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How Emerging Trends and Technologies Will Affect the Library John Burke ALAO SSIG Spring Workshop May 8-9, 2003.

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Presentation on theme: "How Emerging Trends and Technologies Will Affect the Library John Burke ALAO SSIG Spring Workshop May 8-9, 2003."— Presentation transcript:

1 How Emerging Trends and Technologies Will Affect the Library John Burke ALAO SSIG Spring Workshop May 8-9, 2003

2 Coping and keeping up Where’s the wind blowing? What’s new? How do I prepare? Will I be working in a library in 10 years? 5? Contrasting examples; stories that teach A list of lessons learned and steps to follow

3 Library technology truths Dual technology needs: streamline our workflow and serve the public Add popular technologies both by demand and proactively We create our own systems on occasion Budget pressures often slow changes New items both replace and complement Both products and processes Computers are a key technology today, but not the only crucial one

4 Truth #1: Not all technology works as expected

5 Failure – the Rudolph Indexer View 175 catalog cards at once 12,000+ cards in single indexer Too expensive; never caught on

6 Success – Shared cataloging MARC records OCLC Cooperation continues

7 Technologies on the rise Handhelds – Palm Pilots, Pocket PCs, Cell phones, Tablet PCs Wireless networking Open source software MP3s DVDs E-books Full-text reference books and periodicals

8 What can we learn? Three possibilities for each new technology:  Essential technologies that last (DDC, OPAC, etc.)  “Flashes in the pan” that never materialize (Rudolph Indexer, bubble memory, etc.)  Transitional technologies that have shorter lifespans (8-track tapes, records, etc.) We hope to choose 1 early, accept 3 before it’s too late, and avoid 2 altogether

9 Truth #2: It’s hard to know what patrons will want or need

10 Trends in society 66% of Americans use computers at home or work (over 54% use the Internet) Reading habits: more “scanning” 90% of children and teens use computers 50% of homes have DVD players 42% of U.S. adults are not Internet users (Pew Internet Study)

11 “Thumb tribe” Technology  Society  Biology (?) oyayubizoku – Japanese (or “clan of the thumb”)

12 How do we adjust to the trends? Mixed bag Stress customer service Patrons want self-suffiency Patrons need guides and helpers We need to be flexible – alter workflow, policies

13 Truth #3: Libraries face many concerns and choices

14 Trends in libraries Nearly universal Internet access in public libraries Graying of profession (63% of librarians are > 45) Less spending on books, but higher circulation Budget cutbacks More and bigger electronic resources to buy Audiovisual spending is growing 24/7/365 access and assistance Buildings – need flexible, tech-friendly spaces Digital reference – chat, email Focus on adaptive devices and web design

15 Major issues to solve Copyright Confidentiality – USA Patriot Act, etc. Access – “digital divide” Library budgets Archiving of digital resources (& long-term access) One-stop access to resources – easy interfaces More fee, less free resources Spam, cyberterrorism, and the regulated Internet Marketing the library, finding niches Cooperation among libraries

16 Where to turn? It’s always been this way to some degree Libraries must have a voice in solutions Stay in communication Stay a little behind, but still see who’s up front Be informed (Technology Awareness Resources handout at

17 Truth #4: Not every library needs the same technologies

18 A tale of two libraries Cerritos Library, Cerritos, CA ( Oscar Johnson Memorial Library, Silverhill, AL (

19 Different on the outside...

20 ... And on the inside

21 Both have computers...

22 ... But only one has a dinosaur.

23 What does our library need? Know thy community Consider the budget Don’t fear change Remember Truth #1 Take a few leaps of faith

24 Truth #5: All visions are imperfect, but we need them

25 Visions of the Future: Yesterday Charles Ammi Cutter (1883) The Buffalo Public Library in 1983 Guessed wrong:  Sprawling, many floored library  An army of uniformed pages  Scrupulously clean and dust free  Multiple “reading rooms” Guessed right:  Fax machines, interlibrary loan, photocopying  Mass electric power Based his thoughts on what he could see

26 Visions of the future: Today Raymond Kurzweil (2000) The “Terminator” future  2009 – wearable computers  2019 – books are rarely used  2029 – implants connect us to the Internet Libraries fade away Unabated development of technology We’ll have to wait and see

27 Vision #1: “It’s Alive!” Primary access to information is electronic Most users access materials remotely Private companies offer content and access equal to and beyond that of libraries – competition and outsourcing Our interaction with the Internet and networked information sources becomes a single interface, perhaps voice responsive Library cannot compete as a public space – home becomes central

28 Vision #2: Ozymandias Things fall apart: current tech cannot be sustained Bleeding edge stops bleeding Archival issues end e-resource use Declining funds push libraries to print only Terrorism makes networks unworkable Libraries survive as they always have, and grow as centers of information and learning A step back, or a step ahead?

29 Vision #3: Today & tomorrow Public, academic, school, & special libraries Near-universal Internet access (thanks to us) Many electronic resources Declining periodical collections Growth of e-books and other publications on handheld devices Remote access to resources is available, and growing in use Library is still a vital spot for the community

30 The future for support staff Jobs increasing (66% of library workers now) Workload shift continues (more formerly MLS- only duties) Entry requirements increasing (in places) “Graying” & retention issues Opportunities to seek MLS (if desired) Pay may rise, but slowly

31 Lessons Learned 1. Not all technology works as expected 2. It’s hard to know what patrons will want or need 3. Libraries face many concerns and choices 4. Not every library needs the same technologies 5. All visions are imperfect, but we need them Consider the essentials of our work as you innovate

32 Five New Laws of Library Science 1. Libraries serve humanity. 2. Respect all forms by which knowledge is communicated. 3. Use technology intelligently to enhance service. 4. Protect free access to knowledge. 5. Honor the past and create the future. Revised: Walt Crawford and Michael Gorman

33 Further reading Gorman, Michael. Our Enduring Values. Chicago: American Library Association, 2000. Wisconsin Library Services. New Tech News. ( Burke, John. Neal-Schuman Library Technology Primer. New York: Neal-Schuman Publishers, Inc., 2000.

34 Questions or Comments? John J. Burke, MSLS Assistant Library Director Gardner-Harvey Library Miami University Middletown (513) 727-3293

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