Libraries Might Not Provide Content in the Future & it’s Okay

Note: Please also read a post that further develops this one. It is called Libraries Should Become Better with Use. Thanks!.

I held out from joining Netflix for quite some time because I live down the block from a really great movie rental store and a library that gets DVDs to me in a reasonable amount of time. belI like supporting these places. When a friend showed me how much content was available on demand through Netflix’s “Watch Instantly,” however, I decided that supporting the local and joining Netflix wasn’t an either/or proposition. I now enjoy using all three of these services and still “Watch Instantly” at least once a week.

Netflix will soon offer “Watch Instantly” streaming only subscription plans. Smart. This is a way for them to not only increase revenue but also it is also a way for them to transition people though the death of physical formats. Netflix seems to have their stuff together. They’re friendly. Their website is easy to use. And with this move they’re trying to ensure that they can deliver content to consumers in the future.

Libraries are having trouble transitioning to this content anywhere/anytime future. You’ve heard the chestnut about publishers not allowing for the creation of libraries if they weren’t already in existence. This is exactly what is happening with purely 1s & 0s content. Libraries are getting squeezed out of the picture because of DRM legislation coming from the content industry. Libraries are left with only some good and popular digital content and we’re left to provide it in less convenient ways.

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Meanwhile, other content providers are making their stuff easier to get at. Netflix has partnered with the New York Times and Rotten Tomatoes to include Netflix widgets on movie review pages. Without leaving the NYT website it’s possible to add a movie to your queue or even start watching. This is nothing revolutionary but it does add another level of convenience.

iTunes.jpgNetflix isn’t the only company making content delivery and purchasing easier. Other data-these-days-is-sure-portable news is the release of the Amazon Kindle application for the iPhone, enabling people to buy and read any Kindle book on Apple’s device. The app is free and books transfers back and forth just like on a Kindle.

Have you taken the time recently to think about your access to content? Holy smokes, the situation is absolutely incredible. The iTunes Music Store is the world’s largest music retailer, newspapers are shuttering and magazines are going web only. I can download 80% of music and movies I want for free? Are you kidding? No? Awesome! I can download Elsevier’s complete Referex Engineering Collection? Don’t mind if I do.

IT IS GOING TO BE OKAY

All of this isn’t to say I’m pessimistic about the future of libraries. It really doesn’t matter if we stop providing content in the same way. It might be the best thing to happen to public libraries. Yes, there will be some access equality issues that need sorting, but if we don’t have to concern ourselves with making sure people have access to content we’ll have more time to create excellent programs and experiences based around content and conversation. 89522687_e3a1cdde85_m.jpg

For this reason I’m really pleased with the direction that integrating games into libraries has taken. Some libraries are circulating games and that’s great, but the real emphasis has been on providing shared experiences by gathering people together at hosted events. Connecting people in this way has more of a positive impact than sinmply sending someone home with a disc. It adds value to th content too. So while I’m pleased that public libraries are enjoying increased use because of the current economic situation I hope that we use the attention wisely by talking about more than book and movie circ stats or even computer use.

If anything, we should consider books, movies, music and computers loss leaders and show people what we can really do for them once we’re lucky enough to have them in our buildings.

70 thoughts on “Libraries Might Not Provide Content in the Future & it’s Okay”

  1. I agree entirely with you that there’s a future to libraries beyond content provision. And if users get their content from somewhere else due to natural changes in the environment, we need not be alarmed, but instead focused on other remaining needs we are positioned to fulfill.

    But we also ought not to sanguinely accept publisher’s attempts to illegalize libraries traditional content provision business in the “1s and 0s” market, like they would have liked to even in the print market. We should fight it with tooth and nail.

    It may (soon) no longer be neccesary to have a whole bunch of content in one place to provide a good research environment. But that’s not the only reason libraries have been in the content provision business. We’ve also been in that business in order to provide _affordable_ access to content via collective purchasing and cooperative sharing, access to content individuals would not be able to afford on their own. This is a common mission to both public and academic libraries in fact.

