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2017 Futures Conference

In September 2017, nearly 100 librarians from Pennsylvania joined library professionals from a number of other states at the Futures Conference. Librarians learned about advances in technology and communications, and how to identify patterns in order to prepare for the future of libraries.

There were several key takeaways:

  • Advances in technology, such as augmented reality, virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and robotics will continue to accelerate at a pace not imagined ten years ago;
  • Due to increased demand for more seating and social areas at libraries, library collections will get smaller;
  • Virtual reality is not just for gaming, but can also be used for educational purposes such as touring the international space station, climbing Mount Everest, touring the White House, or providing on-the-spot medical training for doctors faced with unusual diseases or conditions;
  • Librarians must continue to be adaptable and resilient as the pace of change accelerates.

Conference video Summary:

Futures Conference - innovation, Imagination, Inspiration - Borgata Hotel & Casino, September 25-27, 2017 

Keynote presenter video recordings

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Cindy Ball, program manager for Oculus Education at Oculus VR, reviewed the possibilities of virtual reality.

Phil Bowermaster, founder and publisher of Speculist Media and co-host of the Internet radio series “The World Transformed,” discussed emerging technologies and the future. 

Dr. James Hughes, Dean of the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, provided his predictions for the demographics of the future.

Kevin Mitnick, bestselling author and cybersecurity expert, discussed the risks of digital information.

David Pescovitz, research director at the Institute for the Future and a co-editor/partner at the tech/culture website Boing Boing, focused on the intersection of science and art to spark the imagination.

Nicole Baker Rosa, head of human design at Kedge, LLC, provided hands-on training in forecasting the future.

Conference Support

This conference was made possible in part by Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) funds from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services administered by the Office of Commonwealth Libraries, Department of Education, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and GovernorTom Wolf, Governor. The conference was also jointly sponsored by the State Libraries of Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia, the Council of State Library Agencies in the Northeast, and LibraryLinkNJ.