Seminar: Connecting Libraries, Communities, and News, 4/27, Marlborough, MA

The Massachusetts Library System hosts a free gathering about linking libraries, communities, and the news on Friday, April 27, from 9:30 am through 4 pm, in the library system’s Marlborough office. Advance registration is required.

The Mass. Library System partners with the New England News Forum and Journalism That Matters for a one day event. Librarians and journalists gather for a discussion on forming partnerships and sharing information between the two fields.

Journalists and librarians share common goals and technology helps to form tools that can be used in both professions to ensure public literacy, government transparency, free speech, and citizen participation. Both professions provide their local communities with informational services and librarians are nurturing those goals by making that information easily accessible to the public.

Addendum 4/27: I’m attaching my event notes to this post instead of beginning a new one.

I missed the exciting talks in the morning of librarians sharing examples of how they’ve partnered with or become resources for members of the news media because I had a prior commitment. When I arrived, a lady was giving an overview of Manor Ink, a project to introduce 12-21 year olds to journalism via a New York public library. After her presentation, Leigh Montgomery of the Christian Science Monitor mentioned ways public libraries have taken on the roles of preserving news in their communities. I have hand written notes I’ll share later.

Presently, we’re in breakout groups discussing anything from monetizing news archives in libraries to how to advocate well for libraries to the role of librarians and journalists in providing reliable information—which is where I am.

Some public libraries save articles from or maybe even runs of local papers. Access is not always complete or easy. What happens when a patron’s question leads to a partial answer via the news archive? It might be easy to find one piece of the answer, but not, say, a follow up article with more information.

One journalist shared her experience having to write commemorative pieces concerning an unsolved murder from before she was born. Because she works for a small town paper without many resources, there wasn’t a digital archive to search to ease her task. She found some materials in the library, the recounting of which inspired some remarks about vertical files. (Think: a paper version of a database.)

Policies need to be in place to help with reliability. Librarians realize their liability extends only so far.

One fellow pulled a smartphone out of his pocket, declaring it an unabridged dictionary which he occasionally uses to make phone calls.

I just learned attendees are going to get an electronic file of notes from today. A video camera films, but I’m not sure what will happen to the video.

Summary from the archives and monetization group: affordibility of archives is a big issue, paywalls cause problems, communities should get access to their local news, the library should be a conduit for local information: how can libraries get through cost structures?

How can publishers make it easier for libraries to access their content?

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