Yesterday the West Road Concert Hall was packed for the libraries@cambridge conference, entitled ‘Blue skies … thinking and working in the cloud’. What will university libraries look like in 2020, 2040, 2060? Will there still be research libraries, or will they have gone the way of the dodo? Will they be operating in a society that looks more like the wild west, a walled garden or a beehive? (Those are among the scenarios for 2050 explored by the ‘Libraries of the Future‘ project). Will they have any books in them, or will they be beautiful light-filled atria full of bean-bags and plasma screens, open to endlessly spatial reconfiguration as users flow through them? Will academics still write books, or will they create online content? Will we need subject librarians if interdisciplinarity and specialization have annihilated the very concept of a subject? These were just some of the questions raised in the first two hours… (Answers on a postcard, please!)

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