counter create hit BiblioTech: Why Libraries Matter More Than Ever in the Age of Google - Download Free eBook
Hot Best Seller

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

Availability: Ready to download

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 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.


Compare

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 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.

30 review for BiblioTech: Why Libraries Matter More Than Ever in the Age of Google

  1. 4 out of 5

    Diane

    This is a good overview of the state of libraries in America. I heard the author speak about the future of libraries at a conference, and decided to check out his book. Bibliotech makes the argument that libraries are still a valuable part of the community and need to be supported, but they also need to continue to grow and adapt with the times. As a librarian, I'm passionate about supporting libraries and appreciate all of the services they provide to the public. One of Palfrey's special project This is a good overview of the state of libraries in America. I heard the author speak about the future of libraries at a conference, and decided to check out his book. Bibliotech makes the argument that libraries are still a valuable part of the community and need to be supported, but they also need to continue to grow and adapt with the times. As a librarian, I'm passionate about supporting libraries and appreciate all of the services they provide to the public. One of Palfrey's special projects is the Digital Public Library of America, which encourages libraries to digitize artifacts and historical records so that they can be enjoyed by everyone, not just folks who can physically visit the library where they're stored. I would recommend Bibliotech to everyone who's asked me, "Why do we need libraries when I've got the internet on my phone?" Also, if the current president of the United States had the mental fortitude to read anything longer than a tweet, this is one of the approximately 3,000 books I would urge him to read in order to be a better informed servant of the people. (Hey Donald, please don't cut library funding. Libraries are critically needed in communities.) Finally, I'm going to send this book to my dad so he'll stop asking me if libraries are irrelevant. Maybe I'll even ask him to write a book report on the topic, and make him visit his local library to get help with research. Favorite Quote "It is not too much of a stretch to say that the fate of well-informed, open, free republics could hinge on the future of libraries. Maureen Sullivan, then-president of the American Library Association and one of the great librarians who give me hope, told me: 'The reason I think the future of libraries is so important is because I want to ensure that every child in America has access to the information he or she needs to be well-informed before casting a vote.'"

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    Not a good way to start out the new year. While I agree with the message, it was too wordy & redundant. The introduction took 3o minutes & repeated points half a dozen times & then the first chapter began by repeating points already covered in the introduction. Libraries are more important than ever, but people don't see them for what they really are. They're historical repositories & important for allowing everyone access to information freely, no matter what their economic status. They're under Not a good way to start out the new year. While I agree with the message, it was too wordy & redundant. The introduction took 3o minutes & repeated points half a dozen times & then the first chapter began by repeating points already covered in the introduction. Libraries are more important than ever, but people don't see them for what they really are. They're historical repositories & important for allowing everyone access to information freely, no matter what their economic status. They're underfunded & are drawing the short straw as budgets tighten. Agreed. I've known people who didn't want to pay school tax because they don't have kids which is stupidly short sighted & too many communities are acting the same with libraries. We're in a tumultuous state right now as information is moving into digital format. Agreed. There are some fantastic efforts being made to digitize & preserve information. Agreed. Just how many times do I need to listen to these points? Once preferably.

  3. 4 out of 5

    TK421

    An insightful, thought-provoking, and intelligent rallying cry for all who either work, love, or have an interest in the future of libraries. HIGHEST POSSIBLE RECOMMENDATION

  4. 5 out of 5

    Marcela

    This could have been a much better book. Ultimately, I didn't know who the intended audience was. Was it a book intended to inspire librarians with all the new and exciting pathways they can and should continue to develop in their libraries? Okay, then perhaps include case studies, illustrating especially how to innovate with no money. Or is the audience philanthropists, or politicians, the people who can actually control the nightmare budget crises that are facing libraries? In which case, leave This could have been a much better book. Ultimately, I didn't know who the intended audience was. Was it a book intended to inspire librarians with all the new and exciting pathways they can and should continue to develop in their libraries? Okay, then perhaps include case studies, illustrating especially how to innovate with no money. Or is the audience philanthropists, or politicians, the people who can actually control the nightmare budget crises that are facing libraries? In which case, leave out all the criticisms about libraries. Talk about all the good they are doing, and only then, all the good they could be doing with proper funding. As it was, this felt like a call for libraries to do more with less and less money, with a half-hearted statement of the obvious almost as an aside: "Oh, and all of this is probably moot unless some billionaire decides play Carnegie for modern libraries; and maybe the government should start caring." Not. Helpful. Palfrey's heart is in the right place, but I think some of the more valuable ideas here (a call to more consortia and collaboration, advocacy for more digital preservation efforts, etc.) could have been better presented as an article. And someone really needs to write that "Hey Everyone Who Isn't a Librarian, Here's Why You Need to Start Funding Libraries" book.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Marlene

