What do you think the next generation of libraries will look like? As both a librarian and library user should I be pessimistic, optimistic, or a bit of both?
It's impossible to predict the future with certainty, but I can make some educated guesses.
I'm quite excited by the opportunities the future will bring, but they will be challenging too. Librarians will have to show they have knowledge and skills in information architecture, knowledge discovery, data mining and information literacy teaching skills, to remain relevant in a digital world.
The discussion about the impact of technology on libraries is getting more intense as technology advances and libraries traditional services are being rethought. In a short time libraries won't be storehouses of physical items, books, video discs, sound recordings, will all go the way of the Dodo. We, the public, will be consuming information digitally, this new way of storing and accessing information is already causing major headaches for the music and movie business, with studios and record labels trying to figure out how to sell their content online while protecting their investments from being accessed illegally, which, going by what I've read, is extremely easy. These issues of providing digital content, and making a profit, are becoming challengers not only to publishers, but to libraries. How do public libraries compete with a future of extremely cheap digital entertainment? The physical collections will be obsolete, so they will need to collect and provide digital information if we are going to have public libraries at all.
As a lover of public libraries, as their physical collections disappear, I would like to see these spaces replaced by people. They may be creative types working, self-employed or teleworkers, or children attending story times. But they won't be public libraries in the traditional sense, and we need to start planning for this.
I don't think we will necessarily be reading our ebooks on clunky ereaders, or heavy tablets like the iPad. We will soon be reading, watching, and writing on electronic paper. The current state of eletronic paper is in use in ereaders like the Kindle, but I'm talking about the next stage, an electronic screen the size and shape of a piece of paper.
"Made of flexible material, requiring ultra-low power consumption, cheap to manufacture, and—most important—easy and convenient to read, e-papers of the future are just around the corner, with the promise to hold libraries on a chip and replace most printed newspapers before the end of the next decade."
Click the link below for a list of things that will be obsolete by 2020 in education. As an academic librarian the future of our library services depends on us thinking about the direction we are going, and not to waste time or energy doing things that are, or will soon become obsolete.
21 things in education that will obsolete by 2020
Librarianship, where will it be?
A library expert has set up a group on professional networking site LinkedIn asking the question, Where will New Zealand libraries be in the 2025? That feels like a long time away, but its the incremental steps getting there that we can have some say in. If we become active in the conception and planning stages of the next couple of decades we can decide our future. Fate is what you make.
New Zealand Libraries in 2025
Where do you think libraries, public or other types, will be in the next 20 years?