May 28, 2022

New Conference Paper by Lorcan Dempsey: “Libraries and the Informational Future: Some Notes”

New from Lorcan Dempsey at OCLC Research.

Here’s an overview and key takeaways from the paper (via OCLC):

This paper discusses environmental trends for libraries and some consequences for library education. It was presented by Lorcan Dempsey, OCLC’s Vice President, Research, and Chief Strategist, at the Information Professionals 2050 (IP 2050) Conference. Dempsey’s overarching theme is that we need to prepare for systemic changes by better understanding how organizations are being reshaped by networks.

Information Professionals 2050 was organized by the School of Information and Library Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, to celebrate the ending of its 80th anniversary year. It took place 4-5 June 2012 and provided a venue in which information and library science leaders examined key issues related to future visions, skills and values. The conference focused on the key issues of Identifying what the needs of information users will be in 2050 as well as figuring out how professional education will need to be restructured to meet those needs.

Several takeaways from Lorcan’s IP 2005 paper include:

  • Education, local government, and publishing are being reshaped by economic and networking pressures. Changes here will increasingly drive library changes and libraries need to understand those environments.
  • Libraries continue to shift from a collection-based view to a service-based view, with deeper engagement with the research, learning and information behaviors of their users.
  • Community engagement drives the need for new skills, more responsive organizational structures, and a readiness to reallocate resources to important areas.

Direct to Full Text E-Print (18 pages; PDF)

See Also: More Papers from the Information Professionals 2050 can be found in a new volume of conference papers edited by Gary Marchionini and Barbara B. Moran and published by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The e-print is a slightly edited version of the published chapter.

About Gary Price

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.