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BiblioTech: Why Libraries Matter More Than…
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BiblioTech: Why Libraries Matter More Than Ever in the Age of Google

by John Palfrey

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John Palfrey led the effort to reorganize the Harvard Law School Library, and is the founding chairman of the Digital Public Library of America. In this book, he describes what libraries may look like in the future. Palfrey recognizes that libraries need to provide both physical and digital materials, at least for the near future. He advocates for libraries as nodes in a digital network so that information is shared efficiently. He also discuss the important role that libraries play in providing both digital access and research librarians that can reduce unequal access. The book is a bit dry. Palfrey describes his perspective on the libraries of the future, but I would have liked a bit more of a narrative style, with more examples and stories, but as a fan of libraries, it was fun to think about their future. ( )
  porch_reader | Jan 21, 2017 |
A DPLA-touting call to build concern for librarians, digital collections, and to gradually do away with the acquisition of print materials, targeted to librarians and MLIS students. ( )
  weeta | Jul 21, 2016 |
I just reread this. Preaching to the choir for me, but highly recommended for anyone who wants an overview of what's going on with libraries—which should be everyone, honestly, because libraries are going to be what saves the shreds of civilization in this country. I'm serious about that. There are very few institutions left that have the power to bridge the enormously iniquitous gap that exists, and to power through the rampant anti-intellectualism that's taking hold; libraries can do that, but they're changing, and this book is a good way to understand how and why. ( )
  lisapeet | Jan 1, 2016 |
Must-read for librarians navigating the information age. Palfrey, formerly of Harvard's Berkman Center and now Head of Phillips Academy in Andover MA gets that, like a free-press, libraries play an essential role in ensuring a that Americans have access they need to be informed citizens and make intelligent decisions. He also gets that the digital age is, ironically, making much information that was once freely available through libraries less easy to access as subscription databases, e-books and materials designed by corporations and marketed through sites such as Amazon.com set up barriers and distractions. His recommendations for strengthening libraries will require a huge, necessary shift for librarians and for their patrons, but he argues it is an important moment to ensure that we continue to have free access to information. ( )
  judiparadis | Sep 5, 2015 |
I read this book as a person who cannot function well if I do not go to a library every week. It is where I go to learn, to read, to connect, to wander. It is a place where I can almost always feel deep joy. It is where I go for solace and comfort. When my mother died I went to the Boston Public Library and lay down in the stacks near the books about Jewish women and felt at peace. This is not nostalgia. It is real. And what I think can never be replaced.

I am lucky. I live in Boston. I can go to any library I want in the city and surrounding communities, which I do. Last year, I decided to go see some of the smaller, further flung libraries in the state. I began to notice that when I walked in I did not see books upon entering the building but computers, CD's, audio books and a smaller section of new books. I went to one library that recently won the small library of the year award but I barely saw books but mostly IPads, etc. As I talked to the librarians I came to understand that there were big changes happening in libraries and that while they had always acted as community centers they were increasingly tech and information centers too. I was not sure what to make of this so I picked up John Paltry's BiblioTech: Why Libraries Matter More Than Ever in the Age of Google to learn more about libraries in this technological age. I gave this book four stars because it made me reevaluate and think about the current relevance of libraries and, while I disagreed with some of his points, I also felt excited to learn this new material and have more depth of knowledge regarding this issue.

Of course all things change. I own a Kindle and read this book on it. I agree with John Paltry that libraries must not only change and adapt but lead the way so that libraries remain relevant and all generations can access technology to learn, to grow, to move ahead in this fast-paced world. He presents major points about how to make this change happen with passion, depth and some repetitiveness. I think some of these changes are occurring and will continue to do so and many of these, in this era of cost saving, income inequality and of partisan politics, will not. And some of them I just disagree with, i.e. virtual browsing versus physical stacks. In any case, my hope is that libraries can continue to be one of the last public places for all, especially now that even public schools are being privatized and sold to the highest bidder. We need them more than ever during these hard times and that is not just a library lover waxing nostalgic!

Thank you to Netgalley for allowing me to review this book for an honest opinion. ( )
  Karen59 | Jun 15, 2015 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0465042996, Hardcover)

Libraries today are more important than ever. More than just book repositories, libraries can become bulwarks against some of the most crucial challenges of our age: unequal access to education, jobs, and information.

In BiblioTech, educator and technology expert John Palfrey argues that anyone seeking to participate in the 21st century needs to understand how to find and use the vast stores of information available online. And libraries, which play a crucial role in making these skills and information available, are at risk. In order to survive our rapidly modernizing world and dwindling government funding, libraries must make the transition to a digital future as soon as possible—by digitizing print material and ensuring that born-digital material is publicly available online.

Not all of these changes will be easy for libraries to implement. But as Palfrey boldly argues, these modifications are vital if we hope to save libraries and, through them, the American democratic ideal.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:03:25 -0400)

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