How an academic librarian's job has changed over the years

July 13, 2015 / by Mango (PS)

Academic librarians used to be the directional hub of the university, pointing students down the numbered paths and hallways, through mazes of books and papers capable of helping them gain knowledge on a wide variety of topics. d. But today’s academic librarians have to do all that and more: they’ve evolved into tech-savvy marketers, career counselors and research coaches.

Let’s take a look at some of the new hats the academic librarian has to wear today.


From managing social media to attracting a greater portion of the student body population (more patrons!), academic librarians have become Don Drapers in their own right. Today, academic libraries need to have a presence on the web, with an emphasis on social and mobile channels, to stay relevant to student needs.

If you’re trying to figure out how to keep your library front and center in students’ minds, check out our earlier blog entries on how to use social media, leverage mobile and engage your campus in new ways. Even if you’re not looking to become the next Leo Burnett, it’s important to learn about the different marketing strategies that can help keep students in the know about what you’re doing.

Global communicator

It’s hard to believe that only a few years ago, the role of the academic librarian didn’t extend too far beyond campus walls. Today, you need to be able to reach people well outside of that range. Today’s librarians are catering to a global campus and need to reach a wide range of audiences with diverse needs and wants. Academic librarians are dealing with students, professors and campus connectors near and far, creating partnerships across all networks through technology, and connecting students with global opportunities. Therefore, it’s important that you utilize these resources to enhance learning on a global scale.


A librarian has always known (and always will know) where a student can find a copy of Jürgen Habermas’s Philosophical Discourse of Modernity, but today’s academic librarians often carry their own special insights on the next big research assignments. Modern academic librarians need to be able to answer “how?” and “why?” questions about their resources—not simply “where?” The librarian dealing with the philosophy student studying modernity better know where to find a history of Frankfurt School critical theory and Derrida’s responses to Habermas to compliment the original research.
Students are turning to academic librarians for advice, research planning and counseling. Today’s best academic librarians are leaders of information centers, equipped with knowledge that spans more than just a map. If you’re looking to stay up-to-date with how you can make your library the best it can be, sign up for our newsletter for more information!

Topics: Higher Ed, Public Libraries

Mango (PS)

Written by Mango (PS)

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