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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The Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) has published a document which it hopes will spark conversation and debate about the role of libraries in society by the year 2025.  The work is leading up to a summit scheduled for later in 2013 and will help inform ALIA's strategic planning.

The Future of the Profession focuses on three key themes:

  • Convergence - with a focus on efficiency - often IT-enabled
  • Connection - with a focus on 'the human need to connect'
  • The golden age of information - with a focus on a future where 'all information is available to all people'

Academic libraries - current trends and the future


  • Academic libraries are still reasonably well-funded, TAFE (further education) libraries are less well-funded
  • Physical collections are reduced; more learning spaces; moves to learning commons
  • Libraries are integral to the research project lifecycle
  • Patron driven acquisition
  • International students are big business

The future

  • First degrees will no longer be sufficient - lifelong learning
  • Staff will be less involved in library management processes
  • More focus on purchasing and contract negotiation; customer facing services especially research
  • Most learning will be remote
  • MOOCs will have transformed economic models - wider audiences for higher education
  • Strong academic partnerships between Australasia and Asia
  • Closer interaction between library staff and researchers, irrespective of distance
  • Face to face interaction a rarity, but highly valued by students

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