May 26, 2022

American Library Association to Host Invitational Summit on Future of Libraries

We hope the summit [info below] includes a discussion about some of these issues:

  • What can we do to bring knowledge of what libraries have to offer to more people? Are we doing enough to let people know that many (not all but many) library resources and tools are accessible 24x7x365. Pew studies during the past couple of years show that while people support their library they are very often not aware of the services available to them.
  • Do libraries (of any type) require trained librarians to be a library? We believe this is going to be a growing issue and something we’re already seeing in the K-12 space.
  • Should there be a professional requirement that librarians work to improve their skills or at least keep their skills current? If not, why not?
  • Does ALA need to work harder to bring different groups of librarians together? For example, should there be more dialog and sharing between K-12 and academic librarians since students (their users) move from one group to the next?
  • Should ALA work to market the skills/value of the librarian as well as library services?

Also, is it time to review the ALA Ethics Statement? Are libraries being as transparent as possible when it comes to privacy in the digital age? Do users understand that the privacy they’ve come to expect and appreciate from a local library is not the same in the digital world? Should libraries/librarians become a clearinghouse for current and accurate privacy information? We’ve discussed this topic a number of times on infoDOCKET including this post from 2013.


From the ALA:

The American Library Association is hosting an invitational Summit, Libraries From Now On:  Imagining the Future, May 2 and 3 at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.

The Summit will bring together thought leaders from the library community, from a broad spectrum of educational organizations, federal agencies and foundations that work with libraries to begin a national conversation about the future and libraries.


Four keynote speakers will challenge the Summit participants to imagine a library of the future.

  • Dr. Stephen Dubner, an American journalist, best known for his book Freakonomics and his provocative blog, will focus on how to think differently about the future.
  • Joel Garreau is the Lincoln Professor of Law, Culture and Values at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University.  His books “Nine Nations of North America” and “Radical Revolution” look at social and human change that might be expected in the future and will be the topic of his presentation.
  • Dr. Renu Khator, chancellor and president of the University of Houston, will focus her remarks on the future of formal and informal learning and education.
  • Thomas Frey, well known futurist speaker, is the executive director of the DaVinci Institute and author of “Communicating with the Future.”   Mr. Frey will discuss expectations for the future of technology and its impact on society.
  • Joan Frye Williams, a librarian consultant and futurist, will conclude the Summit with a summary of the key points she heard throughout the two days.

Recordings of all Summit presentations will be available following the event, along with a report on the Summit discussions. Members of the library community will also be invited to join an ongoing discussion about important trends that will impact us in the coming years, and how we can best position ourselves to thrive in that future.

The Summit will serve as a “kickoff” to the planned Center for the Future of Libraries, which will be established by the American Library Association in the summer of 2014. The Summit is supported with a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services and contributions from the Library of Congress.

Direct to Summit Discussion Group

See Also: ALA Has Received Two Grants From IMLS to Establish Center for the Library Future

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.