Volume 29, Number 4, Winter 2007

SOLINET Releases Results of Scenario Planning Discussions

The Southeastern Library Network (SOLINET) has released a twelve-page report detailing results of recent discussions regarding the future of libraries.

The report comes after a series of twelve discussion groups SOLINET facilitated with its members throughout the Southeast, further exemplifying the organization's commitment to anticipating and adapting to changes in the library landscape. The discussions focused on three scenarios, developed by the board of directors, which depict libraries three to five years into the future. Participants debated what was likely, unlikely, and missing in each of the scenarios.

According to the report, the library environment for the next three to five years is focused on:

  • new service models for libraries;
  • changing role of collections;
  • staff transformation;
  • repurposing buildings;
  • more assessment; and
  • keeping up with and in control of technology.

“In an environment experiencing so much change, it's imperative to examine and prepare for those changes,” said Bob Conrad, library director at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. “The discussions were a very interesting experience, and I've brought the process back to use it with my staff in future library planning.”

“I found it to be extremely effective in helping people move beyond just thinking about current problems and issues to thinking about a vision for the future and thinking about how to get there,” said David Singleton, deputy director, Georgia Public Library Services.

SOLINET encourages other libraries to use the scenarios to lead discussions within the library and their communities, or as part of a local strategic planning effort. The scenario planning report and scenarios can be found online.