The question to three eminent members of the university library community was (essentially): It's the year 2020. Google has digitized everything, and content is easily searchable and affordable. What does the library do now?
Joyce Ogburn - University of Utah
The balance tips toward creation rather than consumption of scholarly resources. OCLC becomes a wiki. The Independent Peer Review Board is founded, and the PR logo is invented to identify peer reviewed content. A new law is added to the Ranganathan Five: Information that is used will be preserved. ALA morphs into the Knowledge and Information Arts and Sciences Association. Openness becomes the predominant strategy for scholars. (NextGen becomes the professoriate; sharing and teamwork become the norm.) Traditional entertainment outlets decline because they've been under rigidly controlled access restrictions. The librarian's domain becomes digital scholarship; it supplements and surpasses formal textual publications.
Richard Luce - Emory University
Collaborative work spaces will replace the stacks. Libraries will assume specialties. Each ARL library will be known for its particular strength. Special collections invent a new renaissance; pilgrimages are made to individual collections. Libraries become middleware, and they are busier than ever.
Nancy Eaton - Penn State University
Ms. Eaton referenced this article in Library Trends. Retrieving is no longer enough. Scholarship is no longer read linearly. Instead, text, charts, data, etc., are mined for meaning. Scholarship happens at the network level (i.e., not via OPACs). Search and discovery happen through Google search. EScience can only exist at the network level. We develop shared digital repositories (e.g., Hathi Trust!) and epreservation. At the local level, the library as place is still important. WorldCat Local replaces OPACs. Google search links to local content. Google Books is important but doesn't really affect science. Science still relies on the journal and faster communication.