Reflecting on the Future of Academic and Public Libraries

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  • Description
  • Table of Contents
  • About the Authors
  • Reviews

Academic and public libraries are much different today than they were even 15 years ago. With even bigger changes on the horizon, what lies in store? This volume offers ideas to academic and public librarians about the future of library services. Editors Hernon and Matthews invite a raft of contributors to step back and envision the type of future library that will generate excitement and enthusiasm among users and stakeholders. Anyone interested in the future of libraries, especially library managers, will be engaged and stimulated as the contributors

  • Examine the current state of the library, summarizing existing literature on the topic to sketch in historical background
  • Project into the future, using SWOT analysis, environmental scans, and other techniques to posit how library infrastructure (such as staff, collections, technology, and facilities) can adapt in the decades ahead
  • Construct potential scenarios that library leaders can use to forge paths for their own institutions

The collection of knowledge and practical wisdom in this book will help academic and public libraries find ways to honor their missions while planning for the broader institutional changes already underway.

List of Figures, Tables, and Text Boxes
1 Change—Major to Minor

Fundamental Change


Some Important Trends
Creating the Library Compass

Concluding Thoughts
2 Building a Path to the Future

Environmental Scanning Reports

Concluding Thoughts
3 Transforming the Future




Identifying Trends


Building Scenarios



Concluding Thoughts
4 Related Literature
Scenario Planning
Some Key Writings
Use of Scenarios in General
Writings Relevant to Academic Libraries
Writings Relevant to Public Libraries
Concluding Thoughts
5 Future Views of Academic Libraries
Higher Education
Trends in Academic Libraries
Unfamiliarity with Libraries and the Role of Librarians
Exploring the Use of Different Scenarios
Six Academic Library Scenarios
Extending the Scenarios beyond Fifteen Years
Concluding Thoughts
6 Perspectives on Trends and Scenarios: Academic Libraries
Scholarly Communication and Liberal Arts College Libraries (by Richard Fyffe)
Scholarly Communication and the Role of the Liberal Arts College Library (by Diane J. Graves)
Toward Building an Embedded Academic Library: The Case of Shaping Drexel University Libraries Spaces 
by Danuta A. Nitecki
Revisiting the Scenarios through Space Planning 
by Robert E. Dugan
Concluding Thoughts
7 Future Views of Public Libraries
Public Library Association Planning Process
Scenarios and Public Libraries
Out-of-the-Box Thinking
Concluding Thoughts
8 Perspectives on Trends and Scenarios: Public Libraries
Scenario One: The "Status Quo" Library
Scenario Two: The Community "Living Room"
Scenario Three: The "Electronic" Library
Scenario Four: The "Happening Place" Library
Comments on the Scenarios
Concluding Thoughts
9 Preparing for the Future: Some Final Thoughts
Staff Abilities for the Present and Future
Currents in Scenario Development
Privatizing Libraries
Libraries Merely Trying to Keep Up
Revisiting Space Planning
Issues of Importance to the Broader Organization
Concept of Scenarios Revisited
Concluding Thoughts
Appendix A: The Use of Scenarios in the Pierce County Library System (by Neel Parikh)
Appendix B: The Anythink Revolution (by Pam Sandlian-Smith)
About the Authors

Peter Hernon

Peter Hernon is a professor emeritus at Simmons College, Boston, and was the principal (and founding) faculty member for the doctoral program, Managerial Leadership in the Information Professions. He received his PhD degree from Indiana University, Bloomington, and was the 2008 recipient of the Association of College and Research Libraries' award for Academic/Research Librarian of the Year, the founding editor of Government Information Quarterly, and past editor-in- chief of The Journal of Academic Librarianship. He is the coeditor of Library & Information Science Research and has taught, conducted workshops, and delivered addresses in eleven countries outside the United States. He is the author or co-author of 57 books, including the award-winning Federal Information Policies in the 1980s (1985) and Viewing Library Metrics from Different Perspectives (2009).

Joseph R. Matthews

Joseph R. Matthews is a consultant specializing in strategic planning, assessment, evaluation of library services, customer service, use of performance measures, and the balanced scorecard. He was an instructor at the San Jose State University School of Library and Information Science. He is author of The Customer-Focused Library, The Evaluation and Measurement of Library Services, Scorecards for Results, Strategic Planning and Management for Managers, and Measuring for Results, and the coauthor (with Peter Hernon) of Listening to the Customer, among other books.

"A good starting point for bold envisioning and is recommended reading for library managers and also for certain library stakeholders to begin generating discussion on the future of libraries in general or the future of a particular library, be it academic or public."
--Georgia Library Quarterly

"Hernon and Matthews have made a major practical and readable contribution to the literature of contemporary librarianship. This is a must-read for contemporary librarians."
— Australian Library Journal