In commemoration of the American Philosophical Society’s 275th anniversary, the society’s library hosted an interdisciplinary conference that explored the history of libraries, the present opportunities for libraries, and the potential future for libraries as they continue to evolve in the 21st century. “The Past, Present, and Future of Libraries” conference took place September 27–29, 2018, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. An overarching theme that surfaced during the conference was the relationships and interconnections among the work and missions of public libraries, independent research libraries, and research libraries that are part of larger institutions.
The conference featured a keynote discussion on “The Future of Libraries,” moderated by Sarah Thomas, vice president for the Harvard Library and university librarian and the Roy E. Larsen Librarian for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, and with comments from Mary Lee Kennedy, ARL executive director; Khalil Gibran Muhammad, professor of history, race, and public policy at Harvard Kennedy School and the Suzanne Young Murray Professor at Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies; and Michael Witmore, director of the Folger Shakespeare Library.
A panel on “The Past, Present, and Future of University and College Libraries,” moderated by Mary Lee Kennedy, included speakers from four ARL member libraries: Joe Lucia, dean of libraries at Temple University; Monica McCormick, associate university librarian for scholarly publishing and research at University of Delaware; Geneva Henry, dean of Libraries and Academic Innovation at The George Washington University; and Martha Whitehead, vice-provost (digital planning) and university librarian at Queen’s University.
The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation and the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) provided support for the conference.
About the Association of Research Libraries
The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) is a nonprofit organization of 125 research libraries in Canada and the US whose mission is to advance research, learning, and scholarly communication. The Association fosters the open exchange of ideas and expertise, promotes equity and diversity, and pursues advocacy and public policy efforts that reflect the values of the library, scholarly, and higher education communities. ARL forges partnerships and catalyzes the collective efforts of research libraries to enable knowledge creation and to achieve enduring and barrier-free access to information. ARL is on the web at ARL.org.