Libraries and the Future: Essays on the Library in the Twenty-First Century (Haworth Library and Information Science)

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9781560243823: Libraries and the Future: Essays on the Library in the Twenty-First Century (Haworth Library and Information Science)
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Libraries and the Future explores how the trends and technological breakthroughs of today will transform the shape of libraries as they move into the twenty-first century. This visionary book will help librarians and library science students understand and prepare for the changes likely to take place in library and information services over the next several years. Enlightening chapters discuss the future of academic libraries, public libraries, library services in developing countries, and library services from the perspective of scholarly users, library funders, and policymakers. These authoritative contributors present a wide-range of viewpoints but they all agree that the near future offers great opportunity for libraries to make their services more valuable to the community of potential users than they have ever been before. Libraries and the Future provides the way for libraries to be active forces, to emphasize the delivery of information, not its storage, and to be judged by the services they deliver, not the assets they control.

Readers will learn about a realm of possible types of future libraries from experts representing academic, special, and public libraries, and researchers and scholarly users of libraries from four continents. Some of the visions of future libraries from these respected information professionals include:

  • the library as the hub of a community network
  • libraries that actively determine for themselves how to use information technology
  • libraries that utilize technology to meet national social, technological, and cultural demands of developing countries
  • artificial intelligence and expert system approaches in library-related applications
  • the virtual library and information center where print, database, and other formats are replaced by holographic images and where the world’s store of recorded knowledge is available without leaving home

    This inspirational book calls for librarians to be more imaginative and to move outside traditional library roles and into broader information roles, as libraries begin to take full advantage of the technology at their disposal. Libraries and the Future encourages librarians to take greater leadership roles, and to use rapidly developing technology to enhance the information services the library provides. Managers of all types of libraries, especially large libraries, will benefit from valuable predictions about the future challenges they may face, and suggestions for changes in the role of the today’s libraries. Faculty and students in the areas of library management, sociology of libraries, and library technology will learn how their knowledge and training of this century will be used in the library systems of the future.

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From Library Journal:

Predictions about the course of technological trends in libraries and the provision of information are unreliable especially when they lack focus and when the proposed visions have been developed with little practical connection to the present. Such is the case with most of the 11 essays in Libraries and the Future , the tenor and authority of which are provided by works of fantasy and science fiction, including two references to Star Trek . The essays often rely on vacuous imperatives ("we need to . . . "; "libraries must . . . " in order to propel their arguments. Meanwhile, they repeat forecasts, which, these days, are rather obvious and unimaginative: CD-ROMs will remain serviceable for storage and retrieval of information; remote access will allow information seekers to work from their homes or businesses; privatization of certain kinds of information will increase; and so on. A "virtual information center" depicted in one essay is as likely to provoke nausea as amazement. Curiously, the most instructive essay describes the current state of libraries in Brazil. A superior treatment of the theme may be found in a special issue of Representations , No. 42, "Future Libraries," Univ. of California Pr., Spring 1993. Not recommended.
- Dean Rowan, Whitter P.L., Cal.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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