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Reflecting on the Future of Academic and Public Libraries. Ed. by Peter Hernon and Joseph R. Matthews. ALA Editions 978-0-8389-1187-7.


Academic and public libraries are much different today than they were even 15 years ago. With even bigger changes on the horizon, what lies in store? This volume offers ideas to academic and public librarians about the future of library services. Editors Hernon and Matthews invite a raft of contributors to step back and envision the type of future library that will generate excitement and enthusiasm among users and stakeholders. Anyone interested in the future of libraries, especially library managers, will be engaged and stimulated as the contributors

  • Examine the current state of the library, summarizing existing literature on the topic to sketch in historical background
  • Project into the future, using SWOT analysis, environmental scans, and other techniques to posit how library infrastructure (such as staff, collections, technology, and facilities) can adapt in the decades ahead
  • Construct potential scenarios that library leaders can use to forge paths for their own institutions

The collection of knowledge and practical wisdom in this book will help academic and public libraries find ways to honor their missions while planning for the broader institutional changes already underway.



Table of Contents


List of Figures, Tables, and Text Boxes



1 Change—Major to Minor

Fundamental Change

Some Important Trends
Creating the Library Compass

Concluding Thoughts


2 Building a Path to the Future

Environmental Scanning Reports

Concluding Thoughts



Transforming the Future


Identifying Trends

Building Scenarios


Concluding Thoughts


4 Related Literature

Scenario Planning

Some Key Writings

Use of Scenarios in General

Writings Relevant to Academic Libraries

Writings Relevant to Public Libraries

Concluding Thoughts


5 Future Views of Academic Libraries

Higher Education

Trends in Academic Libraries

Unfamiliarity with Libraries and the Role of Librarians

Exploring the Use of Different Scenarios

Six Academic Library Scenarios

Extending the Scenarios beyond Fifteen Years

Concluding Thoughts



Perspectives on Trends and Scenarios: Academic Libraries

Scholarly Communication and Liberal Arts College Libraries (by Richard Fyffe)

Scholarly Communication and the Role of the Liberal Arts College Library (by Diane J. Graves)

Toward Building an Embedded Academic Library: The Case of Shaping Drexel University Libraries Spaces 

by Danuta A. Nitecki

Revisiting the Scenarios through Space Planning 

by Robert E. Dugan

Concluding Thoughts


7 Future Views of Public Libraries

Public Library Association Planning Process

Scenarios and Public Libraries

Out-of-the-Box Thinking

Concluding Thoughts



Perspectives on Trends and Scenarios: Public Libraries

Scenario One: The “Status Quo” Library

Scenario Two: The Community “Living Room”

Scenario Three: The “Electronic” Library

Scenario Four: The “Happening Place” Library

Comments on the Scenarios

Concluding Thoughts


9 Preparing for the Future: Some Final Thoughts


Staff Abilities for the Present and Future

Currents in Scenario Development

Privatizing Libraries

Libraries Merely Trying to Keep Up

Revisiting Space Planning

Issues of Importance to the Broader Organization

Concept of Scenarios Revisited

Concluding Thoughts


Appendix A: The Use of Scenarios in the Pierce County Library System (by Neel Parikh)

Appendix B: The Anythink Revolution (by Pam Sandlian-Smith)

About the Authors


About the Editors

Peter Hernon is a professor at Simmons College, Graduate School of Library and Information Science, Boston, and the principal faculty member for the doctoral program Managerial Leadership in the Information Professions. He received his PhD degree from Indiana University, Bloomington, is the 2008 recipient of the ACRL’s Academic/Research Librarian of the Year award, is the coeditor of Library & Information Science Research, and has taught, conducted workshops, and delivered addresses internationally. He is the author or coauthor of fifty-two books, including Assessing Service Quality and Viewing Library Metrics from Different Perspectives.

Joseph R. Matthews is a consultant specializing in strategic planning, assessment, evaluation of library services, customer service, use of performance measures, and the balanced scorecard. He was an instructor at the San Jose State University School of Library and Information Science. He is author of The Customer-Focused Library, The Evaluation and Measurement of Library Services, Scorecards for Results, Strategic Planning and Management for Managers, and Measuring for Results, and the coauthor (with Peter Hernon) of Listening to the Customer, among other books.