Up From the Ashes
In our annual survey of libraries, ITI’s research division reported this year that library budgets have stabilized and may even be increasing, but it’s still hard for most libraries to make ends meet. The budget squeeze has in several ways accelerated the pace at which libraries are switching from physical to digital collections, according to our studies.
Our cover story this month is by principal analyst Joe McKendrick, who focuses on the rise of the digital public library, but the trends he notes for public libraries are true in many respects for academic, government, and special libraries as well. Libraries are not just places any more; they are destinations that can be accessed from anywhere.
The worst of the recession is hopefully only a memory now, but as was often predicted in the past couple of years, things will not be returning to what we once regarded as normal. Libraries are leaner, both in terms of staff and physical resources, but they are emerging from the chaos transformed into collaborative learning, Wi-Fi-enabled spaces with virtual collections.
In this brave new library land, libtech has never been more important, and the options for digital solutions have never been greater. In this, our annual Buyer’s Guide issue, we list the hardware, software, and digital content vendors from A to Z in a handy reference-guide format. And our authors provide tips for sourcing, specifying, selecting, and buying library stuff from the devices everyone wants to check out to the library back office services now available in the cloud.
Other useful items you’ll find in this issue include a guide to employment resources for librarians, and we’ve also included some core data on book, ebook, and audiobook pricing that should help you avoid any budget surprises next year.
With that said, happy hunting for the perfect fits for you and your rejuvenated library.
Dick Kaser, Executive Editor