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Timelines are often a valuable tool when working on genealogical material. A "world" timeline may be found at
. Even more practical is a timeline developed for
a specific area (city, county, state) and Joy Wiley of the Abilene Public Library has provided a comprehensive 'timeline'
for Abilene and Taylor County Texas. It is displayed in it's entirity on these pages with the full knowledge and permission
of Joy Wiley. I am very grateful for permission to include her Timeline for
Abilene and Taylor County, Texas on this website and the quality of this effort reflects the many hours she devoted to
collecting and compiling the material. Thanks Joy....Way to go!
TAYLOR COUNTY SCRAP BOOK
Made up of the History, Biography and Miscellany of Taylor County and its People
Here are some dates significant in the background and in the development of the City of Abilene and Taylor County;
1821-Mexico wins independence from Spain.
1821-Stephen F. AUSTIN brings first colonist to Texas.
1836, March 2-Texas declares independence from Mexico.
1836, April 21-Texas independence secured at the battle of San Jacinto and the Republic of Texas comes into being.
1845-Texas joins the Union, becoming the 28th star on the U. S. Flag.
1849-Capt. Randolph MARCY, U. S. Army engineer comes into the area checking routes across West Texas for travelers to California.
1850 Texas boundaries set in compromise of 1850.
1851-U. S. Forts, including Belknap, Phantom Hill, and Chadbourne were established to help control Commanches in West Texas.
1854-Ft Phantom site abandoned, Army deplored because of water and wood supply.
1855- Comanche and other Indians put on reservations, including one near present day Throckmorton.
1856-Second Calvary, top unit that produced many Civil War Generals, sent to West Texas Camp Cooper on Clear Fork near Throckmorton.
Camp Colorado on the Colorado River near Coleman opened.
1858, Feb. 1-Taylor County was created on paper by the Texas Legislature, one of several counties designed from outer, unsettled reaches of Bexar
and Travis Counties.
1858-Southern Overland Mail, so called the Butterfield Line, begins a stagecoach service through West Texas, via Phanton Hill fort ruins and
Mountain Pass south of present day Merkel.
1861-Civil War forces closing of the frontier forts so that West Texas is turned back to the Comaches.
1862-First white settlement on Texas soil at Spanish Isleta (Ysleta) near present day El Paso.
1870-Abilene had a population of 892 and 26 business, of which 8 were saloons. Other business such as hotels, a boarding house, drug stores,
a barbershop, a feed store, a bakery, a general store, livery stables, a lumberyard, grocery stores, churches, and an opera house.
The primary industry was cattle and ranches. The great Barbecue was held every 4th of July on the city picnic grounds for the social
of the year. It was located on the Overland Mail Line stage from St Louis to San Francisco. The location was near the Butterfield trail,
Fort Phantom Hill and Fort Chadborne.
1872-First cattlemen venture into present Taylor County.
1877-Taylor County early in 1877 was unorganized and the entire population did not number more than one hundred. Fear of the plains region
has pervaded all development of the frontiers in the history of civilization: the traditional fear of the pioneers was that the plains were useless
for habitation. This same fear was felt about the prairie regions of what is now Taylor County. The settlers largely depended upon ranching,
but had begun to till the soil to produce cane, corn, and a garden truck. The earliest farmers were called “nesters” and were objects of ridicule
by the cattleman for “planting something that would not grow” as the cattleman put it.
1878, July 4-Taylor County was formally organized at Buffalo Gap. The town selected was the county seat.
1880-The Texas and Pacific Railroad, purchased by Jay Gould, began to crawl west across the prairie from Ft Worth.
