Saturday, January 22, 2011

Perceptions of Libraries: 2010 OCLC Report

New insights into user demands, information seeking behavior, the impact of the economy on library perceptions, technology shifts and much more! Just released on January 20th, Perceptions of Libraries 2010 is an incredibly useful document for library planning. Bravo OCLC!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The State of Minnesota Education in 2025

Our educational system, like our economy, is influenced by a myriad of factors. Though it is hard to predict what the future of Minnesota’s schools will look like with near perfect certainty there are some developing trends, both a state and national level, that provide reasonable indications of the shape of the world that may exist come 2025.

The readings that informed our discussions can be found at: mnlfi2025/home/focus-areas/big-picture---mn-in-2025. The NCES study, Projections of Educational Statistics to 2018 was extremely useful in its summation of the major trends in U.S. education. Looking at this report, in conjunction with the developing MN population projects and the Minnesota and the New Normal presentation information, helped to provide a sense of what our state educational system will look like in 2025. Literary learning in the Hyperdigital Age was a good exercise in what types of service libraries may offer in the near future as we seek to further carve out a niche in the increasingly digital world.

During the small group time our discussions converged on these trends and topics:

Growth, growth, growth...and some declines
  • Large increases in student enrollment predicted for South (18%) and Western states (15%). A decrease is predicted for Northeast (5%). The Midwest will remain stable, with little to no change in enrollment. On a K-12 spectrum the largest enrollment increases will be at the K-8 levels, at around 10%.
  • High school graduation rates will mirror K-12 enrollment rates in that there will be increases in public school grad rates, declines at private schools, and geographically the South and West will have the most increases in high school graduates while the Northeast will experience decreases

A more diverse and public-school oriented sector
  • It will be a much more diverse group enrolling at post secondary institutions (largest will be Hispanic)
  • There exists a continual trend of more women enrolling then men, both at the undergraduate and graduate level in higher education. However, there will still be an increase for both men and women in obtainment of post-secondary degrees, but larger gains will be made by women (most drastic change at the Doctorate level). And on a whole the 25-34 year old age group is expected to see biggest enrollment increases.
  • Post-secondary enrollment will be about the same for both private and public institutions
  • Most striking about high school grad rates is the drastic change in private school graduation rates, changing from a 27% increase from ‘93-’06 to a projected 10% decrease.

Doing more (but will it be with less?)
  • The number of elementary and secondary teachers is projected to increase (as related to projected levels of enrollments and education revenue receipts from state sources per capita) and large increases will occur in educational spending.

Non-digital spaces
  • Libraries existing as non-digital spaces as a counter to texting, keyboarding, “IM”ing, blogging, tweeting, etc serving to help foster and augment good writing and reading. Can libraries maintain a “productive tension” that exists between non-digital and digital spaces?

Enrollment growths will mirror the population growth hot spots in the West and South and we will see a growth in diversity in our school populations that reflects this demographic shift as well. As the number of teachers, K-12, is projected to increase, supposedly also is educational spending. But with growing state debts and a continuing national recession will educators just really be asked to do more with less? What are your thoughts? How much will economic considerations influence the resources available to our schools and can libraries occupy spaces within the educational sector that might mitigate economic strains upon our school systems?

The MN Economy in 2025

The economy affects everything including, of course, librarianship. Most libraries receive some sort of state, federal, or local support – derived from sources directly tied to the state of the economy. The shape of the economy dictates the questions we answer, the services we offer, and the users we serve.

In attempting to get our arms around what the Minnesota economy of 2025 may look like, we turned to a commission report to the MN legislature, presentations from the state demographer and economist, and federal statistic projection sources. Background reading.

Our findings and discussions at the December meeting revolved around the following topics:

Monday, January 17, 2011

2025: Technology Overview

As a convener of the December Minnesota Library Futurists meeting, I facilitated the small group discussion on technology in 2025. While the articles we read in preparation for the meeting covered a variety of technology tools and trends for the coming years - mobile computing, augmented reality, improved access to high speed Internet, and increased life expectancies to name a few - our discussion quickly veered away from what the technologies would be to how libraries are positioned to handled the coming advances. A few thoughts that surfaced from our analysis of libraries and technology in 2025...
  • Libraries are generally earlier adopters than much of the general public, however digital rights management may present challenges when it comes to offering our users access to electronic content. Ever-shrinking budgets will also make us wary of investing heavily in possible fad technologies. Collaboration among libraries in Minnesota could become even more important as we all try to stretch budgets while exploring new technologies.
  • There will continue to be a digital divide: both in terms of skills in using new technologies and in terms of technological ‘haves’ and ‘have nots.’ Who will libraries serve? How can libraries position themselves to bridge this divide?
  • Advances in digital media will allow our patrons to access even more library resources remotely. Meshing digital library resources with physical resources and integrating all library resources into Internet searches will continue to be important, but how will we make sure the public knows they are using the library and not just free Internet resources?
  • Fear of change and wariness of new technologies will continue to exist, but hopefully we will be better positioned to adopt new technologies as more “digital natives” enter the profession and are able to share their knowledge with colleagues and the general public.
The January Futurists meeting will discuss the future of technology in more detail and it’s clear that we will have a lot to think and talk about at this meeting. We have now seen a preview of the technologies that are headed our way - and likely there will be unexpected advances beyond this. While the Futurists may not be able to tell the Minnesota library community exactly what roles various technological advances will have in libraries, it is my hope that we will be able to create a plan that will assist libraries in preparing for and dealing with possible changes that might come from the adoption of any variety of new technologies in the next fifteen years.

