Learn “what’s next” for libraries and digital content as part of ALA Virtual Conference

ALA Virtual ConferencePublishers Weekly columnist Peter Brantley and ALA Digital Content & Libraries Working Group (DCWG) Co-chair Robert Wolven will discuss “New Directions for Libraries and Digital Content” Wednesday, July 24, at 10:45 a.m. (CDT) as part of the ALA Virtual Conference. The session builds on and continues the standing-room-only program at the ALA Annual Conference, “ALA, Ebooks and Digital Content: What’s Next.”

The need to make popular ebooks as easily available as print books has made “the Big Six” (now the “Big Five” with the Penguin-Random House merger) a part of the library vernacular. While work continues to make all of the largest publishers’ content available to libraries under equitable terms, there is more activity afoot in the digital content world. Brantley and Wolven will discuss emerging disruptions and opportunities for libraries to bring more and better digital resources of all kinds to library users.

In his recent article “The Unpackaged Ebook: Newspapers, Magazines and Subcompact Publishing,” Brantley challenges librarians to prepare for a future in which ebooks “will be represented as websites; mini-mags that present serial narratives; and as geo-aware encounters that appear in our augment reality glasses as we wander around our cities.” While the “thingness” of a book continues to transition, there also is an opportunity for libraries to create new relationships.

“It is a good moment for libraries to engage directly with new providers of literature such as the New York Times, The Magazine, and MATTER. This generation of librarians must articulate a place for libraries amid the literature of the web,” Brantley writes.

In addition to providing current thinking on digital content, the session also serves as an important avenue to learn about what’s important to the library community. “We look forward to the questions because they suggest the concerns and priorities of librarians—what keeps them up at night,” Wolven said. “The DCWG, working in close coordination with ALA leadership, wants to be sure that it focuses on those issues of greatest strategic value and urgency to ALA members and the field at large.”

The DCWG was formed in fall 2011 to proactively address digital content opportunities and issues at the highest level of ALA and from both a policy and practical perspective. Through the DCWG’s work with ALA leadership, each of the Big Five publishers now is dealing with libraries in some fashion.  Learn more about work in progress and on the horizon at this timely session. Individual and group registration rates are available for the two-day conference, which includes keynotes on “Make-to-Learn in Libraries” by Kylie Peppler and “Transforming the Library Starts with Mapping the Journey” by Stephen Bell.

As Director of OITP's Program on Networks the Program on America’s Libraries for the 21st Century (AL21C), Larra’s responsibilities include overall management of OITP’s telecommunications portfolio and day-to-day management of AL21C projects and those in partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Previously, she served as the project manager in the ALA Office for Research & Statistics for three years.

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