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The future of libraries in a magic crystal ball!

Are libraries sustainable in a world of free, networked, digital information?Hello,

Are you among those who think libraries will disappear because their services are obsoletes? Or do you think libraries will always be there because they develop services no other organization can offer? Would you like to see the future of libraries in a magic crystal ball? Ups! Don’t you have a crystal ball?! Well, instead you can read Lluís Anglada’s  paper entitled “Are libraries sustainable in a world of free, networked, digital information?”. It isn’t a crystal ball but is the most similar!

Anglada offers us a formula (yes! a formula!) to calculate the sustainability (S) of libraries over the time. Formula variables are: Use (U), Dysfunctions (D), Perception (P) and Cost (C), and Anglada combines them in this way: S = (U - D + 2P) / C.

With this formula, Anglada calculates the sustainability of libraries, retrospectively and futuristically, and makes an extrapolating to a 2030 scenario. And his conclusions are not very optimistic: “The conclusion is that if the current generation of librarians does not introduce radical changes in the role of libraries, their future is seriously threatened.”

If do you want to see more inside Anglada’s crystall ball... Enjoy it!

Andreu Sulé
University of Barcelona