1880-An historic meeting was held late in 1880 at the headquarters of the Hashknife Ranch on Cedar Creek. This is just
West of where the present Abilene Christian Campus is now located. Taking part in that parley was J. N. SIMPSON, Hashknife ‘s
owner, (later a prominent figure of the Dallas banking circles), Clabe and John MERCHANT, Callahan ranchers who played a
prominent role in the history of this area, H. C. WITHERS, track and town site locator for the Texas & Pacific, J. T. BERRY, a
merchant of Belle Plain in Callahan County, and S. L. CHALK, a surveyor from Belle Plain. The meeting seemed to have broken up
without full agreement on the site. Then entered into the picture J. Stoddard JOHNSON, nephew of Gen. Albert Sidney JOHNSON,
friend of the high officials in high places. He owned some land between Elmdale and Tye. The MERCHANTS, Mr. SIMPSON, and
Mr. BERRY brought some land in the same area. Mr. CHALK sold out and left. At last all the local founding fathers were together
on the location. A formal contract between the railroad and the landowners was signed on Dec. 18, 1880. The land needed for the
town was divided and turned out to be a good deal for all concerned. Abilene was named in honor of the Kansas cattle town at the
end of the Chisholm Trail.
1881-An agreement the previous year had been signed with the Texas & Pacific Railroad. Whereby Abilene, already three hundred people strong, and
not Buffalo Gap would receive the benefits of a railroad through their town. The Texas & Pacific Railroad tracks reached the future city of Abilene on
Jan. 13, 1881. The railroad fostered the springing of a small town along its tracks named Abilene. A town lot auction was held on March 15, 1881
on the corner of what is now South First and Chestnut streets. A floundering “tent” city was born. An auctioneer began the sale. It was agreed
upon one lot would be sold on one side on the railroad and the next lot could only be sold on the other side. Putting the railroad in the heart of
the town. In the previous year of 1880, Col. C. W. MERCHANT and his twin brother John along with other rancher in the area, met with the
Texas & Pacific Railroad to persuade them to choose a route through this area. One of those ranchers was a member of the Guitar family, John
GUITAR, some of whose descendants still attend the Church of the Heavenly Rest, including the GUITAR, ALEXANDER, POLK and WOODs’
families. Abilene was a town that slowly increased in size and population and the new railroad assured its economic nourishment. Even before the
lot sale, in Feb. the first church had been organized by the Presbyterians, Feb 27 1881, followed by the Methodists and the First Baptist Church.
In late of 1881, Dr. J. M. ISBELL and Mr. Ed Starkey KEAN decided Abilene must have an Episcopal Church. They wrote a letter to the new
missionary Bishop, The Rev. Charles GARRETT requesting his permission to begin a new mission. Bishop GARRETT happily granted
permission and indicated that when they felt they were ready, he would come out and help them. Seed planted the first Episcopal mission
was organized in Taylor County and named St Paul’s. Religion was to play an important role in the molding of the History of Abilene.
C. E. GILBERT published the first issue of the Abilene Reporter on June 17. Thus becoming a daily newspaper within three years. The
paper was first published in a tent. located at South First and Oak where it is still in operation. Making it the oldest continuously operated
business firm in Abilene.
1881-Jan. T & P tracks reach site of Abilene.
1881, Feb. 13 Abilene hosted its first convention, the “Cowpunchers Convention”.
1881, Feb. 27-Presbyterians among the tent-dwellers gathered for the town lot sale and organized the first church in the community.
1881, Feb. 28 –Terminal cars and ticket agent arrive to formally “open” town of Abilene.
1881-March 15-16 auctions of Abilene town lots took place.
1881-Spring time the Methodist Sunday School was opened.
1881, June 17-Abilene Reporter, forerunner of the Abilene Reporter News published its first edition in a tent pitched just south of the depot.
1881, Dec. 17-The First Baptist Church was organized.
1883, Jan. the city of Abilene was incorporated.
1883-Oct 3, Abilene County seat from Buffalo Gap in a special election whose outcome was disputed by Gap residents.
1883-Abilene stages its first fair.
1883-Shakespeare Club was organized.
1883, Oct. 3-Abilene wins county seat from Buffalo Gap In a hotly disputed election.
1885-Taylor County News, another forerunner of the Abilene reporter News was born.
