We live in times of massive disruption but for me never more exciting or fascinating! The world of libraries and information has changed hugely over the last decade and is continuing to be disrupted and develop at a very fast pace into something possibly quite unrecognisable.
Clearly the private sector sees potential and opportunities as Amazon and Google make strides into the physical world – opening stores across the world
The Library is a physical, digital social catalyst for addressing so many social problems, spaces where creativity, collaboration, and play can thrive. If libraries are to evolve rapidly enough to meet that challenge, they will have to make radical changes to their offer, changes that will at the same time revitalise physical visits and non-user’ perceptions of relevance.
If libraries are to thrive in this new world they must play an active role in shaping their future and redesigning the relevant “next” Library – The 21st century experience library. They must become learning and digital hubs — one-stop destinations to test drive and learn about the latest technology, equalising access and skills around the new and fast developing technologies from coding, circuit making, self-publishing to augmented reality, 5d digital storage, I- beacon /NFC technologies, solar powering cells and artificial intelligence. They must become experiential, entrepreneurial, experimental spaces where access to technology enhances opportunities to learn, work and create.
There are more questions than answers -How do we balance the best of the virtual and physical worlds? What mindshifts do we need to make, what makeovers? How do we add the magic? Those which will survive and thrive are those who grasp the need to create fabulous learning experiences
There are many factors influencing our future and what the “library” will look like and for me much of what the library will do may not even be about books at all but about-
Enabling people to people experiences e.g The Human Library
Enabling virtual reality experiences of life, spaces, learning and people across the world. The library will let you experience inside the Vatican, NYPL, the Taj Mahal. Check out the special collection in the Moscow Library
Developing visual and interactive access to wisdom and knowledge
Enabling creative or learning experiences
Learning about new technologies
Bringing digitally focused but socially isolated people together in the physical world
Combining traditional customer care excellence into sublime user experiences
What is this new offer of Physical and digital and social in perfect harmony going to look like anyway? Augmented Reality, apps, 3D printing, bookless libraries? Innovative new spaces are reinventing libraries across the world and new platform and technologies are going to rock our world.
This can all be a bit scary and we don’t know how it will evolve, it is a contest of limited expectations vs. Limitless possibilities so? Who if not the public library?
Develop your own new and exciting vision of the future library experience.