Educause Review | If the Academic Library Ceased to Exist, Would We Have To Invent It?
Conventional wisdom among college and university students (and many of their parents) in early 2007 is that "everything needed for research is available free on the Web." Therefore, academic libraries are often viewed as costly dinosaurs—unnecessary expenses in today's environment. This idea is uninformed at best and foolish at worst. If college and university libraries and librarians didn't exist, we would certainly have to invent—better yet, re-invent—them. Here's why.
Let's imagine August 2010 at Excellent College (EC), a liberal arts institution of 2,000 undergraduates and 200 faculty. The college has decided to stop funding its library. Instead, it will give students a tuition rebate and give faculty a stipend representing their share of the annual amount that would previously have gone to support the library's collections, facilities, and staff—about $2.7 million total. Each student and faculty member will get $1,230. For now, the library building and hard-copy collections will remain in place, student assistants will keep the doors open, and custodians will clean the facility; but database subscriptions will be discontinued, and no other services will be provided. Since the college has a robust honor code, circulation of materials will be on the honor system. Students and faculty will now be on their own to secure the information resources they need to fulfill their responsibilities...
A good read give it a once through.