Library directors from around the state gathered last week in Grand Rapids for the twice a year summit called by the Michigan Library Association. The theme was Redefining Michigan Libraries for the 21st Century.
The first of two keynote speakers outlined national trends in population, jobs, and talent that are driving economic prosperity. It was a sobering message for Michigan and not encouraging in the short term. He stressed the long term solution is a college educated workforce to compete in the global, knowledge-based economy.
The second speaker, a librarian futurist, addressed the trends in how information is being accessed and used, and the importance of libraries adjusting to these new realities.
After these two presentations, we met in small groups to address related topics, then reported out to the larger group.
Most all libraries report budget reductions, quite substantial cuts for some. As a profession, we are retaining our core values of patron-focused service as we work to expand our relevancy in the knowledge-based society and the move from print to digital.
These are challenging times, but the energy and commitment in this room of library directors was encouraging and heartening.
Redefining Michigan Libraries for the 21st Century