively these two phases can be considered together. The first call for expressions of interest in undertaking projects in seven specified programme areas was issued in 1994 ( JISC Circular 4/942 FIGIT Framework), and the second in 1995 ( JISC Circular 11/953 Electronic Libraries programme (eLib): targeted call for new proposals). The latter was mostly to cover areas which reflected perceived weaknesses in the first phase. These two calls for proposals resulted in the funding of some 60 projects.

Phase 3 was designed to build on successes and to have four components:

  • hybrid libraries
  • large scale resource discovery, or clumps
  • preservation
  • turning early projects into services