Library Futures

Library of the Future

Library Futures Series

Edited by Miguel Figueroa, Director, Center for the Future of Libraries

Formally launched in 2014, the American Library Association’s Center for the Future of Libraries works toward three primary goals:

  • Identify emerging trends relevant to libraries and the communities they serve;
  • Promote futuring and innovation techniques to help librarians and library professionals shape their future; and
  • Build connections with experts and innovative thinkers to help libraries address emerging issues.

Expanding on that work, the Library Futures series brings together library experts and innovators to explore the profession’s many futures by focusing on emerging trends.

book cover for AnonymityAnonymity (Library Futures Series, Book 1)

Alison Macrina
Talya Cooper

The first volume in a new series presented in partnership with the Center, Anonymity explores the roles and ramifications of this hallmark of technology. In the virtual realm, anonymity means that such bedrock values of librarianship as privacy, free speech, and intellectual freedom coexist uneasily with the proliferation of fake news, sexist and racist sentiments, and repugnant ideologies. As trusted guardians of knowledge, libraries and librarians can fill a growing need for reputable information and open dialog.

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book cover for ResilienceResilience (Library Futures Series, Book 2)

Rebekkah Smith Aldrich

Resilience is the second volume in a new series from ALA’s Center for the Future of Libraries which focuses on emerging trends in the profession, provoking discussion on how to shape the future by sharing ideas and exploring joint solutions to the challenges facing libraries and society. Resilience (or resiliency) incorporates preparations for and rapid recovery from physical, social, and economic disruptions, including environmental disasters, terrorist attacks, or economic collapse. As city, state, and the federal governments adopt resiliency as a strategy for addressing potential disasters, libraries may need to align their facilities, services, and programs to demonstrate a resilient strategy. Additionally, libraries may find themselves competing for funding with other programs or initiatives, especially in an increasingly limited pool of government spending. ...

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book cover for BlockchainBlockchain (Library Futures Series, Book 3)

Sandra Hirsh
Susan Alman

This book in the Library Futures Series examines blockchain technology, a concept with far-reaching implications for the future of recordkeeping. Blockchain uses a distributed database (multiple devices not connected to a common processor) that organizes data into records (blocks) that have cryptographic validation. The data are timestamped and linked to previous records so that they can only be changed by those who own the encryption keys to write to the files. Firms like Microsoft and IBM are already exploring ways that blockchain can more securely handle valuable transaction data. And Sony is harnessing blockchain to store educational information (registration documents, attendance, grades, and even the lesson plans that previous teachers have used) that can easily be transferred between schools as students move or graduate.

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book cover for Design ThinkingDesign Thinking (Library Futures Series, Book 4)

Rachel Ivy Clarke

The Library Futures Series continues with this primer on design thinking, broadly defined as an approach to problem solving which prioritizes empathy with and deeper understandings of users to define a problem; actively engages in prototyping to develop solutions; and iterates solutions through implementation and resulting modification. Clarke, a researcher whose work has systematically examined the capacity of design thinking to revolutionize LIS education and the exploration of diverse library reading materials, guides readers through this trend.

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