The impact of the electronic library on Greek academic libraries and librarians
Greek academic libraries have followed a different development path from that of libraries in West Europe and North America; rather than steady development, they have stagnated for many years and then made marked leaps of progress. The situation changed in 1996, with the involvement of the Greek academic libraries in the EC's Second Community Support Framework (SCSF)
programme, which helped them to modernise their services, implement new technology and employ qualified staff. This study seeks to investigate the ways in which the electronic library has affected Greek academic libraries and librarians. The study has four central themes: firstly it reviews the notion of the electronic library. Secondly, it investigates the impact that Information Technology (IT) and Electronic Information Resources (EIR) have on Greek academic libraries. Thirdly, it examines in depth the impact of IT and EIR on librarians and looks into their training needs. The last theme focuses on the view of institutional staff concerning libraries and librarians.
The survey shows that even though the SCSF programme has helped libraries to improve services and implement new technology, there are still libraries that encounter problems with the use of technology and many have limited access to EIR. On the other hand, libraries that manage to provide quality services based on new technology, still encounter problems relating to a limited number of PCs and limited website development. Furthermore, library staff made limited use of the available EIR. From the survey it became clear that even though many librarians had attended a training programme concerning EIR, the majority of them mentioned that they urgently needed
retraining. From the interviews with librarians and institutional staff, it became apparent that libraries and
librarians have made significant progress and managed to change and improve library's environment and services. Additionally, they agreed that library staff have improved their profile
and established themselves in the academic community as information providers. As a result the majority of academics trust librarians with the use of IT and EIR and most of them agree that they can be in the forefront in developing services such as building a digital library, that will affect the
whole academic community. This is the only research which has documented the significant changes in Greek academic libraries with the advent of EIR. It has sought to understand the impact on Greek librarians and to explore their changing role in Greek universities, as there has been marked progress in the improved working relationship with academic staff and an improved status for librarians.