26 May 2014

ALA summit on the future of libraries: May 2-3 2014

On May 2 and 3, 2014, eighty librarians and representatives from organizations that work with libraries from across the United States of America (US) met at the Library of Congress to discuss the future of libraries. Inspired by five nationally recognized speakers and their own table discussions, participants engaged in wide ranging conversations about the trends in society that libraries will have to address and how librarians might prepare, respond, and, in fact, lead libraries into that future.   The results of the discussion will inform the development of a Center for the Future of Libraries to be initiated by the American Library Association in the spring of 2014.

A number of themes discussed echoed trends identified in the IFLA Trend Report. Participants where challenged with remarks by author and journalist Stephen Dubner, “How to Think Like a Freak,” on thinking differently in order to plan for the future.  Lincoln Professor of Law, Culture, and Values at Arizona State University Joel Garreau asked, “What Are Libraries Good For?” in discussing culture, values, and society.  Chancellor and President of the University of Houston Dr. Renu Khator challenged the group to consider “Education in the Future – Anywhere, Anytime.”   Executive Director and Senior Futurist at the DaVinci Institute Thomas Frey described a transition “From an Internet of Things to a Library of Things.”  Library Futurist Joan Frye Williams concluded the conference with a summation of key points discussed throughout the two days.

Nancy Bolt prepared a report on the Summit that is available here.