The Future of Libraries?

by Jing Liu ~ April 25th, 2008. Filed under: What others are saying.

I just came back from the Florida Library Association Annual Conference at St. Pete, FL. There were two interesting sessions about the future of libraries. I walked out of the two sessions with, well, not exactly daunting spirit, but definitely not with a singing heart. The keynote speaker was Jane Frye Williams, a wonderful speaker who is widely known in the library world as a futurist for libraries. For those of you who haven’t heard her talk before, I would recommend you to go to her site and check out her webcast archive section. Another session “The Future of Academic Libraries” was presented by Joseph J. Branin, the library director of the Ohio State University. Unfortunately I didn’t bring my laptop to the keynote and didn’t take notes for the session. But I am sure you’ll get most of the gist of Jane’s prediction of the future of the libraries from the archival speech she gave back in 2005 . Here I’m going to share with you some highlights from the 2nd talk I mentioned above:
1. According to the study “Recent environmental scans and user studies” done by OCLC in 2005, 89% electronic information searches begin at a search engine, whereas only 2% from a library website.
2. New roles for librarians as “knowledge managers”.
3. The library has become a key in shaping students’ college choice. (Facilities Manager, March 2006)
4. Librarians(at OSU?) don’t do reference work anymore. All librarians at OSU must become subject specialists in their designated areas and provide research assistance services at points of need. They are expected to be heavily involved in the whole process of the research projects in their areas, including collecting research data and managing the data(which is only a vision for the time being).

1 Response to The Future of Libraries?

  1.   Jing

    What a change! especially the last point. Although I am still doing reference work, but the requests are quite different now. I am glad that I have taken the MAPPS program and know better what the profs and students are up to. It’s a timely posting. I have started thinking how to get involved in some of research projects here at UBC.

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