4 Years Ago I Presented this Keynote, Reflections from a Librarian with Training as a Futurist

Four years ago I gave this keynote presentation for the Library 2.012 Worldwide conference. The conference is still ongoing and is now known as Library 2.016: Libraries of the Future.

keynote presentation on trends and library futures by Joe Murphy, librarian

(2012 keynote on trends and library futures by Joe Murphy)

The emphasis of this presentation given as an industry thought leader was on approaches to technology change and included a snapshot of tech directions in late 2012 shared in this global online symposium. Since then I have pursued training as a futurist. Here is some hindsight from the perspective of foresight.

What would I do differently today now that I am a futurist?I would insert forecasts accountable to accuracy and expand into this exploration the visioning elements of futures work. I would add a note on each area of technology and change to articulate what it could mean if trends continue or if they diverge, identifying which are expected versus ifs. I would add more about the economic and cultural aspects of these changes and discuss the role of technology in the central mission of libraries. I would present a vision for libraries’ role and leadership and make clear the central strength and focus of libraries in the context of change’s whirlwind.I would establish methods to measure and track the impact of technologies and alerts as indicators for their influence upon the library and its key stakeholders. I would also elevate input from leaders in the library industry.



I went on to present many more keynote talks about the future and libraries, helping to build the futures of libraries via ideas and then directly as Director of Library Futures with a leading library technology firm. One year later I was asked to return to the 2013 conference as distinguished presenter and focused on securing robust roles for libraries in the future.

Since then I have pursued futures studies as a trained futurist as well as executive MBA study. I now focus on strategic decision making. I, for example, am now better prepared to inform strategy considering these observed and foreseen changes.

It strikes me how many of these slides are in line with organizational futures (“reiterated reincarnation” from change management, the structure vs the model for forecasting), especially with my commitment to future patrons and partners and the future of them. The ethics of librarianship shape me as a research-driven foresight professional with the mission of advocating for our future stakeholders.

Thank you again for letting me participate as a keynote presenter and member of the community.


Joe Murphy, Librarian and student of futures studies


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