The rapid pace of change in research university libraries: An interview with Keith Webster


Recently, I had the opportunity to interview Keith Webster, Dean of University Libraries and Director of Emerging and Integrative Media Initiatives at Carnegie Mellon University. We discussed how academic libraries have changed in the last two decades, reflecting on the growth of digital content and the rapidly evolving scholarly record. I also asked Keith to imagine the research library of the future and to share where his own library is heading in the near term, with investments in multi-purpose repositories, RIM systems, and increasing support for research analytics and institutional reputation management.

The world has changed markedly since our chat, but despite the impacts of the pandemic, I think Keith’s comments are more relevant, rather than less. Among other subjects, we discuss how:

  • Library practices must evolve to keep pace with rapid change
  • The response of the Carnegie Mellon library, in particular, in this environment
  • Library leaders can use OCLC Research to support their decision making

These changes are still happening, but at a quickening pace, and OCLC Research publications, blogs, community engagement, and thought leadership continue to support research libraries through it all.

I think you’ll find Keith’s views both thoughtful and inspiring, as did I.