The Forecast for Special Libraries

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Special libraries exist in an ecosystem consisting of the information industry, the library world, their own organizations, and workforce demographics. Librarians need to be aware of the trends shaping all of these facets. This column takes a close look at Outsell's Information Industry Outlook report for 2016 and its implications for special libraries. The outlook for special libraries is neither the previously forecast Baby Boomer retirement crisis nor the dire end of special libraries many feared during the recent recession. Instead, the special library world is transforming, creating both challenges and opportunities for special librarians. Millennials entering both the workforce at large and the library workforce will make their presence known. Savvy information professionals will stay on top of these trends and find their niche, whether in a traditional physical library or in emerging careers outside the library. Column Editor’s NoteSpecial libraries share concerns with their more general academic, public, and school counterparts, but they also have unique characteristics and concerns which merit separate consideration. Libraries of all types are evolving, and just as special libraries can learn from the general literature on libraries, practitioners in all types of libraries can learn from the experiences and best practices of special libraries. “The Specialist,” appearing in even-numbered issues of this journal, addresses the administrative concerns of special libraries. The column's scope is a broad umbrella of specialized librarianship and includes corporate, non-profit, government, and independent libraries as well as the specialized departments and branches of academic and public libraries. Contributions from practitioners and scholars on any aspect of special libraries are welcome. Interested authors are invited to contact the editor at for submission guidelines.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)188-198
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Library Administration
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 17 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Administration
  • Library and Information Sciences


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