Will libraries disappear in 2019?


Slate magazine has published a very nice slideshow titled “Borrowed Time” about the past and future of libraries. On the final slide it refers to the Extinction Timeline created by What’s Next and Future Exploration Network, where we had put 2019 for the extinction of libraries. Slate writes:

Ross Dawson, a business consultant who tracks different customs, devices, and institutions on what he calls an Extinction Timeline, predicts that libraries will disappear in 2019. He’s probably right as far as the function of the library as a civic monument, or as a public repository for books, is concerned. On the other hand, in its mutating role as urban hangout, meeting place, and arbiter of information, the public library seems far from spent. This has less to do with the digital world—or the digital word—than with the age-old need for human contact.

Absolutely we are shifting into a world where experiences and physical interactions are becoming more important than ever. For example, shopping in shops will never disappear. We will create new spaces where we can meet and interact. We are yet to see whether the spaces where people spend their time are those based around books and collected information.

2 replies
  1. Jessica
    Jessica says:

    As someone who has worked in several different kinds of libraries over the past decade, I think that the prediction might be true in some cases and not true in others. Harvard’s stacks aren’t going anywhere.

    As for your local public library branch, which has become in the last decade a low-rent Internet cafe without the cafe? It might not be around in 2019. I think academic libraries will become more like museums…the big ones will get bigger and wealthier and do ever more innovative things, and the little ones will probably hang on as study spaces.

    But public libraries, corporate libraries, and some special libraries (government, medical, law, etc.) will be reevaluated constantly as digital database products continue to expand their holdings.

  2. kanaka
    kanaka says:

    Libraries might ahnge their format which is a dire need. Performance of the libraries in a new environment will make the job respectable. All these can happen only in an envvironment whrere the syllbi is time related. kanaka

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