Many colleges and universities are investing millions of dollars to repurpose or even expand libraries to make room for collaborative learning, technology centers, dining areas, research support and other academic services.
While 98 percent of librarians in a 2015 Gale/Library Journal survey wished for better communication with faculty, only 45 percent of faculty expressed the same wish.
This gap presents both a challenge and an opportunity for libraries to make a case for their usefulness to faculty, in both their teaching and scholarship.
Five years ago, a researcher in Kazakhstan frustrated at the inaccessibility and cost of so many scholarly journals launched Sci-Hub, a website that today provides quick, free access to 47 million articles, often by illegally bypassing paywalls.
A recent article in Science found that in a single six-month period, Sci-Hub received requests for a staggering 28 million papers.
To the publishers whose copyrights are being subverted, Sci-Hub is nothing but piracy.
To academic librarians, the serials crisis—the budget squeeze caused by the rising cost of subscriptions to scholarly journals—is old news.
Library spending on serials rose 402 percent between 1986 and 2012, according to the Association of Research Libraries, and costs for individual subscriptions rose by an average of 12 percent over the past two years alone, a Library Journal survey found.
Librarians and their advocates are also pushing for systemic change: a transition away from the subscription-based model of scholarly communication and toward open access. This transition to free availability of published research is one librarians say university administrators should work to accelerate.