Trends for Libraries

GaryAt the recent Future of Libraries institute in Toronto, Gary Price ( provided an overview of trends that could lead to opportunities for libraries and librarians who want to have greater community impact and profile.

Gary is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area, and editor of the “essential reading” INFOdocket. He was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

Here are his top five (with of course my editorializing…):

1. Privacy and privacy education. We know the issues. We have the knowledge. We are respected and credible. We should be offering information sessions and advocacy on behalf of consumers of all ages.

2. Open web collection development. There is so much available—especially the really useful sources after the first page of Google returns, that we should be capturing these and entering them in our databases for customer use.

3. Human curation. We talk the talk. So how do we demonstrate that a human search engine can be superior to algorithms? How do we show that we can deliver the perfect content for the moment, that someone wants to share immediately… the content perfect for the context. Is this type of reference really dead?

4. Digital literacy. We know about the divide. Indeed years ago Bill Gates noted that the digital divide was not about equipment but about use. In schools we used to distinguish “physical” access and “intellectual” access. Who provides programs on the credibility of sources, whether for school assignments or seniors’ health needs?

5. Personal web and digital archives. Wow. This is big and growing – taking our expertise to help individuals to handle their own records and files, how to organize, find, re-find, through hierarchies, controlled vocabulary, classifications. And how to use a way back machine for retrieval.

So much to do! So little time!

About Ken Haycock

Ken Haycock is currently Research Professor of Management and Organization at the Marshall School of Business, University of Southern California, where he coordinates graduate programs in Library and Information Management.

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One Response to Trends for Libraries

  1. Heather May 23, 2014 at 11:48 am #

    These suggestions are practical and useful — thanks so much! We cover some of these topics in tutorials for the public, but others would be new and valuable additons.