Here’s part 1 & 2 of Eli’s 2010 talk on ebooks titled “Libraries are Screwed”. It’s quite possibly the most important thing that anyone’s said about libraries in the digital age and I believe it’s up there with Ranganathan et al.
Part 2 in particular has a renewed relevance to our conversation on eBooks-in-libraries, what with Amazon’s ebook subscription service being the thing people are talking about. (Please do watch part 2!).
Eli lays it out: the time of “libraries as distribution centers for popular fiction" is over. (Sure, we’ll still do that now and in the future, but we’re going to continue to ride into the sunset as municipal budgets get cut as long as we continue to think of libraries in that model).
Some important quotes:
"In an internetworked world, when you can download anything from anywhere, the idea of having a local copy only makes sense to a hoarder.”
No digital native is going to get excited about waiting to receive a digital object, and what’s the sense in making someone give something back to you when you still have it even after you gave it to them?
The purpose of libraries when they were created was not to purchase commercial content for use by the community but to store and organize the content of the community.
Please do watch this (at least part 2), think deeply about it, and share it widely. It’s a more important message in 2014 than is was in 2010.
Reposting because this lecture is an oldie but goodie.