All the King’s Horses and All the King’s Men: College Libraries in the Digital Age

2:00pm - 3:30pm EDT October 31, 2012

This seminar—the first in a year-long series focused on the future of the liberal arts college library—seeks to engage members of the NITLE Network in building shared discussion about that future and in developing common structures and strategies for sustaining the mission of the college library. We encourage faculty, librarians, instructional technologists, and others to attend: attendance by institutional teams is strongly encouraged; individuals are also welcome to participate. (Times EDT)

This first seminar of the Future of the Liberal Arts College Library series begins a shared journey of inquiry into the series topic with a call and a response. IUPUI Dean of Libraries David W. Lewis will sound the tocsin on the future of collections; Bryn Geffert, Librarian of the College at Amherst College will respond.

David Lewis’ presentation will examine the current state of college libraries. He will use the lens of Clayton Christensen’s theories of disruptive innovation to attempt to determine what jobs students and faculty will hire college libraries to do and what theories we can use to look into the future and make reasonable predictions about what is coming. (See sidebar for related content.) A central consideration will be the role of collections. Collections are of prime importance because they are both where most of the money goes and because they have shaped library practice and values. They are core to how we see ourselves and how others see us. But collections have large opportunity costs, and if college libraries are to be successful in the next decade they must shed some of these costs, without impacting their users, and reinvest them in new services.


David Lewis is dean of the IUPUI University Library and Indiana University’s assistant vice president of digital scholarly communications. Mr. Lewis received a B.A. in history from Carleton College (1973) and an M.L.S. from Columbia University (1975). He has two certificates of advanced study in librarianship, one from the University of Chicago, which he received as part of a Council on Library Resources fellowship (1983), and one from Columbia University (1991). He came to Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) in 1993 as the head of public services and has been the dean of the University Library since 2000.

Mr. Lewis has written more than 40 articles and book chapters on topics ranging from reference services to the management of libraries to scholarly communication. (Many of these works can be found via IUPUI Scholar Works.)


Bryn Geffert is the librarian of the college at Amherst College. He received his master’s degree in library and information science from the University of Illinois, and then attended the University of Minnesota for a master’s in Russian history and a Ph.D. in modern European history. Prior to Amherst, he served as the library director and an associate professor of history at the United States Military Academy, better known as West Point. In his role as librarian, Bryn is keenly interested in the future of libraries and scholarly publishing, arguing that the only hope for either is to merge with the other.

About the Future of the Liberal Arts College Library series

The Future of the Liberal Arts College Library seminar series is part of NITLE’s continuing effort to engage members of the NITLE Network in conversation around this important topic. Over the course of the year, the series will bring librarians, faculty, and interested others from NITLE’s member campuses together to explore principal elements: What is the future of the liberal arts? the future of the liberal arts college? the future of the library?

Our goal in asking these questions, exploring potential answers, and engaging stakeholders from across the NITLE Network in sharing their diverse perspectives is to prepare the groundwork for moving on to the next step: joint and individual action. These discussions are aimed at both inspiring and guiding us in strategically crafting campus policy or developing intra- and inter-campus collaborative connections.

Because broad engagement across diverse viewpoints is key to developing strategies that are actually effective in the long run, we encourage stakeholders from member campuses to participate regularly in this seminar series, recruit campus colleagues to join the discussion, and to use seminar discussions as fuel for ongoing conversation on campus

Series Hashtag

Participants are encouraged to share their thoughts on Twitter via this series’ hashtag: #LAClibrary.


Registration for this event is closed. (Participation in NITLE Shared Academics events is open to all active member institutions of the NITLE Network as a benefit of membership and as space allows. No additional registration fee applies.)


For more information about this event, please contact Sean Johnson Andrews at