Are libraries sustainable in a world of free, networked, digital information? Lluís Anglada. El profesional de la información. 7 November 2014. [PDF]
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- Libraries are changing from being a space to store, locate and use books to places where people interact and socialize. This should transform the perception that citizens have of their libraries, seeing them as places to ‘change lives by giving people the tools they need to succeed’.
- Libraries depend on public funding, and their future depends on the perception or mental image of libraries held by administrators and policy makers who allocate budgets
- Libraries used to show statistical data on resources; they must now show their value to those who support them financially
- The emergence of new roles for libraries does not mean that all library services have evolved over time. In the new environment, some traditional strengths of libraries are weakening.
- Library catalogues and automated systems were innovative in the ’80s, but have been stuck in outmoded practices. Users have adapted quickly to the ‘googlization’ of information and do not understand why they should have to look in different places to get a unique solution to an information need.
- Two key elements for future library sustainability: perception and adaptation to a new paradigm
- The perception of libraries remains increasingly attached to the printed book, from 69% of Americans in 2005, to 75% in 2010.
- Libraries may end up being seen as useful only to preserve the past (i.e. the printed book), and consequently of little use to handle digital information.
- The library has been steadily declining in importance in university budgets.
- People sustain libraries because of a positive perception and a feeling that the libraries are important. We believe that society still needs the functions performed by libraries and librarians, but the feeling alone does not make them immediately sustainable.
- We must soon establish a new stereotype of ‘library’ in people’s minds, one that is not based on the physicality of the buildings or books, but focuses on the role of support and assistance in the difficult process of using information and transforming it into knowledge.
- The creation of perceptions of a library and librarian that are associated with assistance regarding information is a contribution that has not yet been made.
- This is the challenge and responsibility for young librarians: to create a new perception of our profession. We must establish a new stereotype of ‘library’ in peoples’ minds, one that
is not based on the physicality of the buildings and books, but on the role of support and assistance in the difficult process of using information and transforming it into knowledge.