Libraries are constantly evolving, this we know. But into what? What is the end product? Or will we remain in a constant state of evolution for all time? It could take years, decades, millennia etc. to gain the answer to that last question, but it is great fun to ponder and give yourself a migraine with all the possibilities. But don’t we as Librarians or rather Information Professionals have to evolve with the Library? Are we doing that successfully and to the best of our ability?
Here’s my question to you… what do you want the next evolution of Libraries to be?
This is a totally open ended question, there are no marks or prizes and you don’t need referencing to back up your theories. They can be completely new! Feel free to debate also.
Personally I can see the possibilities to a shift towards running Library client services divisions more like a retail outlet. Staff aren’t hiding behind the desks, but actively out on the floor connecting with clients. Kind of a roving reference, but we teach them not to force themselves on students. Nothing worse than those staff in stores that hover and won’t leave you alone to decide.
In the way distant future (or possibly sooner who knows) I can see a move to something along the lines of ANZ mobile lenders. Rather than students/clients coming in for Research Consultations, Librarians go out to their homes and show them how to search from their personal computers at home. Librarians could show them everything from how to download and set up endnote (including showing them how to have a mobile endnote library), to how to construct search strategies, identify important journals and set up RSSFeeds. This would also require Librarians to be much more technically minded which honestly I think is sorely needed anyway.
I can also see a path for Librarians embedded within faculties and schools and even stay at home Librarians, which would work somewhat like stay at home IT peoples. You have your other work to do, but are also logged in to receive calls and IMs.