For immediate release | May 29, 2012

Explore the future of the book with ACRL

CHICAGO – The Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) has released a new report, “Futures Thinking for Academic Librarians: Scenarios for the Future of the Book (PDF),” to help librarians reexamine their assumptions, which may be grounded in the current e-book zeitgeist.

Authored by David J. Staley, director of the Harvey Goldberg Center for Excellence in Teaching in the History Department of Ohio State University, the report is a companion to the 2010 report Staley co-authored for ACRL, “Futures Thinking for Academic Librarians: Higher Education in 2025 (PDF).” This new report presents four scenarios, based in part on feedback from academic library directors. It includes scenarios which intentionally favor the continued existence of the printed book as a viable technology, so that academic and research librarians may expand their thinking about the future to include a richer set of environmental conditions.

“The future of printed books is a critical topic for our profession, and ACRL is pleased to lend a new perspective with this report,” said ACRL President Joyce L. Ogburn, of the University of Utah. “Many current conversations about the future of libraries assume that printed books will give way to e-books. This report gives us pause by presenting alternate possible futures. It asks us reexamine our underlying assumptions so that we can make better strategic decisions now.”

For more discussion of the report, listen to a podcast conversation with Staley and Ogburn on the ACRL Insider blog.

As a companion to the report, the presidents of ACRL and ALCTS are holding a joint program, “Future of the Book: Innovation in Traditional Industries,” during the 2012 ALA Annual Conference in Anaheim, from 10:30 a.m. - noon on Monday June 25, in the Anaheim Convention Center Ballroom B. Hear Duane Bray, a partner at IDEO, a global innovation and design consulting firm, discuss the challenges traditional industries often face when experiencing disruptive change. Bray will share concrete techniques for recognizing and harnessing opportunities for innovation.


ACRL is a division of the American Library Association (ALA), representing more than 12,000 academic and research librarians and interested individuals. ACRL is the only individual membership organization in North America that develops programs, products and services to meet the unique needs of academic and research librarians. Its initiatives enable the higher education community to understand the role that academic libraries play in the teaching, learning and research environments. ACRL is on the Web at, Facebook at and Twitter at @ala_acrl.


David Free

Mktg & Comm. Specialist/Editor-in-Chief

Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL)

1-800-545-2433 ext.2517