This is part three of LJ’s series of excerpts from Library 2020: Today’s Leading Visionaries Describe Tomorrow’s Library (Scarecrow), edited by Joseph Janes.
When we began to think about the future of libraries, we thought it might be interesting to approach the future from the types of jobs that could be in libraries in the next ten years, basing our future descriptions on the following trends: (1) information everywhere, (2) continuing increase in use of mobile and embedded technology, (3) rise of social knowledge, (4) longer living and the emergence of lifestyle design, and (5) integration of robotics into the world.
As more and more millennials are enrolled in virtual higher education opportunities not tied to university campuses, the public library is a central site of learning and innovation.In part, the defunding of public libraries is easy because libraries are no longer about collections; they are about connections. They are centers of activity, and not necessarily centers of visible production. Michael Ridley, writer at Beyond-Literacy and a University of Ghelph (Canada) librarian on sabbatical, says: "The public library was often viewed as the 'university of the people.' This is still a good metaphor; it is one that needs to be put on steroids. Public libraries are now centers for social workers, entrepreneurial incubators, literacy classes, maker spaces, puppet shows, and hacker labs as well as places for books, magazines, and videos."
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