I know, I know, the future of libraries is to endlessly discuss the future of libraries, I had the same level of skepticism going in to the day as well. I have to admit that a lot of my cynicism comes from the overabundance (and let’s be real here, 1 is 1 too many) of self described futurists in the library world.
Happily though this was not one of those come and listen to someone lecture you on what he (and it is pretty much always a he) thinks the future is going to be. I have science fiction books for that, and they are a lot more enjoyable.
This was instead a day of guided group discussions, which I think resulted in some actually useful outputs. While these kind of days are always a mix of frustration and useful discussion, I think that by the end we had more of the latter. This was due to the people in the room, but also due to the desire of the organisers for the day to result in some concrete outputs. Which meant we were pulled back on track a few times when it felt like we were going in circles.
I am not going to say that I think the day has resulted in people having a clear idea of where libraries are going to be in 2025 but I think that it resulted in some ideas, and some more ideas how to get there. I am not going to try to summarise them all here, I am sure there will be much better write ups than mine. But I will list some of the takeaways I had. First of all from my kids
In our group we consistently returned to the role of Libraries being all about people, and that equitable access to information is a major driver. We talked a lot about the need for better collaboration and cohesion in the sector. Funding of course was mentioned more than a few times as something that will be a major influence on what libraries are like in 2025. We also talked about training, and how to bring in and keep new workers.
Then I learnt about the 3rd man rule, to paraphrase “If two men have just spoken, don’t be the third one” which is a great rule.
Karaitiana had some great advice (as always)
And as always happens, I managed to get myself an impossible job
It was near the end of the day when I went into full on random blurt mode.
Cath chipped in too
All the random blurting may have resulted in this
Or it may have been this
Finally I’d like to leave you with this image, which came from one of Wendy’s typos, but I think it works as it is