The library of the future

Libraries aren’t just for books anymore. Nationally recognized by the Library and Information Technology Association for her work in library technology, Instructional Design Librarian Lauren Pressley shares what’s ahead for books and the virtual library at your fingertips.

Ebooks: “This will be a huge year for e-readers and tablet computers. Look for new e-readers to integrate social features, allowing for virtual book club hosting and increased collaboration and information sharing.” Will books become obsolete? No, but Pressley says books may become luxury items as more are digitized and some new books are “born first” into digital format, sometimes bypassing traditional publishing altogether.

Augmented reality: Imagine browsing the library shelves with your mobile phone and seeing the books not on the shelf. When you arrive at the library, scan the circulation desk to learn what services are provided. Augmented reality, embedding extra information into the real environment, is emerging as a technology with significant potential. Stop at a historic marker along the highway, and your mobile device accesses information on when the landmark was built, who built it, and why it’s significant. Archival materials are made available with a sweep of a cell phone. “The technology has implications for both library and classroom use.”

Open Access: Academic journals are costly. It’s an expensive market for a targeted audience. More scholarly journals will be published online and newer models of copyright will gain traction. The goal: a large-scale database maintained by library curators that makes vast amounts of knowledge available to researchers worldwide.

Mash-up culture: In this new trend, people use bits of video, music and copy, pulling them together to make something blended and new. “People growing up in the digital world today have a different understanding of what it’s okay to do with copyrighted material. Librarians will be the educators on what can and can’t be done with previously published works.”

The new librarian: “As books and materials continue to be digitized, what will make a library unique is its special collections materials and its services. There is information in a lot of different containers, and library professionals will be the ones to help direct people to the right box using the right tools.” Librarians will also increasingly be expected to help professors use new technology.

Categories: Arts & Culture, Research