[iDC] Is there a future for the pubklic libraries?

Anya Kamenetz anyaanya at gmail.com
Fri Jul 1 16:24:19 UTC 2011

The way I see libraries functioning most vibrantly in communities today, at
a moment of transition, is as free Internet cafes for lower-income people
and afterschool gathering places for children.
In my new ebook The Edupunks' Guide (expected release in August) I talk
about a really interesting program called LearnerWeb, which is a guided
online personal learning plan experience for people whose goals include
learning English, learning to read, or getting a GED.
People generally interact with the LearnerWeb website in a semi-supervised
situation like an adult literacy center, social services center, and yes, a

On Fri, Jul 1, 2011 at 3:19 AM, Rolf Hapel <hapel at aarhus.dk> wrote:

> Hi Janet,
> Thank you for your comments. I agree that the change of format ultimately
> is changing the business models of publishing, thus has an enormous effect
> of the business model of the libraries. Copyright issues are at the core of
> this development. I believe that your reflection on the library as a future
> repository or space which can host culturally important data over longer
> time spans ending with a (big) question mark is very relevant! The need for
> preserving valuable cultural and polical data is obvious, but it is in my
> mind not a task for the public library to do that, it must be national
> repositories that harvest that kind of digital information. The possibility
> of having networks of libraries host contemporary digital media content (or
> maybe access to digital media content through metadata repositories) is
> certainly a possibility - that's what we are doing in Denmark.
> Rolf
> -----Oprindelig meddelelse-----
> Fra: Janet Hawtin [mailto:lucychili at gmail.com]
> Sendt: 30. juni 2011 12:50
> Til: Jessica F. Lingel
> Cc: Rolf Hapel
> Emne: Re: [iDC] Is there a future for the pubklic libraries?
> Hullo
> I am one of the new library sector students.
> My concern about the shift in paper owned resources to linked or subscribed
> digital resources is largely because it changes the kind of access rights
> users have because copyright is a shifting target.
> Format shift brings with it a shift from ownership of an object to tenancy
> with a hosting site.
> You also need to keep paying to keep accessing.
> Sometimes it also means that the library is less seen as a space which can
> host culturally important data over longer time spans? I think the refresh
> rate of government websites for example will mean it is difficult to compare
> changing government policies over some years as old data is deleted and
> replaced with the latest perspectives.
> Perhaps libraries can still host that kind of longer perspective?
> Perhaps libraries can hold self published zines, local content, local
> books.
> It would be interesting if networks of libraries became more authoritative
> and integrated as hosting organisations for digital media as content in
> other hosting sites may well only be there while it is profitable and not
> offer a longer term cultural asset.
> A comfy chair and a net connection are passive aspects of information
> delivery in that they are only able to deliver relevant information if the
> wider network has chosen to host the data and it is accessible from that
> network.
> My initial thoughts anyway =)
> Janet
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*Fast Company column* Life In
*Tribune Media column* The Savings
*Book* DIY U: Edupunks, Edupreneurs and the Coming Transformation of  Higher
*Blog* DIYUbook.com <http://diyubook.com/>
*Twitter *@Anya1anya <http://twitter.com/#%21/anya1anya>
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