    Originally published at Reading Reality This week is National Library Week, so it seemed logical to review a book about libraries. Not just because I am a librarian, but because I believe that libraries are important to our future as a democratic society. BiblioTech attempts to answer a question that most librarians and library workers face multiple times in any given month: whether libraries are still relevant in an age where any information an average person (or library user) might desire ostens Originally published at Reading Reality This week is National Library Week, so it seemed logical to review a book about libraries. Not just because I am a librarian, but because I believe that libraries are important to our future as a democratic society. BiblioTech attempts to answer a question that most librarians and library workers face multiple times in any given month: whether libraries are still relevant in an age where any information an average person (or library user) might desire ostensibly can be found in the palm of one’s hand – in other words, accessible on the internet via any smartphone. For those who believe that libraries’ primary purpose is to provide repositories for books, especially popular books, isn’t everything anyone might want to read available for instant download as an ebook? In the face of those two questions, the author of BiblioTech provides a plausible and mostly reasonable answer. However, the subtitle of BiblioTech is “Why Libraries Matter More Than Ever in the Age of Google”. After having read the book, I got the sense that the question the author actually answers is “How Libraries Can Matter More Than Ever in the Age of Google”. The words “should”, “ought” and “must” get used much too much to let this book stand as “why”. The prescription here is that if libraries make some significant and necessary changes, they are capable of mattering more in the Google Age. We aren’t there yet. While it seems that the intent is to reach a popular audience rather than an insider (inside libraries, that is) audience, I can’t help but wonder how much of a popular audience this book will manage to reach. I’ve read most of these prescriptions before – but then again, I feel as if I am a part of the choir that this book, intentionally or otherwise, preaches to. So from the point of view of this librarian/reviewer, the book reads as more of a prescription rather than a description. It is an interesting prescription all the same. The author’s questions, and in fact most librarians’ questions, revolve around finding, creating or transforming into a mission that draws on libraries’ unique strengths instead of continuing to do what we have always done, because what we have always done is in many cases being served more ubiquitously, if not always better, by for-profit entities. But there are things that libraries do that are not done elsewhere, or are not done as well elsewhere. Most people support their local libraries and value them highly, but that support is not translating to tax dollars or institutional budgets. Libraries as places do provide a sense of community. They are clean, well-lighted and climate-controlled “third places” in our society where anyone can come to get in out of the sun, to find a less distracting place to read or study, and to get information assistance if one needs it. Too many of the places that provide some of these functions are Starbucks, where you need to buy something to “rent” a table, and someone will help with your coffee but not your homework. Also, Starbucks may provide “free” wifi, but doesn’t provide laptops for those who need a computer to apply for jobs and services, to make the leap onto that first rung of the ladder that can get a person onto the ladder of success, or simply to get help. (The above is not to say anything terrible about Starbucks. Just that their mission is different from a library’s – and so it should be.) There is a long-term preservation mission that libraries fulfill. The entire sum of human knowledge has not, and probably will never be, digitized. But digitization makes remote or unique resources available to a wider world. And if you believe that those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it, well, libraries and archives and museums are the places where that past is preserved and analyzed for future applications. The irony, as the author makes quite clear, is that it is proving more expensive to preserve the current digital output of information for future researches than it ever was to preserve the paper records of the past. Paper is still readable 50 years later, but the computer files of 20 years ago may only be readable on a device that no longer exists except in museums. Also, libraries provide information from all sides and in all formats, without an agenda other than making the information available and protecting the privacy of those who seek it. If Google controls the availability of information, keep in mind that their agenda is to make a profit. Things that are not profitable may be deemed of lesser importance and suppressed or simply made too difficult to find. (I am not saying this is necessarily happening now, only that it can. This is similar to the arguments about Amazon’s power over the book marketplace.) One of the strongest chapters in the book is the chapter on copyright law and how it both affects and hinders library mission, especially in this current age where the much more restrictive law of licensing is having greater and greater control on what libraries are able to offer and the means by which they are able to offer it. As much as I agree with the author about the need for libraries in the future, and the need for libraries to change in order to be a part of that future, I have some difficulty with the way that the author addresses how libraries should go about that change. One of the premises is that in order to provide funding for research and development into the necessary changes, and to provide funding for capital equipment and especially for professional development (meaning training) for library staff, that libraries will need to convince their current user base to accept less and fewer services now in order to pay for this bright new future that the author envisions. I find this more than a bit too idealistic. In order to maintain funding now, libraries are generally in the position of having to maintain all their services at the current levels with shrinking budgets, just to keep those budgets from shrinking even further in the wake of dissatisfied patrons screaming at their funding bodies about what they consider poor service. In these types of scenarios, everyone wants someone else’s ox to get gored, and not their own. But while I think that the implementation of many of the author’s prescriptions will prove much more complicated in practice than is evident between the pages of a book, the need for libraries to change in order to continue to adapt, and to adapt faster, in the future is more than evident. These prescriptions for one such future deserve a wide readership and much further discussion. Reality Rating B+: I agree with a lot of the message that the author proposes, but the book also reads as if the author is “preaching to the choir”, in other words, talking to believers. At the same time, as part of the choir being preached to, I have heard most of these arguments before. I found the chapter on copyright law and its effects and issues to be the most informative. It contained information that I was aware of, but found this author’s description to be both a good summary of the current state of affairs and to provide new information. I also think it is accessible for a layperson, and that is needed. Reviewers note: In the text, the author refers to himself as a “feral librarian” because he became a library worker (in fact, director) without having ever received a library degree. As someone with decades in the field, I have never heard that terminology. Some research (i.e. Google) leads me to wonder if this is a term in currency in Boston or the New England area. I’ve not heard it in other regions. The Urban Dictionary says it applies in academic libraries, but the person supplying the definition is also from Boston.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Darren

