Libraries of the future?

future-469x375What will the library of the future look like? Will it be physical or virtual? Will it be a service or a space? What will the role of the librarian be? Who will use the library and what will they use it for? Who will pay for it? Will it even exist?

All of these questions are being passionately debated with a range of different conclusions. These are questions I’ve been pondering too as I help shape the future of a significant Victorian library, and as I write an upcoming article for a library journal about the future of libraries.

In my online meanderings, I have discovered many perspectives and insights that have helped shape my thinking on this topic. I thought I’d share a selection of the best ones here so you can discover them for yourself. Some of them are specific to libraries, others are more broadly on the future of work and society. Even if you don’t work in libraries, many of the ideas are interesting, as they reflect cultural, societal and technological shifts that affect us all.

If you would like to share any other links on this topic please include them in the comments section below.

On libraries

The American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) and the International Legal Technology Association (ILTA) (2012) Digital White Paper The New Librarian

Arts Council England, Envisioning the library of the future

Association of Research Libraries (2010) Envisioning research library futures: a scenario thinking project

JISC Libraries of the Future (video).

Libraries of the future (2010)

Local Government Information Unit (2012) What the library of the future could and should look like

Manuell, Naomi (2012) ‘Libraries of Babel’ in Meanjin.

Ministerial Advisory Council on Public Libraries (2012) Review of Victorian Public Libraries Stage 1 Report.

New York Times (2012) Do We Still Need Libraries? Room for debate series.

Palfrey, John (2012) Do We Still Need Libraries?

Radio National, ‘The future of libraries’ The Book Show (podcast), 30 June 2010

Radio National, ‘Future of libraries’ Australia Talks (podcast), 19 October 2011

State Library of New South Wales (2009) The bookends scenarios: alternative futures for the Public Library Network in NSW in 2030.

On the future of work and society more broadly

Intel (2012) The Future of Knowledge Work: An outlook on the changing nature of the work environment

Solis, Brian (2011) The End of Business as Usual: Rewire the Way You Work to Succeed in the Consumer Revolution

Dawson, Ross (2012) Map of the 14 major trends driving this decade


4 thoughts on “Libraries of the future?

  1. A couple of interesting articles in the Jan/Feb 2013 Harvard Business Review about Knowledge workers and Virtual Work – not necessarily library related, but interesting from a global perspective.

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