Friday, October 28, 2005

The DaVinci Institute - The Future of Libraries

Tom Frey's list of ten trends that will shape the future of libraries is not unlike other lists of trends. His trend #9, however, struck me when I read it as being far more significant than the movement among librarians to focus increasingly on user needs:

The DaVinci Institute - The Future of Libraries

Trend #9 – We are transitioning from a product-based economy to an experience based economy
As the world’s population ages and the Baby Boom generation approaches retirement, many of them will begin to shed their belongings to create a more free and mobile lifestyle. Each item that a person owns demands their attention, and the accumulation of physical goods to demonstrate a person’s wealth is rapidly declining in importance. Experience becomes the key.
How would you rate your last library experience? Chances are that you’ve never been asked that question. However, in the future, the patron experience will become a key measurement criteria.
Gone are the days of the solemn book-reading experience in the neighborhood library. Activities will be diverse and varied as a way of presenting and interacting with information in new and unusual formats.
But more importantly, books themselves will transition from a product to an experience. As books change in form from simple “words on a page” to various digital manifestations of the information, future books will be reviewed and evaluated by the experience they create.

Scott Bennett claims that the "service culture" in designing library space, is not always well focused. Arguing that