    If you have more than a passing interest in reading books and have grown up knowing what a good library is, this is a book you should be looking at. If you haven’t, well, you need to discover what you are missing… Despite Google being infinitely more powerful and more responsive than a traditional library, there is still something to be said about a library, staffed by professional librarians, that we should not throw away and lose. Clearly libraries need to keep up with the digital world, they c If you have more than a passing interest in reading books and have grown up knowing what a good library is, this is a book you should be looking at. If you haven’t, well, you need to discover what you are missing… Despite Google being infinitely more powerful and more responsive than a traditional library, there is still something to be said about a library, staffed by professional librarians, that we should not throw away and lose. Clearly libraries need to keep up with the digital world, they can act as crucial staging posts and trusted guides to disparate information. Sure, we can all enter our search terms into Google and other search engines and hope we can find what we are looking for, yet often you need to step off the beaten track and then the power of a good librarian comes into focus. This is a fascinating, thoughtful and challenging book that looks at how libraries must change to remain relevant and present in the modern-day digital world, especially as funding for the traditional library is under increasing pressure. Many younger people are not learning to love libraries nor understand their purpose. It is not enough to look back at the old days with misty eyes, there can and must be a place for libraries and information retrieval in the future. What we think of a library today might be different tomorrow. Maybe this reviewer is lucky: he grew up to understand and appreciate a good library and still is an active library user today. Some of the changes in public and academic libraries are hard to accept (making noise in a library space still feels wrong) but other changes are changes for the good. Being able to log in to a remote library’s computer system to use a search database sure beats traipsing down to the physical building to use a card index and hope to find a match, before looking for a journal article in a stack or on microfilm. A job that could take hours (or weeks if the journal had to be ordered from the other side of the world) can be done in minutes now, all from one’s sofa. Reading this book can only underline the importance of a library, the importance of necessary change and the importance of keeping the library relevant for future generations. Of course, if you are not sure you are going to be really sold on this book there is another option: visit a, err, library and avail yourself of its services… BiblioTech: Why Libraries Matter More Than Ever in the Age of Google, written by John Palfrey and published by Basic Books. ISBN 9780465042999, 288 pages. YYYY http://syndicate.darreningram.com/bib...

