This afternoon I sat in on Joseph Janes‘ The Library in 2020: Visions of the Future of Libraries. Though it was essentially a book promo (Library 2020 due out in July), a lot of interesting points were raised by the book’s chapter authors.
What will endure? What makes up “library” regardless of time or place? Janes considers stuff, place, people, community, and leadership & vision.
Stuff is the access question. Formats are constantly shifting and digitization is yet another priority. What stays, goes? Why? Most importantly, as ‘access to stuff’ will not be a “winning strategy” in the future, where is our service component to these new technologies and online heritage collections?
‘Library’ is becoming a concept more than a place. We need to start thinking “more about what it does than what it has” (connection to stuff).
Sarah Houghton says that libraries of the future “will be ruled by geeks” and that the skills that make people good techies make good leaders. She’s proof of this!
James Rosenzweig has a chapter that makes a nice analogy to the library as an “information base camp” where libraries are “serving as a temporary home to people journeying out into the information environment.”
In order to maintain our relevance to our community, Janes and his co-authors say we need to focus on “boutique, tailored services” that are not offered elsewhere.”
The conversation continues online with the Twitter hashtag #mylibraryin2020