The recent Charleston Library Conference, held November 6-10, 2017, was an excellent opportunity for academic librarians, vendors, and publishers to meet, listen to, and comment on each other’s initiatives, plans, and concerns for the future.

It’s impossible for any attendee to be at each and every session – there are so many happening at once – but over the course of the 2.5-day meeting, it’s possible to attend enough to get an overall feel for the general themes emerging from the conference.

The most important theme in 2017 was the debate about just how much libraries in the future, and by extension future publishing, will be different from today’s, and how best to prepare for this. Several sessions focused on:

·         the changing student demographic, from millennials to Generation Z

·         the movement in scholarship focus towards data analysis, digital tools, and born-digital content

·         the physical library space being repurposed (from circulation desks to collaborative meeting space, for example) and what that means for librarianship

·         new ways, means, and initiatives for access to digital content

·         just how much artificial intelligence (AI) can and will impact learning and research

Other areas of interest include open access (OA), and how much libraries should be involved in funding, creating policies, and instructing researchers on how to publish via this option.

And librarians remain very concerned about how best to market the library, to make sure members of the community are aware of all the resources the library can provide, and all of the services the library offers in support of their patrons’ needs.

Cambridge University Press participated in two sessions, both held at 12:45 pm on Wednesday, November 8:

A Little EBA’ll Do Ya: How EBA is Driving Changes to eBook Publishing: two librarians, one from the US and one from the UK, join Cambridge sales reps in discussing their EBA experiences

Mission Driven Publishing in the 21st Century: representatives from four university presses, two from the US and two from the UK, look at how missions shape publishing, and how these adapt to a changing market

More information can be found at the conference’s website.

Once again, the Charleston Library Conference proved a very useful and interesting time, well worth the time away from one’s usual workday, and provoking lots of thought about what we all in the academic community do, and why, and how we can do it better.

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