The Future of the Public Library

The Future of the Public Library
Semi-Annual Board Meeting
2 Nov 2013
The future of the public library
What’s the point of a public library in the digital
What is the future of the public library?
The Future of the Public Library
• Collections
• Services
• Promotions
• Facilities
What’s in a library?
Non library user: “Books”
Library user: “Books, CDs, DVDs, ebooks,
audiobooks, newspapers, databases,
magazines, programs”
The evolution of collections
• Technology “petting zoo”
– Hands on experience with different devices
• LibraryFarm
– Organic community garden
– Check out a small plot of land for free
– Learn food literacy, learn and enjoy gardening
• Musical instruments
– 3 week checkouts
– Carry cases, tuners, how to guides
– Karaoke machines
The evolution of collections
• Costume checkout
– Santa suits
– Halloween costume exchange
• Digital Media Lab
– Cameras, microphones, keyboards, green screen,
editing software
• Technology Tutors
• Human Library Project
– Variety of religious and cultural backgrounds, exfelons, disability, veterans, refugee, etc.
– Local experts: plumbers, electronics, etc.
The evolution of collections
• Home energy evaluation kits
– “Kill-A-Watt” electric appliance meters
• Magnifying glass, large type telephones
• Scales, blood pressure machine, portable
exercise equipment
• Sports equipment
– Fishing poles, stocked tackle box
– Basketballs, frisbees, jump ropes
The evolution of collections
Cooking pans and utensils
– Astronomy clubs, sky gazing parties, sidewalk
The evolution of services
• “Hot spots”
– Computer, printer, internet, small collection
– Churches, non-profits, schools, etc.
• Self check-out
• Library kiosks: “ATM” for books
– 400 book capacity
– Touch screen browsing
– Expanding the library’s presence 24/7
The evolution of services
• Mobile Apps
– Check out a library book on with your phone
– The handheld library
– Oyster App
• Youth (under 30) are more likely to spend time in
a library than older generations, who may just
want to pick up an item and leave.
• Gaming
– Some libraries lend video games
– More offer in-library gaming programming
– Wii Fit for seniors
The evolution of promotions
• Book bike
– Ride around community with free book, library
cards, library info pamphlets
• QR codes
– Bus stops
– Posters
– Even in the stacks
The evolution of promotions
• Knowing your patrons and how to provide for
them is a must to secure the future of the
public library.
– Changing populations
– Changing economic activity
– Who are our competitors?
– Do they want books? Ebooks? Tools or telescopes?
– Needs Assessment Project
The evolution of promotions
• Libraries of the future will be inviting, open,
• Find ways to say “yes!”
• Signs of a hostile library:
– Signage with the words “must,” “no,” “forbidden,”
“only,” “prohibited,” “do not”
The evolution of facilities
Q: Will there still be books in the library of the near
A: Yes. But housing them is less of a priority.
The public library of the future will have:
Multiple uses and varied spaces
Fewer physical books, more services
Natural light
Social spaces
Sense of home and community
The evolution of facilities
• Maker spaces: participatory place to create,
learn, collaborate, share, craft
– 3D printers
– laser cutter: cutting, engraving
– CNC (computer numerical control) machine:
computer guided router for complex cuts ex)
signs, furniture, metals, etc.
– Espresso book machine
The evolution of facilities
• What about expanding the definition of a
maker space?
– Tools and work area
– Painting and craft area
– Music area
– Garage
– Community garden
– Kitchen space
The evolution of facilities
• The book-less library
– San Antonio Bexar County BiblioTech Library
– Opened 14 September 2013
– E-books only
– Aisles of computers, tablets, laptops, gadgets,
– Encourages video games + educational games
– Space for author visits, classes, computer training
The future of the public library
What’s the point of a public library in the digital
To be a relevant, inclusive, community based
destination for socializing, creativity and
The future of the public library
What is the future of the public library?
– 164 million visits in 2010 to Canadian public libraries
– 112 million visits to the movies in Canada in 2010
– 5 million spectators went to NHL games in Canada in 2010
– 362 million items borrowed in Canadian public libraries in
– 351,000 programs in Canadian public libraries in 2010, 7
million attendees
The future of the public library
• What is the future of the public library?
– 61% Canadians have a library card (41% actually use
– 64% Canadians have a passport
– 95% Canadians have access to a public library
– What else do 95% of Canadians have access to? Post
Office? Hospital? Tim Horton’s?
Our future is good, but we’re going to look and act
much different than in the past.
Blair, Elizabeth. “Beyond books: libraries lend fishing poles, pans and people.” NPR. 13 Aug 2013.
Web. Accessed 08 Oct 2013.
Blair, Elizabeth. “With modern makeovers, America’s libraries are branching out.” NPR. 1 Sept
2013. Web. Accessed 08 Oct 2013.
Canadian Urban Libraries Council “2010 Canadian Public Library Statistics;” Statistics Canada.
Editors. “Manufacturing makerspaces.” American Libraries Magazine. Jan/Feb 2013. Web.
Accessed 08 Oct 2013.
Gunby, Matthew. “The evolution of library collections.” Public Libraries Online. 01 Oct 2013. Web.
Accessed 08 Oct 2013.
McIntyre, Heather. “Edmonton public library makes space for tech-friendly creations.” Metro
News. 22 Aug 2013. Web. Accessed 08 Oct 2013.
Moss, Caroline. “This incredible app could change how you read books forever.” Business Insider.
15 Sept 2013. Web. Accessed 17 Oct 2013.
O’Kelly, Kevin. “Are bookless libraries a good thing?” Huffington Post. 23 July 2013.
Web. Accessed 11 Oct 2013.
Pace, Eileen. “Bexar County Bibliotech goes live this weekend.” Texas Public Radio. 12
Sept 2013. Web. Accessed 08 Oct 2013.
Schrader, Alvin and Michael Brundin. National Statistical and Values Profile of Canadian
Libraries. Canadian Library Association, 2012.
Stern, Joanna. “The first bookless public library: Texas to have bibliotech.” ABC News.
14 Jan 2013. Accessed 08 Oct 2013.
Yenigun, Sami. “At libraries across America, it’s game on.” NPR. 11 Aug 2013. Web.
Accessed 08 Oct 2013.
Zickuhr, Kathryn. “Innovative library services in the wild.” Pew Internet & American Life
Project. 29 Jan 2013. Web. Accessed 08 Oct 2013.

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