  7. 4 out of 5

    Ron

    John Palfrey channels passion and desire in making his case as to why libraries are relevant and more needed in this age of Google then ever. He works on presenting a rational, yet passionate plea for the role libraries played in America's past and the part he thinks it needs to play in the present and future for the betterment of society. Palfrey provides a list of what he considers the problems facing today's libraries: public use (and understanding of libraries); physical space versus virtual John Palfrey channels passion and desire in making his case as to why libraries are relevant and more needed in this age of Google then ever. He works on presenting a rational, yet passionate plea for the role libraries played in America's past and the part he thinks it needs to play in the present and future for the betterment of society. Palfrey provides a list of what he considers the problems facing today's libraries: public use (and understanding of libraries); physical space versus virtual space; a desire to change libraries from locations to platforms (although he does acknowledge that hybrid libraries will be a necessity for the near future); networking for collection and preservation; and a decent chapter on copyright. He ends the book with a ten item list of what he thinks need to be done to make libraries relevant in the future. Despite his dry, passionate arguments, Palfrey's list strike this reader (a veteran librarian for 30 years) as well meaning, overdone, and often contradictory. They resonate with similar calls of action that have rung out over the years, been applauded by librarians and done little but deforest the land. Despite all the pleas and posturing, I foresee libraries continue to astound critics and supporters in the future despite all the grandiose plans made by library honchos because of the front line librarians' impact on students and patrons.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    "The knowledge that libraries offer and the help that librarians provide are the lifeblood of an informed and engaged republic" (Palfrey, page 10). "The knowledge that libraries offer and the help that librarians provide are the lifeblood of an informed and engaged republic" (Palfrey, page 10).

  9. 4 out of 5

    genna

    I have seen Palfrey speak a few times and, lest I sound to grouchy, I appreciate his ideas and devotion to libraries. Perhaps because I was familiar with the evolution of DPLA and Palfrey's work at Harvard, much of this book felt like preaching to the choir. The need to keep knowledge creation in noncommercial spaces, library as platform, the print-plus-digital age are all very important - but how do we get the average library user interested in reading this book and exploring these ideas? Who i I have seen Palfrey speak a few times and, lest I sound to grouchy, I appreciate his ideas and devotion to libraries. Perhaps because I was familiar with the evolution of DPLA and Palfrey's work at Harvard, much of this book felt like preaching to the choir. The need to keep knowledge creation in noncommercial spaces, library as platform, the print-plus-digital age are all very important - but how do we get the average library user interested in reading this book and exploring these ideas? Who is the audience for this book, really? There is something that annoyed me, and it's going to sound snobbish though I don't mean it to be. In the book, Palfrey addresses that he is not ~technically~ a Librarian since he never got an MLS. It IS odd to me that someone making a name for himself as a library administrator and philosopher never pursued a library degree. I wouldn't mention this fact, since plenty of people come into librarianship from other fields, except for that fact that Palfrey brings it up while writing as one of the foremost authorities on libraries. Talking about it gave the book a bit of an outsiders-know-better tone. Had he not defined himself thus, then he would not have seemed like an outsider at all, given all the work he has done for libraries. I don't care that he never went to library school; it's the way he talked about it that rubbed me the wrong way. Perhaps he has been forced to be defensive about this choice in the past and that's why he mentioned it. The book is full of great examples of forward-thinking work being done all over the world, so the librarians (or Librarians) are present. The section on needed revisions to U.S. copyright law was clear and necessary; in some ways the book is at its best here, as Palfrey is in his element with his legal background and the chapter presents concrete change for which librarians can advocate. I don't see print declining in use as quickly as Palfrey thinks, especially given studies on reading retention on paper vs. a screen and the demonstrated preference for reading print exhibited even by students born in the late 1990s. It's ironic, perhaps, that I read this as a print book (which I checked out from my public library, and hope many other patrons in my community check out as well). I did wonder while I was reading it whether it would have been more effective as a series of blog posts, Web essays, or a more visual narrative that could be more readily used as an advocacy tool. Bibliotech articulates powerful arguments for the value of libraries and their role in our communities, and I do want to send copies to every university administrator, development officer, or city councilor skeptical of these values (and even those who embrace libraries in their 21st-century becoming, because I think they'd enjoy it). I didn't find it very useful as a practicing librarian, but it did emphasize some projects and programs that I wanted to check out and which reminded me why this field is so vibrant. What I'd like to see are proposals and action that use the foundations of this book as ammunition to advocate for libraries.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Sharon Redfern

