Our library’s past and future.
University libraries are in a state of tumultuous change today. Technology has radically changed the way that librarians, students, and faculty think about searching for information. Mobile computing is on the rise, and scholarly communication and publication is becoming a much more open enterprise. Funding (or the lack thereof) has placed state universities in a precarious situation in regard to planning for the future and sustainability. Library spaces are evolving from solitary study areas surrounded by hundreds of thousands of books to collaborative spaces where print materials may be superseded in some cases by electronic resources. In addition, most libraries now allow food and drink, and indeed, many libraries (including the Oviatt) contain coffee houses. This transformation is all very exciting to me, as well as somewhat anxiety-provoking.
While it is undeniably true that many changes are afoot, I am comforted in the fact that there are also many facets of the Oviatt Library that will continue to adhere to traditional best practices and the symbolic Library of the past. One good example of this is the Robert Gohstand and Maureen Kelly Reading Room, which encourages a love for reading in a tranquil, comfortable environment. Other quiet areas are also available throughout the Library, along with group study rooms, and a variety of computer workstations. Most importantly, the invaluable and irreplaceable human element remains steadfast. Expert librarians, a dedicated staff, and a friendly team of student assistants are always on hand to enthusiastically support CSUN’s continued excellence.
Yes, there are many challenges on the horizon for academic libraries, but many opportunities as well. We in the university community can rise to the occasion, or we can be paralyzed by fear and misplaced caution. I invite you to join the Oviatt as we eagerly move to combine the time-proven practices of libraries past with the limitless prospects of our library’s future.
Mark Stover, Ph.D.
Dean, Oviatt Library