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The ARL Futures Scenarios

The Association of Research Libraries has released another phase in their exploration of futures thinking for academic libraries.

Envisioning Research Library Futures: A Scenario Thinking Project
ARL 2030 Scenarios: A User’s Guide for Research Libraries

4 Very Different Futures Are Imagined for Research Libraries:

Scenario 1: Research Entrepreneurs
Scenario 2: Reuse and Recycle
Scenario 3: Disciplines in Charge
Scenario 4: Global Followers

Check out the users’ guide for more information and more to do to adapt and consider these scenarios.

Commentary from the Chronicle of Higher Education:

4 Very Different Futures Are Imagined for Research Libraries

“All four scenarios lay out conditions that research libraries—and their parent institutions, not to mention individual researchers—have little control over. The forces at play are far bigger than any single entity. Anne R. Kenney, university librarian at Cornell University, said thinking in those terms may assist research libraries “in considering their options and priorities in a future not shaped by them.””

“The four story lines do not try to lay out what libraries themselves will need to do to be relevant 20 years from now. Instead they seek to describe the broader research environment in which libraries’ “future users” might be operating. Libraries are encouraged to imagine how they might fit into that environment, said Karla Strieb, the association’s assistant executive director for transforming research libraries. The scenarios come with a long user’s guide and are meant to be used in a variety of ways, said Ms. Strieb. Those include organizing workshops and strategic-planning sessions along with more free-form exercises— “stretching your thinking and looking at the future differently,” she said, and “understanding the dynamics that are playing out around us.””

Again, it is clear that none of these actual scenarios will actually be the right one and probably none will actualy occur. Their value is in the thinking behind the discussions they engender so that people can create a positive future rather than be victimized by fatalistic thinking that the future is something that happens to you instead of it being in your power to shape it.


Posted on: November 1, 2010, 6:21 pm Category: Uncategorized

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