eBooks and Libraries – We’re Screwed. But Wait! There’s Hope!

Last September I participated in the virtual Summit Ebooks: Libraries at the Tipping Point hosted by Library Journal and Library School Journal. One of the sessions everyone was, and still is, talking about was the talk by Eli Neiburger (Neibruger is an Associate Director for IT and Producation at a public library and Library Renewal board member). Thanks to the magic of the Internet and YouTube the talk is available online for free.

One of the reasons I’m blogging this when so many other people already have is because others have focused on the screwed part. (Let’s not get into to possible reasons why.) I want to highlight the last part of the “We are so screwed” statement Neiburger makes which is “unless”. There is hope.

I strongly suggest you take the time and watch it and consider the points he makes.

What do you think? Do you agree with him?

3 thoughts on “eBooks and Libraries – We’re Screwed. But Wait! There’s Hope!

  1. Hi there!

    I agree completely. I think we’re all totally screwed if we don’t start shifting to a new paradigm before we find ourselves outmoded. I honestly don’t think that books will ever go the way of the 8-track or the laserdisc. His “candle” analogy seems like a better fit to me. Books will become more of a romantic notion that people will hold on to even when they’re out of style. Giving your true love an actual BOOK will be an expression of romance to suggest that maybe there’s some life left in the old dog yet.

    I keep saying that I would LOVE LOVE LOVE libraries to become classy, sophisticated oases of study and leisure. I want to be able to check into a library and be able to sit in a big comfy chair and quietly read Dostoevsky in a gently scented environment while classical music plays through the stereo system. I want the very building to be constructed like an ostentatious Neo-Victorian University so that I can relax and feel like some kind of mad occult scholar.

    In a perfect world, this library would serve cognac in large crystal snifters. [nods]


  2. I agree with Eli’s assessment that what needs to be done is return to an renewed original intent for libraries. Libraries should become creative and curative hubs for the local communities that they serve. They already have for years in archiving historical documents and ephemera (and that fact alone may well be their only grace of saving). What libraries seemingly must do is create a space where people can realize there own histories and futures.
    Libraries could be a creative repository for annual Chinese new year celebrations, community dance contests or unique oral histories, just to name a few. I attended Online Northwest this past weekend and the keynote speaker suggested soon, if not now, every aspect of your life will be recorded. How to parse that, be creative with that, curate that endless stream of info will be one of the challenges for libraries.


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