We interviewed Computers in Libraries 2013 speaker David Lee King to get his thoughts on the future and evolution of libraries and we think you’ll be interested in what he had to say! David is the Digital Services Director at Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library, where he plans, implements, and experiments with emerging technology trends.
Our theme for CIL this year is Evolving in New Directions. How do you see our libraries evolving in the next few years?
Yes – libraries are evolving at a rapid-fire pace right now! Libraries are working hard to figure out how to serve their customers in an age where communication is easy, where friends are a tweet away, and where answers to many questions can be found in a google search. To be successful, a library needs to experiment and find its new niche in the community. That’s why we see some libraries experimenting with content creation labs of all types (think hackerspace, maker space, or digital media lab), and even unique collections (seeds, guitars, or gadgets).
What innovative things have you seen libraries doing that others could learn from?
The most innovative libraries right now aren’t doing any one thing. They have figured out how to connect with their community and are able to respond to the community’s needs. They do this either by directly interacting with their community, or through market research.
Are there new skills necessary to evolve libraries in the future?
Yes indeed. Market research is huge. Libraries are already gathering some great data through their catalogs. We need to figure out how to harness and use that data to grow and expand our organizations. Market research and business analysis help do that – two skills most of us don’t have.
Also, we need to learn to use our traditional skills – interacting with customers, answering questions, etc – in new ways, using online tools. And we need to be comfortable doing it!
David will be presenting the following sessions:
Sunday, April 7
Monday, April 8
Tuesday, April 9
Wednesday, April 10