Over the past several days I have conducted a search of all 50 state library association websites in pursuit of conference programs and state-wide initiatives that hopefully reflected 21st Century Library topics. Unfortunately, I found very few.
Among those conferences held recently, I found a couple of conferences included sessions on school libraries and information literacy in the 21st century, graphic novels and teen literacy, 21st century library trusteeship, and library instructor’s helping 21st century K-12 students develop information intelligence.
Among those conferences planned for the fall, one conference theme dealt with the future of libraries, one association president’s program will address emerging trends that are changing library services. One state will have Consultants Joan Frye Williams and George Needham present the conference keynote address, and we know they have strong views on the future of libraries.
While the vast majority appeared to be focused on “survival” issues (advocacy, legislation, budgets, etc.), only a handful make reference to “the future” of libraries, which could be virtually any topic, and some don’t even mention a theme for the fall conference. The most unfortunate ones were those few that used a “future” or “vision” theme, but no sessions on the program really delivered anything more than the traditional library conference topics. Only one had an impressively comprehensive description of their conference that was going to address the 21st Century future of libraries. That would be a state library conference worth attending!
Within the state library association websites, there is again very little reference to and virtually no resources on 21st Century Library related issues. In a sample of newsletters I accessed, and some can only be accessed by members who log in, there was little or no mention of 21st Century skills or information literacy, or any similar topics.
It appears that not only ALA has failed to catch a vision for the 21st Century Library. Maybe next decade there will be some interest for 21st Century Library topics in state library association agendas.