American Library Association to host invitational summit

For Immediate Release
Fri, 04/04/2014


JoAnne Kempf

Director, Office of ALA Governance

American Library Association

CHICAGO — The American Library Association is hosting an invitational Summit, Libraries From Now On:  Imagining the Future, May 2 and 3 at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.

The Summit will bring together thought leaders from the library community, from a broad spectrum of educational organizations, federal agencies and foundations that work with libraries to begin a national conversation about the future and libraries.

Barbara Stripling, president of the American Library Association, commented, “Libraries are a reflection of their communities.   As societal trends change, so must libraries transform themselves in order to provide services, resources, and learning opportunities that enable their community members to thrive in a changed environment.   Every type of library—public, school, academic, and special —is impacted by societal and technological trends, but in different ways.  Innovative thinking is required for libraries to transform themselves, and this innovation is best nurtured through collaborative thought and action.”

Four keynote speakers will challenge the Summit participants to imagine a library of the future.

Dr. Stephen Dubner, an American journalist, best known for his book Freakonomics and his provocative blog, will focus on how to think differently about the future. 

Joel Garreau is the Lincoln Professor of Law, Culture and Values at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University.  His books "Nine Nations of North America" and "Radical Revolution" look at social and human change that might be expected in the future and will be the topic of his presentation.

Dr. Renu Khator, chancellor and president of the University of Houston, will focus her remarks on the future of formal and informal learning and education.

Thomas Frey, well known futurist speaker, is the executive director of the DaVinci Institute and author of "Communicating with the Future."   Mr. Frey will discuss expectations for the future of technology and its impact on society.

Joan Frye Williams, a librarian consultant and futurist, will conclude the Summit with a summary of the key points she heard throughout the two days.

Recordings of all Summit presentations will be available following the event, along with a report on the Summit discussions. Members of the library community will also be invited to join an ongoing discussion about important trends that will impact us in the coming years, and how we can best position ourselves to thrive in that future.

The Summit will serve as a “kickoff” to the planned Center for the Future of Libraries, which will be established by the American Library Association in the summer of 2014. The Summit is supported with a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services and contributions from the Library of Congress.

For more information about the Summit, speakers, participants, and the Center for the Future of Libraries, go to the Summit Community on ALA Connect.