While we haven't been great at generating comments, I wanted to toss out a discussion topic and see where it goes.
As I hope many of you know, the New York Times has dropped subscriber charges and the uber-capitalist Wall Street Journal will follow suit in the next few months. The NYT found they were losing more in ad revenue than gaining in subscriptions. New WSJ owner Rupert Murdoch is on record saying that ad revenue is where the money is.
What, if anything, does the death of premium subscriptions for propriety content, mean for electronic federal information that gets sold? Not just the GPO Sales program, but NTIS, PACER, so-called cooperative publications and the rest? What is their future? Do they have one? At least the NYT and WSJ had copyrighted materials they could defend. With some exceptions, federal information is public domain. Once you get it out of a paid system, you can use it how you want. It's not quite that easy since a few federal fee-based databases are licensed, but it's mostly true.
We at FGI think there is answer -- that selling federal information, aside from being an affront to the taxpayers who paid for the the first time, will not be viable. It wasn't when GPO tried it in the early 1990s and it won't be now. Eventually fee-based gov't information will need to be provided freely, like NYT and WSJ. Though without the ads. It's not inevitable, but even the market seems like it may be trending that way. What do you think?
An economic study funded by the Canadian government has concluded that heavy Peer-to-peer (P2P) users buy more music, not less as had been posited by entertainment industry organizations like the MPAA and RIAA. Michael Geist, Canada Research Chair of Internet and E-commerce Law at the University of Ottawa, has more background on his blog.
And why, you say, should FGI care about a Canadian study about file-sharing technology like Napster? Because this technology, a fundementally different 'Net architecture -- and one that looks and acts like a library consortium! -- is currently the architecture being used in LOCKSS and could be widely employed to much positive effect by libraries to build and share digital collections, that's why :-)
However, P2P has been under attack from entertainment industry organizations paranoid about copyright infringement. The attack has been so fierce that some states have begun looking into legislation against P2P (On September 16, 2004, Governor Schwarzenegger signed executive order S-16-04 charging the CA state CIO with the development of a statewide policy on P2P technology. See my P2P backgrounder for more). So legislation against P2P and the perpetuation of equating P2P with "piracy" has a deleterious effect on libraries and other cultural institutions trying to build systems of better digital access and preservation for the public.
- When assessing the P2P downloading population, there was "a strong positive relationship between P2P file sharing and CD purchasing. That is, among Canadians actually engaged in it, P2P file sharing increases CD purchases." The study estimates that one additional P2P download per month increases music purchasing by 0.44 CDs per year.
- When viewed in the aggreggate (ie. the entire Canadian population), there is no direct relationship between P2P file sharing and CD purchases in Canada. According to the study authors, "the analysis of the entire Canadian population does not uncover either a positive or negative relationship between the number of files downloaded from P2P networks and CDs purchased. That is, we find no direct evidence to suggest that the net effect of P2P file sharing on CD purchasing is either positive or negative for Canada as a whole."
Last year, Linda Zellmer from the University of Indiana, sent out an update to a Thanksgiving poster that details statistics for the various crops served during a Thanksgiving meal. I immediately printed it out and it is currently on a wall iin the Maps Area. The information comes from the Economic Census and it arose a great deal of curiosity from patrons. I am sure Linda will update it once the 2007 Economic Census statistics are available in a couple of years.
The Census Bureau also publishes annually statistics about Thanksgiving Day. Here's the information for 2007.
Nov. 22, 2007
In the fall of 1621, the religious separatist Pilgrims held a three-day feast to celebrate a bountiful harvest, an event many regard as the nation’s first Thanksgiving. It eventually became a national holiday in 1863 when President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday of November as a national day of thanksgiving. Later, President Franklin Roosevelt clarified that Thanksgiving should always be celebrated on the fourth Thursday of the month to encourage earlier holiday shopping, never on the occasional fifth Thursday.
The preliminary estimate of turkeys raised in the United States in 2007. That’s up 4 percent from 2006. The turkeys produced in 2005 together weighed 7.2 billion pounds and were valued at $3.2 billion.
Source: USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service
Weighing in With a Menu of Culinary Delights
The preliminary estimate of turkeys Minnesota expects to raise in 2007. The Gopher State is tops in turkey production. It is followed by North Carolina (39 million), Arkansas (31 million), Virginia (21.5 million), Missouri (21 million) and California (16.8 million). These six states together will probably account for about two-thirds of U.S. turkeys produced in 2007.
