The traditional role of librarians, securing and providing access to the archives of recorded knowledge, is being rapidly challenged on three fronts: the increasing technical sophistication of library users, the wide availability of information management software, and economic pressures on the growth of library collections. While we may argue endlessly about ‘turf’ and ‘ownership’ the real challenge is to forge a new ethic oflibrarianship which defies the stereotype of the passive provider of information services, explores new models of partnership with users and champions an interactive environment in which to create the library of the future. The Main Library at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is actively engaged in testing experimental models of the library of the future centred on dynamic user‐librarian interactions, versatile information technologies and on fostering creative partnerships with library users in different environments. These experiments are described and evaluated, and their implications for future development are explored.
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