The future of library services necessitates a continual evolution in how librarians think and see their role in relation to the technological and social changes that have occurred in the past several decades and into the future. This requires that those who wish to succeed in the field must endeavor to be forward thinking individuals who are willing to work with others to keep library services relevant.
In The Hyperlinked Library, Stephens relates many challenges that libraries have to overcome in order to meet the needs of their patrons, these include financial, technological, political and social. As libraries continues to morph and advance, so do the behaviors and needs of users. The two must necessarily affect the other by the very nature of their interaction. The needs of users should dictate the services that libraries provide rather than hold onto old models of service that no longer work.
I was privileged to witness the beginning of the digital age in a small town public library in the early 1990s and recall when the first Internet connected computer was put in place for reference services. At the time, it seemed like searching on the Web was like taking all the books in the library, dumping them on the floor and then attempting to find the facts you needed; it was that disconnected. I realized at that time that it would take a librarian to tame that environment. Twenty some years later, Google makes those long ago searches seem very primitive. In Denning’s article, Do We Need Libraries? he states that “computer age is not fundamentally about computerization. The computer age is about the change in management mindset enabled by computerization.” This resonates with the role of librarians responsibility to incorporate technology in their plans and also to master it and enfold it into the way that they serve. Stephen’s mentions techno-shame and techno-phobia, which happens when entities are not willing to change with the needs of users and stifle the intrepid nature of the hyperlinked library model.
However, this collision of technology and users does not account for all that Library 2.0 and the Hyperlinked Library can do to raise the quality of services in a library with regard to their patrons and it may not even include technology. In the article by Aaron Schmidt, Exploring Context: The User Experience, his realization of using a public library restroom as many do everyday, as a source for personal hygiene, illuminated that this is also a service that libraries offer, even if unknowingly or unwittingly.
Denning, Steve. “Do We Need Libraries?” Forbes 2015.
Schmidt,Aaron. “Exploring Context: The User Experience.” lj.libraryjournal.com. 2014.
Stephens, Michael. “The Hyperlinked Library.” February 2011.