690 million pounds
The forecast for U.S. cranberry production in 2007, essentially unchanged from 2006 and 11 percent more than 2005. Wisconsin is expected to lead all states in the production of cranberries, with 390 million pounds, followed by Massachusetts (180 million). New Jersey, Oregon and Washington are also expected to have substantial production, ranging from 18 million to 52 million pounds.
1.6 billion pounds
The total weight of sweet potatoes — another popular Thanksgiving side dish — produced by major sweet potato producing states in 2006. North Carolina (702 million pounds) produced more sweet potatoes than any other state. It was followed by California (381 million pounds). Mississippi and Louisiana also produced large amounts: at least 200 million pounds each.
1 billion pounds
Total pumpkin production of major pumpkin-producing states in 2006. Illinois led the country by producing 492 million pounds of the vined orange gourd. Pumpkin patches in California, Ohio and Pennsylvania also provided plenty of pumpkins: Each state produced at least 100 million pounds. The value of all the pumpkins produced by major pumpkin-producing states was $101 million.
If you prefer cherry pie, you will be pleased to learn that the nation’s forecasted tart cherry production for 2007 totals 294 million pounds. Of this total, the overwhelming majority (230 million) will be produced in Michigan.
1.8 billion bushels
The total volume of wheat — the essential ingredient of bread, rolls and pie crust — produced in the United States in 2006. Kansas and North Dakota accounted for 30 percent of the nation’s wheat production.
The 2007 contracted production of snap (green) beans in major snap (green) bean-producing states. Of this total, Wisconsin led all states (310,200 tons). Many Americans consider green bean casserole a traditional Thanksgiving dish.
Source: The previous data come from the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service http://www.nass.usda.gov/
The value of U.S. imports of live turkeys during the first half of 2007 — 99.5 percent from Canada. Our northern neighbor accounted for all of the cranberries the United States imported ($2.2 million). When it comes to sweet potatoes, however, the Dominican Republic was the source of 63 percent ($1.7 million) of total imports ($2.7 million). The United States ran a $4.9 million trade deficit in live turkeys during the period but had surpluses of $9.4 million in cranberries and $15.3 million in sweet potatoes.
Source: Foreign Trade Statistics http://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/www
The quantity of turkeys consumed by the typical American in 2005, with a hearty helping devoured at Thanksgiving time. Per capita sweet potato consumption was 4.5 pounds.
Source: Upcoming Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2008, Tables 205-206 http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/
An Organic Feast
Number of certified organic turkeys on the nation’s farmland, as of 2005. Most of these turkeys were in Michigan (56,729) or Pennsylvania (48,815).
Source: USDA Economic Research Service
The Turkey Industry
The value of turkeys shipped in 2002. Arkansas led the way in turkey shipments, with $581.5 million, followed by Virginia ($544.2 million) and North Carolina ($453 million). In 2002, poultry businesses whose primary product was turkey totaled 35 establishments, employing about 17,000 people.
Source: Poultry Processing: 2002 http://www.census.gov/prod/ec02/ec0231i311615.pdf
Forecast 2007 receipts to farmers from turkey sales. This exceeds the total receipts from sales of products such as rice, peanuts and tobacco.
Source: USDA Economic Research Service http://www.ers.usda.gov/Data/farmincome/finfidmu.htm
The Price is Right
Cost per pound of a frozen whole turkey in December 2006.
Source: Upcoming Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2008, Table 709 http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/
Where to Feast
Number of places in the United States named after the holiday’s traditional main course. Turkey, Texas, was the most populous in 2006, with 489 residents; followed by Turkey Creek, La. (363); and Turkey, N.C. (270). There also are nine townships around the country named Turkey, three in Kansas.
Source: Population estimates http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/releases/archives/population/010315.html, http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/BasicFactsServlet
Number of places and townships in the United States that are named Cranberry or some spelling variation of the red, acidic berry (e.g., Cranbury, N.J.), a popular side dish at Thanksgiving. Cranberry township (Butler County), Pa., was the most populous of these places in 2006, with 27,509 residents. Cranberry township (Venango County), Pa., was next (6,900).
