Checking Out the Future

Checking Out the Future: Perspectives from the Library Community on Information Technology and 21st-Century Libraries

Jennifer C. Hendrix

ALA OITP

Policy Brief No. 2, February 2010

In the 21st century, the digital revolution shows no signs of slowing. To remain relevant,
any institution, including one as established as libraries, must evaluate its place in a
world increasingly lived online. The good news is that many library professionals recognize
this need and are driving adaptations designed to ensure that libraries remain an integral
part of our society’s commitment to education, equity, and access to information.


While some individuals are pessimistic about the future of libraries, many in the
community envision future library services that incorporate new philosophies, new
technologies, and new spaces to meet the needs of all users more effectively than ever
before. These changes go beyond merely incorporating technological advances to include
rethinking the very core of what defines a library—the sense of place, of service, and of
community that has characterized the modern library for the last century.