1885, April-Abilene contacts with Grosscup & Keith for the first city water works.
1885-Palace Hotel, first “luxury hotel”, was built at South 4th and Chestnut.
1886-1887-A serious drought was a blow to all the area including the new town of Abilene.
1888-Taylor County was organized by the commissioner’s court into fifteen school districts. The first term of school in the county was taught by
Dr. J. M. RUMP in what was later known as the Jim Ned School District, in the year of 1877. During the past twenty-two years the original
fifteen school districts have been changed and divided into fifty-nine. However “fifty—four” was the highest number ever used by the officials
in numbering school districts.
1889 Nov. 30-The Farmers and Merchants Bank, now the First National, was organized.
1890, Oct. 22-Abilene Board of Trade, one of the forerunners of the Chamber of Commerce was organized.
1890-Abilene’s first brick school, Central, was built.
1891, Jan. 5-West Texas Press Association was organized in Abilene.
1891, April 10-First electric lights turned on.
1891, April 30-Lytle Lake was created with the completion of the dam.
1891, July 4-The corner stone for first Simmons College (HSU) building was laid.
1899, February-Legislature unanimously approves Abilene as the site for the State School.
1899, November- The library was moved to the Reporter Building.
1900, February- A librarian, Miss Nellie CANNON was hired.
1904, March 26- The doors of the State Epileptic Colony formally open.
1904, June 1- Alexander Sanitarium opened.
1904, October-Hollis Sanitarium opened.
1906-Childers Classical Institute (ACU) was founded.
1908, Nov. 30-Streetcar service begins in Abilene.
1914, May 7-The first natural gas was connected.
1921-Work begins on West Texas Sanitarium, now Hendricks Memorial Hospital.
1921, April 5-McMurry College located in Abilene.
1921-Lake Abilene was completed.
1921-Abilene’s Klan made it’s first public appearance inn 1921 when the local newspaper announced the organization’s $100 donation
to the Salvation Army
1923-1925 during this period Fair Park Zoo came into being.
1924-Hendricks Memorial Hospital, called West Texas Baptist Hospital when it opened.
1925, April 15-Gregory Orphan’s Home formally known as the West Texas Children Home of Lubbock, is relocated in Abilene.
1926-Sadlers Clinic opened. Owned and operated by Dr. W. T. Sadler until shortly before his death, October 28, 1985.
1927-Lake Kirby was completed.
1935-Taylor County is located in central West TX in the center of an essentially farming and ranching area. Size wise it is 919 square mies,
with streams, which remain dry most of the year. The greater portion of the county is level plain and the soil is well adapted to the growing of cotton
and small grains. A chain of hills traverses the county from East to West in the southerly portion, which renders a sizable portion of the county unfit
for cultivation. The county is rather densely populated except in this hilly section, but more than one half of the entire population is centered in
Abilene, which is the county seat. Abilene is the whole sale and banking center, serving a large area outside of the confines of the county.
Paved highways radiate through the county in seven directions from Abilene. Abilene has a first class airport, three railroads that traverse the
county and an adequate system of lateral roads, which show the ease of accessibility to the county for all purposes. The Federal census of 1930
reports a population of twenty thousand in Abilene, against forty-one thousand for the entire county. Merkel, the second largest town, had a
population of less than two thousand on the same date. Trent, Lawn, Tuscola, Ovela, and Bradshaw were other small towns then in existence.
Although Taylor County has little to none of oil activities noticeably, through Abilene, financial gains were found from the oil development in
1938-Lake Ft Phantom Hill was completed.
1939-March 3, the Pony Express rides through Abilene. Thornton’s Department Store on Oak Street was the relay station.
1940-Ten years later the Federal Census reported 3,170-population gain for Taylor County. The population was 44,193 as compared with
41,023 in 1930. Taylor County leading town was Abilene with 26,763 in population. Merkel was the next largest with a population of 2,003.
