What’s Next for Libraries?

I’ve mentioned only in passing this incredible comment from MetaFilter on the dismal state of funding for libraries even as they become more essential. It’s too long to reproduce here and an excerpt won’t do, so go and read it and come back.

OK, so then what’s next for libraries? I don’t know, but there are a few people trying to figure it out.

Your Future Library is a group working to create an online journal for sharing best practices on information access. They’re hoping to bridge the gap between local libraries and those interested in digital dissemination of information. There’s not much on their site yet (they gave me a flyer at ContactCon), but you can sign-up for a newsletter to keep in touch.

Meanwhile Fiarce Dunne, a librarian interested in the intersection between local libraries and makerlabs (and the guy who brought he DARPA/MAKE connection to my attention), has started a project called Library Cult which is also in early stages.

1 Comment

  1. I have a few librarian friends. One said ‘you know google and all that? That should have been us. Libraries should have provided all that, long ago.’ I’d never thought about it, but in some other tomorrow Michael Hart was a librarian and it went from there.

    Andrew Carnegie founded libraries across the United States at his own expense, with the condition being the local government take them over after he set them up. That’s (part of) the foundation of the public library system. Perhaps that will happen again. Or perhaps it’s better to have many private libraries online instead of fewer government libraries.

    Libraries as physical buildings are often undeclared homeless shelters and internet access points. New functions as the old functions (shelves of sheet music?) dwindle.

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