The library of the future: scenarios from Australia

The Australian Library and Information Association has begun a 'conversation' about the future role of libraries in 2025.

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Special libraries - current trends and the future


  • Government, health, law and corporate libraries are having to restate their value as administrators label them as non-core and soft options for cuts

The future

  • Research skills will be the primary requirement for library staff
  • Increasing involvement in knowledge and records management
  • Development of client management/relationship approaches
  • Fewer positions, but employers will have a greater understanding of the value of library/information services
  • Shared services will become commonplace
  • Physical location no longer necessary - more library/information staff working from home
  • New ways of making teams feel connected

Collecting institutions - current trends and the future


  • High costs of collecting and enabling access to digital collections
  • Challenges in collecting 'born digital' materials

The future

  • A strong sense of nostalgia in society
  • Inclusion in digital collections will become the 'plaque on a park bench' of the future - a form of community memorial
  • New exhibitions and collections will bring more visitors to institutions and their websites; new income will be generated


School libraries and public libraries are also covered.  School libraries will grow to serve wider communities and public libraries will remodel their interiors to create new activity spaces.

There will be fewer roles for library and information professionals but the remaining jobs will require a range of skills and across a broader range of information supply chain roles.  Examples include working for information vendors; contract negotiation; information literacy training and records management roles.

The paper concludes that there is a golden age of information coming and library and information professionals need to be in a position to take full advantage.  If they do, there will be highly attractive opportunities for the profession.

Participation and input are welcome from around the world.  You can find out more about the 'conversation' here.  The report Library and Information Services: the future of the profession themes and scenarios 2025 is available for download here.

See also The (Australian) University of the Future.

Image courtesy of duff_sf via Flickr.

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