Recruitment, funding, technology issues top agenda for academic, research librarians

Contact: Larra Clark


Amy Wright (Charlotte)


For Immediate Release

March 10, 2003

Recruitment, funding, technology issues top agenda for academic, research librarians

National marketing effort to kick off in Charlotte at Association of College and Research Libraries conference, April 10-13

(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) More than 2,000 librarians from academic and research libraries nationwide will convene in Charlotte during National Library Week (April 6-12) to discuss a host of pressing issues affecting higher education, including librarian recruitment, funding and technology issues. With a conference theme of "Learning to Make a Difference," these partners in education also will tackle student assessment, online privacy, how to help faculty address plagiarism and how to best teach students to find the best resources in print and on the Web.

"Great libraries are key to a great education," said Helen Spalding, president of the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL), the largest individual membership organization in North America that focuses specifically on the needs and interests of academic librarians. "College and research libraries connect our students, professors, researchers and, in many communities, the general public with a world of information."

ACRL also will launch the first-ever national marketing campaign highlighting the contributions of college and research libraries and librarians. The ACRL @ your library™ Campaign seeks to promote awareness of the unique role of academic and research libraries, increase visibility and support for academic and research libraries and librarians and position librarianship as a desirable career option. A full-day preconference devoted to the topic has sold out.

"Marketing is still a relatively new concept to many librarians, so I'm very excited to be launching this initiative at our conference," Spalding said. "In today's complex information environment, we have a greater responsibility to communicate the resources and expertise our libraries and librarians provide on our campuses and in our society."

Many of the innovations now making their way into public libraries had their start in college and research libraries. These technologies include virtual reference, wireless access, online library catalogs, virtual library tours, Web-based learning tools and digital library collections. Academic librarians answer 97 million reference questions each year - almost three times the attendance at college football games.

While many universities and colleges are investing in their future by funding new library construction and renovations, operating budgets are being threatened nationwide. Governor Gray Davis (Calif.) has proposed doubling tuition fees in the next academic year and has called for a mid-year budget cut of $288 million in funds to community colleges. Cambria Area Community College (Penn.) is facing a budget freeze that will result in no new library materials and cuts in service hours. And while college libraries receive less than three cents of every dollar spent on higher education, they are seeing skyrocketing costs of 200 percent for academic journals. The American Library Association (ALA) has accumulated information on
library funding cuts.

Kicking off the conference Thursday at 4 p.m. will be
Paul Duguid, coauthor of "The Social Life of Information" (2000), who will discuss the library's role as a community and the relationship between librarians and their users.
Bill Ferris, coeditor of the Encyclopedia of the South and associate director of University of North Carolina's Center for the Study of the American South, will be the keynote speaker at an all-conference luncheon Saturday at noon.
Belle Wheelan, Secretary of Education for the Commonwealth of Virginia, will close the conference Sunday at 10:15 a.m.

More than
200 exhibits featuring state-of-the-art information products will feature the latest and best in library and information services for students and researchers. Free one-day exhibit passes are available on Friday and Saturday to the public.

With more than 12,000 members nationwide, ACRL is the largest division of the ALA.

To arrange interviews or obtain press credentials to attend any of the 100+ programs, please contact the ALA Press Office at 312-280-5043 or email to For more information, see the conference Web site at