Congratulations to the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) on hosting DPLA West, its second major public event last week in San Francisco. Sari Feldman, co-chair of ALA’s Digital Content and Libraries Working Group (and executive director, Cuyahoga County Public Library, Ohio) ably represented the ALA community.
One important component of the current DPLA effort is to clarify the scope of the initiative. Toward that effort, one of the panels at the public event focused on ebooks and digital lending. Sari served on this panel with Brewster Kahle of the Internet Archive, Luis Herrera of the San Francisco Public Library, and moderator Linda Crowe of the Califa Group.
Sari and the other panelists focused on the top priorities of libraries. Basic access and affordability are essential–a library must be able to obtain ebooks and at a reasonable price or there is no real access. But while these characteristics are necessary, they are most certainly not sufficient: Librarians are critically aware of the need to ensure appropriate access for everybody (including those with physical disabilities or other requirements), protect patron privacy, and ensure long-term archiving and preservation of titles.
The convening also provided Sari with the opportunity to informally discuss ALA’s activities with the major trade publishers and distributors (as we know, some of the most fruitful discussions can take place in the hallways of conferences). These discussions served to inform our strategy and helped us define how ALA can best contribute to the overall efforts of DPLA and the other initiatives underway in the library community.
Program Manager, ALA Digital Content and Libraries Initiative