Lynn Silipigni Connaway's vision of the library of the future published in Library 2020 book

Her chapter "Meeting the Expectations of the Community: The Engagement-Centered Library" describes how the library in 2020 will be engagement-centered.

Key highlights from Connaway's chapter about the library in 2020 include:

  • Something that often is difficult for library and information professionals to comprehend is that the majority of the population does not use libraries to get information.
  • The library in 2020 will provide user-centered services and systems that will meet the expectations of the community.
  • The library must build its service around users’ workflows because their attention is scarce and resources are abundant.
  • Librarians in 2020 will be assisting users in the creation, evaluation, and production of content.
  • Librarians will need to develop partnerships with individuals who create, collect, and analyze data sets.
  • Librarians will need to provide policies, systems, and services for the storage, access, preservation, and shared use of data.
  • Librarians need to possess a willingness and eagerness to try new technologies, modes of communication and delivery of services.
  • Librarians will need to be where users need them, when they need them.
  • The library will need to provide user-centered services and systems that will meet the expectations of the community.

Connaway was one of 30 leaders in the library profession who contributed to the book, Library 2020: Today's Leading Visionaries Describe Tomorrow's Library (Lanham: Scarecrow Press), by Joe Janes, associate professor and program chair at the University of Washington's Information School. Contributors were asked to finish the sentence "The Library in 2020 will be…" and to share their hopes, dreams, concerns, and ideas about how libraries go forward from here. They were told: "be bold, be inspirational, be hopeful, be true, be provocative, be realistic, be depressing, be light-hearted, be thoughtful, be fun…be yourself, and for heaven's sake, don’t be boring." Each submission was published as a separate chapter in the book.

An abstract of Library 2020 is available below. A pre-print of Connaway's "Meeting the Expectations of the Community: The Engagement-Centered Library" chapter is available online (.pdf: 100K/10 pp.).

Library 2020 Abstract

Thinking about the future of libraries, librarianship and the work librarians do is as old as libraries themselves. (No doubt seminars were organized by the Alexandria Librarians Association on the future of the scroll and what to do about the rising barbarian tide.) At no time in our memory, though, have these discussions and conversations been so profound and critical.

Broadly representative of important perspectives and aspects within the profession as well as featuring important voices beyond the professional realm, Library 2020 presents thought-provoking and illuminating visions from many points of view. It is both required reading for library leaders and trustees as well as an ideal supplemental text for LIS classes looking at the future of the profession.

About Lynn Silipigni Connaway

Lynn Silipigni Connaway, Ph.D., is an OCLC Senior Research Scientist with more than 20 years of experience in library science and user behavior research. She leads the OCLC Research User Behavior Studies & Synthesis activities theme. Her responsibilities include research projects that directly involve OCLC libraries and users, such as WorldCat data mining projects; JISC-funded investigations of digital information seekers, users in the virtual research environment, and—with the University of Oxford—digital "visitors" and "residents"; and IMLS-funded grant projects to study virtual reference services and the behavior patterns of college and university information seekers. Previously, Lynn was a visiting professor at the University of Sheffield, Department of Information Studies; the vice president of Research and Library Systems at NetLibrary; and a director of the Library and Information Services Department at the University of Denver. She has been actively involved in numerous committees within the American Library Association (ALA), including Vice-chair (2011-12) / Chair-elect (2012-13) of its Library Research Round Table, and Vice-chair (2009-11) / Chair (2011-12) of the Association for College and Research Libraries (ACRL) Research Planning and Review Committee. She recently served on the ALA Committee on Accreditation, and is a member of the American Society for Information Science and Technology (ASIS&T), and the Association of Library and Information Science Educators (ALISE).



For more information:

Lynn Silipigni Connaway, Ph.D.
Senior Research Scientist
OCLC Research

Melissa Renspie
Senior Communications Officer
OCLC Research


Related resources:

"Meeting the Expectations of the Community: The Engagement-Centered Library" by Lynn Silipigni Connaway

Library 2020 WorldCat record [link]

Lynn Silipigni Connaway's bio page [link]