We have known for a long time that libraries deliver value to researchers in ways that do not require them to visit our physical buildings (“Libraries ‘becoming invisible’ to junior scholars”, News, 8 December). In my experience, awareness is high that the digital content that they need is available to them as a result of library negotiations and procurement, even if they access it via non-library discovery systems.
I note from the report Early Career Researchers: The Harbingers of Change? that it seems that they did not include any early career researchers in arts subjects, who are most likely to be using library physical spaces and print collections. It seems odd not to acknowledge this before making sweeping statements about the use of physical libraries by early career researchers. While it is true that library spaces often focus on the needs of undergraduates, in my experience that does not make them irrelevant to early career researchers; it means there is a demand that their needs are also taken into account.
Of course, there will be disciplinary differences, and I don’t think this is considered sufficiently in this research.