Despite the rapidly changing information and technology landscape, collections remain at the heart of academic libraries, signifying their enduring importance in providing access to our cultural heritage. Given broader trends in research and the current information ecology of an increasingly networked, distributed, and licensed environment, building collections and developing collection polices is increasingly ambiguous. These trends impact librarians in form of ever-expanding portfolios, diffusion of effort, weakened sense of focus, and a rising sense of persistent yet unmet needs for developing new skills. This paper outlines current research on collection trends and summarizes the interactive exchanges from the 2019 Charleston Conference Lively Session (https://sched.co/UZR5). Through live polling, session participants identified key trends in libraries and collections: Key trends included business models, budget constraints, consortium deals, continued importance of subscribed content, access vs. ownership, digitization of unique local collections, digital humanities, digital scholarship, library publishing projects, growing library investments in Open Access (OA), and collection diversification efforts with a view to equity and social justice. Among emerging library services, data services and digitization ranked highest in importance. The most-cited wish-list items included transformative deals, stronger campus partnerships, more OA projects, reduced copyright barriers in sharing homegrown digitized video content, as well as skill development in Counter 5 and data analysis. Existing physical and digital preservation programs received only lower-middle strength ratings. Among long-established library characteristics, collection policies, subscribed content, interlibrary loan, and consortial borrowing and lending retained enduring value and high rankings in importance. Tensions continue between ownership, borrowing, and access.

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A presentation at the 2020 Charleston Library Conference, Charleston, S.C., USA.

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Mays, A., & Rieger, O. Y. (2020). Legacy missions in times of change: Defining and shaping collections in the 21st Century. Proceedings of the 2019 Charleston Library Conference. https://doi.org/10.5703/1288284317167

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