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Library Trends

What people are saying about the future of libraries:

  • From our project launch:
Ken Roberts : Inspiring Ideas Launch – April 28, 2014

What to Expect from Libraries in the 21st Century (TED Talks)

  • article from
So Much More: The Economic Impact of the Toronto Public Library on the City of Toronto

tplcoverToronto Public Library creates over $1 billion in total economic impact
For every dollar invested in Toronto Public Library (TPL), Torontonians receive $5.63. This benefit results from the market value of services delivered, or direct tangible benefits and the stimulus to Toronto’s economy from direct spending and re-spending (indirect tangible benefits)…

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  • article from the Chicago Tribune:
Libraries Reinvent Themselves for the 21st Century

For centuries, the defining role of the library has been as a repository of books. Now, in the 21st century, the library faces perhaps its most momentous challenge: Americans are moving away increasingly from the printed page to digital screens for information and communication.
Library leaders nationwide are adapting to this shift by reimagining the library as an engaged community center…

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  • article from
What Will Become of the Library? How it will evolve as the world goes digital

slatecoverWill the digital age mark another era of decline for libraries? To an observer from an earlier era, unfamiliar with the screens and devices now crowding out printed books, it may look that way at first. On the other hand, even the smallest device with a Web browser now promises access to a reserve of knowledge vast and varied enough to rival that of Alexandria. If the current digital explosion throws off a few sparks, and a few vestigial elements of libraries, like their paper books and their bricks-and-mortar buildings, are consigned to flames, should we be concerned?…

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  • article from the Pew Research Centre:
10 Facts About Americans and Public Libraries

coverTechnology and the internet are changing Americans’ reading habits and also their relationship with libraries. Half of Americans now own a tablet or e-reader and libraries have responded by expanding their digital offerings.
But what hasn’t changed is Americans’ love for books. American adults still read about as much as ever and overwhelmingly say libraries play an important role in their communities…

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  • article from Library Journal:
Beyond the Maker Space

How often do librarians find themselves trying to explain that the library’s mission is not about books but about information? This public mis­understanding about what we are doing and why leads to a community misconception of what we should be doing in the future.

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  • from
Ken Roberts’ slides on Future Trends in Public Libraries from the Inspiring Ideas launch
Hacker Spaces, Maker Spaces, Fab Labs, Discovery Centres, YouMedia: Is there a difference?

kenrobertsthumbKen Roberts was Chief Librarian of the Hamilton Public Library from 1994 until his retirement in 2012. He is the only librarian ever to have received both the Canadian Library Association’s Outstanding Service to Librarianship Award (2012) and the Ontario Public Library Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award (also 2012). He is also the recipient of the Canadian Public Library Association’s Outstanding Service Award.

A Different Kind of Library: New and Emerging Library Models

City of Aarhus Dokk1 Mediaspace

coverThe library and citizens’ services of the future
Dokk1 will become Aarhus’ new Main Library and Citizens’ Services. In the future, this is where you will borrow books, watch films, listen to talks, collect your new passport – or simply drink coffee in the café and enjoy the view of the harbour.
At Dokk1 you will have the opportunity for experiences and activities as well as tranquility, contemplation and learning….

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The Idea Store (UK)

coverThe message from Tower Hamlets’ households taking part in London’s most comprehensive opinion survey about libraries was stark and simple: they wanted a high-quality, modern library service which provided a far greater range of services. Despite recognising the excellent effort of staff on behalf of residents, customers were dissatisfied with the quality, location and nature of the service they were getting….

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