Scenarios 2025

4. Google Books (or some other private-sector platform) is the major way users discover, access, and read books

By 2025 the private sector has continued to outperform libraries in developing an online portal to books and other content that meets user expectations of speed and features. Rather than insist on offering users inferior and varying online platforms, most libraries provide access to their holdings through the popular mainstream portal. Libraries do not maintain their own catalogs and, with some cataloging activities essentially out of their hands, staff are freed for other tasks. Access to books is controlled by a third party; items face the possibility of being removed, deleted, or altered at any time.

 

Main Points:

  1. Libraries do not maintain their own catalogs
  2. Library staff not needed to handle physical items — or digital items
  3. Access is controlled by third party; can be removed, deleted, altered at any time
  4. Models of scholarship changed because no official record exists
  5. Libraries are no longer seen as books; find new way to justify their existence or disappear
  6. Libraries figure out what to do with physical collections

 

 

Impact on libraries: 4.5

Probability: 3

Speed unfolding: Moderate

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