Future of Libraries


OK, here’s where we are at. The X-axis on the scenario matrix is pretty set. The driver is the value placed on physical things. This includes library buildings, librarians and books etc.

But the Y-axis? One option is the availability of resources (funding, staff, energy etc). Another option is the level of technology change (fixed v fluid). What we are getting at here, I guess, is the level of uncertainty around e-books in particular and formats in general.

Any views out there in library land?

PS. the image is from the first workshop.

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2 Responses to Future of Libraries

  1. Rosario Garza says:

    That’s a tough call. In thinking about it I would probably go with the level of technology change. Resources are always, always going to be a challenge. In a way, we’ve learned to live and adapt to the fluctuations in resources (fiscal, human, etc.)

    And e-books: they are part of the level of technology change. Indeed, all formats are part of the whole technology question when you step back and take the broad view. The Kindle is hot right now for access ebooks, but something will come along that will replace it and become the new “must have” technology.

    So my two cents is that you seriously consider level of technology change for the Y-axis.

  2. Richard Watson says:

    I think I agree with you. Resources are a certainty in the sense that they will always be uncertain. There is the issue of energy, especially electricity (I’m picking up quite a bit about coming electricity shortages right now), but this alone doesn’t create four distinct future worlds.

    Using a low/high rate of technology change does take you to some interesting places although funnily enough one of the four quadrants doesn’t work so well – what does a world with low technology change and low value placed on physical libraries look like? What would be the logic behind that emerging?

    This has to be thrashed out next week with he scenario team so hopefully we’ll find out!



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