Wednesday 20th May 2020
Nick began by explaining that the key ethos of CILIP, the UK’s library and information association, is the belief in the power of libraries, knowledge and information to change lives for the better.
A lot of Nick’s thinking centred around that of Rolf Hapel, distinguished professor of practice in residence at the University of Washington information school (UW iSchool), Seattle. who said:
“The library was never finished. It was never meant to be finished.”
His vision was that what we are doing here is a permanent and ongoing process. A process of evolution and change.
Halpel’s previous role was as director of citizen’s services and libraries in Aarhus, Germany. His idea – that we engage in an ongoing process of discovery, unlearning, relearning, change and adaptation – was central to Nick’s presentation on the future of libraries.
The need for trusted access to quality information in a format and location to meet people is as old as we are, Nick commented.
“We are living and working in the early days of a society and an economy that is being transformed by knowledge, data and information.”
When looking at how our generation will adapt, Nick referenced to the current coronavirus pandemic and recent conflicts as examples of disruption and displacement in the world. He cited how people go on to build libraries as a vital part of rebuilding their lives.
“COVID-19 is an example of how libraries build resilience, facilitate the flow of knowledge and information and will help us to recover, socially and economically.”
CILIP undertakes work around foresight analysis, taking a 20-30-year view on the future development of the sector. This regular foresight and analysis helps to identify wider social, economic, and technological trends that will shape the future needs of information users.
Nick outlined the eight key themes that have been identified:
The above forces are reshaping user expectations of the future of libraries. In conclusion there are some key insights to be taken:
The library of the future can meet these challenges by balancing access to four elements:
All these will be delivered in a wide range of physical and online contexts. Moving seamlessly with the user as they move between activities.
Nick concluded: “I think the real expertise of the librarian will be about how these elements are configured and how we support users to develop the facility, literacy and agency to make the best of them.”
Want to find out more?
Visit our Access Lab 2020 resource hub to watch Nick’s recorded session ‘The future of libraries’.
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