Do We Need Libraries?

I have written about a few Forbes articles this semester and this one caught my eye most recently. It is a very intriguing read, aimed at evaluating the readiness of libraries to move into the future amid a torrent of technological change increasingly undermine the seeming foundations of the library as a needed service.

The approach the author takes is sound. He describes a needed shift in the management mindset from one that mimics the traditional vertical approach and takes a more user oriented horizontal approach toward engagement. While he doesn’t purport to have any definitive answer on how libraries should proceed into the future he qualifies his recommendations by stating that they may not be the answer, but they are questions that could position libraries to embrace the community and economy of the future.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/stevedenning/2015/04/28/do-we-need-libraries/

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Posted on April 28, 2015, in LS566. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Metadata work is one reason we’ll need libraries 🙂

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  2. I think the author raises a lot of interesting points, but for me, it is difficult to refer to “libraries” as a singular group. While all types of libraries do face common needs and challenges, there are substantial differences between a small-town public library and a manuscripts library at a research university. I think it would be difficult to address the problems of libraries (in a broad sense) because different types of libraries (academic, corporate, law, public, museum, governmental, and special collections, among others) all exist for unique (although sometimes related) reasons. I think the author’s arguments are most relevant to public libraries, but I agree that all libraries must be mindful of their users. My add-on to his statement would simply be that users are a heterogeneous bunch, and a “catch all” approach may not be sufficient.

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