Library Education – Bracing for the Future?

Rolf Hapel 1
  • 1 University of Washington, Information School, Box 35284, Mary Gates Hall, 330 K, Seattle WA, United States of America
Rolf Hapel
  • Corresponding author
  • University of Washington, Information School, Box 35284, Mary Gates Hall, 330 K, Seattle WA, 98195, United States of America
  • Email
  • Further information
  • University of Washington, Professor of Practice, Distinguished Practitioner in Residence, Information School, Box 35284, Mary Gates Hall, 330 K, Seattle WA 98195, USA
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Abstract

Over the last three decades, the societal changes caused by digitization have been monumental and libraries in many countries are among the institutions that were affected from the beginning. In this changing landscape of globally and rapidly evolving information technologies and upcoming social media with an abundance of readily and easily available information and data. This buffet is delivered through increasingly developed broad band networks, soon via 5G, so with the intense fight for attention by all information providers and mediators, it is no wonder that many libraries have engaged in change processes that are profoundly transforming library services, programs, organization, spatial layout, and the job content of library staff. A general movement away from libraries as transactional, book-and-collection focused institutions towards relational user and community focused organizations has been evident in this period. Not all libraries have taken a proactive stance to the change; a more reactive and reluctant approach to the societal and technological changes is not entirely uncommon, still, no library has been unaffected by the development. And the societal changes are continuing relentlessly as are the persistent speculations in and outside the library sector about the future of libraries. These societal changes and the transformation in library practices raise the question whether these changes are duly reflected in the library and information science education. This article examines the processes that have led to this ongoing transformation and discusses the choices we as library professionals are facing.

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