Other smaller towns were Tye, population 98, Caps, population 61, Wylie, population 28, Potosi, population 90, Buffalo Gap, population 296,
Tuscola, population 418, View, population 60, Bradshaw, population 166, Lawn, population 306, Ovelo, population 199 and Trent, population 362.
1940-St Ann’s formally known as DeBerry Clinic was opened. It operated until April 30, 1969.
1940, Nov. 26-Abilene Learns it can get a military base named Camp Barkeley, if the town can raise $125,000 to buy the site. They do this in
a week's time.
1941, Feb. Camp Barkeley was occupied.
1943-June, Abilene Air Force Base opened at Tye.
1945, April 1-Camp Barkeley ordered closed.
1946,Aug.27-Abilene adopted city manager form of government.
1949, May-U. S. Times opens Abilene Manufacturing plant.
1950, Dec 2, the Philharmonic –then the Abilene Symphony- had its first concert.
1952, July 3- Congress approves Abilene Air Force installation, known as Dyess. After letters and visits had been exchanged, the Department
of Defense announced in July 1952 Congress had approved the $32,273,000 needed in appropriations for constructing a base in Abilene.
The local community was interested in providing for the Air Force an exemplary relationship between the community and an Air Force base.
After initial groundbreaking ceremonies on Sept. 24, 1953, construction of the base progressed rapidly. Dyess Air Force Base, known as
Abilene Army Airfield from 1942-1948 and Abilene Air Force Base until Dec. 6, 1956, was named after Lt. Col. William E. Dyess. He was
born Aug. 9, 1916, in Albany, Texas.
1953, Television comes to Abilene with the beginning of KRBC-telecasting.
1953 West Texas Rehabilitation Center has it’s beginning, working out of Bonham School until building is obtained for them.
1953, Fed 15, the Pickard Branch Library at Woodson School opened.
1955-Abilene, Anson, Albany, and Breckenridge begin work on multi-city water project that produced Lake Hubbard.
1955-New Abilene High School, located “out in the country”, opens.
1956 Health Clinic opens
1958-Contract let for first area segment of Interstate Highway 20.
1958- Cox hospital (first called Doctor’s Clinic) opened.
1959-Abilene tears up and rebuilds downtown streets and sidewalks.
1960, January-New Abilene Public Library opens.
1960-Cooper High School opens.
1960-Work begins on 12 Atlas Missile sites installation around Abilene.
1962, November-Abilene City Charter is rewritten.
1965-Work begins on new Abilene City Hall and new Abilene Zoo.
1965-Altas installations phased out.
1966, Feb 14- was the opening of new City Hall.
1966, July 4, Nelson Park Zoo opened.
1967 funds were provided for the building a new county coliseum on S 11th near the fair grounds.
1968, January- West Texas Medical Center was opened.
1973, July 29-West Medical Center moved to old Highway 80. It operated here until 1983.
1975, June the Black Chamber of Commerce was organized.
1978 September 20-The Texas Supreme Court flashed a green light for the first sale of beer for off premises consumption in the city of Abilene
1979, July 5 Mall of Abilene opened it’s doors.
1983, March 18-ground breaking was held for the hospital’s new site at U. S. 83-84 on Antilley Road. It opened at the new address
under the name of Humana Hospital. In 1993, the enlarged hospital became Abilene regional Hospital.
1985. June 29 First B1B arrives at Dyess.
1988 November 8-B-1 crashes near Abilene
1989 January 31- Abilene experienced the worst air disaster in it’s history. 19 die when KC135 tanker crashes near Dyess.
1989 Feb 17 the tallest building in Abilene, home of First State Bank of Abilene during the 1980s, opened under the name and flag of NCNB.
