May 19, 2022

Iowa State Univesity Library Reinvents Itself for the Digital Age

From the Ames Tribune:

The special collections department is a microcosm for a broader trend happening at ISU’s Parks Library and public university research libraries nationwide, according to David Gregory, ISU’s associate dean of research, access and administration.

Instead of replacing patrons’ use and the library’s need for physical space, digital resources are simply growing alongside academic libraries’ role as a place to collaborate and conduct research, Gregory said.

“At the same time that people are preferring electronic formats over more traditional media, they continue to come to the library,” he said, noting use of ISU’s library has doubled over the past five years. “We suspect for other reasons, and that’s to do collaborative study. But, it’s still a social and cultural hub for the university.”


Gerrit Hansen, a senior studying industrial technology, said he “barely ever comes to the library” unless he is meeting a group for a research project.

“I prefer to study at home,” he said. “I use online journals but (not many) e-books. I prefer hard text books, but I buy them online.”


Another student, ISU junior Emily Gardner, said she prefers physical books but has never checked one out from ISU’s library.

She said many students don’t pay attention during ISU’s required half-credit library course and said this is the “biggest reason” why students never really learn how to navigate the library. At ISU, both online and shelved resources are methodically catalogued in an online database.

Read the Complete Article

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.