Attorney, journalist, author, legal tech expert, speaker and blogger Robert Ambrogi made a presentation recently at the fall meeting of the Law Librarians of New England and the Association of Boston Law Librarians. He addressed the pivotal ways in which law librarians remain critical contributors to the work product of law firms, professors and researchers in the academic arena, and change agents within the overall professional communities whose work places are increasingly dominated by Big Data, business intelligence and complex analytical tools.
Cell phone book clubs: A new way for libraries to promote literacy, technology, family and community
Young people are heavy users of cell phones, but most do not know they can read library e-books for free on their phones. In this cutting-edge essay, David Rothman tells how libraries could use “cell phone book clubs” to reach out both to young cell phone users and their families, including low-income people and members of racial and ethnic minorities. The clubs would not only foster literacy, but also leverage technology and strengthen the connections between families and communities.
David Rothman encourages Librarians and friends to think like Willie Sutton, who supposedly said he robbed banks because “That’s where the money is.” Rothman is quick to say the quote in fact is iffy, but he wants us to focus on the logic behind supporting a national digital library endowment.
Gates Global Libraries Program is Winding Down: Time for a National Digital library Endowment to Fill the Vacuum
David Rothman informs us that out of several billion a year in grants from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, just tens of millions go for public libraries in the U.S. and overseas. But as all funding is critical, the news that the foundation is phasing out the Global Libraries program over the next three-five years brings libraries full circle, in search of new mentors and significant financial support.
The International Privacy Law Library on WorldLII has been expanded. The Library’s 32 databases include about 3,600 decisions of 13 privacy and data protection authorities, from New Zealand, Ireland, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Australia, Korea, Macau, Mauritius, the United States and the European Union.
David Rothman cautions that the rage is to compare everything in creation to a business. But he urges us to be careful when doing so with America’s public libraries. They are civic and service institutions, not profit-making corporations. A major caveat! Public libraries need to serve everyone, especially the poor, a distinct and resonate differentiation with the market paradigm. Still, in in a library context, Rothman was intrigued when President Obama once again singled out Costco for its success. There are lessons to be learned here.
Should public libraries give away e-book-friendly tablets to poor people? $38 tablet hints of possibilities
David Rothman proposes that e-book-capable tablets, especially with national digital library systems in place, could multiply the number of books matching students’ precise needs. Paper books could serve as gateways to E, and then children and parents could digitally follow their passions to the max, whether for spaceships, basketball, or knitting. A “quiet” feature could turn off Facebook-style distractions when tablet users wanted to focus on books. Protective rubber cases could guard against drops. Learning, independent of income – access to knowledge regardless of often round-the clock-work schedules for increasing numbers of parents and young people who are struggling to get by – this is a cause around which many communities of best practice can rally.
UsBook: Toward a family-friendly Facebook alternative to preserve your memories and help future historians–while respecting privacy
David Rothman’s commentary focuses on how the Digital Public Library of America is still on track to be a mostly academic creature despite the P word in its name. David supports and documents innovative, creative and value-added goals that with proper focus, can bolster the DPLA onto the level of a world-class academic digital library system, as opposed to siphoning off badly needed resources and other forms of support from public librarians who should be forming their own e-system. At the same time, Rothman believes that the DPLA and public libraries should work closely on joint projects, including an alternative to Facebook–not a clone but a different kind of social network.
David Rothman’s commentary proposes that the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) should turn itself into the Digital Academic Library of America or something similar while encouraging public libraries to establish their own system, ideally through COSLA, a group of state library administrators. Both systems could share not just content but also a common catalog for patrons wanting it, an infrastructure and technical services organization, and overlapping board members—while hewing to the systems’ respective priorities.
David Rothman makes a case that the time has come for a coherent national strategy to help speed up digitization of library systems like Miami’s and use the efficiencies of e-books and other digital items to squeeze more out of tax dollars—while also increasing the total amount of money for libraries and content. In other words, be more generous at all levels of government but at the same time expect more value. Avoid ever shutting down neighborhood branches, valuable in many ways beyond loaning bestsellers and other titles, and don’t get rid of all paper books, especially picture books for children.