Celebrating National Library Week: The future of libraries

National Library Week blog series

April 10 – 16 is National Library Week in the United States, an annual observance that has been sponsored by the American Library Association since 1958. In celebration of National Library Week, a few members of the OCLC team reflect on their career choices and today’s libraries in a five-part Next series.


In your first job, what did the future of libraries look like? What about today? 


“Quite honestly, who would have imagined being able to work remotely and via the internet, having a cloud-based ILS, moving away from Anglo-American Cataloging Rules to a new set of cataloging rules, building an alternative to MARC and developing linked data, having the existence and funding of local public libraries (and other types of libraries as well) questioned and eliminated in many cases, going TO the users rather than working with them on-site at the library, etc.? Not I, for sure!”

Meryl Cinnamon, MLS, Member Relations Liaison

“My first job at the small college library was the first Michigan library that had an OCLC terminal installed for cataloging. The technology back then was the means to the end to provide library services. Today the biggest challenge is to help libraries be part of the overall information explosion age we live in—and that means libraries and the internet and the web and Google and cell phones and tablets, and what is yet to come—all have to be the solution to provide information to people when they need.”

Ron Gardner, OCLC Digital Services Consultant

“When I first decided to pursue a degree in library and information science, I thought it was for the “information science” side of the degree. But within two weeks of starting, my plans and ideas were turned upside and I couldn’t believe what I didn’t know about public libraries. I still see the future of libraries connected to technology—libraries continue to be key contributors to bridging the digital divide.”

Kendra Morgan, Senior Program Manager, WebJunction

“In that first job back in the 1970s, people were wondering whether the book was going to survive, and even if libraries were going to be needed in the future. Of course now some people say we don’t need libraries because “everything is on the Internet,” but those of us in the profession know that although libraries and the services they provide have changed, libraries are still necessary.”

Rick Newell, MLS, Senior Training Coordinator

“In my first job, I never doubted the future of libraries, but I also never imagined libraries as anything beyond physical collections. And now, I can click a button and stream just about any audio recording or access just about any book, or find an answer to just about any question from one of many devices at any time of day or night.”

Mary Alice Robinson, Senior Training Coordinator

“In my first library job, I figured libraries would continue as they had for ages, but being here at OCLC for more than three decades has really been an education in this changing world. Being able to distinguish the trusted information from the misinformation has always been, and has increasingly become, one of things libraries do best, and I’m honored to be part of it.”

Jay Weitz, Senior Consulting Database Specialist

Cynthia Whitacre“In my first library job, over 40 years ago now, I thought that libraries were magic. They held all these wonderful publications (music, books, movies) and ideas waiting to be discovered. I think that still holds true today. The medium of delivery may have changed from paper to online, but the concept of providing information and ideas to people is still the same.”

Cynthia M. Whitacre, Manager, WorldCat Quality

Cynthia Wilson“At Temple, it was clear that the value of working with other libraries in the area was held in high regard. Sharing resources is and will continue to be important for libraries. How resources or even staff expertise is shared will continue to develop for libraries in the future. I foresee that a global approach to sharing resources will become more prevalent in the future as libraries work with publishers to enable the sharing of electronic materials.”

Cynthia I. Wilson, MSLS, Portfolio Implementation Manager

Wherever you are in the world, join us in celebrating Library Week by sharing your first library job on twitter, with #NLW16 and #OCLCnext. Click on the text below to get started…

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