May 18, 2022

Conference Paper: Public Libraries: "'What and Why Libraries?' Looking At What Libraries Might Look Like and Why We Still Need Them Now and Into the Future"

This paper will be presented at the World Library and Information Congress: 77th IFLA General Conference and Assembly in San Juan on August 16, 2011.

Conference Paper: “‘What and Why Libraries?’ Looking at What Libraries Might Look Like and Why We Still Need Them Now and Into the Future”

Author: Maija Berndtson
Library Director
Helsinki City Library
Helsinki, Finland

From the Abstract:

Public libraries are threatened. At least we can feel so when we look at the changing surrounding in which more and more information is available on the net and people can download music, films and even books. In this paper I do not concentrate on the threats, however. With some new library models which I see as progressive I try to find out some more general conclusions for the future of libraries. My conclusions are among other things: look at people´s lives not at your services, be customer-oriented instead of being system-oriented, realize that the focus of library service is moving from transactions to relations, emphasize that libraries are social places and living organisms. Realize that we are facing a paradigm shift which confuses both our staff and our users. But if we as librarians are able to rethink, remodel and renew the libraries, so believe it or not I would even say that libraries can head for The Golden Age in their history.

Direct to Full Text (6 pages; PDF)

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Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.