Critical analysis of academic library trends in conflict zones
This study is designed to determine if selected trends in the library literature take into account the realities of libraries and librarians in conflict zones, and if the experience of librarians in conflict zones can be used to provide a model for implementing these trends. The researcher conducted a critical analysis of emerging trends in academic libraries from the perspective of librarians operating in conflict zones. Specific attention is given to libraries operating in Palestine and neighboring countries. These academic libraries are involved in a transition process, moving away from traditional models of library practice but still searching for the best models of practice to move towards. The need to transition is due to changes in higher education’s teaching methods, rapid development in information technology, and students’ evolving needs. Just as in other parts of the world, academic librarians in conflict zones need to improve their libraries’ services to meet patron demand. By reviewing the latest trends in academic librarianship and the library literature regarding these trends, the researcher highlighted three trends that can be applied by academic libraries in conflict zones. These trends are the library commons approach, community involvement and collection assessment. This review focuses on the emerging trends in academic libraries in conflict zones, challenges they encounter, and how they deal with these challenges. It is followed by a critical analysis of the three most applicable trends for academic libraries in conflict zones. This critique allowed the researcher to build a model that focuses on creating a comfortable and collaborative place for library patrons to facilitate their use of place and technology, satisfy their needs, and for the growth of these libraries and the academic institutions they serve. The conclusion is that emphasizing local authority and political, economic, and cultural knowledge allows select academic library trends to be embraced by librarians in conflict zones while minimizing unintended negative consequences associated with those trends. Recommendations encourage collaborative efforts between academic library professionals and organizations in conflict and non-conflict zones by holding workshops, training programs and conferences to increase the awareness of the emerging trends in conflict zones.