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Library 2.0 Gang 01/10: Towards A New Decade

Submitted by Richard Wallis on January 10, 2010 - 5:06pm

The Gang for this month, Carl Grant, Marshall Breeding and Frances Haugen, convened as we enter the second decade of the 21st century, to review the game changing influences on our world over the last ten years and then attempt to predict what we will see in the next ten.

Ten years ago we were still recovering from the anticlimax of the millennium bug, just ahead of the dotcom bubble bursting and Google’s announcement of their first billionth index entry. Since then there has been a constant stream of Google prefixed applications and services, ‘i’ prefixed products, and more things suffixed with a 2.0 than you would want to count

Unsurprisingly, when the gang looked back, Google gets a mention or two, along with the rise of digital material.

The predictions for the future for libraries took on an interesting slant. The conversation, that ranged over radically different provision of future library services, raised the possibility of the one-to-one relationship between a library and an academic institution becoming a thing of the past.

Library 2.0 Gang 01/10 [51:35m]:Download
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I daresay it already is; when

I daresay it already is; when I visited my alma mater for my last reunion, I discovered they were shutting down the library. Briefly shocking until I realized two things:

One, it's an engineering school. People don't use the physical library. They use electronic resources a ton, but they don't go to the library. The only time I went there as an undergrad was when I needed a quiet place to study.

Two -- and this is crucial -- it's part of a consortium, one of the Claremont Colleges. One of the things that makes the consortium awesome is that it shares resources, things all the colleges need, but don't necessarily need one of each. So there's one student health, and one or two really big concert halls, and there are fewer than five gyms, and there's one central library (where I did go, all the time, for my humanities classes). What they've done, in large part due to the budget pressures that have been facing everyone in the last few years, is shut down all the branch libraries. (There were better cases to be made for some of these than others; at least one will be sorely missed, but even I, now that I'm in library school, can't argue with the closure on my campus.)

(And, of course, there are lots of schools with more than one library.)