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Sunday, March 22, 2009

Thoughts on the library of the future

One of my colleagues posted a question to his facebook wondering what the library of the future would look like.

Here is my unedited response which is a little more casual given the nature of fb discussions :

In terms of physical space, it needs to be inviting, and adaptive to a variety of users -- easily configurable furniture (by the user), the same with lighting, and also a mix of quiet and "discussion" areas. Surfaces and items need to be as durable as possible -- preferably using "green" and renewable materials. The customizable library -- my library. Your library. :-)

I think libraries will continue to grow into community hubs both in the physical sense of place and virtually. So, a lot of support for resources -- media, devices, meeting places, etc, and lots of programming. I think many libraries are lagging in the virtual space idea -- I think it's harder to share space virtually than it is to share space physically. How many libraries offer the ability to setup community forums or online book discussion groups? Not nearly as many as offer those programs face to face.

In a followup question about physical space/requirements:
Okay, MY dream enviro for a library in no particular order 1) comfy seating which I can move if I want to sit near the window 2) good lighting 3) quiet & discussion areas 4) good resources & collections accessible virtually 5) a reason to go into the physical library beyond resources that are only available if I present myself in person with ID ... Read Morein hand 6) food friendly areas 7) Staff who are welcoming
It needs to be completely adaptive, comfortable, forward thinking and supportive of my devices -- highspeed free wifi; electrical outlets for me.

btw, I do think if a new physical library is being built the web has great potential - podcast the progress -- talks with architects, the staff; videostream of the building process -- get feedback from users on their thoughts for the physical space.

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