Moderator Tim Vollmer of the ALA’s Office for Information Technology Policy (OITP) asked about the role of libraries in licensing such future digital content.
“This is really the question for libraries in the 21st century,” suggested Eli Neiburger, associate director, IT and product development at Ann Arbor District Library, MI. “We need to get out there right away and realize that holding a copy that exists in ten thousand other places in the world is worthless…when you have in your pocket the entire digital world available to you.”
He suggested that libraries should embrace a new role of providing unique content, either by “making that stuff” or “letting your patrons make that stuff.” While once the library’s prime value was to bring the world to the community, he said, now its prime value is to bring the community to the world.
He warned of a Scylla and Charybdis situation, with the former as the triumph of DRM, leaving no place for libraries, and the latter as the death of copyright, with everything free.
“The library’s real role is to aggregate the buying power of the community,” he said.
For more on the Mobile Devices Panel at Annual that T. Vol hosted, visit this link.