Braver New World
There is so much change on the horizon that dystopian novels, old and new, are the basis for many new shows on TV and in the theaters (think Handmaid’s Tale, Divergent, Ghost in the Shell). According to Diomedes Kastanis (2015), in the near future companies will have to be glocal to succeed, meaning that they need to provide for a global market, but adapt to each local community in which they serve. This is not really a new idea, but how this is accomplished is certainly changing.
Kastanis also argues for new ideas about the concept of ownership, that many resources will be shared. Airbnb currently allows you to stay in someone else’s home. Google, Apple, and Uber are already working on car sharing. You’ll order a car in the morning for the ride to work, and it could be a different car every day. I suggest this will go another step further, and you can order a different driverless car each morning to take you to work. This is on my mind as this last Sunday I was quite surprised to have a slightly close call with a driverless car while walking across a busy parking lot at the grocery store.
Resource sharing will make a variety of things available to the community 24/7, rather than only a few hours a day or a few times a week. In Guldborgsund, Denmark, five branch libraries (and now, the main branch) are available “after-hours” to patrons with their library card, or their national health card, and a PIN code [I must say that this sentence makes me jealous in two different ways – after hours library access and national health care]. The library staff is not available during these hours, but patrons are trusted to take care of the library and use it appropriately. Rather than close libraries when funds are lacking, self-serve library hours account for 61% of all Danish library hours (Holmquist, 2016). According to a Danish local government survey in 2013, 75% of municipalities with open libraries were planning to expand their hours and/or locations in the future, and 78% have seen an increase in library visits and a 65% increase in library loans (Larsen, 2013).
I can see this on the horizon for U.S. libraries. However, I think most patrons (at least in larger cities) would insist on a security guard on duty. In many areas, this might be the only way to keep some libraries open. It may also be necessary to have only certain areas of the library open to late visitors, but I think it’s a lovely idea. Maybe someday we’ll be able to gain access with our national health cards as well.
Holmquist, J. (2016, April 6). Open libraries: Self service libraries – the Danish way [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://janholmquist.net/2016/04/06/open-libraries-self-service-libraries-the-danish-way/
Kastanis, D. (2015, November 15). What technology will look like in five years. Retrieved April 5, 2017, from https://techcrunch.com/2015/11/15/what-technology-will-look-like-in-five-years/
Larsen, J. H. (2013). Open libraries in Denmark. Scandinavian Library Quarterly, 46. Retrieved from http://slq.nu