Source: Population estimates http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/BasicFactsServlet
Number of places in the United States named Plymouth, as in Plymouth Rock, the landing site of the first Pilgrims. Plymouth, Minn., is the most populous, with 70,102 residents in 2006; Plymouth, Mass., had 55,516. Speaking of Plymouth Rock, there is just one township in the United States named “Pilgrim.” Located in Dade County, Mo., its population was 135.
Source: Population estimates http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/releases/archives/population/010315.html, http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/BasicFactsServlet
Number of households across the nation — all potential gathering places for people to celebrate the holiday.
Source: Families and Living Arrangements: 2006 http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/releases/archives/families_households/009842.html
Editor’s note: The preceding data were collected from a variety of sources and may be subject to sampling variability and other sources of error. Facts for Features are customarily released about two months before an observance in order to accommodate magazine production timelines. Questions or comments should be directed to the Census Bureau’s Public Information Office: telephone: 301-763-3030; fax: 301-763-3762; or e-mail: <email@example.com>.
According to Wired News, the whistle-blowing site Wikileaks.org has leaked a never-before-seen military manual detailing the day-to-day operations of the U.S. military's Guantanamo Bay detention facility. The 238-page document, "Camp Delta Standard Operating Procedures," is dated March 28, 2003, and the ACLU has been trying unsuccessfully to FOIA pry it loose from the Pentagon since then.
The disclosure highlights the internet's usefulness to whistle-blowers in anonymously propagating documents the government and others would rather conceal. The Pentagon has been resisting -- since October 2003 -- a Freedom of Information Act request from the American Civil Liberties Union seeking the very same document.
The Wired article describes lots of other fun facts of the manual like schematics of the camp, detailed checklists of what "comfort items" such as extra toilet paper can be given to detainees as rewards, six pages of instructions on how to process new detainees, instructions on how to psychologically manipulate prisoners, rules for dealing with hunger strikes, and instructions on how to use military dogs to intimidate prisoners. We're attaching a copy of the document below in a more-the-merrier manner. Please download and propogate :-)
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) -- who won the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore! -- has just released their 4th assessment report on global warming entitled "Climate Change 2007." Released just in time for next month's world’s energy ministers meeting in Bali, Indonesia, to begin talks on creating a global climate treaty to replace the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012. This has got to be among the most important government documents of the last decade and will hopefully move those policy makers to start addressing this dire situation NOW. Yesterday's NY Times has more on the document's release.
Some of the key findings from the Synthesis Report Summary for Policy MakerS (PDF) include:
- Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, as is now evident from observations of increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice, and rising global average sea level;
- Global Green House Gas (GHG) emissions due to human activities have grown since pre-industrial times, with an increase of
70% between 1970 and 2004;
- There is high agreement and much evidence that with current climate change mitigation policies and related sustainable development practices, global GHG emissions will continue to grow over the next few decades;
- Key vulnerabilities may be associated with many climate sensitive systems including food supply, infrastructure, health, water resources, coastal systems, ecosystems, global biogeochemical cycles, ice sheets, and modes of oceanic and atmospheric circulation.
The Fourth Assessment Report (as well as all of the previous reports) are available electronically from the IPCC Web site. This report is released in four distinct sections:
- Working Group I Report (WGI): The Physical Science Basis
- Working Group II Report (WGII): Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability.
- Working Group III Report (WGIII): Mitigation of Climate Change.
- The Synthesis Report (SYR): Summary for Policymakers (SPM).
Hardcopies of the full reports can be purchased from Cambridge University Press.
I'm sure you've all heard of the $100 laptop right? Shinjoung and I were lucky enough to have one to demo on our Internet Archive bookmobile trip and can vouch for their coolness! Not only is the One Laptop Per Child Project (OLPC) an admirable educational project (inspired by the likes of John Dewey and Paulo Freire) to get a laptop into the hands of every child in the 3rd world, it is a marvelous engineering feat of building a low-cost, power-efficient, responsive, durable and WiFi-enabled machine built specifically for children and using only Linux and other free and open-source software. Check out the NY Times' David Pogue and his nice little video review.
You all are in luck. From now until November 26, 2007, OLPC is offering a Give One Get One program where each person who donates $399 ($200 is tax-deductible) to buy a laptop for a 3rd world child will receive one as well. Please, please, please consider doing this. And perhaps if you get a group to do this (like we're trying to do at university that we work at), you can donate your laptops to children in your communities as well.