What are your thoughts? What will the role of technology be in libraries in 2025? How will libraries bridge the digital divide? Will it be more important to provide technologies for accessing content to those without or provide content to those that already own the devices? With no end to our limited budgets in sight, how will we figure out where to invest?

Demographics, Minnesota, 2025

A couple weeks ago Jenny Turner, Matt Lee, Nick Bancks and I lead the December Minnesota Library Futures Initiative December meeting, titled, “Minnesota in 2025”. One of the purposes was to formulate an idea of what the landscape of the state in 2025 will be. With this in mind, I was in charge of facilitating a small group discussion about the changing demographics in Minnesota, 2025. Though our readings provided numerous statistics and insights, there were some facts that bubbled up to the top.

● As the baby boomers age, the population will increasingly become grayer, with 18.4% of the population being 65 or older by 2025, up from 16% in 2010.

● The Latino population will increase dramatically by 2025. Currently, the Latino population represents 4.7% of the population. In 2025, they will represent 7.1% of the population. Further, all regions of Minnesota will see growth in the Latino population, though most will live in the Metro Area.

● The African American population will grow from 264,900 in 2010 to 388,000 in 2025, with an overwhelming majority living in the Metro Area.

● The Asian American community will grow as well, from 223,300 to 329,900 in 2025. They will represent 5.3% of the population by 2025

● It is also worth noting that, although the state will become more diverse, we will likely trail the rest of the nation in diversity and people of color. In 2005, the United States was roughly 67% white, and by 2040 that percentage will drop to 51% by 2040. In contrast, Minnesota’s population is currently 87% white and will likely be 78% white by 2025.
So what does this mean for libraries? Although it is hard to project, a few topics were discussed in detail by the group.

● While the whole state will see the diversification, it will likely be the out-state areas that it will be the most noticeable, and there could be challenges to providing services to the new populations , especially in the communities that are ill prepared for the change.

● It will important to service the diverse community by providing staff and resources specific to the communities, like outreach liaisons and programs and information literacy classes offered in the languages that the community speaks. This will, however, cost money. Currently, many library systems support outreach services with short-term and expiring funding sources like grants. It will be important for library systems to re-evaluate how they fund these programs if they want to continuously support the growing immigrant community.

● The Boomers are currently a core user of public libraries, but we often do not focus our services on the older communities. It will be important to not alienate the Boomers by continuing to focus on the younger population.

● Also, it was noted that the library workforce will be aging with the community. It will be important to take advantage of the knowledgeable staff we have in the library world, and use their expertise to create change in services.

What do you think? How will the changing population effect how we serve Minnesota in 2025?

Friday, January 14, 2011

National Digital Library?

"Someone must have declared open season on National Digital Library visions, because just in the past two months we’re swimming in them." Dueling National Digital Library Visions by Roy Tennant.
  • "Can we create a National Digital Library? That is, a comprehensive library of digitized books that will be easily accessible to the general public. Simple as it sounds, the question is extraordinarily complex...It would be the digital equivalent of the Library of Congress, but instead of being confined to Capitol Hill, it would exist everywhere, bringing millions of books and other digitized material within clicking distance of public libraries, high schools, junior colleges, universities, retirement communities, and any person with access to the Internet." So reads A Library Without Walls by Robert Darnton from Harvard University Libraries
  • "A library plan and related initiatives should include the actual collections, not just for traditional education and research but also for job training; tight integration with schools, libraries, and other institutions; encouragement of the spread of the right hardware and connections; and the cost-justification described in the stimulus proposal. Multimedia is essential, and Kindle-style tablets will almost surely include color and video in the future, blurring distinctions between them and iPads. But the digital library system mustn't neglect books and other texts" from Why We Can't Afford Not to Create a Well-Stocked National Digital Library System by David Rothman, the founder of TeleRead.
Certainly gives me something to think about!

Kids analyzing obsolete technology

On a recent Mental Floss blog post, Adorable Kids With Obsolete Technology, an embedded YouTube video of French school children (the video is subtitled in English) shows them analyzing what some tools from the 1980s and 1990s are. Floppy disks are thought to be cameras or tools used in banking. One girl asks if a Planet of the Apes laserdisc is a carpet.

Other tools they are given will be recognizable to us, but this has me wondering what little kids in 2025 will think of our iPads and our handheld Nintendo DS video game consoles? Will they think the Nintendo DS is a phone? What will the iPad be?

What is the future of technology for us? We'll be discussing this soon in our meetings, but I'd love to hear input from others. What technology do you think will be outdated by then? Where do you see technology going? What do you hope for when it comes to technology?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Saint Catherine University - Accreditation!

Saint Catherine University recently announced the Master of Library and Information Science Program received initial accreditation from the American Library Association. As the only MLIS program in the state, this important decision will undoubtedly have an impact on the entire library landscape in Minnesota and beyond. See the official press release for more information.

~ David Peterson

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

What do you think?

Welcome bloggers!  We hope to use this forum to spark interesting conversations about the future of library services in Minnesota.  In this inaugural post, we invite you to tell what you think matters most about library services in 2025. 

Here is a link to our website and the areas we are focusing on.  Do you like what you see?  Did we miss anything?  Do you have thoughts or resources to contribute to our work?  If so, please share your ideas!