Champlain is in the midst of working on our next Strategic Plan: Champlain 2020. As such, the Library is engaging in some forward thinking about what we think the library might look like in ten years.
It doesn't sound like that far away, especially because ten years ago felt like yesterday. But in truth, ten years, especially when we think about the rate of change in technology, is a different world in libraries.
Do I mean that?
Yes and no. Academic libraries have changed a lot in the last ten years, twenty years, fifty years. But at their core, libraries have remained something very stable. They are weavers of intellectual fabrics. They are a place for all members of all communities. They are a place of expansion, learning, exploration, growth. That is true. That is solid. But how we are manifesting that has changed immensely. Social media, Library 2.0, information commons, user-centered design...there are more examples than I could possibly think of. Yet, at their core, libraries remain committed to supporting and engaging our users in learning, community, and pleasure.
So what does that mean in an academic library?
Andy and I got to thinking about it in front of a white board. Here's what we came up with:
Some of these are pretty space oriented. I want to be out from behind the desk. Librarians on every floor, walking with hand held devices to provide instant access to information.
The thing about that, is that libraries could be doing that already. Whether anyone is, is a different question. But they could.
And that’s the thing about this question of what the library should look like in ten years. We can’t really answer it when it comes to space or technology. Or users. What we can do is answer it in terms of attributes. Qualities.
That’s exactly what happened in our meeting the other day. The question shifted to “What do we want to be known for in 5 years?” I couldn’t help but blurt out “awesome”. And my awesome boss actually wrote that down. I mean, it’s not going into our actual document but she took it ran with it. Because seriously, how much better can it get than trying to figure out what awesome means.
What does it mean to you?
To your library?
To your patrons?