A 'think and do tank' looking at libraries and e-content delivery
An interview with Michael Porter, who is heading up a group called Library Renewal, “a new kind of nonprofit” organization whose goal is to develop “a new electronic content access and distribution infrastructure.”
What are the critical implications of mainstream adoption of digital content for libraries?
Libraries either figure out new ways to be major players in a world where electronic content accounts for 85%–95% of content access (reading, research, music, and multimedia) or we become antiquated institutions that our local communities are less and less willing to support. That may sound extreme, but once you research the hardware currently on the market and future technologies, how the software is and will be working on that hardware, and the companies that are doing all of this right now, you see the writing on the wall with blazing clarity. We are at a critical crossroads that both presents amazing opportunities for libraries and poses powerful threats to our very existence—threats that we have never faced before.
How will Library Renewal address the challenges of increased digital engagement in libraries?
We are designed to be a “think and do tank” that works in three areas:
Research—what is at play here and what are practical paths forward.
Relationships—with major companies, corporations, professions, and individuals that see these issues as critical to society and want to join forces with libraries and Library Renewal.
Outreach—within the library profession and focused on the general public, those who understand that if libraries do not provide effective access to electronic content, their libraries may very well go away. These millions of citizens can create a critical mass of support that can both spread the word and encourage cooperation and innovation.