Exploring the impact of print in the digital age

Print is not dead.

In this era of digital media, as university libraries worldwide are significantly reducing their open stack print collections, vital conversations are needed in the development of new design strategies and methodologies for print curation in the 21st century.

With grant support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and in collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), ASU Library is planning for a future in which the academic library print collection engages and inspires its communities as never before.

ASU and MIT Libraries believe that print has an important place in the library spaces of the present and future, and so propose to collaborate on a planning and research effort that takes a fresh look at the design of open stack academic print collections. Titled “The Future of the Academic Library Print Collection,” the grant will enable research, data collection, a two-day workshop, and the production of a whitepaper on the sustainable and meaningful future of local print curation in academic libraries.

ASU’s University Librarian Jim O’Donnell, the principal investigator of the grant, aims to lay out new strategies that may serve as a model for other academic libraries facing the same challenges.

Together, ASU Library and MIT Libraries encompass approximately 7.5 million volumes. Using the two university libraries as real-world case studies will aid the project team in exploring larger questions around the enduring value of print; creating inclusive, engaging and useful print collections; and developing a new book-collecting philosophy for the 21st century.