    An interesting look at modern libraries and the changes we need to make to survive. As a librarian, I see every day the number of people coming into the library with less than desirable technology skills and how it is causing issues in many parts of their lives. From ebooks to online databases, remote learning, digitizing local history, libraries are having to quickly adapt to the new ways of getting information to their patrons while at the same time being a community space. This book has some e An interesting look at modern libraries and the changes we need to make to survive. As a librarian, I see every day the number of people coming into the library with less than desirable technology skills and how it is causing issues in many parts of their lives. From ebooks to online databases, remote learning, digitizing local history, libraries are having to quickly adapt to the new ways of getting information to their patrons while at the same time being a community space. This book has some excellent ideas to help libraries straddle the gap between classic views of libraries and the changes we must make to have a future.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    I wanted this book to be so much more. Instead, I didn't understand who the audience was supposed to be. I was annoyed at the run-of-the-mill suggestions. I lost a lot of patience because of his "should" "must" "ought" usage. I thought he disregarded low income and rural population. He plugged DPLA too much and seemed to think paper was going to disappear at some future stage entirely. And I noticed his blatant lack of concern toward how libraries are supposed to fund any of these changes. Whate I wanted this book to be so much more. Instead, I didn't understand who the audience was supposed to be. I was annoyed at the run-of-the-mill suggestions. I lost a lot of patience because of his "should" "must" "ought" usage. I thought he disregarded low income and rural population. He plugged DPLA too much and seemed to think paper was going to disappear at some future stage entirely. And I noticed his blatant lack of concern toward how libraries are supposed to fund any of these changes. Whatever, John.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Amy Vaterlaus

    This book supports a lot of what I have brought up when concerned about the direction of libraries, archives, museums, etc., when funding is scares and technology is taking over in many ways. I felt that this book could have been shorter to help with how overly repetitive it was to get his message across.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Margaret

    Preaching to the choir. Good examples of current initiatives and ideas for the future, but could have been 1/4-1/2 the length and gotten the same points across.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    Great read for anyone questioning the future of libraries.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    Hmmmmm where should I start? If you'll pardon the mess, here are my thoughts as seen in the furious notes I scrawled haha. You start off being not so sure you agree with him but liking his idea and his thoughts. While not a library/information science professional, he did direct a law library and is the founding chairman of a digital public library project. However, throughout this book he really seems unfamiliar with library science and the information professions, and claims he talked to vario Hmmmmm where should I start? If you'll pardon the mess, here are my thoughts as seen in the furious notes I scrawled haha. You start off being not so sure you agree with him but liking his idea and his thoughts. While not a library/information science professional, he did direct a law library and is the founding chairman of a digital public library project. However, throughout this book he really seems unfamiliar with library science and the information professions, and claims he talked to various pioneering librarians and read some literature, but I truly fail to see that. Especially toward the end he basically say hey us outsiders (this book is written toward non-information professionals) have to make sure librarians move forward in the digital age. Man, libraries aren't keeping up! I'm paraphrasing, of course. He also seems thoroughly convinced that physical/print books are on the way out and digital is taking over. Somewhat, yes, but a large portion of readers, especially teens and children, are hands-down preferring actual physical books. He also asserts that there are not enough collaborations and libraries embracing themselves as "third spaces" where you can take information as well as create.... yeah guy did not do much research, did he? I can point to a bunch of research on teens and creating in library spaces, STEAM/STEM initiatives and grants, archivists embracing technology, digital and tech librarians aware of data rot and the like... smh...I honestly was so frustrated most of the time I was reading this. I think if he had bothered to do more research or talk to more librarians, especially teen services librarians, and those who are making great changes through grants (like Anythink in Colorado) he might think a little differently. He clearly failed to talk to information professionals and researchers or read much of the literature. I'm fresh out of library school and I found myself shaking my head at a LOT of what he was saying. Especially toward the end he seems to really be almost stirring up a fearful and negative view, making it seem as though most librarians and info professionals are not trying hard enough, so gosh darn it, outsiders gotta jump in and help! Gimme a break. He also claims librarians are "too fearful to take risks." Say what?? Especially in recent years, and with new/fresh librarians, that is not at all true. And I can think of many academic and public libraries in particular that are ensuring their staff and faculty are professionally developed, that new hires are trained in advancing tech and digital initiatives, etc etc. The current generation of librarians are not at all as he describes, and every library I've applied to so far has had some variation of "progressive" or "innovative" or "flexible" in its description of itself and the ideal candidate. He poo-poos the "rosy" view of librarians/writers like Marilyn Johnson and Jeanniey Mullen. He seems convinced Amazon, Google, and Apple will strip away any chance libraries have with digital content, especially ebooks; I, however, believe that Google's more philanthropic and people-focused slant, for instance, would likely cause them to work WITH libraries. Finally, for the last "vehemently disagree" I have, he refers to non-library professionals such as himself that work with and in libraries as "ferals." Okay I have never heard that used of non-librarians lol. and second, yes, sir we ARE open to collaboration with "ferals;" we do it all the bleeding time. However, we are not open to people like yourself who think they know better because they were a library director without any info science training or education and no previous real library experience. He wants librarians to collaborate but if he's going to sit there and say most of us aren't working to better our passion and life's work, then he better think again! I wrote, "Does this guy even know what he's talking about??" LOL. Now, finally for a few agreements LOL. I agree that this book is timely and important. I agree that we need to (continue!) to look forward and think about and work toward digitization and such. We have been and will continue to grow in those areas as we embrace change for the most part. Sure there ARE libraries and libraries who are digging in their heels, but that number is shrinking in my opinion. He also has a lot of great information on copyright laws and how that affects ebook distribution and libraries. "Companies that fail to protect user privacy will find libraries dropping their services quickly and in droves" (p. 203). I totally agree! We as librarians ARE big on information access as well as user privacy. Part of copyright law reform involves privacy issues and we DO as information professionals need to lobby better in support of Section 108 of the CR Law and our ability to protect our patrons and provide those digital items they want. I also agree library research and development needs to continue and to grow; he asserts there is little R & D being done, which is poppcock. Has he read a library/information science journal at any point lately? Probably not. Or at least if he did, he wasn't paying attention. But I do agree it shouldn't stop and it should grow in importance and frequency. New librarians are being trained and tech services and digitization projects growing as evidence. And even though he paints a dismal picture at the end and begs those who care to help those poor sad AF librarians, he does assert that libraries and information professionals are vital in this digital age. A "hybrid" of virtual and analog will keep libraries going in the future. Definitely, I agree. However, I do NOT agree when he says that libraries need to keep moving away from print while they move toward digital. No way. In conclusion... No. Just...no.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Carol