1990- Abilene was made “All America City” either in May or June
1997 April 13- legendary rancher of the area, Walt MATHEWS dies at age 98
2003 February 2-Front page Abilene Reporter News Columbia lost
2005-Health District holds open house. The Abilene Taylor-County Public Health District will host an open house Thursday, Nov. 17, from
1-5 p.m., to show the public its new facility at 850 North 6th Street. A brief grand opening ceremony will be held at 1:30 p.m., which will include
a ribbon cutting ceremony and raising of the U.S. flag by a Color Guard from Dyess Air Force Base. Afterwards, Health District staff members will
lead tours of the facility for the public, and refreshments will be available. The Health District staff has been offering services to the public at the
new 20,760 square foot location since Sept. 12. The old South 19th Street Health District facility, built in 1955, is now closed.
2006 September 18- City/Chamber to celebrate north side development project.The City of Abilene and the Abilene Chamber of Commerce
will celebrate a successful public/private partnership with a ceremony on Sept. 26 at 11 a.m. for the opening of the new Enterprise Park and
associated land developments. Members of the media and the public are invited to join Mayor Norm Archibald, developer Kenneth Musgrave,
Abilene Chamber of Commerce redcoats and City of Abilene staff at the entrance to Enterprise Park, where the new Musgrave Blvd. intersects
the Interstate Hwy. 20 service road, for a brief ceremony to commemorate this success and more quality development to come for Abilene’s
north side. “The partnership between developer Kenneth Musgrave and the City of Abilene has resulted in a virtual explosion of land
development and retail growth in this area on the north side of town along I-20,” Mayor Norm Archibald said. “This public/private partnership
has set a new standard for commercial development in Abilene. One product of this is the planned construction of a second location for a
Lowe’s home improvement center and the related additional retail development that will follow.” Musgrave and the City of Abilene are
splitting the cost of construction of the East Lake Road extension, now called Musgrave Blvd., and relocation by the Texas Department of
Transportation of two ramps on Interstate Hwy. 20. However the City did not have funds available up front to pay its half, so Musgrave
agreed to pay the entire project cost and allow the City to pay back its share over time from property taxes generated by the increased
taxable values of property in the area. “This development also demonstrates how commercial developers can successfully work with the
City to create quality developments that improve our community,” Mayor Archibald continued. “This project sets a high standard for quality
development by including such features as beautifully landscaped medians, high quality thoroughfare lighting and attractive entryways.
We also appreciate the willingness of TxDOT District Engineer Russell Lenz to work with us on moving the highway ramps to facilitate this.”
“This project is an outstanding example of what can be accomplished when government and a private investor/developer work together for
the benefit of the community,” Archibald said in summary. This news release is posted online at www.abilenetx.com.
The Future of Libraries
Beginning the Great Transformation
By Thomas Frey, Executive Director of the DaVinci Institute
In 1519 Leonardo da Vinci died and left behind one of the world’s largest collections of art comprised of well over 5,000 drawings, sketches, and
paintings, the vast majority of which the general public would not become aware of until over 400 years later. The largest portion of this collection
was left in the hands of Francesco Melzi, a trusted assistant and favorite student of Leonardo. Sixty years later when Melzi died in 1579 the
collection began a lengthy, and often destructive, journey. In 1630 a sculptor at the court of the King of Spain by the name of Pompeo Leoni
began a very sloppy process of rearranging the collections, sorting the artistic drawings from the technical ones with scientific notations.
He split up the original manuscripts, cut and pasted pages and created two separate collections. Some pieces were lost. In 1637 the collections
were donated to Biblioteca Ambrosiana, the library in Milan, where they remained until 1796 when Napoleon Bonaparte ordered the manuscripts
to be transferred to Paris. Much of the collection “disappeared” for the next 170 year until it was rediscovered in 1966 in the archives of the
National Library of Madrid. Libraries played a significant role in the preservation of the da Vinci collection and we often wonder about other
brilliant people in history who didn’t have libraries to preserve their work. Some we will never know about.
Archive of Information
Throughout history the role of the library was to serve as a storehouse, an archive of manuscripts, art, and important documents.
