Evolving Public Libraries for the 21st Century and Beyond

Presented by: Pat Wagner

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Program Number: LI 213

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Instead of locking libraries into a 19th century culture with limited ideas, consider principles that reflect current technological, cultural, and societal opportunities. Live performances, bookstore categories, virtual programming, librarians embedded in community organizations, STEM initiatives, and partnerships with social service agencies reflect just a few of the new 21st century library services. What does your community need?


  • Introduction: Preparing For Change
  • The Key Idea: Libraries will better respond to the cultural, educational, and economic needs of their communities.
  • The Past: What we take for granted: Victorian-Era Assumptions
  • The Present: What has changed the model? Changing expectations
  • The Future: What libraries will be doing?
  • Examples of new models and services: What will you do next?
  • Resources


  • Investigate how other nonprofit and cultural institutions are addressing community needs.
  • Evaluate current library programs based on relevance to target audiences.
  • Include experimentation in current version of strategic plan.
  • Create three-year plan to make public library services more relevant to contemporary community issues.

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