Processing the Future

gina.persichini's picture

There is a story in my family that my sisters love to tell. Apparently I never spoke–until I went to school. I came home from my first day in Kindergarten, told everyone about my day, and haven’t stopped talking since. That’s their story. Years later, I can now explain to them that I simply process things verbally. It’s a wonderful way to make sense of new ideas, inspirations, and experiences. Maybe this is why I like the idea of blogging so much; it’s a great way to process. And, more importantly, to process as a community.

Earlier this week, I was provided the opportunity to listen in on the 2020 Vision Think Tank. This event included over 40 participants from the library community, plus a panel of sci-fi authors and specialists who helped the group to expand their perceptions of the future and, then, take the first steps toward thinking about the future of libraries in Idaho.

A few tidbits I am mulling over:
• We can’t compete (nor should we) with Amazon and NetFlix, but what can we learn from them?
• Is the growing technology making the have/have-not gap wider? Or, is the dropping cost actually making it smaller? Is there a choose/choose-not gap?
• What do libraries do best? How do we focus?
• We tend to look for what we prefer (or fear) when thinking of the future.
• Joe Janes says there will be libraries; that’s not the question. The question is, “How many libraries?”
• Joe Janes: Libraries are made up of stuff, place, and staff. Users need those in varying formulas/degrees. Will we be able to deploy them on demand for the user?
• Our biggest enemy = indifference

The ideas inspired by the Think Tank are huge in number and huge in scope. It’s going to take some time to process it. Lucky for me, ISL has provided a place to do that. The conversation continues at the 2020 Vision Futures Conference Blog*. It is available to anyone to read. Think Tank participants are posting their thoughts, but anyone can use the comments feature to add in their thoughts on the topic.

The Think Tank was only one step in the process for creating the 2020 Vision. Regional meetings will be held to get more input. And there is a list of recommended reading and links to prepare Idaho library staff for thinking about the future that we will all be a part of. I’m looking forward to it.

* Editor's Note: The Idaho Commission for Libraries, formerly the Idaho State Library, has integrated the content of the Futures Blog into the ICFL Blog.

    Widgett Walls's picture

    I never stopped talking either...

    Nice. I was supposedly an introvert until a choral teacher in high school got me involved with theater. And my parents have never forgiven her. So I can appreciate the lead-in story. :)