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Modern libraries are built brick by digital brick, says Singapore head librarian


In a blog post for the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), Singapore Management University (SMU) head librarian Gulcin Cribb explores how modern academic libraries now serve as virtual village squares for their campuses. Titled “Great exaggerations! Death of Libraries,” Cribb’s post refutes the misconception that the shift from print to digital is a sign of the death of libraries, and is instead a natural evolution in focus.

According to Cribb, SMU Libraries now spends over 90 percent of its funds on digital collections, and 80 percent of its collections are digital. This spans digital books, journals, articles, objects, media, digital infrastructure, networks, apps, data, and analytics. Despite this virtual emphasis, SMU Libraries’ physical usage has been increasing, with over 1.3 million entries recorded in 2017, including 7,000-8,000 unique persons per month; these are impressive figures given the school’s overall student population of 9,000.

“Libraries of today are all about expertise, resources, services and spaces both digital and physical,” writes Cribb. “They add value to their communities’ success in a seamless, ubiquitous and agile way. Libraries of today are the digital and virtual village squares of their campuses. Today’s libraries are about engagement, collaboration, communication and partnerships.”

Click here to read Cribb’s blog post on the IFLA website.