    I wanted to find this book useful, to be impressed by it, but in the end, I was disappointed. Perhaps I’m not the audience for the book, as there was very little new information in it. The author seems to have a very limited view of what libraries are, focusing on their roles as preservers of archival and primary source materials throughout the book. It’s not surprising, considering he was the founding chairman of the Digital Public Library of America, but I expected more than I got. And frankly I wanted to find this book useful, to be impressed by it, but in the end, I was disappointed. Perhaps I’m not the audience for the book, as there was very little new information in it. The author seems to have a very limited view of what libraries are, focusing on their roles as preservers of archival and primary source materials throughout the book. It’s not surprising, considering he was the founding chairman of the Digital Public Library of America, but I expected more than I got. And frankly, the author could have made his points better in far fewer pages, perhaps in a long article.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Starla Nichols

    Thank you. Thank you for this book. Thank you for writing a book that so many people need to read to understand what libraries and librarians are going through, what obstacles we face on a daily basis. The money we need to become better . Everyone needs to read this book and do their part in helping us transform our libraries into the current and future centuries.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Ben Denison

    I love books. I love reading about books. but, this book was about Libraries, Libraries and more Libraries. The book's description warned me, but I didn't want to hear it. I did learn Libraries aren't my bag. I like libraries, but not library issues. This book covered a lot of topics on the changing role of the library, changing environment, various funding, information collection and support issues. Not one of my interests, but learned some interesting info. I love books. I love reading about books. but, this book was about Libraries, Libraries and more Libraries. The book's description warned me, but I didn't want to hear it. I did learn Libraries aren't my bag. I like libraries, but not library issues. This book covered a lot of topics on the changing role of the library, changing environment, various funding, information collection and support issues. Not one of my interests, but learned some interesting info.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Denise

