May 22, 2022

Video: The Evolving Library Organization (Seminar Presentation)

The embedded video was recorded at Elsevier’s Library Connect seminar that took place in Kuala Lumpur on July 11, 2012.

The speaker is Gerald Jay Schafer, Director of Libraries, University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Schafer discusses how the UMass library evolved in response to a dramatic change in budget and also changes in technology. This evolution included a philosophical shift from just-in-case to just-in-time collections, a new emphasis on digital versus print, merging of services, and implementing new technologies.

Prior to 2004, the library had an acquisitions budget of approximately $5.4 million, provided by a line item in the state budget. After a series of reductions starting in 2001, the line item was completely removed by then end of 2004. The library was in crisis, but rallied with the support of the faculty and students. New lines of funding were established, but overall the library lost 22 percent of its staff and much purchasing ability.

These conditions demanded major organizational change, including merging branches and departments, reducing number of directors and empowering department heads, accepting the concept of access over ownership, and instituting better technologies. The trauma to the organization was lessened by change management efforts. Schafer summarized by stating that maintaining a culture of change is essential to the success of the 21st Century library.

Direct to Schafer’s Slide Deck (53 pages; PDF)

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.