Research Has Changed: Have Libraries?
Today research libraries are seeking new ways of engaging with the campus research enterprise. Research underway at the University of Calgary has identified a constellation of services necessary to enable today’s cross-disciplinary research into societal “grand challenges.” Increasingly, these services do not focus on traditional models of library research support via collection development, instruction, or database searching.
This paper reviews outcomes of a multi-year, $1M study funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation conducted at the University of Calgary. In this study, faculty from multiple disciplines identified the needs of modern researchers. These needs were then explored through a library sub-grant program with library staff partnering with faculty researchers as project co-participants.
Through these projects, a suite of library research services, expertise, and infrastructure is being defined. It includes newly developed functional supports, and library staff acting as research facilitators. It recognises the synergistic interaction between digital content and analytical tools. It sees traditional strengths like special collections being exploited in new ways, and emergence of lab-like spaces enabling multidisciplinary and cross-unit teamwork.
Most importantly, through these collaborations, faculty perceptions of the research library and its services are being transformed.