Libraries of the Future


Way back in 1993 Jamie McKenzie asked What will we find when we visit a School library in 2005? Well, since it's now 2005, let's take a look back at some of mcKenzie's imaginations regarding possible futures of a smokestack information system we still call "libraries."
The Worst Case Scenario: The Information ATM. McKenzie says banks were forced to change by the arrival of new technologies, de-regulation and a marketplace driven by client demands for convenience, quality and customization. The worst case scenario is that new technologies and electronic access to information threaten to eliminate both school "libraries" as we have known them and those who have been serving as information "tellers." Jamie goes on... "Imagine the impact of Information ATMs on school and community libraries - small, hand-held PDAs with wireless connection through satellite to all the information centers of the world." The words "independent of time and place and subject discipline" pose the greatest promise and the greatest threat.

The Best Case Scenario: Media Specialists as Pilots, Information Mediators, IT Managers and Curators. Thanks to having access to so much information, at least four emerging roles offer considerable promise. Media Specialists as Pilots, Media Specialists as Information Mediators, Media Specialists as IT Managers and Media Specialists as Curators.

"Libraries of the Future" finishes with a conclusion that could be written today:

"The time-honored tradition of introducing students to literature with book talks and dramatized readings deserves protection. So does the careful coaching of individual students so that passions meet with good books and reluctant readers develop appetites for books. The basic point is the necessity of adjusting roles to meet the challenges of new technologies. Media specialists can maintain a leadership role as schools move into the next century with school media centers serving as the core of an active learning program dedicated to student inquiry, investigation and research."
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