Some thoughts (none particularly original) I'm having about library futures.
In the library world, I keep seeing posts from libraries and librarians all wondering about how to be relevant, valued, important. Many talk about the importance of librarianship, and the specialized knowledge and skills they have. We focus on better ways to search, and licensing content. Indeed these things have value. But I'm not sure they're actually the core enduring value for libraries. I think the decrease in the perceived value of libraries is more fundamental, and simpler.
It's about content. Libraries used to have content that was unavailable, or otherwise very expensive to own. Sharing via the library was a sensible and logical thing to do. Today that still makes sense - though the types and volume of information that's available via the internet/web reduces the value for many kinds of information (encyclopedias for example, and also books and journals that are available in digital formats - ie: all of them practically).
By my thinking though, the key purpose for a library - providing access to information that is generally otherwise unavailable - is still an enduring value. It's simply that the types of information that are generally unavailable has changed. Today thats not books and journals. It is never-published and/or un-digitized materials, scientific data, lab notebooks, photographs, rare books and manuscripts, old maps, records, documents of enduring (national, organizational, historic) value. Our value is in identifying, preserving, and making these materials available.
Does that mean that libraries should become archives?