Not many professional associations are more than a century old, but the American Association of Law Libraries, founded in 1906, is one of them. And next week in Chicago, AALL will hold its 109th Annual Meeting and Conference with a future-oriented theme.

The changing landscape of the law firm library was the topic of our recent webinar, The Rise of the Library. LAC Group joined forces with partner Manzama to discuss the evolution of the law library. A practical agenda was covered as LAC Group CEO Deb Schwarz and Manzama CEO Peter Ozolin shared ideas, working examples and best practices in order for the traditional law library to evolve as expectations and responsibilities continue to change.

The first public bookless library in America opened in September in San Antonio, Texas. Called Bibliotech, membership is free to all residents of Bexar County, which is where the city is located. First all-digital public library in the United States At first glance, “bookless library” is an oxymoron, but it refers to a library that has no physical books. Another way to describe it would be a completely digital library. Currently, libraries public and private accommodate both physical and digital materials. Even though it contains no physical books or other publications, Bibliotech does occupy physical space – about 5000 square feet of it. As a public institution, the library will serve as a place for the public to gather. The space is filled with workstations and rooms for classes, meetings and individual study. And while the library can be accessed via personal devices and internet connections from home, it will serve the needs of residents of Bexar County who don’t have the means—about one-third of the people in the neighborhood do not have Internet access at home. Browsing is done with e-readers, either the patron’s own device or one of the many that Bibliotech can provide. The library has 600 e-readers, 200 pre-loaded enhanced e-readers for children, 48 computer stations, 10 laptops and 40 tablets to use on-site.

Digital Preservation, at first glance, looks like an oxymoron. Most people believe that if it’s in digital format, it’s already preserved. Check the box, done! Librarians know that digital formatting is only a preliminary step on the road to digital preservation. A writer for the Library of Congress digital preservation blog called The Signal refers to random digital files sitting on hard drives as “digital orphans, with no one to watch over them and ensure their future.” That, Dear Esteemed Librarian, is why Digital Preservation is one of the Top 5 Librarian Skills needed today and into the 21st century. Your ability to foster and steward those digital orphans into long, useful lives is a valuable and necessary skill. BusinesswomanDigital Preservation: Opportunity for Librarians Digital content growth is outpacing the resources available to manage it. Pages and pages of books and documents remain in need of assessment for their enduring value and conversion into digital format. Meanwhile, attention must be given to all the new orphans born digitally every day, at a pace that far surpasses anything found in nature. As we all know, challenges present opportunities. We could continue to expound on why proficiency in digital preservation, from knowing how to manage digital assets to familiarity with current systems and technology, is critical for the career development and security of library professionals. Since you already know that, the rest of this post will feature some interesting links and resources to help you in your quest to become a digital preservation expert.

Librarians for in-depth research and analyticsIn our continuing series of the Top 5 skills needed by librarians today, we cover research—but with an added twist. The information era of big data that we are in requires in-depth research skills, and even more in demand will be analytic skill sets. Librarians who are interested and can find a way to marry those skills will have a strong basis for employment marketability and more flexible career options in the 21st century. Big data is driving the need for research and analysis. Any object with digital components—it could be as simple as a thermometer or as complex as a jet airplane—is generating data. Meanwhile, every single person with a smartphone or other internet-connected device is adding to the river of information. All these people and devices generating diverse amounts of information is creating demand for people to categorize, discover and help make sense of the information.

Business Intelligence, often referred to as BI, is a worthy endeavor when done right.  BI incorporates systems, technology and processes that allow a company to gather, store, retrieve and analyze corporate data from all operational areas:
  • For CEOs, Business Intelligence plays a key role in strategic planning.
  • For CFOs, Business Intelligence supports financial processes like budgeting and forecasting.
  • For CMOs, Business Intelligence can reveal insights on markets and products.

  • What will the library of our future look like?
  • Will the physical library itself become extinct?
  • Will digitization bring about the end of almost 5,000 years of collecting, housing and preserving our physical properties within our respective communities, altogether? 
While no one holds the answers to these questions, many speculate the number of physical libraries themselves will continue to shrink, as the library patrons of the past continue to transition into Internet users for gathering and retrieving data. In a survey conducted by NetLibrary, 93% of undergraduate students asserted their preference for finding information online versus going to the library. On the other hand, libraries have and continue to serve the lower class citizens within communities, providing them with access to computers and information they otherwise wouldn’t be privy to.

Libraries, of our present… Libraries today still provide patrons with access to the treasures of their community, but those treasures now extend farther out into our world, and within a rapidly changing landscape. Our libraries have become powerful technological resources with the inclusion of: onsite computers, impressive portals, highly organized databases, and extensive digital collections. While today’s libraries still serve the purpose of housing and preserving, some believe their evolution with technology has made them even more powerful cores within our present society.