Library advocacy | Digitization | Libraries | User experience | Book review
BiblioTech: Why Libraries Matter More Than Ever in the Age of Google by John Palfrey
Reviewer: Stephanie L. Gross, MSLIS, MATESOL
August 16, 2017
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I am an academic librarian whose main responsibility has been to establish and maintain a large database for electronic reserves. I have a solid background in public service, and have mentored library school students and recent graduates for over 10 years. I am conversant in issues relating to access and technology relating to digitization of materials as well as those born-digitally. Since I follow library news on a daily basis, I read this book more as a review of the known, while noting sources for future use. Most of those concerned digitization of material and aspects relating to institutional repositories. A second focus was based on a new work responsibility, that of personal librarian to undergraduate honors students.
This volume was written by a "feral" librarian with a law degree. It included the major areas where and how libraries are ever-relevant today: users, spaces, platforms, hacking, networks, preservation, education and copyright. Noteworthy highlights for me were the discussions of how some librarians and advocates are reinventing libraries while acknowledging their tradition roles in democratic society. Public, academic, school and special libraries were included. The ‘hybrid-ness’ of libraries is emphasized, along with the innovative factor of digitization of a variety of materials. Risks are involved when print is not saved to backup data. “Data rot” happens when technology fails, but also when newer forms outpace older, obsolete ones. Budgets are stretched to accommodate both digital and analog materials. The author calls for the ‘collaboration’ among librarians, the establishment of library networks, consortia, and private as well as public funding. The conundrum of copyright, data rights and collection policies was briefly examined.
Additional Subject headings might include:
Archival materials – Digitization
Library materials -- Digitization
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|Credit Joshua Bright for The New York Times|
“You’re the children’s books editor?” Someone has said this to me, usually with a smile, at least once a week in the almost three years I’ve been at The New York Times. “What a cool job!” is the subtext. But lurking in the background are almost always other questions, sometimes more pressing ones about kids’ reading in general. “What should my second grader be reading?” a colleague asked the other day, adding, “She’s obsessed with the books in that series with the different flower fairies, and I can’t get her interested in anything else.” A neighbor recently approached me with a worried look and said, “My 10-year-old will only read graphic novels. What should I do?”