Attitudes of Presidents and Provosts on the University Library

Beverly P. Lynch, Catherine Murray-Rust, Susan E. Parker, Deborah Turner, Diane Parr Walker, Frances C. Wilkinson, Julia Zimmerman

Abstract

This study replicates an investigation conducted by Deborah Grimes in 1992–1993 and published in her 1998 book, Academic Library Centrality. This paper reports the results of interviews conducted in 2004 with the presidents and provosts of six universities and compares them with Grimes’ findings. The analysis shows that major changes have occurred in the attitudes of university leaders toward their libraries during the last decade. These new findings provide direction for library leaders as they seek out new models of library service and reshape old models to fit the current environment of American higher education. The findings also point to the emergence of new competencies, skills, and knowledge as essential components of the job of the library director. The results of this study call into question the applicability of the centrality concept to libraries in universities and indicate the need for research that offers a relevant model for use in those settings.

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