What is Your Vision of the Library of the Future? Scenario B

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Scenario B is one of the scenarios discussed at the focus groups for the library’s planning process. This scenario is very centered about books and reading, and is intended to help begin discussion about what participants want for the future of the library. If you click “Read the rest of this entry…” below you can read the comments from the focus groups held at North County Regional Library (7/16/08, in Huntersville) and at Freedom Regional Library (7/19/08, in Charlotte) about this scenario.

What do you think? Tell us your thoughts about what seems likely or desirable in this scenario, what is unlikely or undesirable, and what is missing that you would like in the library of the future? Leave a comment to join in the conversation.

Also, check out Scenario A, which paints a very different possible future, and give us your feedback.


Comments from the focus groups held at North County Regional Library (7/16/08, in Huntersville) and at Freedom Regional Library (7/19/08, in Charlotte) about Scenario A, the “Books, books, books” Library:

  • Words used to describe scenario were “warm and fuzzy,” “comfy chair,” “family,” and “exciting-great bookstore.”
  • Children should have an early experience in libraries and reading and there should be an emphasis on this as they grow.
  • Children should flourish and families should want to be at the library.
  • PLCMC should have an institution that is geared towards reading; it should be an emotional and spiritual institution in the community.
  • The book based atmosphere of the library should not be taken away; this is the first reason why people come to the library. The library should be all things in this scenario to a community.
  • Having an institution that is focused on reading, which is fundamental, is important.
  • Society has drifted away from reading books, people now want visual input.
  • People tend to forget that librarians are great resources; they are nice and have never met a “not nice” librarian
  • Librarians need to be sold more.
  • The real strength of libraries is the personal experience people have, no matter what they are learning. From reading to technology, the biggest challenge for libraries, especially those will smaller staff, is the increase in patrons.
  • The skills staff need to train and help patrons is a challenge, but it is wonderful what they can learn.
  • People want an experience when they come to the library. The staff listens and decides on the best actions based on what parents say about their children. Parents know that staff try to know the children that come in and it makes them happy.
  • Parents now plan trips to the library; younger families are now coming in. Results in families wanting more individual attention when it comes to reader’s advisory assistance.
  • People enjoy the ILL service, holds and email notification services.
  • It is a challenge to manage the collection, transporting books from branch to branch.
  • Most people are on the fast track in life, want books on tapes, CDs, can drive and listen to book. People are not going to read as much.
  • Libraries need to be able to provide the need for instant gratification, like bookstores or Amazon. Patrons should be able to have access to library in some way, even if it is not a physical visit.
  • Absence of learning styles, schools don’t vary their styles. People have to have different ways of learning.
  • Libraries need to have a foundation for people to understand how to read and libraries need to make sure people are able to read.
  • There needs to be a balance of technological and non-technological materials for people. The balance will not be easy to obtain, will take work.
  • It’s great to have format options for books and materials. It’s great to have CD’s, one can listen while they drive.
  • The technology model is more of a business center model, a more effective way of getting information. Books are sterile, if you see them in different formats, it opens up a new world. The most productive societies are not sterile; there is a feeling of being on the move.
  • Variety of book formats especially important for teens. Doesn’t matter what the format is, as long as they are reading.
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3 Responses to “What is Your Vision of the Library of the Future? Scenario B”

  1. MCW Says:

    This is a lot of information to take in at one time (Choosing between two scenarios). I think I like Scenario B better, because it sounds more like what we are already accustomed to. PLCMC has the books you are looking for, and they also have the other formats you have come to enjoy renting.

    I like this scenario better, because I feel like if you went with Scenario A, too much money would be dumped into technology designed to keep you in the library, and not enough money would be left for purchasing the usual library items like Books and CDs. I am in the group of people who unfortunately does not have the free time to stay in the library for long periods taking it all in. I use the library holds system to ensure that I am in and out, and on the go.

    So, while I love technology, I think PLCMC should gradually introduce it more, in a way that will NOT take away shelf space used for the hard, tangible items that you can rent. The library is about renting physical things. If you want the library to be something else, then dedicate new locations just for that purpose. People would be very disappointed if they went to their library to discover that all of the books they were looking to rent had been converted to eBooks overnight.

    I don’t think we’re all ready for the eBook world yet… it’s coming, and the Kindle is certainly helping that along, but for now, I don’t want PLCMC to make such a drastic change. It’s Scenario B for me, with a gradual introduction of Scenario A (ie. technology being slowly introduced, with touch screen activities, better ways to search the library database, etc.). I think it would also be cool to pick up any item off of a shelf, and say “I want to buy this instead of rent”, and have the price already set on the computer and ready to go. Swipe your visa or library card to pay for it.

  2. Mike Moyer Says:

    Greetings from a former manager of the Virtual Library at PLCMC.

    I read, with considerable interest, your forums on the 2 scenarios. It sounds as if nothing has changed from the late 90’s when the Internet was really coming into its own, and books were thought to be on the way out. Surveys from Barnes & Noble and libraries have shown that the opposite is true: books are still in demand, but people still feel the need to have places for both books and technology. And, not everyone has a computer at home or feels the need to have one.

    Noting the pictures of Tony Tallent next to the Mobile Literacy vehicle brings me back to a proposal that we looked at several times (or, at least, tried to get people to look at). Why in the world PLCMC does not have a Mobile PC LIteracy vehicle to take around to the branches and possibly share with other library systems as an outreach of our talent still escapes me. There are plenty of vehicles that can serve the purpose, we have ample space at our regional libraries to park a vehicle, and think of the publicity that we would get if this vehicle was spotted rolling down our streets or to a library in the region going down the interstate.

    We have computers in the branches and the infrastructure to provide them, but I think the need is probably centered on the training to use a computer, or various software, that most people are looking for. At least, that’s what they were looking for 10 years ago when I was in Virtual…and from what I’ve read and heard, that’s still the case.

  3. literacyinkenya Says:

    We in Kenya are in similar dilema. I appreciate the effort of this group to discuss these issues.

    Charles Nandain, Nairobi, Kenya

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