The historical role of the research library was to accumulaterecorded knowledge in order to serve future as well as present needs.This has been severely affected by the growth in scholarly publishing,especially in science, greatly increased numbers of users, andrelatively reduced funding. Other influencing factors are the emphasison shortterm gains, the constant search for novelty, and socialobsolescence. University libraries, struggling to maintain basicservices, have to prove costeffectiveness, to try to earn money, and ingeneral to be more narrowly functional their staff need to reflect thischange. Ways of continuing to serve eternal values include centres ofexcellence and cooperative acquisition and preservation, but thesealone are unlikely to provide a solution. It has to be recognised thatmost university libraries cannot aim at eternalcollections, but service to education is also an eternal value.
Library Review – Emerald Publishing
Published: Feb 1, 1991
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