[Web4lib] Shouldn't Libraries be Technology Hubs, instead?

Block, Carson CBlock at poudrelibraries.org
Thu Oct 28 15:44:50 EDT 2010

Hear hear on the concept of libraries being "information hubs!"  

As Heidi pointed out some of the information wrappers can be problematic when they're no longer made from dead trees (licensing and DRM in particular) but I don't see our predominant role (Public Libraries, anyway)  -- connecting people with *good* information at no direct cost to the user as a public Good -- as having any less value in the digital age.  In fact, it should have more value.

My fear is that current licensing is cutting us out of the picture.  It really worries me, and I want to help do something about it.  I've heard some talk about libraries going to publishers in some organized fashion to discuss this, but can't fined any details  -- can anyone help connect me?


Carson Block
IT Director
Poudre River Public Library District
201 Peterson St.
Fort Collins, CO 80524
ph: (970) 221-6662
fx: (970) 221-6398

-----Original Message-----
From: web4lib-bounces at webjunction.org [mailto:web4lib-bounces at webjunction.org] On Behalf Of Rees, Heidi (CHT)
Sent: Thursday, October 28, 2010 1:23 PM
To: 'web4lib at webjunction.org'
Subject: Re: [Web4lib] Shouldn't Libraries be Technology Hubs, instead?

"Shouldn't Libraries be Technology Hubs, instead?"

I would argue that libraries should be information hubs, and that libraries have always been about access, whether it was access to papyrus, scrolls, manuscripts, books, books-on-tape or e-books, rather than collection.

Of course my ideas don't solve technical and/or legal problems such as ownership rights, etc. However, thinking of libraries as locations (physical or virtual) for accessing information can help establish guidelines, policies or strategies that consider past, present and future needs of one's clients/patrons/users.

My 2.0594 cents (Canadian)

Heidi Rees
Cataloguer and Electronic Resources Librarian
Legislative Library of Manitoba
Winnipeg, Manitoba

-----Original Message-----
From: web4lib-bounces at webjunction.org [mailto:web4lib-bounces at webjunction.org] On Behalf Of Michael Schofield
Sent: October-28-10 12:57 PM
To: web4lib at webjunction.org
Cc: irreferential at gmail.com
Subject: [Web4lib] Shouldn't Libraries be Technology Hubs, instead?

After reading the Kindle Lending thread.

I wonder what draw there is in assuming [nostalgically] that libraries are 
about books. I've been willing to shred that idea when I started digitally 
archiving civil war stuff for my college library, and especially now that 
I've "grinded" through workshops and core graduate-level courses about 
collection development. I just can't hop on the bandwagon.

There is an excellent, if deeply buried, article in the latest WIRED 
magazine--which ironically wrote on its very profitable website, last month, 
that the internet was dead--about notions of ownership in a market favorable 
for "rentership." Of course, libraries have been all about renting/lending 
books, but that is only because libraries had the resources to acquire 
massive collections and distribute them for membership fees and tax dollars. 
Now that everyone increasingly has the resources to acquire massive 
collections, it seems obvious that libraries should--well--stop being about 
Collecting. Books shmooks.

Now, libraries *do* have the resources and--as members of local 
governments--the responsibility to dole out digital access, which others 
haven't. Denver just opened a Community Technology Center, You know, just 


Michael at BCPL

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