Scenarios 2025

17. Partnerships and seamless referral to specialists allow libraries to take reference inquiries much further

Libraries provide the opportunity to access information through interpersonal contact. In 2025, facts are ubiquitous online, but when people need to delve deeper or use alternate resources which may or may not be online, librarians are their guides. Staffing models have changed, as well as the physical design of libraries, and their connections with other resources. Libraries have a referral network of organizations and experts, both local and elsewhere. The expertise of staff members is catalogued into a database where questions can be easily routed to the appropriate individual.

 

Main Points:

  1. Libraries provide high-touch reference services
  2. Questions that come to libraries are deeper and more serious than simply looking up facts
  3. Staffing models need to change
  4. Design of reference desks/online question platforms/infrastructure need to change
  5. Libraries contract with experts (taxes, genealogy, etc.)
  6. Library staff expertise is in a database and enquirers can be easily routed to an expert on their topic interests (need cross-organizational infrastructure)

 

 

Impact on libraries: 4

Probability: 2

Speed unfolding: Slowly

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