IFLA releases the 2021 update to its Trend Report

The updated Trend Report 2021 is based on ideas submitted by emerging library leaders ahead of the 2021 World Library and Information Congress to be held in Dublin, Ireland, in July 2022 and features 20 suggested trends.

Introducing the updated report, IFLA stated:”To ensure the sustainability of our communities, institutions and profession, we owe it to ourselves to think through the trends and forces that may shape the world around us in the years to come, be they political, economic, technological, cultural or environmental.”

IFLA’s Trend Report series was launched in 2013, and with updates in 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019. The current update includes a foreword by IFLA President Barbara Lison, and an introduction by Secretary General Gerald Leitner.

The Update focuses on the ideas shared by emerging library leaders from around the world that provided the foundations for the President-elect’s session at the World Library and Information Congress.

The Update shares 20 different suggested trends – some complementary, some contradictory – that the people who will be leading our field in ten years felt would mark their professional lives. For each one, a short section highlights key questions and aspects, as well as potential responses for the library field. The trends are:

  1. Tough times ahead
  2. Virtual is here to stay
  3. The comeback of physical spaces
  4. The rise of soft skills
  5. Diversity gets taken seriously
  6. An environmental reckoning
  7. A mobile popupation
  8. The impatient user
  9. An analogue backlash
  10. Scale matters
  11. Data domination
  12. Search transformed
  13. Race to the extremes
  14. Lifelong learners
  15. A single, global collection
  16. The privatisation of knowledge
  17. Qualifications matter
  18. Information literacy recognised
  19. ‘Open’ raises questions about libraries’ unique selling point
  20. Inequalities deepen

It also shares ideas about how to work with the trends, including carrying out your own version of the President-elect’s session within your association or other group, and variations on this model.

The full report is on the IFLA repository. You can also watch again the President-elect’s session at the 2021 virtual World Library and Information Congress.