I thought folks here would be interested in reading about the history of copyright (plus I really like the title of the thesis!). Eric Anderson has put his dissertation, "Pimps and Ferrets: Copyright and Culture in the United States, 1831-1891" online under a Creative Commons license. I notice he's at Bowling Green University, home of the Browne Popular Culture Library, an amazing repository of American popular culture (post 1876). If you ever find yourselves in Western OH, do take a trip to the library!
Title: Pimps and Ferrets: Copyright and Culture in the United States, 1831-1891 Author: Anderson, Eric Degree: Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.), Bowling Green State University, American Culture Studies/History, 2007. Advisor: Philip G Terrie Pages: 231p. Abstract: How did people think about copyright in the nineteenth century? What did they think it was? What was it for? Was it property? Or something else? How did it function? Who could it benefit? Who might it harm? Pimps and Ferrets: Copyright and Culture in the United States, 1831-1891addresses questions like these, unpacking the ideas and popular ideologies connected to copyright in the United States during the nineteenth-century. This era was rife with copyright-related controversy and excitement, including international squabbling, celebrity grandstanding, new technology, corporate exploitation, and ferocious arguments about piracy, reprinting, and the effects of copyright law. Then, as now, copyright was very important to a small group of people (authors and publishers), and slightly important to a much larger group (consumers and readers). However, as this dissertation demonstrates, these larger groups did have definite ideas about copyright, its function, and its purpose, in ways not obvious to the denizens of the legal and authorial realms. This project draws on methods from both social and cultural history. Primary sources include a broad swath of magazine and newspaper articles, letters, and editorials about various copyright-related controversies. Examining these sources – both mainstream and obscure – illustrates the diversity of thinking about copyright issues during the nineteenth century, and suggests alternative frameworks for considering copyright in other times.
The GPO has posted a recap of the 2007 Fall Federal Depository Library Conference and Fall Depository Library Council Meeting that includes audio files, photos, and unedited transcripts. Of particular note:Ric Davis, who has been serving as Interim Superintendent of Documents has accepted the job of Interim Superintendent of Documents; the FDSys has been renamed FDSys; and the Depository Library Council is now directly asking "What does FDSys mean for libraries?" Also of note: there were excellent discussions of official and authentic online legal materials and shared models for regional FDLP libraries.
Carl Malamud of Public.resource.org has just made yet another startling announcement that should be a boon for legal scholars, information junkies and advocates of free and openly accessible government information. Starting in early 2008, because of the deal the Malamud and his law ninjas at the Electronic Frontier Foundation have struck with Fastcase, Inc., a large swath of federal case law and Supreme Court decisions will be released into the public domain under a Creative Commons license. As the news release states, the 1.8 million pages of law will be integrated into the ongoing public services from organizations such as Columbia University AltLaw a joint project of Columbia Law School’s Program on Law and Technology, and the Silicon Flatirons Program at the University of Colorado Law School) and Cornell School of Law's Legal Information Institute
Public.Resource.Org and Fastcase, Inc. announced today that they will release a large and free archive of federal case law, including all Courts of Appeals decisions from 1950 to the present and all Supreme Court decisions since 1754. The archive will be public domain and usable by anyone for any purpose.
“The U.S. judiciary has allowed their entire work product to be locked up behind a cash register,” said Carl Malamud, CEO of Public.Resource.Org. “Law is the operating system of our society and today's agreement means anybody can read the source for a substantial amount of case law that was previously unavailable.”
Fastcase, the leading developer of next-generation American legal research, has agreed to provide Public.Resource.Org with 1.8 million pages of federal case law. This is a marked departure for the online legal research industry, which traditionally has charged expensive subscription fees to access this information.
And what's even cooler is that they're going to wikify it!!
Public.Resource.Org intends to perform an initial transformation on the federal case law archive obtained from Fastcase using open source “star” mapping software, which will allow the insertion of markers that will approximate page breaks based on user-furnished parameters such as page size, margins, and fonts. “Wiki” technology will be used to allow the public to move around these “star” markers, as well as add summaries, classifications, keywords, alternate numbering systems for citation purposes, and ratings or “diggs” on opinions.
A few weeks ago, I attended a one-day library conference for Northwest gov. docs. folks. The day long meeting was hosted by one of our community college depositories. Part of the day included a tour of the library's gov. docs. collection.
