Third Generation Public Libraries : Visionary Thinking and Service Development in Public Libraries (to 2020) and Potential Application in Ontario.

C’est un rapport produit en 2008 pour le Ministère de la culture de l’Ontario sous la direction de Wendy Newman et qui décrit encore avec une très grande justesse, trois ans plus tard, une vision pour les bibliothèques publiques au Canada. La bibliothèque publique de troisième génération est un espace public multifonctionnel, un ancrage pour le développement social, une signature pour la communauté. Le virage qui la caractérise est fondamentalement celui d’une plus grande collaboration et d’une participation de la communauté dans le design des espaces physiques et numériques, la planification des services, des programmes et des collections. Il est possible, précise-t-on dans ce rapport, que les nouvelles bibliothèques ne ressemblent même plus à des bibliothèques (it may not even « look like » a library).

Ce document représente une assise importante lorsqu’il s’agit de clarifier les rôles futurs de la bibliothèque publique. En particulier, lorsque les pouvoirs publics remettent en question ce service comme c’est le cas à Toronto (une situation qui suscite une certaine inquiétude à travers le Canada). Voici ce que l’analyse d’une réflexion sur la vision et les tendances actuelles a permis de générer comme proposition pour la bibliothèque du futur et qui est présenté dans ce document (pp.19-21):

4.1 Future Roles of the Public Library

Economic development: It will be a catalyst and leader in community economic development. As small and home-based businesses continue to generate job growth, it will support small business development, alone and in partnership (e.g., with chambers of commerce and municipal economic development departments). It will support the individual learning required for job readiness in a knowledge-based economy.

Cultural development: It will be a mainstay of cultural development, fully integrated into local cultural planning. Communities that have rediscovered the value of their uniqueness will see it as a unique asset that provides cultural resources and stimulates or creates cultural content.

Literacies of the 21st century: In an ever-present but unregulated and largely unmediated digital universe, people will rely on it as an authority (i.e., to identify authoritative sources), a trainer, and a coach on the literacies of the 21st century. Literacies will mean not only the ability to read, but also the ability to distinguish authoritative content from junk and to judge its relevance and usefulness. This has always been fundamental to learning and innovation, but it will become even more essential in a knowledge-based economy that must remain globally competitive. In these new roles, the public library will provide digital information and create new tools for understanding how to select and use information. This will have much greater benefit than “out-Googling Google” by simply making more information available—a role often urged upon the library community.

Technology access and participation: It will be the guarantor of a free and level field so that no one is left behind. It will provide the infrastructure and platform for citizen-generated content and exchange in Web 2.0 or its successors (e.g., the portal, a community-wide initiative led by Hamilton Public Library). It will provide information directly, from sources of assured quality and rigour, through its own resources and through partnerships and networks. In other words, it will be where its community is, in both the real and virtual environments, and will be a leader and facilitator in a continuing community conversation.

Collaboration and networks: It will be the individual’s entry point to a seamless network of libraries and other organizations that provide access to physical and digital information resources on request. Together, these networks will stimulate development of an integrated, trustworthy and convenient gateway to digital information from all sources relevant to a given searcher. In combining comprehensiveness with usefulness and convenience, it will not just be the free source, it will be the best source—the place to start.

Partnerships: It will reach users directly, but it will also reach them indirectly through partners such as archives, museums, galleries, the formal education system, educational media, and business and ethno-cultural organizations. Partners will range from the local to the global, depending on the needs of the community. It will be nimble in responding to partnership opportunities in niches such as immigrant settlement.
Infrastructure and buildings: It will be a free, public, exciting, and engaging gathering place, in both real and virtual space. People of all ages will share their own ideas and ideas published in diverse media (text, graphics, sound and video recordings, etc.) The buildings will be community centres, and they will be sources and signs of community ownership and pride. Technical infrastructure, such as radio-frequency identification (RFID: “barcodes on steroids,” combining security and identification on a microchip read by radio waves) or its successors will be common, yielding more efficient and integrated operations.

Broadband: Broadband deployment will make high-bandwidth interactive learning applications such as streaming video more universally available. This will ramp up such future-critical functions as staff development, support for distance learners, access to government information and transactions, and job-related skill development for the public.

Children and youth: It will be a door to learning for preschool and school age children. It will strengthen essential pillars of the knowledge-based economy, such as early learning and family literacy, directly and through partnerships with other organizations in the learning sector (television, publishing, museums). For youth, it will be a safe, inviting, and vital space, with up-to-date technologies for learning and socializing in both real and virtual space. Specific co-curricular programs like Homework Help will strengthen its impact on youth learning and post-secondary readiness.

Diversity: It will be a partner in developing and providing services for high-priority populations like new immigrants, multicultural groups, the elderly, persons with disabilities, Aboriginal peoples, and official language minorities. These high-priority populations will have increased in the Ontario of 2020, and the library will help enable their full participation in the life and benefits of this country.

Leverage for government: The partnership and other inherent strengths of libraries will have made them a major lever for governments in their commitments to social cohesion, learning and literacy, innovation, cultural strength, and prosperity. The “brand” of the library as inclusive and trustworthy (recently confirmed in a major US study sponsored by the Institute of Museum and Library Services) and the uniquely high rate of satisfaction with it (confirmed in four successive Canadian Citizens First studies) will make it a natural and sought-after partner for all levels of government. It will continue to collaborate with governments to assist people with government information and transactions.

Public domain of ideas: Physically and virtually, it will be a commons of ideas. It will support a robust public domain, with a copyright system that balances user and creator rights without extremes. It will continue to champion open access (peer-reviewed digital information with fewer copyright restrictions) and will be a valued test site for open source software. It will be part of a broad coalition (including, for example, CMEC: the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada, libraries, universities, and archivists) advocating the public interest in balanced copyright and intellectual property laws that encourage and reward creativity while ensuring that information is not just another commodity with a price. Its large and varied user community will make it an ideal test bed for Ontario-produced software, including social networking software (e.g., Oakville Public Library is testing Bibliocommons). It will also participate in testing various new media (e.g., art, games).

The knowledge-based economy: Having been created in the nineteenth century to model the concept of “smart community” before technology was in place, the public library will be a pillar of the knowledge-based economy of the future. (Canadian exports of knowledge-based products will have largely overtaken exports of raw materials and manufactured goods.) It will nurture a multilingual workforce, which will create exportable new technologies within a dynamic society founded on the skills and expertise of longstanding and new Ontarians.

Environment: It has always been a recycling agency, circulating shared resources. It will remain enduringly and efficiently “green” in the digital age.

The financial and policy foundations of the public library of the future will match its importance as a pillar of community economic and cultural development and as an anchor of a learning society. With a foundation of stable public funding that secures its capacity to innovate, the urban public library, in particular, will be able to pursue many sources of special funding for some of its innovative initiatives. The public library was one of the first tax-supported public services created to support learning. The public library of the future will reflect the priorities of the communities and governments of the future.

-> À méditer et à intégrer lorsque l’on est en quête de repères pour se situer, pour défendre l’importance de ce service et même distinguer la bibliothèque publique de la Public Library.

| Photo Espace pour les ados à TPL par mariedmartel licence cc-by-sa |

Publié par :Bibliomancienne

Bibliothécaire, auteure d'un carnet, professeure à l'EBSI.

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