While it’s nearly impossible to accurately predict the future, we can identify trends that can be key in understanding what the future might bring. It is important for libraries to spot trends and integrate them into their programs and services in order to remain useful and relevant. An article “Trending Now,” lists 5 trends that are worth looking at:
- Anonymity: it may help build community and is an increasingly important part of web interactions.
- Collective impact: organizations are adopting common agendas to address issues in the community. Librarians could become highly valued partners in collective-impact responses
- Fast casual: establishements incorporate customized services and products, and also integrate technology, with customer loyalty apps, online or mobile ordering, and mobile payments. Fast casual has advanced the growth of living-room-like flexible spaces (multiple and varied seating arrangements, easy-to-find power outlets) that accommodate social and business needs, and are technologically savvy.
- Resilience: Resilience includes preparation for and rapid recovery from physical, social, and economic disasters, including natural disasters, terrorist attacks, or economic collapse.
- Robots: libraries have seen robots and robotics as a next wave for technology access and training, even lending robots to help users experience what might soon be a regular part of their futures. [They could also be places to learn more about technology.]
Another article “The Future, Today”addresses similar concepts:
- Digital downloads, ebooks, personal content, and live programming together with books, periodicals, microfilm, audio, and video in today’s libraries. The library of the future will support and enhance navigation and exchange of these new forms of information. Library services must be delivered in ways that are digitally based or conveniently located in public places to help users with their busy schedules
- Collections are being carefully considered so as not to occupy too much square footage, leaving room for tech and social spaces, and a center for multiple activities.
- Library staff in the future will be organized on the floor to be more effective ‘information guides’ to help patrons.
- There will be more flexible spaces for evolving services and forms of information offering.
- Libraries are no longer single-purpose repositories of books dedicated to quiet study. They have become dynamic hubs in various ways for the community of users