The Future of Books at the Galter Health Sciences Library


Und hier der nächste Doody’s Review Service Featured Article: James Shedlock: The Future of Books at the Galter Health Sciences Library, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University.

Given all of these factors, I think the future of print books at the Galter Library is limited. The days of housing a large, just-in-case, print book collection that provides a supporting role to aid teaching and learning in the health sciences are gone, mostly due to improvements in technology which enable access to e-books and e-journals.

When we talk about the future of print books, we are also talking about the future of the library as place. Libraries are built around the need to store books and other print matter. After all, that’s what the word ‘library’ means. If we picture a different future for the book based on user demand for e-books and the occasional print book for reserves, then we also paint a different picture of what the library as place looks like.

The new library will be more about people and how they discover and use information. In the new space, print books will be available — on reserve to support the curriculum, for leisure reading, and to represent the history of medicine at Northwestern. But the overall space will be filled by features that support the user’s need for information discovery. These spaces may include: an information commons for searching databases, e-journals and e-books; collaboration rooms that give students a place to work together while learning about medicine or other disciplines; private study spaces to aid reflection and assist individual productivity; visualization space to foster research; online classrooms to demonstrate and show the latest software that aids learning in information management, basic sciences or clinical instruction; meeting spaces that bring faculty, staff or students together; cultural spaces for arts and humanities programs related to health care; and work space for library staff. The new library will be less a library and more like an information center, and I think it will still be at the heart of the medical center campus.

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