Bronwyn's Library Blog

Friday, March 10, 2006

What if Wal-mart ran the library?

by Joseph J. Esposito


The giant retailer Wal-Mart is used here as a metaphor for large-scale industrial processes that are being brought to bear on many industries in the evolving global economy, but by and large not on academic institutions and libraries in particular. It is anticipated that the application of such processes will reshape the world of libraries as we know them, with an increasing division between the support of undergraduate education and the requirements of research faculty. While there will be significant opposition to the introduction of such processes, especially because of the resulting disruption of the lives of academic librarians and their institutions, inasmuch as the decisions to make these changes are driven by increasing economic pressures and will be made by authorities above librarians in the institutional hierarchy, the Wal-Martization of the academic library is inevitable.

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