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What Will the Library of the Future Look Like?

Technology has changed how we access information and libraries have adapted to this new reality. No longer is a library a place to read books; it is now a media center, a meeting place, and an entry point into the world of digital information.

On the outside, modern libraries are architectural showpieces designed by reputable architects. On the inside, they have futuristic technology that is light years ahead of the catalogues found in old libraries. So what will the library of the future look like, or have for that matter? Let’s find out.

1. Interactive Bookmarks that Act as Guides

Old libraries have a catalogue to help you find a book, and traditional catalogues can be hard to use. They make you wish you had an online master of information degree. Maybe then you could get the information you want from them. Fortunately, libraries of the future will dispense with this relic.

Its replacement will be a bookmark that also happens to be a guide. Toout, a Chinese design company, has designed a bookmark that reads a digital catalogue for you. The bookmark then gives you turn-by-turn directions to the book you want. Better still, it keeps track of the books you borrow, and reminds you when to return them.

2. Drones That Deliver Books

What if you didn't have to go to the library to get a book? What if the book came to you instead? How, you ask? A drone delivers the book to you. And if you think this is a joke, think again. Drones are already delivering books in Australia. Two companies, Zookal and Flirtey, have teamed up to deliver textbooks using a drone service.

3. Printed Books with Digital Interfaces

What do you mean a printed book with a digital interface? Is this even possible? Yes! Fujitsu, a technology company, has pioneered a new technology dubbed Fingerlink that combines the best of printed books and eBooks. Fingerlink is a stand that has both a camera and a projector. When placed next to a book, the camera reads the contents. The projector then overlays the page you are reading with an interactive digital interface.

Printed pages now behave like touch screens. You can copy passages from the printed book, get translations from the web, make highlights, or scribble notes. It is as if you are interacting with an eBook. The experience has been described as creepy yet exciting.

4. Pens that Can Read What You Write or Highlight

An alternative to Fingerlink is smaller library utensils’ such as pens that have a digital reader. One such pen is Ivy Guide. Its reader has Optical Character Recognition (OCR) capability and can, therefore, read text. To translate a passage, simply underline or highlight it using the reader. The translation then appears on your laptop’s screen.

Tomorrow's libraries will not resemble the old edifices we are accustomed to seeing and we can expect more people to enroll in an online MLIS program to stay with the times. Future libraries will have interactive bookmarks that will take you to the book you want. Printed books will have digital interfaces, and pens will be able to read what you write.

Technology should continue to change the face of libraries for the better in the next coming years and there’s really no telling where it will go!

This article was written by Maggie Hammond. Maggie is a retired nurse and freelance writer, exploring and writing in the U.S. in retirement. An advocate for public health and nursing qualifications, she feels passionate about raising awareness of the current strain on public health organisations.