Provocative stuff about future of libraries

The Taiga Forum has posted the final version of the Taiga 4 Provocative Statements (after the meeting) PDF. Roy Tennant has also posted them, with his comments.

Some of the statements that caught my eye on first read (with my comments):

All statements are prefaced by “Within the next 5 years …”

“2. … collection development as we now know it will cease to exist as selection of library materials will be entirely patron-initiated. Ownership of materials will be limited to what is actively used. The only collection development activities involving librarians will be competition over special collections and archives.”

I mostly agree with this, and think it is a good thing. I think almost all collection of regular materials can be done with approval plans. If the approval plan misses something, we buy it at patrons’ request. Selecting and curating as we know it is a dubious luxury of the past.

“6. … libraries will provide no in-person services. All services (reference, circulation, instruction, etc.) will be unmediated and supported by technology.”

FAIL. Every survey, interview, focus group we have done shows an overwhelming preference for in-person help at time of need. Humans are social animals, and information technology doesn’t change that. There is a reason most of us decide to “Press 0 to speak to an agent”! The challenge is to figure out what kinds of services are best provided in an unmediated environment, and which are best provided in-person. And then figure out how to provide resources for both.

1 Response to “Provocative stuff about future of libraries”



  1. 1 A kinder, gentler Taiga | Feral Librarian Trackback on June 24, 2013 at 4:33 pm

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