“The Future of Libraries” was the topic in yesterday’s free webcast by American Libraries Live on which I had the honor of speaking. Other panelists included Marshall Breeding and BohYun Kim (Florida International University). Our moderator was David Lee King. The webcast, which used Google Hangouts was sponsored by Innovative Interfaces (@iii_innovative). It was an honor to speak alongside these inspiring thought leaders. There is a video archive of the recording embedded below.
We each started out sharing one top direction for the future(s) of libraries and I chose to start with libraries as change foundries and local change experts. More on this below.
I also spoke about:
- Libraries and their partners making more locally created items shareable.
- Start ups, libraries,and tech as a future expansion of current library missions.
- Library technology partners such as Innovative Interfaces embracing and joining forces with librarian programmers and developers, and empowering creative coding.
- The past as emotional touch point. The future as platform. Info services within technology change as accepted core mission while emotional nostalgic connections to the past now as marketing brand and as anchor to stability. A strategic entre to digital now and connected future is our role.
Boyhun Kim spoke about mobile first, device agnostic and responsive web design, challenging collections’ focus, and institutional nimbleness.
In reply to Bohyum’s comments about mobile first I asked if the mobile first concept might be extended beyond the library webpage and catalog and out to generalized experience for library users in a mobile world. I also wondered if the Internet of Things, when more in our environment besides our devices are data producing connection points, can fit into device agnostic?
David Lee King pointed out that his library has seen a doubling in rate of mobile web traffic over the last year. This prompted me to ask if, as I think I have observed, the population is now reaching its mobile plateau could this statistic mean there is a slight lag in library impact from large scale consumer device trends and if so, great planning to plan a year before to track those statistics.
Libraries’ next role as change experts:
More on the futures topic I chose to start with – Libraries are becoming more pivot friendly as change settles in as the norm. The role of libraries may be that of change facilitators within our communities as libraries are becoming adept at approaching change and adapting. We are already seeing more laboratories in libraries and some libraries as liboratories
To get there, libraries will adopt to a world-view of quick turnarounds and an acceptance of true change as the zeitgeist by constant pivots.
What are libraries in 2014? They might be literal change entities that live in and by change and that support local change initiatives in their community with change facilitation.
Libraries are canaries in the coalmine, testing the changing environment in terms of market pressures, tech changes, and content directions. We put our toes in the water and let the rest of the world know what it felt like.
Libraries are also settling in as a filler of gaps. The library will sit less on devices and more in gaps – plugging value into gaps caused by tech/change tensions.
Here is a video of the webcast embedded from David Lee King’s Youtube account-
- Privacy debate changing in context of last year’s revelations and users’ expectation for privacy is challenged and balanced with a preference for customization sparking a different conversation about privacy and a refocus on the user experience.
- The confluence of smart cities and libraries
- Reacting less to specific technologies and more now to market trends as technology settles in as major player on large scale behaviors.
- Libraries and the tech landscape now and going forward: mobile messaging, temporary or invisible aka private social and messaging and reference, WhatsApps and Weibo and a stronger library presence using interactive features.
- New forms of authentication
- New positions and titles in the library profession: chief creative officer, CIO diffusion across the library, director of maker space etc.
- Libraries as leadership connector
An emerging future for libraries is the diffusion of creative expertise across the profession. There will be more creative points across librarianship and less reliance on thought leaders, represented by “a better way to library” becoming a community project. In a sense, libraries are multipliers of futures creativity and one of my roles as Director, Library Futures is to extend that mission and multiply librarian creativity. The next step is for you to apply your creativity to crafting an inspiring future of libraries. Take up the reins by writing your own ideas for the future of libraries using the tag #4for14.
The audience Tweeted Tumblr along with Hash tag #ALLive, check out some of the insightful tweets.
Thank you to American Libraries and Innovative Interfaces.
I look forward to more conversations about the future of libraries with a library industry that has such strong futures.
Challenge the future. Be the future