Barbara Fister over at wrote an interesting piece on the importance of Academic Libraries, here is the bits that I found the most interesting:

we can provide a total experience that works well. It’s the totality of the good experience that he feels matters: the website, the face-to-face services, the catalog, the collection – all of it.

we provide meaning – or meanings, depending on the user’s goal. It may be enlightenment, it may be learning some skills and strategies to succeed as a student, it may be the pursuit of beauty or comfort or a sense of belonging to a wider world of knowledge.

We want to be a place where people feel they are part of a community, where it’s not too hard to find sources, and where they will find materials out of which they can build meaning.

[the] awe comes from the sense that within libraries, among all those books, exists the whole of human knowledge, that it encompasses not just the present but the past, that libraries are a testament to human imagination and knowledge itself.

Finally, libraries embody principles that go beyond collections and beyond local needs. We stand for the importance of knowledge: not just information, but what we do with information. We stand for access: not just getting stuff conveniently, but making sure that information isn’t censored or suppressed or distributed selectively so that only the elite have it.

I especially like that last bit of what we stand for at academic libraries!