    This book was published in 2015 and I feel that some of his premises and concerns are even more relevant today 5 years later. Public libraries are a necessary part of a democracy and provide the way for many to access knowledge and all things digital on a more equal basis. There still can be the issue of whether you have a place to call home or a mobile home to get a library card. This is what I saw one of our local libraries do-you could get a library card with a mobile phone. As I finished my This book was published in 2015 and I feel that some of his premises and concerns are even more relevant today 5 years later. Public libraries are a necessary part of a democracy and provide the way for many to access knowledge and all things digital on a more equal basis. There still can be the issue of whether you have a place to call home or a mobile home to get a library card. This is what I saw one of our local libraries do-you could get a library card with a mobile phone. As I finished my last year in education this spring during the COVID period I saw the digital divide for students who didn't have access to the internet or devices where they could continue on-line learning. And this digital divide often relates to socio-economic status as do so many of the other inequalities in our society. Public libraries can help in many ways to mitigate these inequalities and they need our support as budgets get cut and we move into an ever more digital age. We need both analog and digital resources and there are many librarians looking to the future through collaboration and research and development. I want to give a shout-out to the local libraries that surround me. They are innovative and provide opportunities for everyone in our community.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    It is a fact that libraries are not as popular as they used to be. The increase in digital technology and our reliance on digital formats to provide us with information has left libraries high on the list of government's budget cuts. This book not only details this unfortunate trend, but also explains why libraries are more than just a place to borrow books. The author proves himself at the beginning to be highly qualified in discussing libraries and their role in a digital age. He was the former It is a fact that libraries are not as popular as they used to be. The increase in digital technology and our reliance on digital formats to provide us with information has left libraries high on the list of government's budget cuts. This book not only details this unfortunate trend, but also explains why libraries are more than just a place to borrow books. The author proves himself at the beginning to be highly qualified in discussing libraries and their role in a digital age. He was the former head of the Harvard Law School Library and also founding chairman of the Digital Public Library of America. He showcases his experience dealing with the need for physical books but also digitizing books for future preservation. He also defends the need for libraries as more than just stockhouses for physical books; quiet places to study, free internet access to lower income families for educational purposes, community centers for children and events, and many more. He also states the issues libraries currently have dealing with the onslaught of e-books and the intrincities of loaning them out. Libraries certainly deal with a lot of setbacks and he offers up suggestions on how they can integrate themselves to stay with the times. I think the author does an excellent job of describing the issues libraries face and the needs that our communities have for them to emphasize their importance. The book to me is a bit too technical and long-winded to state it's points as it sometimes came off to me as a book only librarians would understand. It makes sense given the author's experience in the library and digital space but he tends to lose the readers in parts when he gets too into the specifics. Regardless, I think it was a book that needed to be written to remind people, government, and companies just how integral libraries are and the encourage people to utilize them for more than just loans. For anyone worried about the state of libraries or how they are evolving to meet the digital times, this is definitely an important book to read.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Cally

    BiblioTech was a fascinating read. It nicely summed up the average mental image of a library that a community member may have, shrouded in all its nostalgia, and then spent a bit of the book depicting why such nostalgia, though useful and quaint, is rather damaging to libraries moving into the modern age. The author is a "feral" or a non-librarian who works at the library, and he plays upon the pitfalls of our current library system- the aggressive competition with for-profit industries, the com BiblioTech was a fascinating read. It nicely summed up the average mental image of a library that a community member may have, shrouded in all its nostalgia, and then spent a bit of the book depicting why such nostalgia, though useful and quaint, is rather damaging to libraries moving into the modern age. The author is a "feral" or a non-librarian who works at the library, and he plays upon the pitfalls of our current library system- the aggressive competition with for-profit industries, the complications behind digital copyrights, the shift from analog to digital- all tied back into how it can and will impact the economic equality as we know it (libraries being the only free access to books and resources for the public). At times I found the book to be a bit redundant in its discourse, but at the same rate, I encountered many paralleling inspirational ideas. Not being a librarian student or a feral myself, I was delighted to see mention of the Hack Library School, maker spaces (there's one in my local community I have been intrigued by), and tons of references to libraries and librarians that are revamping the library system as we know it (from everything like Pinterest boards of "cheap and cheerful librarian tips", to crowdsourcing, to Harvard Library Innovation Lab's free virtual growing engineer, Stackview). Palfrey completes his book with 10 steps for the future that I've summed up quickly: libraries need to redefine themselves in a digital-plus era in a way that meets the demands of their community. They need to work as networks with one another but also with authors, agents, editors, publishers, and technologists. Some spaces should be more of production spaces (like a maker space). There globally needs to be more collaboration in the preservation of knowledge, and lastly, we as citizens need to be willing to pay more for libraries to go through these transitions.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    One big problem I can see (and some other reviewers here agree) is that I could never get a sense of who Palfrey’s intended audience was. Was it for current and future librarians, an everyday patron, or those in positions of funding (philanthropists or politicians)? I got the sense in some of his wording that at times he was trying to appeal to all these different groups but at different times. One paragraph would be written trying to convince patrons that libraries are worth it, in another he w One big problem I can see (and some other reviewers here agree) is that I could never get a sense of who Palfrey’s intended audience was. Was it for current and future librarians, an everyday patron, or those in positions of funding (philanthropists or politicians)? I got the sense in some of his wording that at times he was trying to appeal to all these different groups but at different times. One paragraph would be written trying to convince patrons that libraries are worth it, in another he was saying how a librarian needed to change. I think his message would have been stronger if he had written to one audience. He mentions quite a lot throughout the book the lack of funding libraries are receiving and says “at a minimum, the investment that is needed is a capital infusion–both from philanthropists and from the state” (p. 222). This just doesn’t seem that plausible right now. The writing was dry and I didn’t feel fully engaged in the reading. I really appreciated his notes and bibliography. He also addressed counterarguments in his conclusion and gave what he calls “a specific path forward” in ten steps. Step number 10? We need to be willing to pay for the future of libraries through funding.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Wendy

