As you may know I’m involved with a scenario planning project looking at the future of public libraries. Usually these projects are confidential but on this rare occasion I can talk openly about what we are doing and what the scenario team is thinking.
There are about 45 people working on this project although the core scenario building team is much smaller. We have now developed 2 framing questions, which are roughly as follows:
1. What professional skills and attitudes will public library staff be demonstrating in 2030 in order to be successful in the alternative futures in which they might operate?
2. Where will the leadership and funding that drives this success come from?
We have also developed a series of indicative scenarios and briefly discussed around 20 key influences. The next stage is to create some conversations around these influences, edit the influences down to a handful of key drivers and develop a scenario matrix. From this matrix we will then create a series of scenario worlds and create a logical narrative around each scenario.
If anyone out there in library land (or anywhere else) would like to comment or contribute to the long list of key influences this would be most welcome. The list is currently as follows (not ranked):
â€¢ Pricing (free versus user pays)
â€¢ Demand for space (third spaces and refuge)
â€¢ Media formats (fixed versus fluid)
â€¢ Trustworthiness of information
â€¢ Changing attitudes to work (especially mobility)
â€¢ Funding (high versus low – all sources)
â€¢ The value the local community puts on information/knowledge
â€¢ Service provision (stand alone versus integrated)
â€¢ Demographic change (ageing, ethnic shifts etc)
â€¢ Access equity
â€¢ Social cohesion / identity
â€¢ Democratisation of information (web 2.0 etc)
â€¢ Demand for literacy/navigation
â€¢ Library network (fragmented versus unified)
â€¢ Supply of new professionals
â€¢ Staff resistance to change
â€¢ Pace of technological change
â€¢ Demand for recreational use of libraries
So:have we missed anything? All comments extremely welcome and from anyone.