Reorganizing for Transformational Change: The 21st Century Research Library at a Flagship Public University

Jack M. Maness, John Culshaw


Beginning in November 2010 and culminating in February 2012, the University of Colorado Boulder Libraries began planning a significant structural reorganization. Local, pragmatic drivers for the change included retirements at the executive level and the loss of professional librarian lines due to the Great Recession of 2008. But other, more important catalysts existed and are driving similar reorganization efforts in research libraries across the country. The increasingly interdisciplinary, digital, and inter-institutional nature of scholarship, research and teaching requires a more flexible, team-managed research library. Dramatic shifts in how institutions of higher education are funded are also fueling the need to reevaluate organizational structures. This article will explore the process, strategy, and on-going efforts to recreate the research library at the University of Colorado Boulder.

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