Academic librarians discuss Googlelization, PATRIOT Act, access to research at conference in Minneapolis, April 7-10

Contacts: Larra Clark, Macey Morales

ACRL Media Relations

312-280-5043, 4393
For Immediate Release

March 14, 2005

Academic librarians discuss Googlelization, PATRIOT Act,

access to research at conference in Minneapolis, April 7-10

MINNEAPOLIS -- More than 2,700 librarians from college and university libraries nationwide will convene in Minneapolis, April 7 -10, to discuss a host of pressing issues affecting higher education. With a conference theme of "Currents and Convergence: Navigating the Rivers of Change," the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) 12th National Conference will focus on a wide range of issues, such as open access to research, information literacy, recruitment, new technologies, and the "first-year experience" of students.

"If the classroom is the first stop in the learning experience, the library is the next destination," said ACRL President Frances Maloy. "Online and in person, academic and research libraries are essential to the learning, teaching and research needs of faculty and students."

With online materials and use growing, college and university library leaders have responded to technology-savvy students and faculty with increased virtual services that make library resources accessible around the clock. New tools like blog services also have sprung up to further teaching, learning and individual expression. In fact, the University of Minnesota Libraries hosts the largest academic blog service in the country. Many of the 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.

Librarians also are tackling the much-thornier question of "good enough" online search results and teaching the information literacy skills necessary to excel in academics and careers. For instance, a recent poll by the Pew Internet and American Life Project found that only one in six Internet users can tell which online search results are paid or sponsored and which are not.

"Today getting information is easy, but getting the right information can be difficult," Maloy said. "Teaching others how to be smart information consumers is a unique skill librarians bring to students suffering information overload." Several conference panels - from the "first-year experience" to "Googlelization" - will address information literacy concerns. Almost 70 percent of higher education institutions have developed information literacy instruction.

Other hot topics include:

* Open access to research - ACRL has been a leading advocate for open access to federally funded research as part of its overall approach to improving scholarly communications. The federal government spent close to $50 billion on non-defense related R&D in 2002. A Saturday morning panel will talk about "taxation with dissemination" and a new National Institutes of Health (NIH) policy on access to research.

* Recruitment and diversity - Within the United States and in the current environment, demand exceeds supply (there will be an estimated 7,000 more jobs in 2008 than in 1998; more than 12,000 librarians will retire or change professions between 2004 and 2009). Panels on Friday afternoon and Saturday morning will address recruitment efforts and a nationwide survey of new librarians about their expectations and experiences.

Kicking off the conference Thursday at 4 p.m. will be William Mitchell, Academic Head of Media Arts and Sciences and former dean of the School of Architecture and Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Mitchell, author of several books on the new forms and functions of cities in the electronic era, will discuss what new communication and information technologies mean for libraries. Friday's keynote luncheon will feature a panel of female mystery authors moderated by National Public Radio (NPR) host Liane Hansen. Professor and director of the Higher Research Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Sylvia Hurtado, will close the conference with a discussion of her experience of post-September 11 changes in campuses nationwide. Invited papers will discuss the first-year experience, diversity, and access to publicly funded research.

More than 170 exhibitors will feature the latest and best in library and information services for students and researchers.

ACRL is a division of the American Library Association (ALA). ACRL's nearly 13,000 members are comprised of individuals from a wide range of academic institutions, publishers and vendors who sell in the academic marketplace. The core purpose of the Association of College & Research Libraries is to lead academic and research librarians and libraries in advancing learning and scholarship.

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