Sunday, October 14, 2012

Libraries and the future

(Photo from Imgur )

Two notes on libraries that got me thinking about technology and communities:

1) The Digital Public Library of America is several years into trying to figure out and launch a digital public library of America. Is it all online? What materials? Who are the stakeholders? What's different about it - is it the code that shares the materials? What does it mean for those cherished physical libraries? What gets included? Why would it have national borders if its all digital? And so on...huge questions, great work going on. I attended a planning session in San Francisco at the Internet Archive, follow their work online, and find myself loving the discussions among librarians, authors, parents, community members, publishers, museums. This effort is one of the living laboratories for creating "digital civil society." The Knight Foundation just made a grant to help the DP.LA establish several regional pilot sites.

2) Small, local, "unofficial" lending libraries that pop up on the sidewalks of Brooklyn or in farmers' fields in Florida. Hipsters and fieldworkers - sharing, trusting, building community. See this story on Little Free Libraries,  or these on "guerrilla" libraries, and corner libraries.

These seem like opposites, don't they - national and digital, local and analog, run by professionals and volunteer-driven? Yet here they both are, complementing each other.

1 comment:

Sarah Washburn said...

Not opposites, but what libraries offer each day... information, imagination, creation, preservation. Libraries build communities both online and offline. The DPLA and the Little Free Libraries expand and enrich the work of libraries; each offer opportunities for the community to engage and build. You might even say that the community is the library's most prized collection.