Joe Salem is Dean of Libraries at Michigan State University, and he joins Spartans Athletic Director Bill Beekman on the MSU Today podcast for a conversation on how libraries are evolving.
“At its core, a library has always been the same thing,” Salem tells Beekman. “A library provides people with the resources they need to learn, either in a structured environment like a university or on their own in a public library. It provides the space, either physical or online space, to use those resources and to create new information or knowledge with those resources. And then this is the really important part, it wraps all that with expertise that can be in the form of technology enabled expertise or in-person expertise.
“We're increasingly digital first with a lot of our resources. Even the information resources - we have a pretty good collections budget and a really robust collection here – 70 percent of it is spent on digital resources. The space is beautiful here on campus, but the library is also really useful online. What makes it a library is those components and then having the experts to help you use, find, analyze, and then create with whatever you're using.”
Salem details many of the services available through the MSU Library. He discusses how Big Ten libraries collaborate and talks about some of the library’s special collections featuring cookbooks, comic books, and the Vincent Voice Library.
Salem says one of the best parts of his job is “talking about the great work we do and the really great work that my colleagues do.” He says he misses the energy that students bring to the physical library and hopes they can return en masse soon.
“The students feel ownership of the library and really love the place. You can feel that. They take care of it.”