bill-mayer.jpgHow are university libraries adapting to a world in which students have wider access to information resources through services like Google and Wikipedia? Bill Mayer, University Librarian at American University in Washington, DC, discusses how institutions are serving the research needs of students and faculty today.

Bill has been with AU since 2007. Previously he served in a variety of library roles at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard Business School, George Washington University, and the Washington Research Library Consortium.


In this conversation, you will learn:

  • How university libraries are adapting to the changing needs of today’s researchers and why it is far more than stacks of books, as many people over 30 typically imagine.
  • Why the library of the future will not be a massive monolithic structure and instead will become more integrated into more aspects of campus life.
  • What the role of Wikipedia, Google, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other services may be in the library of the 21st century.
  • Whether Wikipedia is a valid research tool and how it might be properly used by college researchers.
  • What being a vineyard manager and cattle rancher taught Bill about being a librarian.
  • Why Bill told some freshman students recently that they shouldn’t come to the library (and not because they were being unruly!)
  • Why “authenticity” and “trust” is critical to the role of a librarian and how that applies to information technology.
  • Whether the university library of the future may be more like your neighborhood coffee shop than the staid, buttoned-down institution of the past.
  • What changes Bill sees on the horizon for the next 5 to 10 years as far as libraries and technology are concerned.
  • Plus a few fun anecdotes like how Bill learned to cook and why he would often find himself having breakfast or dinner with 20 college students when he was just a kid growing up in California.

(read the complete transcript)

Disclosure: I am an alumnus of American University where I serve on the Board of the Alumni Association and the Advisory Council of the School of Public Affairs. In addition, I am a donor to the American University Library.