In the article "To a Temporary Place in Time" by Wendy Schultz I found a very intriguing viewpoint of libraries in the future. (http://www.oclc.org/nextspace/002/6.htm)
She begins the article by making the very true point that libraries have gone from being "in the community" to "being the community".
Throughout the article she discusses what the various historical and future phases of the library look like starting in Library 1.0 (the past), continuing to Library 2.0 (the present), and finishing with Library 3.0 and 4.0 (the future).
I found her ideas of what the Library must and will morph into to be spot on. I have to agree, many of these things will happen. It is kind of freaky and weird. But when you think about it, look at the things we are doing today that would have been strange ideas 10-20 years ago, example: most everyone having mp3 players, computers, and cell phones and even owning instruments that combine all three.
Schultz is predicting that the next phase transition, we arrive at virtual collections in the 3D world, where books themselves may have avatars and online personalities.
Uh...as I look at the paperback novel I'm reading that sounds crazy, but hey, I just created an avatar for my online blog, so why not?
I think this article does a great job of expanding a librarian's mind and preparing him/her for what is likely to come in the future.
The article "Away from the Icebergs" by Rick Anderson lists potential pitfalls today's library can fall into and how to avoid them.(http://www.oclc.org/nextspace/002/2.htm)
I really enjoyed reading this article as it also pushes one to think about what our information world is really going to look like in the future and how we can best serve our patrons.
Anderson points out that circulation is dropping and other services are rising in the library. We need to focus less on keeping "just in case" and out-dated print items on hand and more on boosting our other information services.
In order to serve our patrons, we need to be ready to teach these quickly growing and changing technologies. Before the internet information age, libraries had a monopoly on information. If one was not wealthy enough to keep expensive up-to-date research sources such as books, encyclopedias and other reference materials in their home (which is the majority of the population), they went to the library. Such is not the case anymore; patrons can find the information they are looking for in many other ways these days.
So how do we keep our libraries current and alive?
Anderson notes that as librarians "we have to be a bit more humble in the current environment, and find new ways to bring our services to patrons rather than insisting that they come to us—whether physically or virtually. At a minimum, this means placing library services and content in the user’s preferred environment (i.e., the Web); even better, it means integrating our services into their daily patterns of work, study and play."