Looking Forward Again
It was Terry Huwe who, in his column for this month’s issue of Computers in Libraries, noted how fast this year seems to have slipped away, and I must agree. It seems like only yesterday we were concluding CIL’s annual “looking forward” issue for 2011.
Where have we wound up this many months later? And what’s ahead for 2013? 2013! As the millennium enters its teens, where does the library world find itself? Jostling for a position in a brave new world? On the verge of bold new pioneering beginnings? Or, back to basics?
The keynoter at ITI’s Internet Librarian International conference in London this fall, R. David Lankes (Syracuse University), challenged attendees to think beyond the library as a place where knowledge resides back to the library’s very roots as a place where discoveries are made and knowledge is created.
To emphasize the movement, he encouraged us to think of those who come into libraries not as patrons, users, or customers but as members, members of the learning space.
There was much debate among the conference participants about whether or not they liked the term “members,” but most agreed that where we find ourselves these days is not behind a reference desk or in the stacks cataloging books but in the faces of our constituents, even if they are coming in via apps on their mobile devices.
Forecasts and opinions abound about the future of libraries and the outcome of today’s techno trends. In this issue our columnists and contributors help to unravel them.
As we go to press this month, we say goodbye to longtime columnist Janet Balas, who has been writing for this publication since the early days (not all that long ago) when we were talking about “microcomputers” in libraries. We will miss her advice on web resources to consult, but we wish her well.
And best of luck to all of you in the coming new year.
Dick Kaser, Executive Editor