In an earlier blog, I think, Number 12, I talked about library 2.0 and what it may or may not mean to librarians. I guess in part, because I had already read the 5 brief essays that are part of this exercise. So I guess I'll continue on a bit.
How do I see the library in 5-10 years? I sincerely hope it is far more user friendly - both in person and however else we reach out to our patrons/users. For an academic library, much of this will be determined by outside forces - i.e. the faculty. If faculty are not concerned with scholarly resources, then we probably won't be needed
- except as a book storehouse. How many of our faculty, let that part of the student's work slide?
Now assuming faculty will demand scholarly material, it is up to us to figure out how to reach our users. Library 2.0 as one of the essays stated is past it's time. We need to be looking at places like the MIT Imaging labs and other "future" think labs. We really need to skip the intermediate steps and become cutting edge.
Because each discipline is different, different things will be required. For example, music. Scores and recordings are big issues. One of the vendors has come out with online scores as part of a subscription. Should libraries that have music programs get this. The answer is yes, assuming, the product is easy to use and the content appropriate. Should we get sound recordings access - not just streaming - but downloadable - the answer is of course, yes. The 2 C's, copyright and cost are big questions with this material. But by not figuring out to make it easy for music students to get this material, are we doing ourselves out of a job and not doing right by the students, the answer is a stark yes.
For engineering and the sciences, the publishers of databases are begiining to "get it". Scitopia.org is an example of societal publishers trying something new. They are also going in the opposite way - a good example is SAE's contract for their material. Not user friendly at all (to the patron or the library!)
What about the people? We will need to be ambassadors - each and every one of us - for the library (and really, by extention, our clientele). That means going out of way to help and frankly, let the patron know that we are. Good PR never hurts. We work with products that are unwieldly and frankly not user friendly (a good example is trying to put a book on "hold" or recall an item). It seems that the bigger the electronic system is the less responsive it is to our needs. Should we say the heck with aleph and go with something that really works better and is nimbler?
As time goes on our choices become fewer and fewer. What we do now will determine whether or not libraries will exist in 10-15 years.