28 August 2018
The future may not be certain, but the values of libraries are. Through better preparation, defence of their principles, and a readiness to seize opportunities, libraries can underline their social and civic role, now and in the long term. The IFLA Trend Report Update 2018 explores the challenges of uncertainty, and offers ideas on how libraries can respond.
Libraries have a duty to their communities – to provide the meaningful access to information that allows everyone to learn, grow, and take better decisions. To do this in the modern world, offering innovative, effective services to their users, they need to understand the evolutions taking place around them.
IFLA’s Trend Report and Updates aim to do just this. They highlight key tendencies and developments which shape the work of libraries. This provides the raw material for reflection within libraries, library associations, and the broader library field, on how to prepare for the future.
The 2018 Update is no different. Released today, it draws on insights from speakers at this year’s President’s Meeting, held in Barcelona on 19 March.
The experience of the past few years has shown that we cannot predict the future. We need to think, instead, about the different scenarios we could be facing, and prepare for these. Flexibility and resilience are as essential for libraries as for any other sector.
Yet at the heart of this preparation is a focus on our core values – equitable access to information, respect for human rights, and support for our individual users and communities.
Enforcing these can involve taking on new roles, forming new partnerships, and becoming an example for the technology industry that some predicted would make libraries unnecessary. At a time of growing concern about the evolution of the Internet, libraries once again had a chance to lead.
The four contributors to this year’s Trend Report Update offer valuable perspectives from the academic, journalism, think tank and technical worlds. We are sure that they will promote – and provoke – equally valuable discussions and debates across the global library field.
So read the IFLA Trend Report Update 2018 [PDF], and use it to inspire debates and discussions within your institutions and associations about how we can be ready for the future!