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Page history last edited by Starr Hoffman 10 years, 4 months ago

Getting Back to the "Public Good" in Public Colleges & Universities:

the Key Role of Academic Libraries


people from whom to seek feedback:

-- Suzanne (depository, public outreach)

-- Cathy Hartman (depository, OA)

-- Mark Phillips (OA piece)

-- James Jacobs (depository, OA)

-- Marc Cutright  (HE public funding, policy-focused research)

-- Kathleen Whitson  (HE public funding)



potential conference / publication dissemination:

-- depository libraries: 1) DLC, 2) GIQ

-- academic libraries: 1) ACRL, 2) (academic library journal)

-- higher education: 1) ASHE/AERA/SERA, 2) (see journals for these ors)




-- academic libraries in public HE institutions


purpose of article:

-- create awareness of importance of the general public / local community as an important stakeholder in HE institutions

-- push to reduce barriers to public access (online/physical access) to these library services/resources

-- point out the huge role that depository collections & OA repositories (as well as other library resources) can play in increasing the public good and thereby increasing public opinion of and support for HE


primary problem:

-- state funding for public HE institutions is dwindling

-- the "public good" inherent in public HE institutions, especially in their academic libraries (depository materials, publicly-funded institutional research, local digital collections, etc.) are not being widely used/celebrated by the public


secondary problems:

-- support for depository library program is dwindling (space, staff)

---- public will have diminished access to government information

---- public access important to maintaining democratic ideals

---- public access increasingly important in a bad economy (also extends to access to other library services/resources)

-- public often isn't aware of depository materials available in their community

-- public may not be aware of other resources available to them, such as academic library resources, computers, reference services, online archived lectures/music/performances, and digital collections

-- digital collections seem to be used more nationally/globally than in the local communities from which they are drawn (no connection between analog local community and digital collections--primarily promoted online)

-- many barriers to public access (physical and digital) to academic library resources

-- tax-paying public doesn't have access to (and is probably unaware of) university research that they are funding, and which may have unique significance for their community

-- as public HE institutions, we're not effectively fulfilling our mission to reach out to our communities and give back to them

---- because we're not providing the public with benefit (beyond those attending the institution and benefitting with private good), they do not support our public funding

---- continuing tuition-increases are not sustainable if we hope to continue to provide broad access to HE; it will return to something attainable only by a privileged class OR a privilege that comes with a high student-debt cost that may be difficult to recoup

-- repositories do not exist at all institutions

-- university repositories do not all have mandates (require faculty/student content to be deposited); voluntary repositories are not broad enough to be effective

---- public may therefore have access to their university's research only on-campus at the academic library through vendor-provided databases (and no community online access to these, typically)


barriers to public access:

-- university parking

-- intimidation factor of university campus

-- lack of awareness on several levels: public access to the institution, depository materials available, digital collections available, etc.

-- digital divide: library info / OA research may be freely available online, but how can public access it without a computer/mobile device and internet connection/broadband/data plan?

-- lack of OA university repository

-- lack of other single point-of-access to university research or list of research projects/subjects in which the university is involved

-- lack of coordination btwn HE institutions & local community org's (including public libraries)

-- lack of university/library emphasis on public outreach


how do we reach key audiences?

-- general public

-- genealogists

-- local teachers (K-12)

-- small business owners


what are areas of government information and university research that could be the most potentially beneficial to promote?

-- medical/health information

-- funding (business, education scholarships, research funding, social services, etc.)

-- geographic/geologic info

-- agricultural info

-- business

-- demographic info

-- history (national and local)

-- computer science, engineering, technology

-- hard sciences

-- legal code

-- forms

-- access to and info about e-gov services


action points:

-- how do we resolve barriers to access?

-- how do we utilize OA, depository collection, and other academic library resources/services to increase the public good?

-- how do we encourage (if we do) this public good to move toward increased state funding for HE?



-- at ASHE, the call from government agencies for (educational) researchers to produce policy-focused (practical) research



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