The report, Futures Thinking for Academic Librarians: Higher Education in 2025,” sponsored by ACRL, provides nine likely, high-impact scenarios for the future of higher education and the supporting role of librarians. Understanding that universities and their academic libraries take time to adapt to change, the purpose of this study was to start preparing for the likely — or inevitable — future. These scenarios involve:
1. A breaking of the textbook monopoly — creating flexible content that allow pieces to be assembled and allow feedback from users.
2. “I see what you see” — large touch screens that allow for collaborations.
3. “Write here with me” — automated mobile devices that allow students to collect and reference work.
4. Bridging the scholar/practitioner divide — open access publishing and open peer review
5. Stultifying of scholarship — the antithesis of #4 where the current status quo is maintained and strengthened.
6. Everyone is a non-traditional student — moving beyond the 4-year resident college experience.
7. Meet the new freshman class — preparing for the digital divide between in-coming tech-savy students and students with need of remedial technological training.
8. Increasing threat of cybercrime — as campuses lock down their technology, online privacy and intellectual freedom are compromised.
9. “This class brought to you by . . . ” — disaggregated education provided by corporate sponsors.
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