When I think of the library of the future I think of ideas such as automated retrieval systems, bookless libraries, and a heavy emphasis on technology, but these aren’t the only ideas for future libraries. The American Library Association, ALA, has published their predictions of the future. Some of the predictions align with my ideas of future libraries filled with tech centered Digital Natives, and some of the predictions really surprised me.
The prediction that surprised me the most was the digital badges. I stumbled on a link to digital badges while doing some online training at work the other day and I was confused and intrigued. Digital badges to create a simple portfolio that made me feel like an office working boy scout sounded like an interesting idea. While it initially sounds silly there are plenty of people who take videogame badges, or achievements, very seriously. If the badges did catch on it would be an interesting way of creating a portfolio. These small icons representing achievements, workshops, and awards would be a fun way to gauge a persons abilities. Unlike military badges, digital badges can be easily shown to teachers and potential employers without wearing a uniform or even visiting them in person.
I was also very surprised that drones were listed as a library tool. Drones seem to be very popular these days as a photography, delivery, and of course surveillance tool. According to the ALA drones can be used to deliver resources, provide internet access, and help researchers make video calls from remote locations. For the most part these activities take place outside the library, but they still involve the library in some way. Sadly the article does not mention small drones pulling books off the shelves and delivering them to students, but there is still time to add that feature to the library.