Libraries: Days of Future Past
by Brandi Scardilli
I think it’s safe to say that most of us have become a little obsessed with the future since the pandemic began. When will the vaccines get here? (Answered!) When can we stop wearing masks everywhere? When will our lives look more like they did pre-2020? What will COVID-19 prevention look like once the pandemic ends? (All up in the air.)
This issue, Dave Shumaker builds on his coverage of libraries and COVID-19 by looking at “the next normal”: how libraries will change (or continue using) their pandemic-era approaches with regard to collections, programs, community needs, space planning, and funding (page 14). And Larissa Pack explores the new nonprofit organization Library Futures Institute, which is working on creating equitable digital access and advocating for libraries in other areas (page 17).
Nancy Herther tackles the past and present in We the People (page 6), writing, “Today, we are seeing major efforts in literature, science, and technology to recognize and deal with the impacts of published racism. This awakening is overdue and to be applauded; however, for information professionals, there are many complex and troubling issues embedded in these efforts that we must face and work to influence.” We may only be able to guess at where we’re going, but we can certainly take stock of where we’ve been and adjust our actions accordingly.