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General Comments

3 general comments

  1. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the draft New Roles for the Road Ahead manuscript this morning. Your collective description and analysis of the current ecosystem offers fresh insights, both deep and broad, that places academic library organizations’ circumstances within the larger contexts of scholarly communications and higher education. Well done.I now anticipate reading Betsy Wilson’s forthcoming leadership section. My comment arises after reading Steven Bell’s description of a typical day in the life of an engaged library profession immersed in abundant professional development experiences. The challenge, of course, is to ensure adequate reasoning (meaning making) about the content.So I hope that discussion of leadership in the final section includes the topic of designing organizations and workplace practices that enable individual, group, and organizational ‘sense making’ for nimble and responsive decision making in the years ahead. As Bell astutely notes, “with more options comes more confusion” (p. 116) on the road ahead.Finally, I offer a suggestion about enriching the reader experience. While I thoroughly enjoyed each essay and felt topics flowed naturally, I found the boundaries harsh. So I would enjoy seeing a contextualizing preface added to the manuscript and also preceding the sections – perhaps written by Nancy Allen who, serving as editor, enjoys an overview perspective.Mary M Somerville

    1. Thanks for the suggestions, Mary. I hate to suggest that Nancy do more because she contributed so much already to this work (you have no idea…) but I agree that we haven’t really explained or provided context for how this set of essays might work for readers. We agreed on an outline, we divvied up the sections, but each of us has a different style and is coming from a different place. The introductions to sections are meant to provide some kind of overview, but we didn’t hammer them out together so I can see how much each piece may seem a bit disconnected from its neighbors. (In fact, I haven’t printed out and read this in the linear fashion that seem more natural on paper, so I think my own reader geography is a bit different than it will be when I see it all in one document with sequential pages. In many ways, this is typical of US academic libraries – so varied, with so much local flavor and independence that it’s hard to see the road (or roads) ahead in a way that makes sense for academic libraries in general, perhaps more so than in countries where higher ed is more centralized and unified.  Nancy was the one who helped us get (metaphorically speaking) on the same page. I’m really grateful to her for that.

      1. Dear Barbara,Thank you for your thoughtful reply. In response, I recognize that I commented after reading a printout of the PDF, in its entirety, from front to back. So I approached the content in a fashion that may not be typical of your readership.That said, I think it would help readers to know the history of the commissioned essays. That, at least, would help me understand how to read this rich compendium of deep and broad thought. Typically an editor provides such context.Thanks.Mary

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