The library was the center of information revered by most because each contained the foundational building blocks of information for
all humanity. In medieval times, books were valuable possessions far too expensive for most people to own. As a result, libraries often
turned into a collections of lecterns with books chained to them. In 1455 Johann Gutenberg unveiled his printing press to the world by
printing copies of the Gutenberg Bible. Later Gutenberg had his printing press repossessed by Johann Fust, the man who had financed
his work for the previous 10 years. The sons of Johann Fust were largely responsible for a printing revolution that saw over 500,000
books put into circulation before 1500. A huge turning point in the evolution of libraries was architected by Andrew Carnegie. Between
1883 and 1929 he provided funding for 2,509 libraries, of which 1,689 of them were built in the US. Leading up to today libraries have
consisted of large collections of books and other materials, primarily funded and maintained by cities or other institutions. People who
choose not to, or cannot afford to, purchase books for themselves often use collections. But that definition is changing.
Beginning the Transition
We have transitioned from a time where information was scarce and precious to today where information is vast and readily available, and
in many cases, free. People who in the past visited libraries to find specific pieces of information are now able to find that information
online. The vast majority of people with specific information needs no longer visit libraries. However, others who read for pleasure as
example, still regularly patronize their local library.
Setting the Stage
We have put together ten key trends that are affecting the development of the next generation library. Rest assured that these are not the
only trends, but ones that have been selected to give clear insight into the rapidly changing technologies and equally fast changing mindset
of library patrons.
Trend #1 - Communication systems are continually changing the way people access information. Communication systems have been rapidly
evolving. If you were to construct a trend line beginning with the 1844 invention of the telegraph, you will begin to see the accelerating pace
of change: 1876 – telephone, 1877 – phonograph, 1896 – radio, 1935 – fax machine, 1939 – television, 1945 – ENIAC Computer, 1947 –
transistor, 1954 – color television, 1961 – laser, 1965 – email, 1973 – cell phone, 1974 – Altair 8800, 1989 – World Wide Web, 1990 –
Online Search Engine, 1992 – Web Browser, 1994 – Palm Pilot, 1996 – Google, 1999 – P2P, 2002 – iPod, 2004 – Podcasting. Certainly there
are many more points that can be added to this trend line, but as you think through the direction we’re headed, there is one obvious
question to consider. What is the ultimate form of communication, and will we ever get there? While we are not in a position to know the
“ultimate form” of communication, it would be a safe bet that it is not writing and reading books. Books are a technology, and writing is
also a technology, and every technology has a limited lifespan.
Trend #2 - All technology ends. All technologies commonly used today will be replaced by something new. Media formats are continually
disappearing. The 8-track tape was replaced by the cassette tape, which in turn was replaced by the CD, which is currently in the process
of disappearing altogether. The telephone industry has gone from the dial phone, to push button phone, to cordless phones, to cell phones,
to some sort of universal PDA, cell phone, music player, satellite radio, game machine device that will be totally unrecognizable by today’s
standards. Eventually the cell phone device will disappear. We don’t need to see technology to interact with it. In a similar fashion, every
device, tool, piece of hardware, equipment, and technology that we are using today will go away, and be replaced by something else.
That something else will be faster, smarter, cheaper, more capable, more durable, work better, and look cooler than anything we have today.
Trend #3 - We haven’t yet reached the ultimate small particle for storage. But soon. We live in an awkward time where technological
advances related to information storage are quite routine and expected. Each new breakthrough barely raises an eyebrow because they
happen so often. However, Moore’s Law will not go on indefinitely. There are physical limits to how small we can make storage particles.
Within the coming years, advances will slow and eventually stop altogether as we transition from our grand pursuit of tiny-ness to other
areas of information efficiencies such as speed, reliability, and durability. Once we conquer the ultimate small storage particle, we will be
able to set standards – both standards for information and standards for storage. This becomes extremely important as we try to envision
the stable information base of the future, and the opportunities for libraries to interact with it and build new and exciting “information
experiences”. But perhaps the most critical component of stabilizing information storage will surround the issues of fundability.
