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Dean's Update: Times are a Changing

“The times they are a changin’…”

Fifty years ago [January 13, 1964 to be exact], Bob Dylan released his third studio album, so titled. It was his first to feature only his own original compositions. It captured a feeling of the times, its ballads addressing social and political turmoil. The lead song’s verse included the prediction that “The order is rapidly fadin/And the first one now will later be last/For the times they are a changing.” For some the raspy sounds of its poetry became an anthem of change.

This morning the theme came to mind as I read this month’s In Circulation articles. They offer insights into small activities that may seem to some as revolutionary reordering of what libraries do. They are among our original compositions to engage with the upheaval around us triggered by fundamental changes in how information is stored and accessed, in behaviors for utilizing evidence in research processes, and in environments to stimulate creativity and knowledge flow. The academic library line-up of fifty years ago is rapidly fading—big collections are being eclipsed by big data, librarians waiting at reference desks are moving out to places where the work of study and research occur, a secure front door is re-conceived as an inclusive interactive experience to enter the virtual library. The Drexel Libraries staff are out front in today’s changing times working to recycle collections, to flag where our expertise can be found, and to creatively redesign our website.

I hope you’ll enjoy our ballads for this month and join us in humming new tunes about change.

Danuta A. Nitecki
Dean of Libraries

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