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This is a fun presentation.  I gave this keynote at the SEFLIN Conference a week or so ago in Miami.  The intention is to look realistically at where our libraries are at, where our customers are at, where we’re likely to go if we stay on the same path, and where our customers will go based on their paths.  Hint: the paths do not magically merge.

We have a real opportunity right now with funding challenges to focus on the service area with the highest return on investment of any unit, branch, or service.  That’s right–digital and web services.  This means eBooks, eAudio, eMagazines, eNewspapers, online services that tutor kids or help you learn a new language.  We have all this stuff…have had it for a long time.  But now that our doors are closing it’s a nice time to say cheerfully “We’re open online, and here’s what you can get!”

I also think we’re in a time where people with ideas they feel passionately about will have the chance to be heard.  If it saves money, increases efficiency, provides a new service cheaply, then management will be all over it.  Because ultimately, management’s biggest problem is $$$.  Oh yeah, that and politics.  But if you can help with the money part with ideas you’ve been holding onto for ages, now is the time to let those ideas blossom.  We are not powerless.  Our libraries can be what we want them to be–they do not need to remain, as they have, for the last few centuries.  It’s time to make a big, bold move people.  So, what’s yours going to be?

“The Future of Libraries and Technology: The Phoenix Rises from the Ashes”

  1. Tweets that mention The Future of Libraries and Technology: The Phoenix Rises from the Ashes | Librarian in Black Blog – Sarah Houghton-Jan -- Topsy.com Says:

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  2. The Future of Libraries and Technology: The Phoenix Rises from the Ashes « The Social Library Says:

    [...] A fabulous presentation was posted today by Sarah Houghton-Jan at the Librarian in Black titled The Future of Libraries and Technology: The Phoenix Rises from the Ashes (2010, August 2) that is well-worth a look. In this presentation Houghton-Jan makes a [...]

  3. Nico Weingart Says:

    I aprreciate the attitude behind your article and presentation. Seems like in the US the change in thinking among librarians is much more urgent than in Germany, where I am from. The dominating atmosphere is fear and neglect.
    Your presentation demands a mindchange… keep it up!

  4. eBooks kostenlos ausleihen -> The Future of Libraries and Technology... Says:

    The licensing topic is going to grow huge in Europe in the coming years. Libraries in fact have a responsibility and a chance to provide digital literature to their members… It is the same mission like in the past. Provide ebooks (for entertainment or studies) for people who can’t afford to buy them all.

  5. A week in the life | Grinstead's Librarian Says:

    [...] today – I have a feeling they were sleep deprived.  More tech hoops for the database trial – technology has become such an key element in libraries, but understanding between these two worlds is a difficult bridge to build.  Assisted at the [...]

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