Video of Lorcan Dempsey’s Thomas Lecture Now Available

On October 9, 2017, Lorcan Dempsey, vice president of membership and research, and chief strategist at the Online Computer Library Center, delivered his lecture, “Libraries, Library Users, and Collections.”

Dempsey gave his talk in the Formal Lounge of the Women’s Building on Washington University in St. Louis’ Danforth Campus. It was part of the Jack E. & Debbie T. Thomas Endowed Lecture Series honoring Shirley K. Baker, former vice chancellor for scholarly resources & dean of University Libraries, who retired in 2012.

Jack Thomas serves as the chairman of the University Libraries’ National Council advisory group and as a member of the university’s Board of Trustees. The Thomas lecture series brings notable speakers to campus to present on a library- or technology-related topic.

Dempsey coordinates strategic planning and oversees Research, Membership and Community Relations at the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC). He has worked for library and educational organizations in Ireland, the UK and the US. In 2010 he received the National Federation of Advanced Information Services’ (NFAIS) highest award, The Miles Conrad Award. He is an honorary Doctor of the Open University in the UK and has twice received an Association for Library Collections & Technical Services Presidential Citation for his work with OCLC colleagues. Dempsey began his career in public libraries in his native Dublin, Ireland. He is a member of the Cambridge University Library Visiting Committee. He has a bachelor of arts and master of library and information science from University College Dublin.

In his lecture, Dempsey discussed the three ways library collections are changing because of broad environmental issues in the research and learning spaces that libraries occupy. The three trends are the inside-out collection, where libraries work with other campus partners to support the creation, management and disclosure of institutional materials; the facilitated collection, where the library connects users to resources of interest to their research and learning needs; and the collective collection, where libraries begin to think about moving to shared environments to manage their collections and assuming collective responsibility for stewardship of the scholarly record.

Dempsey’s talk was the fifth and final lecture in the series. Previous speakers were

  • Lawrence Lessig, “The Role of Libraries in the Age of Digital Culture,” October 10, 2013. Lessig is a founding board member of Creative Commons, a strong proponent of copyright reform and Roy L. Furman Professor of Law and Leadership at Harvard University.
  • Sarah E. Thomas, “Fire in the Library,” April 8, 2015. In her talk, Thomas, vice president of the Harvard Library and university librarian, explored the transformation of libraries in the 21st century, as they continue to preserve enduring core values.
  • Jim Neal, “Library Virtuality, Virtuosity, and Virtuousness,” October 4, 2016. Neal, then president-elect of the American Library Association, discussed the shifting vision of academic libraries and how technology has influenced services, collections, and outreach.
  • Sarah M. Pritchard, “Linking Libraries to Promote and Preserve a City’s History,” March 30, 2017. Pritchard, dean of libraries and Charles Deering McCormick University Librarian at Northwestern University, discussed the process of establishing the Chicago Collections Consortium.

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