Mike Conway posts a comment in response to the musing about the Future of Collections in Academic Libraries below asking about Wikipedians (as a term and as a people) and a bit about library futures. I decided to reply as a brief article and as a comment so’s it doesn’t get lost.
We have a professional information caste; we call them “librarians” and less often “encyclopedians” The last were/are the heroes of the Foundation Trilogy as compilers of the Encyclopedia Galactica. Or you might prefer the parody turned real HitchHiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”.
For the moment, I’m thinking and talking about academic libraries and their future collections. A little bit of boundary helps me out. I do think that data preservation and access (see post above) problems and solutions contain the big issues for the next 20 years.
Public libraries are in an interesting state. They are busier than ever before. People are demanding growth and more access. Being able to access information on the Internet seems to have increased public library use. Book clubs, internet access, reference, and collections of multimedia (books on tape, children’s, etc) are large growth areas at the moment.
An aside, today I have two board meetings — one of the Academic Board of the Library for the UNC Academic Libraries; one for the Chapel Hill Public Library Board of Trustees.