VALA 2014 Joe Murphy on Library Future

11 Feb
VALA 2014 Joe Murphy on Library Future

Library future is not about setting the agenda or predicting where we will go, its about enabling and managing the changes that will come.  The main aspect that we should encourage is an appetite for curiousity about the future.  While structures and traditions may go, we retain vision and opportunity.  We start from a point of reading and literacy, and add on inspiration.

Joe Murphy

Joe Murphy

The diffusion of creativity and expertise to a lower level means that we can self publish, we can create, we can be experts in our own field.  Libraries are leaders in this field.  We need vision, enthusiasm, personal ideas, and small local initiatives based on opportunities.  Micro-projects can be far reaching.  Libraries are future enablers, but we need to extend the library model.  We need to harness creative energy through research and entrepreneurship.  Libraries are, have been and can be change entities.  Libraries should be labs for creativity, and act as pivots for change.  Libraries need to build partnerships (e.g. with coders) to create solutions and grow opportunities.  We need to consider niche use, for example, print newspapers should always have a role.

New platforms and information tools facilitate access to information.  New devices open up new access paths for information creation and consumption.  Technology can force change, improvements to technology make change easier.  Technical resources offer capability for change.  Old technology comes back again, perhaps in different forms.  Libraries have the opportunity to fill gaps, to know where there is an opportunity for innovation and development and then provide the service that meets that need.  Bitcoin is becoming an accepted part of life.

Messaging is now the largest use of mobile devices.  Productivity is the second.  Gaming and content is dropping in usage growth.  Messaging options include snapchat, jelly, instagram direct (1-1 communication), whatsapp, facebook.  Some are picture sharing platforms to visually communicate a message.  Some are temporary, thus improving privacy – you can’t keep or share my message – which people seem to like very much.  Some ask a question with a photo, appealing for help from the social expertise.  Klout Cinch app means you can offer your help.  Google Helpouts is another example.

Our econtent industry is expanding. legally shares TV content.  More options provide a Netflix experience for books: 24symbols, oyster, scribd, streaming access by subscription.

Amazon drone delivery is a marketing tool that is useful for a major delivery company, but not for any other purpose.  Amazon uses it to demonstrate their innovation and thereby maintain the attention of their market. helps you to access curated tv moments, so you never have to miss out on that special event again.  Comparison of self-curation vs expert curation.

Use Apple Airdrop to wirelessly share content with those in the immediate vicinity in your social circle.

Libraries need to be able to see and accept change by redirecting existing work towards current trends.  We need to be change agents – reactive and creative.

QR codes was a useful exercise to participate in, as is clickable paper.  These systems may not be immediately useful, but in the future, may play a role.  By investigating we learn more.  When investigating we need to ask: “What does this mean for opportunities for growth?”.

How do we get to the future?  Are we trying to get there?  Are we being positive about the future?  Do we have the wonder and curiousity that we need to drive us to get there?  Books create inspiration and libraries create opportunity.  Creativity gets us there.

See also:


Posted by on February 11, 2014 in Uncategorized


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3 responses to “VALA 2014 Joe Murphy on Library Future

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