Bloggers around the world welcome Guardian supplement

Bloggers around the world have welcomed last week’s Guardian supplement – ‘Libraries unleashed’ –  which launched JISC’s Libraries of the Future’ campaign and which highlighted the achievements of UK academic libraries and some of the major challenges they face in the digital age. 

The focus of many blogs is the question of change, something the Guardian directly addresses – ‘libraries are changing faster than at any time in their history’, wrote editor Stephen Hoare. For the spineless? blog the Guardian features provided an ‘interesting, though-provoking supplement, which shows just how libraries are changing, and will need to continue to change’. For the EPT blog the highlight was the article on open access, while Neil Beagrie thought it ‘an excellent supplement on academic libraries today – I would highly recommend it to international and
UK colleagues who want a quick overview on the latest developments,’ he wrote. 

The articles on ‘e-resources, Web 2.0 and shifting student expectations’ were the focus for VLC horizon scanning, while ‘Overdue Ideas’ called the supplement ‘a great window for JISC’s work in the area of libraries’.  

The Royal Society linked to the supplement, as did Goldsmith University and Sintoblog, the blog of a regional consortium in Yorkshire and the E Midlands, which praised the fact that local librarians had featured in the supplement. The commercial sector too was represented – by Panlibus which praised not only the supplement, but also the JISC annual conference – at which libraries played a prominent part – and the ‘Libraries of the Future’ campaign as a whole. 

Further afield, ‘lilyheart’ at the University of Melbourne Intelligencer listed the 18 articles which made up the supplement, HangingTogether in the US linked the supplement to ‘excellent communications work by JISC’ at its annual conference, while Library Sharings and Amherst College were among the many sites in the USA which linked to the supplement.  

For Lorcan Dempsey, of US library organisation OCLC, the articles in the Guardian are ‘high level and journalistic, as you would expect.’ But, he continued, ‘this is a nice achievement by JISC, as it puts a range of positive stories about libraries in front of the University community.’   

DIT Library Services in Ireland pointed to the supplement as did pintiniblog in France, while other blogs in Germany, Hungary and Japan also featured the supplement. 

Information literacy was a theme for many blogs – for SIS at the Uni of Pittsburgh, for Bloggable Librarian, Brian Kelly at UK Web Focus and for Dana McKay, who, in response to the supplement, called on education providers to ‘improve search interfaces and online access to academic materials’.  

Sheila Webber, senior lecturer in information studies at Sheffield University, wrote that her ‘ability to critique [the supplement] sensibly was compromised by my excitement in being quoted in the front-page article which talks about students’ use of information,’ an article which also features her ‘Second Life’ avatar – ‘Sheila Yoshikawa, blue-haired babe and cultivator of a Japanese garden’.  

Positive criticisms were voiced by Tom Roper who, while praising ‘some interesting articles’ bemoaned the fact that the further education sector was under-represented. BriefED in Wales contradicted this slightly when it suggested that ‘most of what is written [in the supplement] applies equally to further education libraries.’  

Among the JISC services that talked of the supplement were the RSCs in Scotland who emphasised the debate aspects of JISC’s campaign, copac who were mentioned in the supplement, and Intute, also mentioned by the Guardian. 

JISC’s Libraries of the Future campaign also has a blog, which can be found at: Libraries of the Future blog  

To access the Guardian supplement, please go to: Libraries unleashed