    This is an important book. John Palfrey has been part of several important information initiatives (the Digital Public Library, the Berkman Centre, the library at Harvard Law), and he brings all of this experience to bear in his analysis of the challenges and opportunities facing libraries. My copy is scattered with post-its of things I want to draw to the attention of my colleagues, such as: "... major library systems will need to continue their role as stewards of distinct materials rather than This is an important book. John Palfrey has been part of several important information initiatives (the Digital Public Library, the Berkman Centre, the library at Harvard Law), and he brings all of this experience to bear in his analysis of the challenges and opportunities facing libraries. My copy is scattered with post-its of things I want to draw to the attention of my colleagues, such as: "... major library systems will need to continue their role as stewards of distinct materials rather than as collectors. As stewards, a library system looks after a set of material in physical form on behalf of society at large... A network of stewards can accomplish vastly more than a disconnected (even sometimes competitive) group of collectors ever can." I'm looking forward to reading comments from my professional colleagues, and hope that we can be inspired to grasp the opportunity firmly, rather than flee the challenges.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    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 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.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Katelyn Patterson

    I couldn't finish this book. He points out in the Introduction that librarians will be angry that he doesnt give credit for the things they are already doing in libraries. And he is right. I can only read that libraries "aren't merely book depositories anymore" so many times. He isn't saying anything that isn't already being said by forward-thinking librarians. And I don't know that the general public will care about this book at all. So... what is the point? I couldn't finish this book. He points out in the Introduction that librarians will be angry that he doesnt give credit for the things they are already doing in libraries. And he is right. I can only read that libraries "aren't merely book depositories anymore" so many times. He isn't saying anything that isn't already being said by forward-thinking librarians. And I don't know that the general public will care about this book at all. So... what is the point?

  26. 5 out of 5

    Liz De Coster

    Simply didn't hold my attention. I appreciated Palfrey's straightforward attitude, which seemed more practical and less cheerleader-y than some pro-library writing, but there wasn't enough content to justify the length of the book. By page 120 I was seeing concepts repeated within the same paragraph and didn't feel the need to go further. Simply didn't hold my attention. I appreciated Palfrey's straightforward attitude, which seemed more practical and less cheerleader-y than some pro-library writing, but there wasn't enough content to justify the length of the book. By page 120 I was seeing concepts repeated within the same paragraph and didn't feel the need to go further.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    Kinda preaching to the converted here but this was a worthwhile read. Libraries are, by and large, on the right track. The question is whether we will move quickly enough into the digital realm (while keeping one foot firmly planted in the analog universe) to remain relevant. My spidey sense says yes, we will. But it isn't going to be (and hasn't been) easy. Kinda preaching to the converted here but this was a worthwhile read. Libraries are, by and large, on the right track. The question is whether we will move quickly enough into the digital realm (while keeping one foot firmly planted in the analog universe) to remain relevant. My spidey sense says yes, we will. But it isn't going to be (and hasn't been) easy.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Glenn

    I saw John Palfrey speak at ALA this year, and he expanded on his arguments there with this book. Written for the layperson, not a librarian, so much of this will seem obvious to librarians who've given some thought to the future, but still an important book. I saw John Palfrey speak at ALA this year, and he expanded on his arguments there with this book. Written for the layperson, not a librarian, so much of this will seem obvious to librarians who've given some thought to the future, but still an important book.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Geoffrey

    Enjoyable, not only for the content and it's relation to my current job, but also for Palfrey's passion, which is clearly present in his personal insights and perspectives concerning the future of libraries. Enjoyable, not only for the content and it's relation to my current job, but also for Palfrey's passion, which is clearly present in his personal insights and perspectives concerning the future of libraries.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Joan

    Good information about how libraries should adapt in this digital age. The last chapter lists 10 specific steps that libraries should take to go forward and be successful in the future. Very interesting and lots to think about.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.