Campus libraries continue to thrive in age of Google, FaceBook, Twitter

Contact: Macey Morales
ALA Media Relations Manager

For Immediate Release
March 3, 2009

CHICAGO - How are college students using their academic libraries differently than they did a decade ago? From coast-to-coast academic libraries are using Web-based resources to support information literacy efforts. From instruction on how to use Google, to providing resources via Facebook and Twitter, librarians are helping students overcome the mistaken idea that if a resource doesn't appear online it doesn't exist.

According to the most recent information available, more than nearly one billion students annually visit campus libraries. Campus libraries are providing vibrant spaces where students can access digital information 24/7 or pull classics from shelves. Students are taking advantage of modern meeting places, curriculum-based gaming tournaments and in-house coffee bars.

As demand for library service continues, more than 3,000 librarians and staff, from college and university libraries nationwide will meet in Seattle, March 12 -  15, for the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) 14th National Conference to discuss a host of pressing issues affecting higher education. 

The conference will focus on a wide range of issues, such as interactive gaming and social networking technology in libraries; the future of reference and online searching; open access to research; distance learning; and ecruitment to the profession.

"Libraries are invaluable cornerstones of college and university life and are using Second Life, Facebook, Twitter and other Web-based social environments to teach students information literacy skills," said ACRL President Linke.  "We are finding that although the majority of students are proficient at text messaging, e-mailing and posting content to the Web, many lack critical thinking skills and don't understand how to find or assess information." 

Academic librarians answer more than 72.8 million student reference questions each year (almost twice the attendance at college football games), and remain the best place for students to discover quality information for learning and research.  Librarians also partner with faculty to educate students, developing their research expertise and helping them learn how to assess the value and reliability of electronic and print materials. 

Academic libraries are changing and dynamic places and in many ways assist with charting the course for the nation's libraries. Many of the technology- based innovations now making their way into public libraries started in college and research libraries - including chat reference, wireless access, virtual library tours, Web-based learning tools and digital library collections.

Themed "Pushing the edge: Explore, Engage, Extend," the conference, will explore the changing nature and role of academic and research librarianship.
Keynote presenters include Naomi Klein, award-winning journalist, activist, and author of "The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism;" Sherman Alexie, prolific novelist, poet and screenplay writer; and Ira Glass, host and producer of the National Public Radio program, This American Life. More than
225 exhibitors will feature state-of-the-art products and services for academic and research libraries.

The conference will be the most environmentally-friendly event ever held by ACRL.  Green initiatives include a green pledge for attendees, bags and badge holders made of recycled materials, a green-themed opening reception, and donations of surplus food and promotional items to local charities. Invited Green Speaker Robin Chase co-founder of Zipcar and CEO of GoLoco, will discuss and lead conversation around the roles libraries can play in shaping minds and ideas in a new world of increasingly scarce global resources.

The ACRL also will offer a virtual component to its National Conference. The online conference community will include live, interactive Web casts, dynamic screen captures, discussion boards, blogs, chat rooms and more, allowing people from around the world to participate in the discussions.

ACRL, has nearly 13,000 members from a wide range of academic institutions, publishers and vendors who sell in the academic marketplace. Complete details about the conference are online at