MIT encourages students to “hack” the library

Preliminary report recommends reinventing the library to better serve the Institute

A report published last Monday by MIT’s Task Force on the Future of Libraries encouraged members of the MIT community to “hack the library” in an effort to reinvent the modern research library.  

This long-term “hack” is to create a library of the future: one that is “interactive, responsive, and collaborative,” according to the report.

The committee responsible for the report urged the MIT community to generate ideas to reinvent the library in addition to proposing a few “hacks” of its own.

The proposed changes would impact four aspects of MIT libraries: improved relationships between the library and the community, more open dissemination of knowledge, better management MIT’s scholarly resources, and further research and development of a “library of the future.”

To improve relationships between the library and community, the report suggested MIT libraries serve a broader audience. Resources should be available, beyond MIT students and faculty, to cooperating scholars, alumni, students of MITx, all Cantabrigians and Bostonians, and scholars across the world. In addition, the report recommends the creation of a group to redesign the library physically to help further these goals.

To be of greater service to the world, the report recommended that libraries digitize analog collections and acquire more digital content to facilitate dissemination of MIT research.

To manage MIT’s scholarly resources and legacy, the report encouraged archiving analog content and managing and preserving digital research. 

Finally, the report recommended the establishment of an initiative to conduct experiments and research what the challenges are in information science and scholarly communication.

More suggestions on developing the future of libraries can be sent to