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By Gary Price The research comes from the Arts Council of England and is found in a report titled, The Library of the Future.
This research has found that public libraries are trusted spaces, open to all, in which people continue to explore and share the joys of reading, information, knowledge and culture. It is clear that people value the services that libraries provide and will continue to do so. Indeed, there is a clear message that there is a compelling and continuing need for a publicly funded library service.
The research also reminds us that public libraries face many challenges in the coming years, including: advances in technology, which affect the ways in which people want to connect to information and culture; reduced public expenditure; the increasing involvement of citizens in the design and delivery of public services; and the needs of an ageing population.
Envisioning the library of the future and the work that comes from it will help us and our partners in the library sector to set out the value, role and purpose of public libraries with more clarity, pointing out ways they can respond to change in order to remain at the heart of their communities. This will provide the focus for our work in the future.
The research began in January 2012, and comprised three phases during which researchers spoke with more than 800 people. The research included an online survey which had over 1,400 responses, and 10,000 people viewed the online conversation. Read more on the research methodology.
Four priority areas
In order to foster a successful, sustainable library service in light of these challenges, the Arts Council has set out four priority areas for development which have been tested and corroborated by stakeholders:
place the library as the hub of the communitymake the most of digital technology and creative mediaensure that libraries are resilient and sustainabledeliver the right skills for those who work in libraries
"The Guardian held one of its online debates on libraries today. The discussion between several library experts (managers, campaigners, councillors) and anyone contributing online. Around 200 comments were made so it’s a little condfusing: I’ve endeavoured to summarise below, although doubtless I have missed some things which some would consider important. Main threads and arguments.
Are libraries declining due to technological change? Libraries are still needed, in some ways more than ever: internet/online access essential and libraries provide the access and skills to those without either or both. Seven million have never used the internet. Wikipedia etc don’t cover all information and are prone to deletion, accidental or otherwise and is also not entirely trustworthy anyway. Libraries provide quiet study spaces. Children need the books and everyone needs serendipity that bookshelves allow. Bookstock is declining due to budget cuts. It’s not black and white – books and e-books will co-exist. Books are still in demand with 244 million loans in England 2011/12,
Asian libraries to have digital info-sharing network New Straits Times LANGKAWI: Libraries in Asian countries will soon set up an Asian Universities Library Network (Aulink) to boost digital academic information-sharing between the countries.
“A haiku from the article: Archivists Bringing Past Into Future Are Now Less Cloistered ” (Photo: timeshaiku: A haiku from the article: Archivists Bringing Past Into Future Are Now Less Cloistered http://t.co/ml9uOGjm5T)...
"Archivists are the specialists who snatch objects from oblivion. They have long spent their careers cloistered, like the objects they protected. But now many of these professionals are stepping out. A main reason is the Archivists Round Table of Metropolitan New York. The group, which recently surpassed 500 members, holds monthly events that draw a young, well-dressed crowd, hungry for chances to network, train and socialize. Members not only work at libraries, where archives have long resided, but also at such organizations as the Fashion Institute of Technology, the Junior League, the Episcopal Church, the Philharmonic, the Stock Exchange and the Brooklyn Navy Yard." - By ALISON LEIGH COWAN
Angela Clarke: If another 400 UK libraries close by 2016, as predicted, the true loss to society will be even greater than we realise (A library is not just about books: it's also a place for the vulnerable | Angela Clarke
One brilliant user evaluation (by Snežana Nenezić) of Serbian public library collections showed how ill suited existing digital libraries were to particular types of users. Other work (by Marija Šegan) made specific connection ...