The first three articles in the just released 2012 Library and Book Trade Almanac (formerly The Bowker Annual) feature authors affiliated with the ALA Office for Information Technology Policy (OITP) writing about the digital revolution and libraries. These articles examine the contemporary challenges and opportunities for libraries enabled by technological advances and institutional and social change.
My article “The Future of Libraries” opens the volume. By using a big picture perspective, it “takes an in-depth look at the future of libraries as the digital revolution progresses.” The article is based on the Policy Briefs and other work from OITP’s Program on America’s Libraries for the 21st Century, which was founded in 2008. Perhaps the key observation is that libraries were in a digital revolution and are now in a revolution–period.
Robert Bocher (OITP Fellow) and Bonnie Tijerina (Chair, OITP Advisory Committee and Member, ALA’s Digital Content & Libraries Working Group) investigate “the burgeoning e-book phenomenon.” Their article entitled “E-Books and Their Impact on Libraries” provides a summary of current issues, examples from the field, and a review of ALA advocacy activities through early 2012. Though the rise of e-books now is receiving considerable press attention, Bocher and Tijerina explain how e-books are a part of a much larger digital evolution.
Finally, in her article “A Holistic Look at Digital Literacy,” Kristin Fontichiaro (2011-12 Member, OITP Digital Literacy Task Force) “examines the concept of digital literacy and its growing importance across society and the information world.” Though digital literacy is based on the concept of the library as a learning hub, it has come to have diverse meanings. The article explores how deeper understanding of digital literacy can lead to articulating more effective actions for promoting it in libraries.
We appreciate the guidance from Betty Turock, who served as Consultant Editor to Information Today, Inc., and also is a member of OITP’s Subcommittee on America’s Libraries for the 21st Century, and volume editor Dave Bogart.