Another post to the Dig_Ref listserv yesterday included a link to this:
Do Libraries Still Matter?, from the Carnegie Reporter
This article is a trip through the history of libraries in the US, focusing, appropriately, on Carnegie libraries, and discussing “the problem of purpose” of the public library: to educate & uplift the proletariat or to provide pleasure reading to the middle class? Considering the role of libraries in the internet age, the author ends on this note:
…it’s conceivable that libraries someday will function more as secure archives, repositories of expertise and communal havens for Internet access rather than as physical dispensers of books and periodicals. And if that day comes, it means only that the library dream–of universal access to knowledge and information–has taken a giant leap toward becoming an every-day reality. Hallelujah.
Seems to me that he’s come to the conclusion that a lot of authors are coming to these days, that the future role of the library is bimodal: as an archives or even a museum to store physical stuff, and as a community center where information seeking-related services are provided.