The Library of Utopia – Technology Review


“However, the DPLA’s decision to call itself a “public library” has raised hackles. At a meeting in May of last year, a group called the Chief Officers of State Library Agencies passed a resolution asking the DPLA steering committee to change the name of the project. While the state librarians expressed support for an effort to “make the cultural and scientific heritage of our country and the world freely available to all,” they worried that by presenting itself as the country’s public library, the DPLA could lend credence to “the unfounded belief that public libraries can be replaced in over 16,000 communities in the U.S. by a national digital library.” Such a perception would make it even harder for local libraries to protect their budgets from cuts. Other critics have seen arrogance in the DPLA’s assumption that a single online library can support the very different needs of scholarly researchers and the public. To strengthen its ties to public libraries, the DPLA added five public librarians to its steering committee last year, including Boston Public Library president Amy Ryan and San Francisco city librarian Luis Herrera.”

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