The Future of Libraries and
Area Studies Collections
Larry Alford
Chief Librarian
University of Toronto Libraries
Council on East Asian Libraries
March 14, 2012
Preservation of the Cultural
and Historical Record
Change in libraries is a given;
our future is strong!
Print still matters.
But so does digital.
Scholars demand webscale
coupled with simple discovery.
Is this a contradiction?
Acquire especially the hard to
obtain resources.
Diamond Sutra Preservation
Mark Barnard working
on the Diamond Sutra.
Infilling the tears in the margin.
© The British Library Board
The Lotus Sutra
© The British Library Board
Collect for scholars 100 years
from now!
Collect for today!
Serve new forms of scholarship.
Cooperate and compete.
Put cooperation first!
International Dunhuang Project
© The British Library Board
Share expertise and
build a webscale network.
Partner Internally.
Integrate into the library.
Figure out together how to
acquire social media and
other contemporary digital
Become a connector:
… of scholars
… of ideas
Preserve all of our joint heritage
that you can. Find ways to:
… Cooperate
… Engage
… Connect
Many Projects
Collaborative digitization of Chinese rare
• Academia Sinica in Taiwan & Princeton East Asian Library
• National Library of China & Harvard-Yenching University
• Taiwan National Central Library & University of Washington
East Asian Library
Million Book Digital Library Project
Full digitization by Google Books of
Stanford University and University of
Michigan collections
The Challenge:
Build one comprehensive platform.
Thank you!