It has been a busy time for those of us who watch the doings of the Copyright Office. In addition to releasing a massive report on Orphan Works and Mass Digitization, about which I have written here, the Copyright Office (CO) is the subject of a piece of legislation introduced as a discussion draft on June 3. The bill, if it were officially introduced and ultimately enacted, would remove the CO from the Library of Congress (LC) and establish it as an independent agency of the federal government, under the Executive Branch. Then, while we were still considering the ramifications of this idea, came the announcement on June 10 of the pending retirement of Dr. James Billington, who has been the Librarian of Congress for the past 29 years.
As proof positive that, even with their superior powers of observation and vision, librarians can’t predict the future, the planners for the American Library Association 2015 annual conference definitely underestimated how many people would be attending the program Look into the Crystal Ball: Future Directions for Higher Education and Academic Libraries, sponsored by the Association of College and Research Libraries University Libraries Section (ACRL ULS). Every seat was filled, as well as all available floor space, with attendees eager to hear the panel’s thoughts on what the future may hold for academic libraries.
On April 30 the academic publishing company Elsevier announced that it would be updating its article sharing policies. In a post on its website titled Unleashing the power of academic sharing, Elsevier’s director of access and policy Alicia Wise outlined a framework of new sharing and hosting policies, which include guidelines for sharing academic articles at every stage of their existence, from preprint to post-publication, and protocol for both non-commercial—that is, repository—and commercial hosting platforms.
When Michigan’s Grand Valley State University (GSVU) built a new library a few years ago, Dean of Libraries Lee Van Orsdel wanted staff and stakeholders alike to throw out the rulebook on library design. The result was an acclaimed space that has been a hit with GVSU students, driving more traffic to the library and changing how students use it—changes that in turn have even influenced other industries.
(Editor’s Note: Virginia’s attorney general announced June 20 that Sweet Briar College will remain open for the 2015–16 academic year. The alumnae group Saving Sweet Briar has pledged to raise $12 million toward operating costs, and the college will release restrictions on $16 million in endowments. At least 13 members of the current board of 23 will be replaced by trustees, and the board will then appoint a new president. See the Chronicle of Higher Education for more details about the agreement.)
It is no secret that legal education in America faces an uncertain future. A pronounced enrollment decline coupled with widespread negative media attention—especially regarding a lack of practical skills training in law school curriculums—has led the legal academy to consider serious reform measures. As has been predicted ad nauseam by commentators, in the near future, a number of law schools may even be forced to close. As law schools go, so go academic law libraries, and the crisis in legal education has had a profound effect on these institutions. Shrinking budgets and “questions of new missions” have beset law libraries across the nation. But for a number of interrelated reasons, this so-called crisis might be a blessing in disguise.
In our first 2015 In-Depth Interview with Library Journal Movers & Shakers from academic libraries, sponsored by SAGE, we spoke with Kyle Courtney. In 2014 Courtney, Harvard University’s copyright advisor, brought together his first cohort of Copyright First Responders (CFRs)—a group of volunteer librarians who spent their summer in his Copyright Immersion Program in order […]