Panel Discussion: Technology, innovation and the library of the future


IFLA’s Trends report as presented by Allison Dobbie and Joe Murphy at METLIB2014, in Auckland, New Zealand.

Presented by Joseph Murphy and Allison Dobbie
at METLIB2014, 7 May 2014

A review…

On the fourth day of the METLIB2014 Conference, Auckland Council’s Libraries & Information Manager Allison Dobbie took to the podium with Joseph Murphy, a library futurist to discuss technology, innovation and the library of the future. Both of these speakers are very active members with the International Federation of Library Associations, IFLA.

Allison opened the discussion by posing to the audience, how do we help librarians to dream and embrace inspirational points that will propel librarian expertise forward, into the future? To which Joe immediately responded, ‘By focusing on partnerships and collaboration of course! How else shall the beginnings of new innovative ways will emerge?!

They divulged one of the most exciting things to emerge of late for the library and information sector was the development of MOOCs (massive open online courses). While I already knew of the term MOOCs (and have actually implemented at work Moodle as the in-house training platform for Libraries & Cultural Services staff members) it was explained to the audience as a new trend emerging with the public libraries sector globally by those that sought a cheaper and more efficient way to create, develop and deliver training courses. Allison further explained we don’t need to know everything but the (librarian) role, we need to know that libraries are moving forward in learning and that as professionals, we are able to learn different things that create the community of learning.

I found it interesting when the discussion shifted towards what was being done right for library customers. Joe had emphasized upon the importance of being conscious in making the invisible visible as professionals. This can be achieved through the implementation of real discovery layers integrated into organisational websites and library environments. He believes in the essence of exploring and the idea of experimentation as a philosophy. By willing to facilitate experimentation, such as engaging and implementing MOOC learning communities.

Several audience participants were keen to know what Allison and Joe’s views were in relation to technology trends that impact upon the library environment, which led to discussing IFLA’s of 5 key trends for libraries of the future as outlined in the organisation’s (2013/14?) Trend report:

  1. New technologies will both expand and limit who has access to information.
  2. Online education will democratise and disrupt global learning
  3. The boundaries of privacy and data protection will be redefined
  4. Hyper connected societies will listen to and empower new voices and groups
  5. The global information economy will be transformed by new technologies

I fully agree that a few of these trends are indeed impacting upon our world and that these trends will gain momentum as the years progress, blending into the very fabric of human existence.  However, what these trends currently mean to me is that (as an individual) you have to be print literate, digital literate and have access to ‘online’ information. Not everyone (globally) has access to technology, let alone (free) education that could be delivered physically or virtually.

All in all, the discussion confirmed parts of research I have carried out when completing assignments, specifically the Minor Project I completed based on L&CS’s Library Induction, Technology Component report and the implementation of Moodle as a ‘in-house’ staff training platform.


How to be a Catalyst for Change: redefining the Library 2.0 Information Professional Technology, innovation and the library of the future The New Librarianship Worldview An ILN Engagement!