Community Notebook: The future of libraries | News | Palo Alto Online |


Community Notebook: The future of libraries

Three presenters to share how information sharing is changing how people learn

The role that libraries will play in an age where technology has given users diverse learning tools will be examined at a forum Tuesday (Oct. 10) evening in Palo Alto.

"Collaborators of the Future: Libraries, Communities and Information" will look at the future of libraries as they adapt to new resources and strive to maintain their stake as information hubs.

The city's library system has updated its branches over the past few years with robots that greet visitors and 3-D printers, which were paid for through a Pacific Library Partnership grant, city officials said.

The event will feature a presentation from Miguel Figueroa, director of the American Library Association's Center for the Future of Libraries, where he is responsible for looking at trends around demographics, education levels and other factors that can affect libraries. He formerly served as the Chicago-based association's director for Office for Diversity and Office for Literacy and Outreach Services.

"I'd like to get away from the idea that 'we' (anyone) is going to come up with the library of the future and instead help audience members understand that libraries have evolved through the development of the profession, the interests of communities, and the evolution of information," Figueroa said in a press release.

Other presenters include Sandra Hirsh, director and professor of the San Jose State University's School of Information, whose research is based on information-seeking behavior and information needs; and Dan Russell, a research scientist at Google.

Russell runs a blog called "SearchResearch," which examines how people learn how to research and manages a team at the Mountain View-based company that compiles materials with instructions on how to conduct online searches.

The Palo Alto Weekly's City Hall reporter Gennady Sheyner will moderate a question-and-answer session after the presentations.

The event was proposed by the city's Library Advisory Commission and is sponsored by Friends of the Palo Alto Library. The talk is scheduled for Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Palo Alto Art Center auditorium, 1313 Newell Road.


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Like this comment
Posted by Longtime Resident
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Oct 10, 2017 at 10:32 am

Libraries have become much noisier over the years. In some cases, they are more like Community Centers.

Where will people go, for quiet study, when we want to get out of the house to read and learn from a variety of sources to which we'd otherwise not have access?

Perhaps a "public benefit" in big developments can be large, quiet Study Rooms with access to library materials, for The Public to use?

Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 11, 2017 at 9:38 am

Libraries with rows of shelves containing books isn't as important as it used to be. I order books and put holds on them. When they are available I go and pick them up from a hold shelf. They can then be returned via drop boxes.

I suspect that libraries are not going to be needed for paper books and even virtual books will be delivered online for borrowing.

Silicon Valley is leading the way in technology and so should our libraries.
The buildings will be used much better for community space and places for hanging out with friends, something very much lacking in Palo Alto particularly for teens.

1 person likes this
Posted by Amber
a resident of Stanford
on Oct 11, 2017 at 10:24 am

Was there coverage of the content of the event?

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