You must know that this particular depository is very diligent about their 5-year retention of documents for their collection. When the fifth year arrives, they discard all those items except for those they want to retain. As I have worked there before as an adjunct faculty, I remember how full of titles the gov. docs. stacks were. Nowadays, the shelves are getting a lot emptier...very stark indeed.
This got me thinking about what our role iis n a government document world that is primarily online. How are selective depositories that don't need to retain that much research-oriented material in their collections are able to survive as a fully functional depository? How are depositories who do maintain a research-oriented collection handle their collection as more and more documents arrive as online only? Will the tangible collection become an archive instead of an active up to date collection? How can depositories make a case for staying in the system and insure their survivability?
Let's first take a look at the differences between a main stacks collection and a depository collection.
Some Differences Between Main Stacks & Depository Collections:
* Main Stacks Collections:
- Main stacks collections continue to be active and updated collections because commercial publishers don't see a financial benefit in publishing their books online. Commercial publishers' success are determined by the number of sales. The more they sell, the likeliness they will end up on a best-selling list and the more money they can make. 100,000 clicks does not make a best-seller...maybe 1 billioin clicks? Were those clicks meaningful clicks or were they just look and see and then leave the site?
- Most people still want the tangible book. They want to cuddle up to it, they want to feel turning the pages themselves, they want to form an emotional bond with it...a bond that makes them cry, laugh, chuckle, or scare them.
- The ability to come to it any time. The words remain static on the page, they don't change. You can retrieve the information over and over again. If the book was produced with good paper, it can last a very long time.
- Books are immovable unless someone decides to weed them out of the collection. Once weeded out of the collection, they can be sold on ebay or Half-price.com or any other online sellers service; they can acquire value and be considered rare; and they can even be sent to the recycling bin and become a brand new thing in its new life.
- Books have very nice and artistic dust jackets that help attract book lovers to buy them.
- Books have varied topics from the latest celebrity biography to the secrets of the universe. You can find more recreational reading in the main stacks than you can in a depository collection.
- Keeping up with the latest technology is not as big a priority insofar as access to books.
* Depository Collections:
- Government publications focuses on free access as a result of an openly democratic philosophy. The right to access publications paid by our tax dollars is fundamental to the system of checks and balances. Though some government publications are available for sale, the cost is usually much less than commercial publications. Some titles like the 9/11 Commission Report do very well commercially, this is usually not the norm. Government is not (usually) in the business to make money.
- Documents, like commercial publications, have varied topics but most tend to be more utilitarian in nature. You won't find a lot of recreational reading in gov. docs. collections and I don't know of many people who would actually cuddle up in bed or in front of the tv reading an environmental impact statement on Mount Rainier .
- Government keeps up to date with technology to see if there is a way that will help them save money. Creating publications online instead of tangible saves them a great deal of money. Costs are passed on to the end-user.
- Online pubilcations are movable and even removable. They are maintained by the government agency who published it and neither GPO or the depository coordinators have any control whatsoever. If the agency decides to remove them one day, you are just out of luck unless you carry a big stick and knock them outside their heads to bring back the information.
- Online publications are even more susceptible to changes when the agency maintains it. They can redact a document any time without the knowledge of most people unless you are one of the very few who sees the document on a daily basis and know what is right and what is wrong. GPO is working on the authentication problem but it will be a very long time before authentication is included in every government publication.
- Government publications are viewed as biased and untrustworthy. A veil of suspicion surrounds the credibility of government publications. Citizen activists prefer to use sources they feel are above repproach (nevermind they have their own biases as well). Yet, the public cannot possibly avoid using government information. Basic information like the census and health statistics are needed in order to facilitate the public's need for information.
- Now, though you are more likely to find information about unlocking the secrets of the universe via the myriad publications published by NASA and the U.S Naval Observatory, you certainly won't find a bio on Keanu Reeves unless he made an appearance before Congress like Michale J. Fox and Muhammad Ali did when they testified in favor of Parkinson's Disease Research funding. The closest thing to recreational literature for the masses might be the countless hearings pertaining to scandal and national tragedy (JFK and MLK assassination hearings, ENRON, Watergate, President Clinton's impeachment, etc.). This type of literature does gain a great deal of attention from the public. But, even this type of reading can be very technical at times.
- Statistics for online publications are hard to determine. Since most opac software publishers have not come up with a way to count the clicks you make on a link you've created on the online catalog, it is very hard to determine what is the usage for onlne titles. GPO's PURL referrals are a step in the right direction, but it doesn't tell you which particular titles were being used. Without any statistics on online publications, government documents depositories are in danger of disappearing. Library administrators want numbers and if we don't have any to produce, you can say goodbye to the hard work you've put into the depository collection.
