- During the next few years, academic libraries will be reckoning with new trends and shifts in technology use, including the growth of online research databases, collecting and analyzing data on patron library use, and the need to rethink physical library space in the digital era. The maker movement, and its focus on active creation vs. passive consumption, will also play a transformative role, according to the latest Horizon Report library edition.
- The report also spells out technologies that will increase in importance over the next 1-5 years. In particular, libraries will need to contend with the growth of big data, tools for aiding scholarly output, and the rise of library services platforms, a new approach to library automation.
- Finally, the report lists several challenges, both solvable and complex, libraries need to focus on, including improving digital literacy and making materials more accessible for all learners.
Much has been made about the changing role of libraries as materials increasingly shift from print to digital. Stacks have been rebranded as communal or maker spaces, librarians have transformed into media specialists, and the role of the modern library has focused itself on helping students grow digital literacy and research skills.
In K-12 in particular, librarians and media specialists have shifted attention to focusing on filling a crucial role in helping districts roll out major technology initiatives. In particular, they are working with teachers and administrators to help curate better digital resources, assist in more comprehensive maker education programs, design and foster more collaborative learning, and build out new instruction partnerships. At a recent SXSWedu panel, librarians highlighted their unique research abilities in helping students discern credible news sources from online at a time when that distinction is growing ever more crucial.