Press: “Highlights and Opinions from the National Digital Public Library Conference in Los Angeles, CA”

Posted by Kenny Whitebloom on November 20, 2011 in Press.

“So, indeed, I believe that our era of digital content replacing print content requires a much larger re-visioning of what public libraries can and should be in their communities. I’d describe public libraries’ current approach to the future as ‘people want their books as eBooks now, so lets fight an uphill battle to provide eBooks to patrons as a new media format the same way we’ve always done so’.  That is not going to happen, and if that’s what the goal of the DPLA is then I’m sorely disappointed and I’m sure it’ll fail.  Instead, let me suggest for public libraries and the DPLA a new mission and vision, one that taxpayers WILL support for many years to come because no other competitor does it, and because if it is explained and implemented properly (see: nationally) it will build stronger, smarter communities, and ultimately build a stronger, smarter country.  In one sentence: public libraries need to support information production with the same level of commitment that they’ve always treated information consumption.  For a while now I’ve been preaching this like a scratched record on an old turntable, but it’s important to continue to reiterate it. Libraries have always been read-only institutions, offering access to media for consumption. Card holders can read library-lent books, watch library-lent movies, listen to library-lent music.  If the public library is to succeed in this new digital era, card holders (hopefully meaning everyone in your community) need to be given access and education so they can create and contribute to culture, and gain the skills to produce things like the new media creations that will be the successors to the things we call eBooks now.  Library cardholders should be equipped to participate in the incremental construction of end-product multimedia packages (eBooks, web platforms and services, or others) through conversation and single-channel media production, and public libraries CAN and SHOULD be the intermediaries making that possible.”

From Nate Hill’s post on the PLA Blog, Highlights and Opinions from the National Digital Public Library Conference in Los Angeles, CA

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