February 17, 2018

The Future of Connection | Designing the Future

In the next five to ten years, says Susan Shaheen, codirector of the Institute of Transportation Studies’ Transportation Sustainability Research Center, “advanced technologies and big data will enable us to better understand and manage our transportation ecosystems,” particularly automation and car- and ride-sharing tech. “This will enable us to provide more equitable, affordable, safe, efficient, and environmentally friendly transportation.”

Future Fatigue | Designing the Future

Often expressed informally through back channels, there’s a strong contrarian strand of thought that holds librarianship—if not all of American society—spends too much time, energy, and ink trying to predict what’s next. Too great a focus on the future, say such skeptics, shortchanges the present, preventing practitioners from being “in the moment,” and can make library leaders devalue the work that still comprises the vast majority of interactions to chase trends that appeal to, at best, a much smaller subset of users.

The Future of Play | Designing the Future

To Rivkah Sass, executive director, Sacramento Public Library (SPL), CA, there is no greater enemy to young children than the “play gap”—the shrinking time to explore, invent, and run amok. Hence the Sacramento Play Summit (SPS), a one-day program for parents, teachers, caregivers, and librarians to discuss play, why it’s important, and how to bring more of it to children.

The Future of Commerce | Designing the Future

Little is more essential than making a living—and how to store, spend, and save what we earn. Supporting entrepreneurship is one way libraries can engage the workplace of the future.

The Future of Reading | Designing the Future

While reading is often thought of as a solitary activity, some of our best book experiences can be social. That shared story­telling experience, says Bob Stein, creator of the Institute for the Future of the Book, is coming to traditional books in a transformative way.

The Future of Futures | Designing the Future

Human-centered design, a highly creative approach to problem solving, is gaining popularity in libraries as they plan for what lies ahead. Also known as design thinking, it focuses on defining and then resolving concerns by paying attention to the needs, aspirations, and wishes of people—in the case of libraries, not only a library’s patrons but its staff, administration, and members of the community who may not be library customers…yet.

Designing Our Future | Editorial

At 140, Library Journal looks ahead, at what’s coming for our communities, and at the sophisticated ways today’s leaders are sculpting more nimble organizations to manage the challenges and opportunities on the horizon.

The Future of Communities | Designing the Future

Community engagement is at the heart of Dokk1, the main branch of the Aarhus Public Libraries, Denmark. The system received a $1 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Global Libraries division to “pioneer an innovative library model” with the help of IDEO, a global design company. Its efforts were rewarded with IFLA’s 2016 Public Library of the Year award.

Knight Foundation Names Second Library News Challenge Winners | ALA Annual 2016

In a June 25 session at the ALA Annual conference in Orlando, John Bracken, VP of media innovation for the Knight Foundation, said that the foundation has been focused on three key questions when working with libraries: What can be done to foster cross-discipline collaboration, possibly learning from projects in other civic sectors such as Code for America, 18F, or the Knight-Mozilla OpenNews collaboration; how can community be put “even more robustly” at the center of the foundation’s work; and how can the foundation help libraries tell their stories to wider audiences? “To succeed, particularly in a time of reduced public investment, it is vital to tell our stories in ways that people can understand the breadth of our work, and on platforms” where the public is present and listening, Bracken said.

Aspen in Action | Community Engagement

“We needed to change the conversation about libraries,” says Gina Millsap, CEO of Kansas’s Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library (TSCPL), the 2016 Gale/LJ Library of the Year. Millsap refers to her ongoing work with the Aspen Institute, an international leadership development nonprofit that has turned a lens toward public libraries. In October 2014, Aspen sparked a conversation about the future of libraries with its release of a report titled “Rising to the Challenge: Re-Envisioning Public Libraries.” TSCPL served as a case study. “The report gave us a framework and concepts to take out to the community,” Millsap tells LJ. As libraries engaged with the report, it became clear that many wanted more hands-on guidance about how to take recommendations from Rising to the Challenge and turn them into practical, achievable goals. In response, Aspen developed a new toolkit featuring 12 chapters of “ACTivities” covering topics such as “The Library as Civic Resource,” “The Library as Literacy Champion,” and “Jobs and Economic Development” to help libraries dig into the work of transformation, released in January as the “Action Guide for Re-Envisioning Your Public Library.”