Trend #4 - Search Technology will become increasingly more complicated. Many people today think our present day search technology is
fairly simple, and it is. But the simple search days are numbered. The vast majority of today’s search industry is based on text search.
Text search is being expanded to cover the various languages of the world and some forms of image, audio, and video search are currently in
place. However, next generation search technology will include the ability to search for such attributes as taste, smell, texture, reflectivity,
opacity, mass, density, tone, speed, and volume. As we achieve the ability to conduct more and more complicated searches, the role of the
librarian to assist in finding this kind of information also becomes more and more important. People will not have the time and skills necessary
to keep up on each new innovation in the search world, and they will need a competent professional to turn to.
Trend #5 - Time compression is changing the lifestyle of library patrons. The spectrum of human need is continually expanding.
The paradigm of “need” is changing, evolving, and most importantly, speeding up. Time compression is affecting nearly every aspect
of our lives, but as we compress our time, we are also compressing our needs. People today sleep, on average, two hours less per
night than 80 years ago, going from 8.9 hours per night to 6.9 hours. 34% of lunches today are eaten on the run. 66% of young
people surf the web & watch TV at the same time. In a recent survey, 43% of the people in our society are having trouble making
decisions because of sheer data overload. Basically, we have more needs faster. So as the spectrum of human need grows, the
opportunities for libraries to meet these needs are also growing. However, “needs” are a moving target, so the library of the future
will need to be designed to accommodate the changing needs of its constituency. One of the needs that will be going away is the
need to use keyboards.
Trend #6 - Over time we will be transitioning to a verbal society. Keyboards remain as our primary interface between people and
electronic information even though inventors have long felt there must be a better way. The days of the keyboard are numbered.
As mentioned earlier, all technology ends and soon we will be witnessing the end of the keyboard era. Dr William Crossman,
Founder/Director of the Comp Speak 2050 Institute for the Study of Talking Computers and Oral Cultures, predicts that as we
say goodbye to keyboards we will begin the transition to a verbal society. He also predicts that by 2050 literacy will be dead.
While the accuracy of his dates and the wholesale transition from literacy to a verbal society may be debatable, there will undoubtedly
be a strong trend towards verbal information. Computers will become more human-like with personalities, traits, and other
characteristics that will give us the sense of being in a room with other humans.
Trend #7 - The demand for global information is growing exponentially. Many secrets in tomorrow’s business world lie in the writings
of people who did not speak English or any of the other prominent global languages. A company’s ability to do business in a foreign country
will be largely dependent upon their ability to understand the culture, society, and systems within which that country operates. The National
Intelligence Council predicts, “the globalization of labor markets, and political instability and conflict will fuel a dramatic increase in the global
movement of people through 2015 and beyond. Legal and illegal migrants now account for more than 15 percent of the population in more than
50 countries. These numbers will grow substantially and will increase social and political tension and perhaps alter national identities even as
they contribute to demographic and economic dynamism.”Our ability to learn about and understand the cultures of the rest of the world is
key to our ability to prepare ourselves for the global societies of the future. At the same time that we learn about global societies, a new era
of global systems will begin to emerge.
Trend #8 - The Stage is being set for a new era of Global Systems. Most people don’t think in terms of global systems, but we have many
existing systems that have evolved over centuries that now play a significant role in our lives. Our present global systems include international
trade, global sea transportation, the Metric System, global news services, global mail systems, time zones, global air transportation, and global
stock trading. Two of the newest global systems include the GPS system and the Internet. Few people think in terms of global systems and
what they represent. But as we move towards more homogenized cultures and societies, the need for creating cross-border systems will
also increase. Examples of future global systems include global accounting standards for publicly traded companies, global intellectual
property systems, global tax code, global currency, global ethics standards, and an official earth measurement system. People will begin to
develop these new global systems because each one represents a multi-billion dollar opportunity just from the sheer efficiencies created
along the way. Libraries will play a key role in the development of global systems because they will be charged with archiving and disseminating
the foundational pieces of information necessary for the new systems to take root. Libraries themselves are a global system representing an
anchor point for new systems and new cultures.
