« Open Web Conference: "Working outside of the box" - A joint presentation of the SLA Chemistry, Physics-Astronomy-Mathematics, and Sci-Tech Divisions | Main | Research Beyond Google: 119 Authoritative, Invisible, and Comprehensive Resources »

Stanford's "Bookless" Engineering Library Needs a Head Librarian

.: My friend and colleage Pam Ryan brought this to my attention today: Stanford University is advertising for a Head Librarian for Engineering, Stanford University Libraries, where the library is envisioned as a "bookless facility":

The Stanford University Libraries and Academic Information Resources seek a well-qualified librarian with successful policy and administrative experience to join its staff as Head Librarian for Engineering. Stanford is currently planning for a new Engineering Library, and this position will have primary responsibility for the transition to that new facility, as well as the management of associated staff.

The new Engineering Library will be a forward-looking facility. It will be a library, but in the most advanced definition of that term, and ultimately, as the literatures of engineering disciplines move to digital form, it is envisioned as a bookless facility. This library will be a gathering place that will foster a sense of community for the School of Engineering, foster collaboration among students and faculty, and support discovery and retrieval of information resources, both print and digital. It will also allow instruction and discussion opportunities, provide quiet, comfortable individual and group study space and areas where users can socialize.

The primary goal of the new Library will be to provide for the informational needs of the students, faculty, and researchers in the departments of the School of Engineering. We plan to provide one subject specialist for every two departments, under the coordination of the Head Librarian. These specialists will create and maintain online “reading rooms” or online guides to the specialized literatures of their fields, provide information instruction, and manage online information repositories.

We anticipate that the transition from traditional to “bookless” library will present significant challenges, and solutions will require innovative thinking, effective planning, and tireless advocacy.

This sounds like a fascinating challenge and development, and speaks volumes of how much of the core engineering literature, regardless of the format being a journal, monograph, conference, patent, standard, data, what have you, has moved from print to electronic in such a short period of time. As the librarian for the National Institute for Nanotechnology (NINT), I am experiencing what this is like to a certain degree - NINT is on our campus, but there is no library within the building, and rarely do the researchers there step out and come to the Science and Technology Library. Pretty much most of what they need is online, and if not, they request it online.

Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)