A future library for MIT

A taskforce is exploring what a global library for a global university should look like.

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The taskforce was charged with seeking broad input from the MIT community and from domain experts on how the MIT Libraries ought to evolve to best advance the creation, dissemination, and preservation of knowledge, and to serve as a leader in the reinvention of research libraries.

Three working groups were formed to explore three broad topics:

  • Community and relationships
  • Discovery and use
  • Stewardship and sustainability

The taskforce's preliminary report has now been published and provides some fascinating recommendations.

Community and relationships

  • MIT Libraries must be a global library serving a global university and its audiences
  • The communities served by MIT Libraries can be seen as a concentric circles (from current students, faculty etc) outwards via MIT alumni, the local community etc to a global community of scholars
  • Physical library spaces need to be redesigned
  • MIT Libraries will provide educational opportunities to equip the MIT community with the skills to use, generate and disseminate information and knowledge

Discovery and use

  • MIT Libraries should be a trusted vehicle for disseminating MIT research to the world
  • They will provide comprehensive digital access to content in MIT’s collections
  • Use partnerships to generate open, interoperable content platforms and promote new methodologies for discovery and organisation of people, information and networks
  • Review –and consider revising – MIT’s current OA policies and practices

Stewardship and sustainability

  • MIT Libraries will serve as a trusted repository for research objects produced at MIT and the metadata associated with MIT scholarship
  • They should engage with and provide leadership in collaborative global efforts to ensure long term stewardship

The taskforce also recommends the establishment of an initiative for research in information science and scholarly communication – based in MIT libraries.

The key vision for MIT libraries is to embrace its role as a global platform serving a global community. Along the way, roles must continue to change and the libraries themselves must become a centre for research and development.

There's a link to all the relevant documents here.