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Library futures: converging and diverging directions for public and academic libraries

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The major influence on library futures is the changing character of their user communities. As patterns of research, learning and personal development change in a network environment so library services need to change. At the same time, libraries are focused on engaging with their communities more strongly - getting into their work and learning flows. This means that libraries are becoming more unlike each other, they are diverging as they meet the specific needs of their communities. Research libraries diverge from academic libraries, and each is different from urban public libraries, and so on.

At the same time, at a broader level libraries are experiencing similar pressures. The need to engage more strongly with their communities. The need to assess what they do. The need to configure space around experiences rather than around collections. Libraries are converging around some of these issues.

This presentation will consider the future of libraries from the point of view of convergence and divergence between types of libraries.

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Library futures: converging and diverging directions for public and academic libraries

  1. 1. Library futures: Converging and diverging directions for public and academic libraries Lorcan Dempsey With Helene Blowers, Liz Morris and Constance Malpas. OCLC Keynote presentation at ALIA National Conference, Adelaide, 30 August 2016 (an adapted version presented at Northern Territory Library, Darwin, 2 Sept 2016) @LorcanD
  2. 2. @LorcanD Image and other credits are included in notes. Some additional comments are also included in the notes.
  3. 3. Overview 3
  4. 4. Overview 4 1. The library in the life of the user 3. A shared agenda 2. Convergence and divergence
  5. 5. 1. The library in the life of the user
  6. 6. 20 years ago I was in the libraries business. Today I am in the Columbus business. Pat Losinski, CEO Columbus Metro. Library
  7. 7. … to be vital to the academic enterprise, the Libraries must position itself as an active, engaged participant in solving university-level problems (Looking outside ourselves); … Look to where teaching and research within the academic disciplines and cultural acquisition are moving, and you will see the Libraries skating to the same puck, sometimes as partner, sometimes as leader, always engaged. Damon Jaggars, The Ohio State University
  8. 8. Library learning happens anytime, everywhere Bainbridge Public Library
  9. 9. Collections People Place Systems Print logic. Just in time. Network logic. Reconfigured around the user, the distinctive, and the creative process. Managing the collection Configured around collections Anonymous. Neutral. Partner and advocate. To be seen as expert, your expertise has to be visible. Managing workflows and relationships. CRM, digital scholarship, social. Configured around user experiences. Model of organizational excellence Bureaucracy – Stable and known Enterprise – understanding sources of value and being nimble and adaptive.
  10. 10. 2. Convergence and Divergence
  11. 11. Places – reconfiguring around user experiences. Collections – reconfiguring around the user, the distinctive, the creative process. Productive researchers. Successful students. Lives of learning and creativity. Strong communities. Story – reconfiguring around sources of value to the community. Symbol – manifesting community value and identity. Skills – making diverse expertise visible. Public Academic Divergent: focused on understanding the source of their value within their communities and responding. Convergent: shared directions, variably executed.
  12. 12. Collections – reconfiguring around the user, the distinctive, the creative process.
  13. 13. Collections – reconfigured around the user … The ‘external’ collection: Pointing researchers at Google Scholar; Including freely available ebooks in the catalog; Creating resource guides for web resources. The ‘owned’ collection The ‘facilitated’ collection The ‘borrowed’ collection A collections spectrum The ‘shared print’ collection The ‘shared digital’ collection The evolving scholarly record Purchased and physically stored Meet research and learning needs in best way The ‘licensed’ collection The ‘demand- driven’ collection
  14. 14. People should think not so much of the books that have gone into the National Library but rather of the books that have come out of it. Seán O’Faoláin My professional mission as a librarian is this: Help people build their own libraries. That’s it. That’s all I care about. Dan Chudnov Because the purpose and result of absorbing information is always finally to produce further information … the function of the library must be understood as one that assists members of the community both in taking particular positions and in recognizing and assessing the positions taken by others. Ross Atkinson A scholar is just a library’s way of making another library. Daniel Dennett
  15. 15. Collections – reconfigured around the creative process …
  16. 16. From consumption to creation: • Support process as well as product, making as well as taking • Workflow is the new content.. • Support for data management, publishing and digital scholarship. • An inside out perspective increasingly important.
  17. 17. / Libraries supporting local authors Sacramento City Library
  18. 18. Libraries creating community awareness
  19. 19. Teen Central Boston Public Library Library spaces for HOMAGO: Hang out, Mess around, Geek out
  20. 20. Story wall: State Library of SA [The technology is] deeply, deeply democratic. All sorts of people can create, publish, share... the role of the Library is to be a custodian of knowledge, but more importantly it is to be enablers, and to help citizens embrace digital literacy. Alan Smith
  21. 21. Slide via Martha Whitehead Queen’s University, Canada Retain our values: supporting local cultures in a global knowledge commons Maison de la littérature, la Bibliothèque de Québec Collections – reconfigured around the distinctive
  22. 22. 23 “We create specific cultural and heritage collections that reflect the unique values and enduring legacies of Oak Park.”
  23. 23. Outside, in The distinctive Library as broker Maximise efficiency Inside, out Library as provider Maximise discoverability Bought Licensed The generally available Expertise Special collections Research and learning materials
  24. 24. Places – reconfiguring around user experiences.
