How often do you say the word “future” while at work? Why don’t we talk about the future more? Futures thinking is a system to think about the future by imagining different possibilities for what it could be like and moving toward your preferred future. Why is this important? Because by considering different scenarios for the future, we can make informed decisions that will create a better future for ourselves, our libraries, and our communities. Imagining plausible future scenarios helps us prepare for the challenges and opportunities that might lie ahead.  

To help library staff better understand futures thinking and how they might use the concepts in their library, the Special Projects Library Action Team (SPLAT) has created a Futures Thinking Toolkit. The toolkit is the result of three years’ worth of futures thinking investigation and experimentation. SPLAT members know one size does not fit all, so they developed three different ways that libraries can consider using futures thinking: by developing programs designed for teens, with book displays, and within staff development.  

We invite you to view, download, and use the Futures Thinking Toolkit.  

If you’re interested in just a portion of the toolkit, we’ve made that possible as well.  

The Futures Thinking Toolkit would not have been possible without the tireless efforts of our SPLAT members. Their curiosity about futures thinking served as the foundation, and their enthusiasm to share what they learned became the inspiration for the toolkit. Each member contributed their unique talents, skills, and expertise to make this toolkit come into existence, and Deana and Annie both feel grateful to have worked with such a talented and dedicated group of people.  

The SPLAT members who contributed to this toolkit are: 

  • Deana Brown, Idaho Commission for Libraries 
  • Simon Clifford, Boise Public Library 
  • Maggie Dumont, Boise Public Library 
  • Mariah Farmer, Meridian Library District 
  • Jessica Fleener, University of Idaho Library 
  • Monique Gaddy, Caldwell Public Library 
  • Annie Gaines, Idaho Commission for Libraries 
  • Tania Harden, Idaho State University Library 
  • Brooke Horton, Molstead Library North Idaho College 
  • Eric Hovey, Ada Community Library 
  • Mike Sloan, Nampa Public Library 
  • Chris Thielen, Community Library Network  

Learn more about SPLAT on our website.  

Want to learn more about Futures Thinking or have ICfL staff facilitate an activity with your staff? Reach out to Deana Brown, or Annie Gaines,