The Reimagined Library – Where will it Find You?
Re-imagining the public library. How does disruptive technology change the mission of the public library in the community? Since the existence of the library in Alexandria, libraries have been defined by location and space. Information accessibility was limited to those able to be physically present “at” the library. When the centuries old technology of “the book” is no longer the vehicle on which information delivery is dependent, we are compelled to re-examine the way we frame the public library within a free society.
Simply stated, if the library CAN go ANYWHERE, it SHOULD go EVERYWHERE. The role of the library, then, is no longer one of gatekeeper but, rather, of liberator – no longer collector, instead, disseminator, – no longer preserver, but cultivator. The library has historically operated as a fixed asset within the community. Technology affords us the opportunity to re-envision the library as a fluid, shared resource – organic and dynamic – an instrument for creative thinking and intellectual growth. This talk will challenge the listener to consider the possibilities that arise when the library is no longer confined by walls and the societal changes made possible by this model.
Originally from Minnesota, Laura has worked in county government for the past 12 years; first in Washington County, Oregon, and for Bexar County, Texas since 2008. Laura earned a Master’s in Public Administration from UTSA. She is currently a Master of Library Science candidate at Texas Woman’s University.
In 2012, she was privileged to be charged with leading the development of BiblioTech, the nation’s first all digital public library. Since then, she has engaged in discussion with government officials and librarians across the world on the immeasurable potential presented by digital libraries. Laura was a guest of Stichting Biblioteek at its library conference in Utrecht, NL, and was keynote speaker at International Federation of Library Associates Conference in Birmingham, UK in 2014. She also contributed to Council of Europe Report: Committee on Culture Science, Education and Media, 2015. She is a founding member of the National Digital Library Coalition. Laura is married to Chris Cole. They are the unabashedly proud parents of two daughters, ages 21 and 18, both avid readers.
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