Fortin, the geographic information systems (GIS) and map librarian at Robarts Map and Data Library, is a master at mapping spatial data, the geographic dimension of information. The popularity of this discipline has skyrocketed during the last 10 years, especially with the advent of Google Maps and Google Earth, he says.
“Spatial data means thinking about things in relation to geography. People often haven’t done that before,” says Fortin.
Some 77% of Americans now think it is “very important” for public libraries to provide free access to computers and the internet to the community. (For comparison, 80% of Americans say the same thing about books.)
ALIA has set out to investigate the big questions about the future of libraries: How will libraries remain relevant for users? What changes will institutions and individuals in the sector experience? Will ‘library and information professional’ continue to be a necessary and desirable occupation?
Libraries strive to balance the physical and digital despite dwindling budgets.
Miguel Mimoso Correia's insight:
"For ladies and gentlemen of a certain age, the library is changing too fast. For kids, it's not changing fast enough. University students are caught in the middle. Their library experience must be like surfing: riding the edge of a moving wave, never quite cresting, never quite crashing. Such a state has to be thrilling, but ultimately exhausting."