Libraries at University of Nebraska-Lincoln


Date of this Version



Published in Journal of Library Administration 51:1 (January 2011), pp. 54–65; doi: 10.1080/01930826.2011.531641 Copyright © 2011 Taylor & Francis Group LLC. Used by permission.


To change from collection-centric to user-centered research libraries and to survive in tough economic times, libraries face 2 major challenges: 1st, libraries need to change how they are viewed by their constituencies so they are seen as indispensable; and 2nd, libraries need to help the librarians and staff change their own mental models of their roles to remain relevant in these changing times. Metaphors are one way to help people connect terms in new ways so they develop new images of those terms. For more than 100 years, libraries have used metaphors to seek connections that will help people see libraries as something other than warehouses for books. This article will explore various metaphors being used in the library field and how these metaphors can help libraries introduce change to improve their chances of receiving the support needed to survive.