Today kicks off National Library Week for 2017, sponsored by the American Library Association. This year’s theme, “Libraries Transform”, celebrates all the contributions that libraries have made to accommodate new technologies. We would like to take a moment to thank the people that have made it all happen: librarians.
The role of librarians has evolved tremendously over the past 20 years. Though they still curate and preserve content, gone are the days of a librarian spending the day scanning bar codes behind a desk for patrons. Today, librarians have a hand in every step of the research publishing process, from researchers just starting a project to publishing findings, and facilitate discussions between researchers, institutions, governments and other agencies, and publishers.
When it comes to conducting research, scientists have the challenge of navigating policies from multiple places. Librarians play a pivotal role in helping people sort through the information. At the beginning of the research process, librarians help researchers locate the content they need to get started and advise them in how to conduct research ethically and responsibly. Lost in the grant-writing process? Librarians are a great resource for sifting through funding requirements to make sure the application satisfies every imperative, and they help researchers put together a publication package when they submit to journals.
Because librarians work with different departments, they often hold the primary responsibility for organizing the institution’s data management systems. They also ensure that the institution complies with open access and data management mandates from various agencies, lifting that burden off of researchers’ shoulders.
Librarians also help publishers connect with readers. Not only do they merge systems to make collections more accessible to researchers, they also disseminate information from the publisher to patrons about publications and other technology, such as SciFinder. Librarians also host events in, conjunction with publishers, to promote valuable resources and act as advocates and intermediaries between publishers and patrons.
As libraries move further away from physical collections and toward digital media, libraries serve as a hub for collaborative work and are even becoming a home for shared fabrication spaces, with 3D printing and other technology on site.
On behalf of ACS Publications: Thank you, librarians, for all of your hard work.