My Library: 10 Years from Today

May 26, 2011 § Leave a comment

The Library Board asked the Department Managers to write a paper about what we think our department (within the library) will look like in 10 years. As the Department Manager of Support Services here’s what I wrote:

The parking lot at the library is always full. Full - as in, immediately after I took this picture that spot was taken.

Support Services encompasses many aspects: building maintenance and operations, security, custodial services, and Library Board communications. Here is how I see the Library in 10 years:

Building Maintenance & Operations:

Since the library will always have a building (as a meeting place, an internet hotspot, and an educational haven) we will always need someone to maintain the building. I do believe maintenance will look different in 10 years – as the world becomes greener, I hope the library becomes a more economical building. I also hope the community looks to the library as an example of an efficient and green building.

Assuming gas prices continue to escalate, people will switch to different modes of transportation; perhaps our lack of parking will no longer be an issue as cars may be smaller. Who knows?


Since the library building of the future has technology and people in it, the library building will need security guards. Distrust will be heightened in 10 years, and the majority of the population is not going to want to just hang out in a public place with people they don’t know. Individuals and families increasingly want a good sense of security – this includes patrons and staff. The presence of a security guard may deter attempts of theft and vandalism in the future library. I do not foresee the number of security guards changing in 10 years.

Custodial Services:

With our potentially greener building, the custodians will be cleaning differently. They will use all biodegradable products and the library will become an example of recycling. The library will no doubt receive a myriad of donation books which the custodians will have to process. (This will remain a significant duty for the custodians as people de-clutter their homes of physical books.) As long as a building is in place, someone must clean it. I do not foresee the number of custodians changing in 10 years.

Library Board Communications:

The Board Packet will still exist, but all documents will be digital. The Library Boards will receive a file that reads like a book which they will download to their iPads (or what have you). Meetings will be recorded digitally and minutes will be recorded automatically. Board meetings may happen at the library – or, Board members will communicate remotely using a video call.

As long as there is innovation, there will be change. So much has changed in the past 10 years, and change will soar over the next 10. Music, movie, and game sharing will be revolutionized. Communication across the world will be instantaneous and second nature. Keyboards will be obsolete. We will no longer need to say “eBooks;” we will just say “books.”

Ultimately, people will always come to the library building whether it be to view its art collection, attend a meeting, or participate in an educational program. Books and media may all be digital and available from home, but the library is more than just books. If the library disappears from our world, it will be a conscious decision. As long as people care about their community, the library will exist.

What else do you think will be different about libraries in 10 years?


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