August 21, 2017

The Future of the Planet | Designing the Future

As society faces what many now call the Anthropocene age, the impacts of climate change and humankind’s role in it will influence, literally, everything.

The Future of Library Boards | Designing the Future

Last year, our library director brought a futurist to meet with the Board of Trustees to help us better understand the future of the library. I vividly remember the first point in his presentation: the vast majority of services the library will provide will stay the same. One question he didn’t address was our future as trustees. It never occurred to any of us to ask. After all, someone has to set policies, advocate for the library and budget, hire the director, and be responsible to the public. However, just as libraries themselves will undergo significant changes, so will boards.

The Future of Government | Designing the Future

Data transformation, transparency, and resident input are remaking civics as we know it.

Sustainability: Each Choice Tells Our Story | Designing the Future

I’ve been working hard to ­ensure libraries understand that sustainability involves far more than “going green.” Embracing the Triple Bottom Line definition of sustainability helps libraries think holistically about the environmental, economic, and social aspects of their library and community. Nonetheless, libraries have a lot of work to do on the “going green” side of things.

The Future of the Life Cycle | Designing the Future

The average American life cycle has changed dramatically in recent decades–people are marrying later, waiting to have children, and living longer. This presents interesting challenges to health-care professionals—how can medical practice keep up and help people live healthfully throughout every stage of their lives? Frank Maletz, an orthopedic surgeon in New London, CT, established the Healthspital foundation, which explores ways to overhaul health care in America.

Proactive Librarianship | Designing the Future

R. David Lankes, author of The Atlas of New Librarianship and The New Librarianship Field Guide, talks about his vision of the future of librarianship

Human Connections | Designing the Future

“At the intersection of dystopian fiction and magical realism,” Fagan’s standout second novel, The Sunlight Pilgrims, after her acclaimed debut, The Panopticon, projects a future extrapolated from pressures on the present. “Despite its forbidding setting, [this] remains a hopeful tale about human connections.”

The Future of Stuff | Designing the Future

The trend of circulating “stuff” other than books and DVDs is not new, but a few libraries have begun to embrace it more fully. For example, the “Library of Things” at Hillsboro Public Library, OR—inspired partly by tool libraries like Berkeley’s and the Library of Things at Sacramento Public Library, CA—offers patrons access to musical instruments, tools such as infrared thermometers and thermal leak detectors, gold panning kits, bakeware and kitchen appliances, karaoke machines, and even commercial-grade popcorn and cotton candy machines.

The Future of Learning | Designing the Future

“We have to focus on a deeper understanding of the relational nature of learning” says Brigid Barron, associate professor at the school of education at California’s Stanford University. A faculty colead of the Learning in Informal and Formal Environments (LIFE) center, Barron and her colleagues explore the importance of social learning environments through the National Science Foundation–funded project.

Predicting the Unpredictable | Designing the Future

The modern library movement began in 1876, a year that saw the birth of both the American Library Association (ALA) and Library Journal (LJ). The January 1, 1976, issue of LJ celebrated that centennial, asking 25 experts and leading librarians to project the future of libraries over the next 25–50 years. Now on LJ’s 140th anniversary, we’ve taken a sampling of those forecasts and briefly assessed their accuracy. The result is evidence of how inadequate current knowledge is to predict the future.