Trend #9 – We are transitioning from a product-based economy to an experience based economy. As the world’s population ages and the
Baby Boom generation approaches retirement, many of them will begin to shed their belongings to create a more free and mobile lifestyle.
Each item that a person owns demands their attention, and the accumulation of physical goods to demonstrate a person’s wealth is rapidly
declining in importance. Experience becomes the key. How would you rate your last library experience? Chances are that you’ve never
been asked that question. However, in the future, the patron experience will become key measurement criteria. Gone are the days of the
solemn book-reading experience in the neighborhood library. Activities will be diverse and varied as a way of presenting and interacting
with information in new and unusual formats. But more importantly, books themselves will transition from a product to an experience.
As books change in form from simple “words on a page” to various digital manifestations of the information, future books will be reviewed
and evaluated by the experience they create.
Trend #10 - Libraries will transition from a center of information to a center of culture. With the emergence of distributed forms of information
the central role of the library as a repository of facts and information is changing. While it is still important to have this kind of resource, it has
proven to be a diminishing draws in terms of library traffic. The notion of becoming a cultural center is an expansive role for the future library.
It will not only serve as an information resource, but much more, with the exact mission and goals evolving and changing over time. A culture
based library is one that taps into the spirit of the community, assessing priorities and providing resources to support the things deemed most
important. Modern day cultural centers include museums, theaters, parks, and educational institutions. The library of the future could include
all of these, but individual communities will be charged with developing an overall strategy that reflects the identity and personality of its own
Recommendations for Libraries
Libraries are in a unique position. Since most people have fond memories of their times growing up in libraries, and there are no real
“library hater” organizations, most libraries have the luxury of time to reinvent themselves. The role of a library within a community
is changing. The way people interact with the library and the services it offers is also changing. For this reason we have put together a
series of recommendations that will allow libraries to arrive at their own best solutions.
1. Evaluate the library experience. Begin the process of testing patron’s opinions, ideas, thoughts, and figure out how to get at the heart
of the things that matter most in your community. Survey both the community at large and the people who walk through the library doors.
2. Embrace new information technologies. New tech products are being introduced on a daily basis and the vast majority of people are totally lost
when it comes to deciding on what to use and what to stay away from. Since no organization has stepped up to take the lead in helping the
general public understand the new tech, it becomes a perfect opportunity for libraries. Libraries need to become a resource for as well as
the experts in each of the new technologies.
a. Create a technology advisory board and stay in close communication with them.
b. Recruit tech savvy members of the community to hold monthly discussion panels where the community at large is invited to join in
c. Develop a guest lecture series on the new technologies.
3. Preserve the memories of your own communities. While most libraries have become the document archive of their community, the
memories of a community span much more than just documents. What did it sound like to drive down Main Street in 1950? What did it
smell like to walk into Joe’s Bakery in the early mornings of 1965? Who are the people in these community photos and why were they
important? Memories come in many shapes and forms. Don’t let yours disappear.
4, Experiment with creative spaces so the future role of the library can define itself. Since the role of the library 20 years from now is
still a mystery, we recommend that libraries put together creative spaces so staff members, library users, and the community at large can
experiment and determine what ideas are drawing attention and getting traction. Some possible uses for these creative spaces include:
a. Band practice rooms
b. Podcasting stations
c. Blogger stations
d. Art studios
e. Recording studios
f. Video studios
g. Imagination rooms
h. Theater-drama practice rooms
We have come a long ways from the time of da Vinci and the time when books were chained to lecterns. But we’ve only scratched the
surface of many more changes to come. Writing the definitive history of modern libraries is a work in progress. Our best advice is to enjoy
the journey and relish in the wonderment of what tomorrow may bring.