May 24, 2022

New Issue Brief from ARL: “Challenges of 21st-Century Research Library Collections”

From the Announcement/Summary:

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) announces a new briefing paper for research library directors, “21st-Century Collections: Calibration of Investment and Collaborative Action.”

The paper is the work of the ARL 21st-Century Research Library Collections Task Force, co-chaired by Deborah Jakubs, Rita DiGiallonardo Holloway University Librarian and Vice Provost for Library Affairs at Duke University, and Thomas Leonard, Kenneth and Dorothy Hill University Librarian at the University of California Berkeley. ARL staff support to the task force included Visiting Program Officer Christine Avery, Head of the University College Libraries and Collection Development Coordinator for Commonwealth Campus Libraries at Penn State University.
At a panel discussion at the 160th ARL Membership Meeting held in Chicago on May 2–4, ARL Vice President/President-Elect Wendy Pradt Lougee, University of Minnesota, a member of the task force, emphasized that for research libraries in the 21st century, collections are still a core asset and the provisioning of content is still a core role, but “the context and strategies for decisions and investments are changing.” Those strategies will require libraries to engage earlier in the scholarly communication production cycle—in activities that panelist Barbara Dewey, Dean of Libraries and Scholarly Communications of Penn State, referred to in her remarks as the “third space of scholarly publishing.” According to the issue brief, in the new, fully networked context, libraries will need to collaborate on a greater scale in order to maintain the caliber of collections they once built for a primarily local constituency.
Carton Rogers, Vice Provost and Director of Libraries at the University of Pennsylvania, chairs the ARL Transforming Research Libraries Steering Committee, which originally requested the issue brief. According to Rogers, this paper provides directors with an excellent overview of emerging and horizon issues and the challenges of building 21st-century collections. “The paper’s emphasis on networked resources, teamwork, and cross-institutional collaboration underscores the need for new roles and new competencies for our workforce, which is currently a key focus of the committee’s agenda. We encourage discussions of the shared future projected in the report, its implications for library staff, and for the ongoing support of research, teaching, and learning on our campuses.”
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.