  25. 25. Temple University Library (plans) Philadelphia, PA By reducing the square feet needed to hold collections, we can then increase the amount of user seating offered the university, and house specialty spaces that support graduate student and faculty research, including new services such as digital scholarship, digital humanities, and research data services which will be coming into being in the next few months and years. Joe Lucia
  26. 26. 27 Almere Public Library, The Netherlands A place for connection and learning
  27. 27. A place for connection and learning Columbus Metropolitan Libraries
  28. 28. High value space: Specialist Expertise, Exhibition, Equipment
  29. 29. 30 Some 19 universities have either moved into a new library or refurbished an existing one in the past two years, according to a report by the Society of College, National and University Libraries (Sconul), which represents about 170 higher education institutions in the UK and the Republic of Ireland…. “The quality of light, furniture and general ambience is now very different in university libraries – students want inspirational spaces to learn,” explains Mara Maricevic, head of higher education at the British Library, where students regularly queue in the morning for entry all the way down Euston Road. Let there be Light!
  30. 30. University of Helsinki Main Library Helsinki, Finland Productive researchers. Successful students. Academic Places – reconfiguring around user experiences. Collections – reconfiguring around the user, the distinctive, the creative process.
  31. 31. Successful students. Productive researchers.
  32. 32. Collections: Reconfigured around the user, the distinctive, the created Place: Reconfigured around experiences
  33. 33. A convergence of libraries and student support
  34. 34. A cooperative enterprise: research support in the US research university Graphic by Rebecca Bryant, OCLC Research
  35. 35. Lives of learning and creativity. Strong communities. Public MakeX is a mobile makerspace created by the Palo Alto City Library that was created by teens for teens. Places – reconfiguring around user experiences. Collections – reconfiguring around the user, the distinctive, the creative process.
  36. 36. Categories that demonstrate the value and impact of the public library service • Learning: Birth thru Teens • Learning: adults • Collections • Customer Experience • Positioning the Library • Workforce and Economic Development • Race and Social Equity • Civic and Community Engagement • Health, Safety, and Sustainability • Organizational Change and Strategic Management
  37. 37. Early literacy skills and storytime in libraries. Infographic: the essential role public libraries play in addressing equitable access to health information and resources
  38. 38. … the Libraries must become more sophisticated in how it identifies and presents its stories of success and impact to external stakeholders (Success enables success). Damon Jaggars, The Ohio State University Story – reconfiguring around sources of value to the community.
  39. 39. Creating value for our host systems always involves three things: 1. Librarians must understand their host systems; 2. they must understand the source of their claim to being a legitimate part of their system; 3. and they must do their work well so the system is better because they are there. It’s usually far more a matter of asking and listening than it is of telling and pleading. Eleanor Joe Rodger Value? ROI? Assessment?
  40. 40. Place Support for research/creationLocal collections Student success
  41. 41. Symbol – manifesting community value and identity.
  42. 42. “You might think that the library is at the intersection of Frederick and George Streets, but it is actually at the intersection of scholarship, innovation, creativity and collaboration. And that’s the road to our future.” President Francine McNairy, Millersville University Convocation Address, 2010
  43. 43. Renton Public Library Renton, WA Libraries projecting, preserving community identity
  44. 44. Skills – making diverse expertise visible. Wrangler Guide Concierge Anythink Libraries, Rangeview District libraries, Colorado
  45. 45. New skillsets & new services to serve new populations
  46. 46. If we were filling all our roles now, including those we aspire to have, we would need only 25-30% with library qualifications. We need many other professionals - project managers, data analysts, business analysts, marketeers, customer service experts, etc but not so many librarians. Jan Wilkinson, University Librarian & Director of the John Rylands Library, The University of Manchester
  47. 47. Places – reconfiguring around user experiences. Collections – reconfiguring around the user, the distinctive, the creative process. Productive researchers. Successful students. Lives of learning and creativity. Strong communities. Story – reconfiguring around sources of value to the community. Symbol – manifesting community value and identity. Skills – making diverse expertise visible. Public Academic Divergent: focused on understanding the source of their value within their communities and responding. Convergent: shared directions, variably executed.
  48. 48. The library should not provide an argument for a particular case, but demonstrate that there is always another case to be made. The notion that the library is a place that has no agenda other than allowing people to invent their own agendas is what makes it an indispensable resource for a democracy. It is where we can learn not just to be readers, but to be the authors of our own destiny. Fintan O’Toole 3 A shared agenda
  49. 49. The library agenda …. To be an advocate and a partner in the learning and creating lives of their users and in the memories of their communities.
  50. 50. “… the Linen Hall Library was the only institution in Belfast which could provide an impartial collection of books on the conflict upon which we reporters could rely. … No politician, no government can conceal the sins and omissions of the past or conceal the possibilities for the future when an ordinary member of the public can walk into the Linen Hall Library and find the record of what all sides said in 1969 or 1974, 1989 or today.“ Robert Fisk, Journalist Community memories: Libraries and anamnesis
  51. 51. Photo: Jo Giudice, Dallas Public Community memories: Libraries and anamnesis
  52. 52. Lorcan Dempsey, OCLC Created with a lot of help from my friends at OCLC: Helene Blowers, Liz Morris and Constance Malpas. @LorcanD Thank you … dlr LexIcon, Dun Laoghaire, Ireland

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