When was the last time you visit a library? With the internet now in the hands of almost everyone and information just a few taps away, fewer people are spending time in the library. A couple of years ago, the shift towards digital information and easy access to online books caused concern among libraries and librarians. Those concerns were soon answered with ways libraries can be part of the future.
We’re already seeing libraries transforming into so much more than a place to read books. They’re quickly becoming information hubs and co-working spaces; places where people can experience so much and develop new things. How does the future look like for the nation’s best libraries?
While libraries have always been a place to find information, libraries of the future will be so much more than that. It is quickly becoming a place for learning and consuming information, not just from books but from the cloud as well. Some are actively scanning older books to preserve them in the cloud.
Almost all libraries now offer free Wi-Fi and a wealth of digital content to explore. In fact, libraries are starting to add digital books to their collections, allowing visitors to browse through millions of titles and search through them more efficiently.
Libraries are also becoming a place for sharing and experiencing information. The introduction of Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality are allowing libraries to share their information in more ways than ever. Instead of reading about dinosaurs, for instance, kids can now interact with virtual content through AR headsets and other media.
A Co-Working Space
Libraries are also great places to share and work together. There are a lot of private co-working spaces in various parts of the country today, but they tend to be relatively expensive and may not always offer access to the same wealth of information as libraries.
Even universities with an online MMLIS program are starting to add courses on information science that extends far beyond the boundaries of traditional libraries. These courses, including the library science degree from reputable names such as the University of Southern California, are allowing future librarians to be ready for these changes.
With capable librarians at the helm, libraries can turn into places where new startups are formed and where business ideas are turned into products. It doesn’t stop there either.
A Place for Creators
Some libraries are embracing the concept of rapid prototyping and effective creation by adding items such as 3D printers to their arsenal. This is where the real future of libraries lies; a place where creators can develop their ideas, work together with fellow creators, and make something on the spot.
Tools that are usually reserved for professionals and larger companies are now accessible via libraries, bringing a lot of new visitors and making libraries relevant again. The best thing about these changes is that more are expected. As society evolves, libraries will continue to offer new features and evolve alongside the community around them.