Monday, October 24, 2011

Confronting the Future: Strategic Visions for the 21st Century Public Library

Levien, Roger E. Confronting the Future: Strategic Visions for the 21st Century Public Library. Washington D.C.: ALA Office for Information Technology Policy, Policy Brief No. 4, June 2011. 027.4 Levie ALA is also offering a webinar around this publication.

The American Library Association (ALA) Office for Information Technology Policy’s (OITP) latest policy brief breaks down the formidable challenges in store for libraries during the next few decades. The brief, “Confronting the Future: Strategic Visions for the 21st Century Public Library” was written by OITP Fellow Roger E. Levien, president of Strategy and Innovation Consulting. The report explores how emerging technologies combined with challenges, such as financial constraints as well as shifts in the nature and needs of library users, require libraries to evolve rapidly and make strategic decisions today that will influence their future for decades to come.

“Commercial enterprises have been driving many information innovations, with many benefits derived by the public, but some critical important values – such as information access for all regardless of the ability to pay – are not well addressed by commercial interests,” OITP Director Alan Inouye said.

“This policy brief helps to develop effective strategies for public libraries that preserve these values while leveraging emerging technologies for the benefit of communities,” said Inouye.

Bonnie Tijerina, chair of OITP’s advisory committee, said competition and innovation are paving the way for a revolution in library services, but at this point there is much uncertainty over how libraries should handle matters such as e-books licenses as well as the question of potential products such as the pending Google Book Search.