These libraries of the future will--surprise!--have no books:
The university library of the future will be sparsely staffed, highly decentralized, and have a physical plant consisting of little more than special collections and study areas. . . . “We're already starting to see a move on the part of university libraries... to outsource virtually all the services [they have] developed and maintained over the years,” Greenstein said.What's worrisome about this is that the article talks not about managing collections but about "outsourcing" the "storing and managing of books." This sounds like off-site storage, which is okay, maybe, for an obscure book of criticism from the 1930s, but I'm wondering if all books would be stored in this way.
I'm surprised that no one has made the efficiency argument yet about off-site storage. Quick quiz: which of these is more efficient?
1. Faculty member (or student) looks up a book, goes into the stacks, leafs through the book and others in the area, carries books to circulation desk, checks them out, and carries them home.
2. Faculty member looks up a book and sends a request for a book in closed off-site stacks. Library person receives the request and prints it out. Another library person (probably a work-study student) takes the call slip and hunts down the book in the stacks. Two days pass. Circulation desk emails the faculty member. Faculty member goes to the library to pick up the book, decides that she needs another one, and repeats the process.
Oh, and the Chef of the Future? His gadget completely fails.