How values guide our understanding of trends and transition

Center for the Future of Libraries | Library Trends | Core Library Values


For many futurists and trend spotters, “futuring” is fundamentally about the study of change.

“We can learn a great deal about what may happen in the future by looking systematically at what is actually happening now,” wrote Edward Cornish, one of the founders of the World Future Society.

We study change so we can prepare for the many futures that might happen. We start seeing what’s coming next. We study so that we won’t be surprised. And we study so that we’ll be better prepared to start creating the future.

That’s good news for library and information professionals. We are expert in finding, organizing, processing, and prioritizing information. From wherever we are in our organizations, we all have opportunities to observe changes in our communities and consider the implications over the long term.

But observation is simply not enough. One of the biggest lessons my colleagues and I have learned while developing the Center for the Future of Libraries is that studying change is useless without considering values. We need to look at trends and changes with consideration of our own professional values (confidentiality and privacy, diversity, equitable access, intellectual freedom and expression, preservation) and the values that we seek to provide to our communities (a civic commons, democracy, discovery, education and literacy, public discourse).  And so, looking at changes, we need to ask ourselves what they might mean for intellectual freedom, for education, for equitable access, or for any of the other values that drive our work. Read more….


Libraries Serve Refugees | Resources by librarians – for everyone

Library Services | Refugees | Outreach

Urban Librarians Unite (ULU)


This is an effort to bring together resources and assets to help libraries serve refugees. This is a growing and developing resource and is an active space for developing services, programming, and resources. All input is welcome. We are particularly looking to build a body of experts in this area and connect them to libraries that are developing services to refugee populations.

We will be looking at best practices, toolkits, case studies, government resources, NGO partnership possibilities, and asset development. Please check back for regular updates and if you are interested in joining our research team contact us ASAP.

This list is meant as a resource and is far from exhaustive. If you have more information or other resources we are interested in hearing about it. Please contact us here.

This content has been broken down into:

FAST RESOURCES – General practical information including toolkits, govt reports, and webinars
TOOLKITS – Toolkits, just-add-water
GOVERNMENT RESOURCES – Official reports, practical guidance, watch for changes
LOCATIONS – Libraries that are providing direct support services to refugees
ARTICLES – News stories about libraries providing services to refugees

Link to website


Ten Ways U.S. Librarians Can Inform the American Electorate by Kathy Dempsey


This poster is available at, along with nine short videos that explain each of the steps.

by Kathy Dempsey (Information Today)

MLS - Marketing Library Services
Vol. 30 No. 2 — Mar/Apr 2016

It’s no secret that the American political landscape has grown more divided in recent years. The conservative right has been fracturing since the emergence of the Tea Party. The liberal left hasn’t been as internally divided, but that’s changing now since the Democratic field has officially been narrowed to just two presidential candidates.

As I write this article on Presidents Day in February, it’s impossible to escape the presidential primaries, since debates seem to be on TV every week and since they’re covered in the media daily. Misinformation is everywhere. It’s hard to know what to believe. This is where librarians come in.

I realize that many of you happily avoid bringing politics into your work. After all, you’re supposed to be unbiased, right? And you can’t afford to alienate anyone. You probably have your hands full doing your regular duties of promoting good searching and wise information usage. You’re also tasked with doing outreach, increasing library awareness and use, and even “building community.” So why would you want to get involved in politics? Because those tasks can relate directly to elections.

I see a huge place for librarians in the American political process. Think about it: You’re the people most qualified to fight misinformation and guide the electorate to vetted research sources. One way to reach out to people who don’t normally use libraries and to build awareness of why they still matter is to become the center for the most trustworthy data. And when trying to build community, you need a topic that affects and interests everyone, something to bring them together in discussion.

In this especially contentious election year, U.S. voters desperately need to be able to separate fact from fiction in order to make well-informed choices in the primaries and in the November election. Why not prove your value by becoming the top place in your community for fact-finding and discourse? You can save people time by pointing them to good resources, by helping them understand differing viewpoints, and by offering an unbiased, safe place to learn. Here are 10 specific ways that you can do that, in any type of library, without taking sides.

1. Create a portal of voting information. You can find much of what you need by linking to local, state, and federal sites. Include information on voter registration (try links that are specific to your state, application deadlines, locations and hours of polling places, etc. Be sure to offer info on absentee ballots, especially if you’re in a university library, where many young people may be living on campus, outside of their home voting districts. This is the least you can do to inform the electorate.  Read more….