reinvest in our libraries, which had suffered during a prior decade of forced cutbacks. Over the past five years we have devoted an additional $1 million per year to our libraries, and protected our library investments in the wake of future economic challenges. This—along with a dedicated and outstanding team of librarians, a student-elected annual contribution of $400,000, and several other important gifts from alumni—has allowed us to dramatically increase our collections, refurbish many of our facilities, expand our opening hours, and increase our volume and quality of services. I am happy to report that McGill’s library, and our campus technology services, have both scored top marks in the Globe and Mail’s annual Canadian University Report, for several years running, based on student surveys. Colleagues, I know you have all spent the past two days grappling with the tough questions that face research libraries in this age of declining print and exploding electronic information. This age when elections and revolutions are waged with the weapon of social media, when global disasters are documented by “citizen journalists” carrying cell phones, and when the amount of data circulating around the globe has recently necessitated the coining of a new term—the “exabyte,” that is, a billion gigabytes—in an attempt to harness and describe this dizzying acceleration of digital information. And you stand in that breach—in this second decade of this new millennium—accepting as you do the extraordinary mission of redesigning the image and function of the research university library. You already know—better than anyone—that libraries, and particularly research libraries, are crucial in managing and evaluating this accelerating revolution in how information affects and shapes how we think, how we learn, and how we communicate. Where you, our librarians, and libraries go, research universities will follow. Just as, in my youth, libraries and librarians opened the door to new worlds of possibility, and offered me a chance to step in, so too are our research libraries now opening the door for many of the innovations and adaptations that higher education must embrace in its continuing evolution. In my job, I also think a lot about the research university, and have had the privilege, and obligation, of trying to visualize where research universities are RLI 276 2 Ahead of the Storm: Research Libraries and the Future of the Research University ( C O N T I N U E D ) SEPTEMBER 2011 RESEARCH LIBRARY ISSUES: A QUARTERLY REPORT FROM ARL, CNI, AND SPARC You already know—better than anyone—that libraries, and particularly research libraries, are crucial in managing and evaluating this accelerating revolution in how information affects and shapes how we think, how we learn, and how we communicate.