November 20, 2017

John Guscott | Movers & Shakers 2002

A Man for All Centuries

Creator, Library Futures Quarterly

Futurist John Guscott studied classical civilizations as an undergrad, but as an avid sf reader, he was as comfortable with centuries that haven’t happened yet as with the centuries B.C.E. The appeal of sf for him was playing with multiple possible futures and thinking about how people might adapt to or prevent those futures.

When he came across a book called Cyberpunk Librarians while researching the hacker counterculture, he concluded that librarianship was the only profession that really seemed to understand what was happening with the Internet and other information technologies. He became a librarian just as people were beginning to question whether libraries even had a future, so Guscott started searching the professional literature for planning guides for possible futures.

Vitals


Current position: Manager of Electronic Services, Lakewood Public Library, OH

Degree: MLIS, Kent State University (with an emphasis in library administration and rare books), 1999

Editor: Cyberpunk Librarians

Though he found plenty of articles on trends and predictions, in the library literature and many other disciplines, no publication digested them and assembled them into a convenient package that busy library administrators could read in an hour. Guscott started Library Futures Quarterly to fill that vacuum. Its mission is to track technological, social, political, and economic changes that could affect public libraries and offer tools and strategies for “systematically building a vibrant future for a public library.”

The print magazine includes news, trends, original articles (the current two-part feature is “Generation Y & the Future of Public Libraries”), and summaries of relevant articles in other publications. The accompanying web site offers, free of charge, a “Library Foresight System,” which any library can employ.

It may seem an odd mission for a man whose heart is in ancient Greece–but then, the Greeks knew a thing or two about oracles.

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