First principles are the values and goals that inform our practices at the deepest level -- the ultimate goals towards which we work as librarians. First principles provide the answer to the question "Why do we do what we do?", and if we're wise, we will keep those first principles before us at all times -- particularly when we're making difficult decisions about how our libraries need to change in response to the radical changes in our information environment that continue to complicate (and sometimes simplify) our patrons' lives and undermine our traditional practices. In libraries we have a tendency to confuse traditions with principles and to think of particular practices as sacred. If we are going to remain an essential part of our patrons' life, work, and study patterns, we will have to reexamine some of the practices and traditions that we have become both used to and, often, very good at -- and we're going to have to let go of some of them so that we can adopt new ones. What we consider first principles of librarianship are what will guide us through that process.
Rick Anderson is Associate Dean for Scholarly Resources & Collections in the J. Willard Marriott Library at the University of Utah. He earned his B.S. and M.L.I.S. degrees at Brigham Young University, and has worked previously as a bibliographer for YBP, Inc., as Head Acquisitions Librarian for the University of North Carolina, Greensboro and as Director of Resource Acquisition at the University of Nevada, Reno. He serves on numerous editorial and advisory boards and is a regular contributor to the Scholarly Kitchen blog, as well as writing a regular column for Library Journal's Academic Newswire. His book, Buying and Contracting for Resources and Services: A How-to-Do-It Manual for Librarians, was published in 2004 by Neal-Schuman. In 2005, Rick was identified by Library Journal as a “Mover & Shaker” – one of the “50 people shaping the future of libraries.” In 2008 he was elected president of the North American Serials Interest Group, and he was named an ARL Research Library Leadership Fellow for 2009-10. In 2013 Rick was the recipient of the HARRASSOWITZ Leadership in Library Acquisitions Award and was invited to give the Gould Distinguished Lecture on Technology and the Quality of Life at the University of Utah. He is a popular speaker on subjects related to the future of scholarly communication and research libraries.