Your idea of a library might be a musty, carpeted room with outdated technology, but don’t ditch your library card just yet. According to David Pescovitz, co-editor at Boing Boing and research director at the Institute for the Future, a Palo Alto-based collective that makes forecasts about our world, it’s likely in the coming decades that society’s traditional understanding of a library will get completely upended.
In 50 years’ time, Pescovitz tells Business Insider, libraries are poised to become all-in-one spaces for learning, consuming, sharing, creating, and experiencing — to the extent that enormous banks of data will allow people to “check out” brand-new realities, whether that’s scaling Mt. Everest or living out an afternoon as a dog.
To understand how libraries will change by the mid-21st century, Pescovitz says people need to understand what function they currently serve. At their core, libraries in the information age provide a public means of accessing knowledge, he says. That’s what people crave.