April Mahlangu (Tshwane University of Technology)
April Mahlangu is the Head of Library Centralised Support Services and is responsible for library planning, reporting and monitoring as well as library corporate projects at the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) Library and Information Services (LIS). He holds an Honours Degree in Information Science for Development from the University of Pretoria and is finalising his Masters Degree in Business Administration with Tshwane University of Technology Business School. He has been in the library profession for 17 years with some years spent at the Universities of Pretoria and Johannesburg. April is a visionary leader, action oriented and a change agent. Organisational planning, effectiveness and monitoring as well us project management and customer experience in academic libraries are his areas of specialty. He has done research on customer needs, market research and library effectiveness in higher education institutions. He believes that any organisation exists to add value and without “value add”; the organisation naturally ceases to exist and that there is nothing more permanent than change.
“Digital predator” or “Digital prey”: Transformation in academic libraries
Disruptive technologies, changing customer preferences, and rapid changes in the competitive environment are changing the way we do almost everything. This has affected the way we do shopping, travelling, sending a gift to a friend, banking etc. It has raised the expectations of the techno-savvy clients and has in turn also had a tremendous impact in higher education sector (Thanks to Uber, Amazon, NetFlorist, Netflix and Google books). The new generation of students is more techno-savvy and demands a speedily, more personalised service than before. This has led to a change in pedagogy, teaching and learning styles and programme presentation method that gave rise to e-learning, e-research and e-publishing.
The Fourth Industrial Revolution (FIR) is also rapidly shaking, shaping and disrupting the way in which organisations do business. Disrupters such us (Google's self-driving cars, Facebook's vision of bringing the Internet to the world, micro robots that can prevent disease, 3-D printers that can create organs) are provoking change in the way libraries do business. All of these influencers require agile, visionary and transformational library leaders who will transform libraries into a FIR library that can use big data, AI and analytics to meet the needs and expectations of the net generation library users.
Based on recent research on digital transformation and the writer's observations and aspirations of organisational leadership, this paper provides an opinion on how academic libraries should embrace digital transformation. The writer argues that digital transformation is no longer a dream or a fad but a necessity.
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