- 1. Most books are available digitally
- 2. Most patrons have a smart device they use to access content
- 3. The majority of scholarly information is open
- 4. Google Books (or some other private-sector platform) is the major way users discover, access, and read books
- 5. Communities, governments, other institutions merge due to ongoing budget declines
- 6. Nearly all people need digital media skills
- 7. Libraries balance the needs of graying populations with the needs of “born digital” generations
- 8. Patrons come to the library to create content and try out the latest technology
- 9. Digital rights allow libraries to provide patrons with seamless access to ebooks/other digital content
- 10. Patrons can move between libraries at school(s), work, and/or home seamlessly, with a consistent online experience
- 11. Libraries are more interconnected than ever before with new partnerships between libraries and with non-library organizations.
- 12. Libraries of all types have clear and consistent marketing messages
- 13. Libraries provide space more so than collections
- 14. Libraries are a place where users can learn from other people in face-to-face interactions
- 15. Libraries continue to provide quiet study spaces while accommodating a variety of more active uses
- 16. People come to the library to disconnect from lives lived largely online
- 17. Partnerships and seamless referral to specialists allow libraries to take reference inquiries much further
- 18. School libraries are a mandated part of the curriculum and are key sources of information literacy education
- 19. Many schools have eliminated school libraries/librarians
- 20. Libraries design library software, publish and manage content, and share these creations with wider community
The 20 scenarios to the left describe potential aspects of the library environment of 2025. These scenarios were created through the process of scenario planning and are the result of research and discussions completed by the MNLFI group from October 2010 to the present. They are not intended to be an exhaustive listing of possible futures, nor is there any certainty that any of these scenarios will come to pass.
Ideally, these scenarios will be used by library groups with the assistance of trained MNLFI facilitators, to envision what the year 2025 may look like for those groups. Learn more about MNLFI facilitated workshops.
If a library is unable to collaborate with the futurists on an event, these scenarios may offer a starting point for a local discussion of possible futures. Use the MNLFI Toolkit to help start this discussion including the Discussion Questions.
A few notes about the scenarios. They are presented in no particular order. Each scenario includes a ranking for impact, probability, and speed unfolding.
- Impact: The amount of change caused by a given scenario, on a 1-5 scale.
- Probability: The likelihood that a given scenario will come to pass, on a 1-5 scale.
- Speed unfolding: The timeframe when we may see a given scenario become fully realized, on a scale of three options: Immediate (1-3 years), Moderate (4-10 years), and Slow (10-25 years)