In the past few years or so, I have found myself downloading a lot of online government publications and placing them on our server for assured access to these titles. I have also spent a lot of time digitizing some titles that are in danger of disappearing or are not available online at this time. I also spend some time discarding paper versions that are now superseded by the online version. A few months ago, I managed to get rid of a bunch of IRS publications because they were more current and easier to find online and because they were taking a lot of space on the shelves.
Shipment boxes get fewer and fewer each day. Now that we have MARCIVE downloads, the way we process government documents has changed. Of course that changes the work flow as well. Now, instead of downloading the NETs and inputting those titles ourselves (though I will not miss having to go through pages circling those items that belong to our profile), it does mean having to download a list and see what is actually coming in and compare it to our profile.
How can we reinvent ourselves? How can we demonstrate to library administrators the usefulness of depository collection and their importance to an open government?
On the January 15, 2004 issue of Administrative Notes, there was an article on becoming a passport acceptance faclity. The idea of providing such a service is definitely an interesting one since it does provide a service for people who may not be available during the normal 9 am - 5 pm slot. The library receives a$ 30.00 commission for each application for providing the service. Such a service does provide the opportunity to bring in new people to the library and to the depository collection.
Over a week ago or so, I found an article written by Thomas Frey from the DaVinci Institute who was thinking about the future of libraries. He mentions a bit about the history of libraries and denotes some trends that is causing libraries to change due to technology. One of the recommendations he made about libraries:
Trend #10 - Libraries will transition from a center of information to a center of culture
With the emergence of distributed forms of information the central role of the library as a repository of facts and information is changing. While it is still important to have this kind of resource, it has proven to be a diminishing draw in terms of library traffic.
The notion of becoming a cultural center is an expansive role for the future library. It will not only serve as an information resource, but much more, with the exact mission and goals evolving and changing over time.
A culture-based library is one that taps into the spirit of the community, assessing priorities and providing resources to support the things deemed most important. Modern day cultural centers include museums, theaters, parks, and educational institutions. The library of the future could include all of these, but individual communities will be charged with developing an overall strategy that reflects the identity and personality of its own constituency.
One of Frey's reccommendations for libraries includes:
4) Experiment with creative spaces so the future role of the library can define itself. Since the role of the library 20 years from now is still a mystery, we recommend that libraries put together creative spaces so staff members, library users, and the community at large can experiment and determine what ideas are drawing attention and getting traction. Some possible uses for these creative spaces include:
a. Band practice rooms
b. Podcasting stations
c. Blogger stations
d. Art studios
e. Recording studios
f. Video studios
g. Imagination rooms
h. Theater-drama practice rooms
We have come a long ways from the time of da Vinci and the time when books were chained to lecterns. But we’ve only scratched the surface of many more changes to come. Writing the definitive history of modern libraries is a work in progress. Our best advice is to enjoy the journey and relish in the wonderment of what tomorrow may bring.
Of course Frey, as a computer engineer and designer does have a bias towards technology being the guiding force in replacing the functions of libraries. Many libraries with media services are already providing spaces like video studios or at the very least terminals with multimedia software and functions. The idea of a library providing band practice rooms, art studios and theater-drama practice rooms is more of a fine arts function that many places already provide for the community. Seems like Frey is trying to dilute the functions of libraries thinking that technology will do everything that a library does.
An interesting article popped up as a forward on my inbox today. The article was about Oregon State University's Library providing short-term childcare space for children (from age 6 months to 10 years old) of students. While mom and dad are trying to get some work done in the library, the kids participate in age appropriate programs. This is definitely an interesting idea since most young parents cannot find someone readily to look after their child or may not be able to afford it. Campus daycare is only available during the daytime and may be quite full as it is. Its hard for mom and dad to do their homework when the kids are vying for their attention. Having short-term childcare in the library does provide a community service that could possibly increase the literacy rate if the programs include reading (I would hope so) and other library-related activities. I would be curious to know if the literacy rate of children on the campus would go up as a result of the service. I hope OSU will be able to provide data on the effects such a service to library patrons and its effect on literacy, cognitive skills, and schooling.
I wonder what other new ideas are on the verge for the 21st century library?