Libraries of the Future: the story so far

Why Libraries of the Future?

The forthcoming workshop at the Sir Duncan Rice Library at the University if Aberdeen is the next in a sequence of events exploring the theme Libraries of the Future. So why have we developed this theme and what are Libraries of the Future?

To answer these questions it is perhaps worth stepping back to consider the overarching theme of IT as a Utility and the objectives of the ITaaU Network+. The goal of the ITaaU Network+ was to bring together researchers and others interested in the issues and opportunities surrounding IT utilities in the context of the Digital Economy. With this challenge we purposefully set out to focus on users by exploring some specific use case scenarios such as Libraries of the Future, Emerging Economies, Security in the Food Chain, Smart Spaces and Media Production Platforms. Through these we have, and will, learn more about the technologies and issues inherent in achieving solutions. We have learnt that key issues that require deeper understanding are: design, accessibility, security and trust. We have held separate workshops and these cross-cutting topics. Finally, but not surprisingly the key technologies that are needed to deliver solutions in these areas include cloud and other distributed platforms, mobile apps, 3D printing, sensor networks plus Human data Interaction.

Reports and outputs

The Libraries of the Future theme clearly fitted well within this framework with its opportunities for examining knowledge production, knowledge storage and knowledge retrieval, and the associated technologies needed to manage and maintain such a space. This we knew. However, the seam proved to be richer than we anticipated and so we have be pleased to run more workshops exploring various aspects of what may become the Library of the Future. Information about previous workshops can be found in the Events section of this website and further material is being collected under the Outputs section. In a number of instances the reports from the workshops identify recommendations for future actions that should be taken forward.  For example, we currently have a call out to fund Embedded Librarians.

We are therefore looking for librarians or other information specialists to become, at least for a while, a fully-fledged member of a multidisciplinary research team, contributing to the research process, advising on how to capture, store and interpret information whilst still maintaining contact with their central library. The embedded librarian will also guide the researchers towards any supplementary training that might be needed as well as looking at the bits and bytes emerging from laboratory equipment. Further details can be found in the Calls section of this website.

Why Aberdeen?

We have chosen Aberdeen as the location for the next Libraries of the Future workshop for three reasons: the location, Aberdeen with its coincidental alignment with the dot Rural community; the building, an exemplary new library and finally, the community engagement expertise which we are keen to draw upon as we host our first workshop in Scotland.

So who should attend this event? We anticipate a number of individuals who have attended previous ITaaU workshops and not just the Library themed ones. We welcome librarians of all degrees if specialism, not just community outreach. Whilst we welcome those concerned with the technological aspects of librarianship, we should stress that, despite the name, we are not focussed on the technology. Rather the opposite. We want to explore the needs and opportunities inherent in Libraries of the Future so that we can inform providers and developers on what are the needs and dependencies of the knowledge production institutions of the future.


Further details about the event including registration can be found here:

Eventbrite - IT as a Utility - Libraries of the Future: Community Engagement