Libraries at University of Nebraska-Lincoln



An issue of central importance for academic librarians of the future will be how to perform successful collection development in a time of narrow budgets and a rapidly expanding universe of information. For librarians in the humanities, in particular, the issue of how to decide what to collect is even more fraught with tensions in a multicultural era in which conventional standards used to evaluate materials have been radically contested and in which the very existence of the canon, or any type of core collection, has been called into question. It will be important to the local culture of the college or university and the broader society as a whole for librarians to become more aware of their part in the process of canon-formation and the social construction of knowledge and for us to take into consideration the difficulty of balancing the needs of present and future scholars. This paper looks at how the canon has been problematized by postmodern critics, how this will affect collection development decisions, what librarians can do to address some of these issues and, finally, how electronic resources and hypertext are changing the role of the collection development librarian of the future.