The future is now!

ImageRecently I stumbled across this article by James Marcum. Written in 2003, he envisions the library of 2012. Among the predictions:

Information available: Collections will undergo dramatic transformations. They will be largely patron-selected, featuring multi-media resources and databases, many provided collaboratively through extensive consortial arrangements with other libraries and information providers. Collection management tools will concentrate holdings where they are used, evolving with changes in curriculum and instructors. New “weed, harvest, and migrate” schemes will enable widespread title swapping to get unused titles off the shelf and into circulation elsewhere.

Access to information: Print-on-demand schemes will be developed utilizing the dissertation production experience of UMI but providing mechanisms by which the reader can return the fresh, undamaged manuscript for credit, and for binding and future use if appropriate. Out-of-print collections will be created for similar utilization.

Most of his predictions have a prescience to them- yes our collections have undergone dramatic transformations, and our library’s collection development is somewhat patron driven, if not completely to the extent described above. However, his predictions about consortial agreements and collaboration were spot on.

There have been articles that discuss print on demand, and some larger libraries experiment with it for more than dissertations and out of print items, but for the smaller academic libraries, it is not really an option.

Still puzzling, however is this statement:

Computer access: Wireless and laser-enhanced access for collapsible laptops and personal appliances will be ubiquitous.

Laser-enhanced access?  Really? I want that!  Collapsible laptops?  Do they just fold away…or do they turn into smart phones?  All kidding aside, this was a really interesting article, and worth looking at just to see a snapshot of how libraries have evolved over 30 years of technological innovation. 

Assuming the world doesn’t end, what will libraries be like in 2022?

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About Ellie Kohler

I'm the Access and Learning Services Librarian at Rockhurst University, and was a founding member of the ILL Special Interest Group. My specialties include interlibrary loan, instruction, reference, circulation, reserves, and wrangling 40 (or so) student assistants. I continue to defy the librarian stereotype by keeping a cat-free household.
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