Transforming Technical Services: Evolving Functions in Large Research University Libraries

Jeehyun Yun Davis


Technical services functions in academic libraries have evolved in response to fiscal pressures and advances in technology. In this study the author investigates how technical services in large research university libraries are adapting to support the changing roles of academic libraries. The author conducted hour-long phone interviews in early 2014 with the representatives from nineteen out of the twenty-five university libraries in the Technical Services Directors Large Research Libraries Interest Group. This paper presents the results and discussion based on the interview data: use of the name, Technical Services; new and emerging functions of technical services; organizational structure of technical services units; change drivers that are affecting technical services now, and those that will soon; and challenges in managing technical services. Five models of a technical services organizational structure were developed from participants’ organizational charts and interview data. This research also highlights the skills needed among technical services personnel.

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