A Strategy for Academic Libraries in the First Quarter of the 21st Century

David W. Lewis


The wide application of digital technologies to scholarly communications has disrupted the model of academic library service that has been in place for the past century. Given the new Internet tools and the explosive growth of digital content available on the Web, it is now not entirely clear what an academic library should be. This article is an attempt to provide a strategy for academic libraries in what is left of the first quarter of the 21st century. There are five components of the model: 1) complete the migration from print to electronic collections; 2) retire legacy print collections; 3) redevelop library space; 4) reposition library and information tools, resources, and expertise; and 5) migrate the focus of collections from purchasing materials to curating content. Each of the components of the strategy and their interactions will be considered. It is hoped that the result will provide a useful roadmap for academic libraries and the campuses they serve.

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