May 27, 2022

Video: “The Once And Future Library: What Might a Research Library Look Like in 2030?” (RLUK Conference Presentation by Torsten Reimer, Head of Research Services, British Library)

On March 22nd, Torsten Reimer, Head of Research Services, British Library, spoke at the RLUK Conference 2019 in London

A video recording of the talk titled, “The Once And Future Library: What Might a Research Library Look Like in 2030?” is now available online and embedded below.


The purpose of a (research) library is to facilitate knowledge creation. While this mission has remained unchanged throughout the centuries, the way libraries deliver it has constantly evolved. Over the last decades, this evolution has accelerated so much that it arguably constitutes a revolution. Before the Internet, a library was defined as a building that provided access to print content. Now you can envisage a library service that operates completely online and does not own any content as such, be it print or digital. Arguably, for unaffiliated researchers the Internet, as discovered through Google, already constitutes such a library service and therefore a challenge for our identity and possibly even existence. If you fast-forward current developments, such as the open science agenda, and add emerging ones, such as artificial intelligence, this challenge will only become stronger. Along with other sectors, libraries respond to changes in user needs and behaviours by moving from a content (collections) paradigm to a service-based one. Starting with reflections on the purpose of libraries, this paper will try to envisage the 2030 scholarly knowledge environment and discuss which future library services may have in it.

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More Video Presentations from RLUK Conference 2019

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.