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Iowa State University

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Challenges & needs of the Library

from Olivia Madison, Dean of the Library

Olivia M.A. Madison, Dean of the Library An outstanding library is at the heart of the Iowa State educational experience. Quality instruction, research, and outreach for this major land grant institution depend upon access to a rich array of information resources. Through nationally recognized collections and innovative leadership in access to information across the world, the ISU Library serves as a major scientific and scholarly resource to students and faculty and to researchers in industry, business, and government.

Today, the library faces four dominant challenges in providing the resources necessary for an excellent education:

Increasing Numbers of Publications

With an explosion in the types and numbers of publications available today, research libraries are struggling to keep pace. The ISU Library is seeking solutions to this problem by purchasing materials in new formats, developing innovative methods of managing information, and promoting cooperative sharing of resources.

New Information and Communications Technology

Alternative methods of retrieving and storing information are helping libraries cope with the increasing numbers of publications now available. Computers, electronic networks, and CD-ROM databases, while allowing rapid searching of information, require significant investments of time and money to install and update.

High Inflation and Fluctuating World Value of the Dollar

Library materials are costly. Inflation for book materials far exceeds the general rate of inflation. Fluctuating dollar values compound the problem for materials purchased overseas. State allocations cannot keep up with the dramatic and repeated cost increases for books and journals.

Deteriorating Collections

Time, use, and environment are working to destroy library collections. A chief culprit is the acidic paper used for printing over the last century. Libraries bear a special responsibility to preserve the heritage of the past and the intellectual record of the present for those who are yet to come. Through its preservation treatment facility, the ISU library works to restore this heritage, preserving it for future generations.

Your support is critical to our efforts. With the help of our donors, we are able to face these challenges and provide the resources necessary for a quality education.

Iowa State University

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