When we began to think about the future of libraries, we thought it might be interesting to approach the future from the types of jobs that could be in libraries in the next ten years, basing our future descriptions on the following trends: (1) information everywhere, (2) continuing increase in use of mobile and embedded technology, (3) rise of social knowledge, (4) longer living and the emergence of lifestyle design, and (5) integration of robotics into the world.
Spaces. Services. Digital content. Collections. Learning experiences. Interfaces. Any way you consider it, there is no library practice that doesn’t intersect with accessibility. Accessibility is the principle that the fullest use of any resource should be given to the greatest number of individuals. More than compliance with laws and guidelines, accessibility is a form of social justice. As the most established cultural providers of public space and digital content, libraries share a responsibility to promote universal access to our full range of services for all users, regardless of whether they rely on adaptive technology or not.
On October 16, Library Journal and School Library Journal will host “The Digital Shift: Reinventing Libraries.” Our fourth annual online event has itself been reinvented in a new format, offering program tracks focused around community, instruction, and getting beyond the container to new content. EBSCO is a platinum sponsor of the event, and LJ reached out to Scott Wasinger, Vice President of Sales for eBooks and Audiobooks at EBSCO Publishing, in the third of a series of interviews addressing how the ongoing digital shift is transforming the libraries of today and tomorrow.
This is part two of LJ’s series of excerpts from Library 2020: Today’s Leading Visionaries Describe Tomorrow’s Library (Scarecrow), edited by Joseph Janes. The essays are reprinted as part of the run-up to LJ’s virtual event, The Digital Shift: Reinventing Libraries, to be held on October 16. From Joseph Janes, editor of Library 2020: I […]
Deconstructing the conference model, worries about the future of innovation in libraries and investing social energy. This and much more in this week’s episode of TWIL: your weekly dose of library innovation! thisweekinlibraries.com
Students and faculty of North Carolina State University (NCSU), Raleigh, are now diving into the first full school year with a new library at their disposal on the school’s Centennial Campus, and the rest of us get to watch as a new model hits its stride. The Hunt Library, which opened its doors in January after much anticipation and had the spring to work out any kinks, articulates the vision of the team at NCSU’s libraries. That team is led by Susan Nutter, vice provost and director of NCSU’s libraries and LJ’s 2005 Librarian of the Year. (We have a saying at LJ, “once a Librarian of the Year, always a Librarian of the Year,” and she keeps living up to it.)
As I got ready to tour the James B. Hunt Jr. Library at North Carolina State University (NCSU), Raleigh, last spring, as part of the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) meeting held nearby, the buzz about the newly unveiled building had reached such a level that I expected to find it, however cool, overhyped. It wasn’t. It was exactly the right amount of hyped. “Every corner of the Hunt Library is designed to be memorable and stunning,” the library’s vision claims. Grandiose as that might sound, those corners deliver.
In 2020, the public library will be a concept more than a place. The library will be more about what it does for people rather than what it has for people. As society evolves and more content becomes digital, people will access information in different ways. Physical items will be less important than they have been up to now. Library buildings and spaces will be used in different ways, and services will be provided beyond the building and virtually. The library as a catalyst for civic engagement will facilitate learning and growth for people of all ages.
Three years ago, I wrote in LJ that “libraries are so valuable that they attract voracious new competition with every technological advance.” At the time, I was thinking about Google, Apple, Amazon, and Wikipedia as the gluttonous innovators aiming to be hired for the jobs that libraries had been doing. I imagined Facebook and Twitter to be the sort of competitors most likely to be attracted by the flame of library value. But it’s the new guys that surprise you. To review the last three years of change in the library world, I’d like to focus on some of the start-ups that have newly occupied digital niches in the reading ecosystem. It’s these competitors that libraries will need to understand and integrate with to remain relevant.