Should public librarians plan at all, or just provide what the publishers provide? Is there any room for horizon scanning?
I’d say yes. There is obviously a need to meet current demands, and to be aware of those. Yet by focusing exclusively on now we will sell then short. If people did not take chances, follow new trends and so forth nothing would change. If Tim Coates had said ‘nah, coffee shops in book shops? people don’t want that, they want books, it’s obvious’ he wouldn’t have made the impact he apparently has on how we buy books.
No-one would say that librarians qua librarians should be determing what is published. But they should be preparing for how people access what is published, and also looking at how demand changes around them.