The Future of Libraries; Selected List of Resources

Albanese, Andrew Richard, "ALA 2013: The Library of 2020 Will Be…"external link opens in a new window

This interview with Joe Janes, author ofLibrary 2020, offers Janes' views on where libraries are today, ebooks, new technology, libraries in 2014, and libraries in 2020, among other topics.

American Library Association. The State of America's Libraries: A Report from the American Library Associationexternal link opens in a new window. ALA: American Library Association.

The American Library Association reports on how libraries are developing their physical structures in today’s world, particularly when it comes to renovations and environmental sustainability.  This report mentions three New York State projects, and also comments on the importance of libraries in the lives of children.

Center for International Scholarship in School Libraries. The New Jersey Study of School Libraries: One Common Goal – Student Learningexternal link opens in a new window.(web site; retrieved June 10, 2013.)

Although numerous studies of school libraries in other states have proven that well-funded, well-staffed school library programs have a positive impact on student achievement, a 2008 meeting with Lucille Davy, then NJ Education Commissioner, prompted NJASL to commission a New Jersey study to clearly answer the following questions: What does a good school library look like? and What role does a good school library play in educating NJ students?

Darnton, R. (2011, April 17). 5 Myths About the 'Information Age"external link opens in a new window. The Chronicle of Higher Education (web site).

This article by Robert Darnton points out common misconceptions about books, libraries, and the information age.  It explores the idea that technology will not put an end to physical books, and considers the involvement of libraries.

Ditullio, Naomi. Futurist Stephen Abram and Director and State Librarian Peggy Rudd on the role of librariesexternal link opens in a new window. Library Developments; Program news & information from the Texas State Library & Archives Commission (web site).

Stephen Abram, Library Futurist and Executive at Gale-Cengage, joins Texas State Librarian Peggy Rudd in a 12-minute podcast. The two discuss exactly what is changing libraries, as well as what can be expected in the future, why some librarians may be resisting e-books, and the issue of library funding.

Kalish, J. (n.d.). Books and Band Saws: the Future of Librariesexternal link opens in a new window. From MindShift: How we will learn. Retrieved January 19, 2012.

This article discusses new ways for libraries to serve the public at a time when information is increasingly becoming digital. Public libraries around New York State have developed "hackerspaces," which are areas where people can participate in hands-on, do-it-yourself activities. Some libraries are able to supply power tools, 3-D printers, etc., allowing the public to use the library in a new and innovative way.

Levien, R. L. (2011, June 4). Confronting the Future: Strategic Visions for the 21st Century Public Libraryexternal link opens in a new window.

 This document discusses the current challenges facing public libraries and explores visions for the future.  In order for public libraries to survive, they must continue to react to social, technological and economic changes, and Levien attempts to outline several possibilities for their continued existence.

Library Research Service (LRS). (2013). [Infographic]. School Libraries & Student Achievement external link opens in a new window. Retrieved from LRS 3/2013.

Infographic snapshot of Colorado/national studies done over the last two decades showing how teacher-librarians have a positive impact on student test scores.

Lynch, Clifford A., "Ebooks in 2013: Promises Broken, Promises Kept, and Faustian Bargainsexternal link opens in a new window," from Digital Content: What’s Nextexternal link opens in a new window, supplement to American Libraries (June 2013).

This article looks at whether or not ebooks have lived up to their promise and several of the problems that arise with the use of ebooks, such as resale, borrowing, and the ability to make a book disappear. The author examines these problems and what they mean for libraries and individuals.

Lynch, Clifford A., "The Public Library in 2020external link opens in a new window," (a chapter from Library 2020: Today’s Leading Visionaries Describe Tomorrow’s Libraryexternal link opens in a new window, edited by Joseph Janes. Scarecrow Press, 2013)*.

The American public library in 2020 will be a mirror of the broader society’s questions and discontents about the evolution of the marketplace for cultural materials – and indeed the nature and scope of these cultural materials -- in response to the growing acceptance and even embrace of networked information. It will be an institution in profound transition, rebalancing and restructuring its portfolio of services and investments.

*Thinking about the future of libraries, librarianship and the work librarians do is as old as libraries themselves.  At no time in our memory, though, have these discussions and conversations been so profound and critical.  Here one of today’s leading thinkers and speakers about the future of libraries brings together 30 leaders from all types of libraries and from outside librarianship to describe their vision of what the library will be in 2020. 

Madrigal, Alexis. What Big Media Can Learn From the New York Public Libraryexternal link opens in a new window. The Atlantic (web site), June 20, 2011.

This article looks at how The New York Public Library is succeeding in the Information Age. While library visits are up, the library continues to offer innovative programs and services that utilize technology, emphasizing their relevance in today’s world.

OCLC. Perceptions of Libraries, 2010: Context and Communityexternal link opens in a new window. OCLC (web site).

This OCLC report, which is based on an online survey conducted by Harris Interactive, provides up-to-date information on the on-line habits of consumers. The report explores how economic downturn and employment status affect information-seeking behavior and library usage.

Public Library Association Strategic Planexternal link opens in a new window. Public Library Association: a division of the American Library Association (web site).

The Public Library Association’s strategic plan outlines the predicted future for libraries, as well as highlights what libraries and library leadership can do to ensure that libraries remain relevant.

Rainie, Lee. The Reinvention of Libraries -- Key Takeaways Presentation.external link opens in a new window (video)

Lee Rainie, the Director of the Pew Internet Project, presents the Project's latest findings about the changing role of libraries and patrons' interest in new services. Rainie describes the Project's research into the way people use mobile devices and social media and how that fits into the larger patterns of their getting, sharing, and creating information.

Shapins, J. (2011, October 12). Idea Lab: Community News for the Digital Age. Zeega Imagines New Forms of Digital Libraries and Archivesexternal link opens in a new window.

This article describes two new Zeega projects: “extraMUROS,” to allow users to create their own collections from libraries, museums, etc., and a “Digital Archive of Japan’s 2011 Disasters” for people to understand the effects and importance of similar tragedies.  These projects were created with the changing roles of libraries and archives in mind.

Shaw, Jonathan. "The Library Test Kitchen."external link opens in a new window Harvard Magazine (online), July 2012.

Students from Harvard University are envisioning the future of libraries in creative new ways by developing devices to transform the library as a physical place. These student projects, including Wi-Fi Cold Spots and bibliographic scanning devices, could change how libraries provide and access information.

Small Demons external link opens in a new window

Small Demons is a website that takes the people, places and things mentioned in all books and creates a Storyverse. The site attempts to link, cross-reference and catalogue this metadata and draw connections between seemingly unrelated works. In order to delve into the Storyverse, users enter a search term, such as the name of an individual or character, and every book that mentions that term is presented. Users can then explore for further details on their search term, or uncover other details in the world of fiction.

Webjunction, WebJunction Competency Index external link opens in a new window

The WebJunction Competency Index is a valuable tool for libraries, helping staff identify and obtain the knowledge, skills, and support need to power relevant and vibrant libraries. It has been updated to include 21st century skills, accountability, and community engagement.

Weinberger, David. (2012, September 4). Library as platform external link opens in a new window. Library Journal.

By highlighting Facebook’s 2007 transition allowing outside developers access to internal services and data, Weinberger makes the argument that libraries should make a similar change and become a platform. In order to do this, the author states that libraries would need to provide access to everything that they possibly can, as well as allow social knowledge networks to emerge, ultimately solidifying the role of libraries in democracy.

Last Updated: May 25, 2021 -- sm