Collections 2021: the future of the collection is not a collection

Rick Anderson
University of Utah

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The thought of a library without a collection seems, on its face, ridiculous – if the library has no collection, then in what meaningful sense is it a library? But there’s another question we must ask, and it is more urgent: what if the library collection doesn’t work? Are we actually very good at guessing what our users will need? And if not, what alternatives exist? Is it possible for libraries to move from a speculative, just-in-case model to a responsive, just-in-time model? If so, what would doing so imply for the future of the library and of scholarly communication in general? Clearly these questions are fraught, so expect lively discussion!

RICK ANDERSON is Associate Director for Scholarly Resources and Collections at the University of UtahÅs Marriott Library. He has previously worked as a bibliographer for YBP, Inc, and in the libraries of the University of North Carolina, Greensboro and the University of Nevada. He serves on numerous editorial and advisory boards and is a regular contributor to the Scholarly Kitchen blog and Against the Grain. His book, Buying and Contracting for Resources and Services: A How-to- Do-It Manual for Librarians, was published in 2004. Rick has served as president of the North American Serials Interest Group, and was an ARL Research Library Leadership Fellow for 2009-10.