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Against The Grain Journal

Charleston Library Conference 

Feb 27, 2017

Views from the Penthouse Suite Interview with Anja Smit

Anja Smit, Library Director, Ultrecht University, The Netherlands is interviewed by Erin Gallagher Director of Collection Services for the Eric V. Hauser Memorial Library at Reed College and Matthew Ismail, Director of Collection Development, Central Michigan University in November 2016 in an "Against the Grain" Penthouse interview at the 2016 Charleston Conference in Charleston, South Carolina.

Anja discusses her career and international work experience. The interview moves on to Anja’s concepts of “a library without a collection” and “a library without a catalog.” She notes that future libraries will add value by offering consulting services, not serving as a gateway to content. The library role in assessing information and in teaching information literacy is also highlighted.

The conversation turns to the disconnect between how researchers work and how librarians view research. Anja notes the need for librarians to be more familiar with researcher workflows and stresses the need for discipline knowledge. Librarians acting as consultants and their role as emissaries for content providers are then discussed. They discuss impacts of open access on preservation and the library’s role in data management.

The conversation then switches to how librarians can learn the new skills & competencies needed to add relevant value. This moves the discussion to library education with Anja noting there are no library schools in the Netherlands. There libraries are recruiting people with the new skills and competencies. The conversation continues exploring several topics including the European and US approaches to OA, global collaboration, standards & standardizing, and discovery. The interview ends on a light note as Anja is asked what she reads for fun.

Links to news articles mentioned:

AAAS and Gates Foundation Partnership

Tate Publishing Closes It’s Doors

Jisc National Monograph Strategy

21st Century Library