    If the need for that kind of cooperative purchasing content provision goes away, so be it, no cause for alarm. But if the need is still very much there but publishers and rightsholders are trying to push us out of filling it in the digital market the way they’d like to but can’t push us out of filling it in the physical market — that’s cause for alarm.

  2. Along the ‘loss leaders’ lines, but not exactly, there are a couple of things I’ve seen lately that tell me it’s not the books or the content at all that matter.

    One is OCLC’s recent report, “From Awareness to Funding: A study of library support in America” (http://www.oclc.org/reports/funding/default.htm), which talks about libraries being “transformational”, but not because of the old rhetoric of books opening up new worlds and literacy creating opportunities. Rather, libraries are transformational because they are safe and ordered public spaces. That’s my first reading anyway.

    There’s that adage about McDonalds being a real estate company. And Land O Lakes is known for making dairy products, but does a significant amount of business selling livestock feed and pet food. Libraries are all about books, but our impact is in the how of what we do, not the what.

    And as a parting shot, as long as that ‘how’ includes intellectual freedom (did you hear the one about Apple blocking books on the iPhone if they have the f word in them? – http://moriahjovan.com/mojo/the-forbidden-apple), it is critical we keep our institutional role as content providers.

  3. Caleb,

    Thanks for posting the OCLC study. It crossed my mind as I was concluding this post but I didn’t have the gumption to write any more.

    I hadn’t read about Apple’s f-bomb block. It makes me think that libraries *could* have a future providing content that no one else will. We still wouldn’t be as convenient (though I’m sure we’ll figure out ways to improve) but people would still use us for those items because, we’ll, they’d be forced to.

  4. Yes, we are increasingly a community center. But let’s not kid ourselves: it’s access to materials and the Internet that are bringing people to our doors. Kathleen de la Pena McCook has famously noted that information equity is the core value of our profession. It may be that in our provision of popular media we have veered too far toward Charlie Robinson’s “give ’em what they want” and that the loss of ability to provide content will create more opportunities to “give ’em what they need.”

    But we should not let the baby slide out with the bathwater. I agree with Jonathon Rochkind’s comment above: “we also ought not to sanguinely accept publisher’s attempts to illegalize libraries traditional content provision business in the “1s and 0s” market, like they would have liked to even in the print market. We should fight it with tooth and nail.”

    In the interest of preserving equity of access to information, we need to utilize — and seek to improve agreements with — online content providers that see potential in our markets.

    You note that “the real emphasis has been on providing shared experiences by gathering people together at hosted events. Connecting people in this way has more of a positive impact than sinmply sending someone home with a disc”. True as far as it goes, but the “shared experience” part of our service is still only a small fraction of the “circulating materials” part of our service. We need to intentionally prepare for changes, but I’m not ready to shrug off materials provision in the future just yet.

  5. You spend the first six paragraphs talking about the wonders of getting all of this content from the Internet, partnerships on the Internet between Netflix and the NYTimes, of Kindle and iTunes, etc.

    You then tell us that libraries are going to be OK and we don’t have to worry about being materials providers because we can bring people together to talk about games, and movies, books and perhaps other community content.

    But please tell me: Why would I want to go to a library to exchange thoughts and ideas about materials that I have found and (using the examples you have cited in the first six paragraphs) paid for outside of the library?

    If I play World of Warcraft and want to discuss the various nuances and engage in social activities associated with the game, I can go to the wonderful WOWwiki or a variety of other online sites (e.g., communities that exist in MySpace or Facebook). And I can do this for free.

    Or, if I prefer to have local, face-to-face human contact, there are many Starbucks that have groups like this–there are franchises that have weekly book meetings, or discuss movies, or brings board game players together. Works out great for both the group and Starbucks.

    So I don’t need a library to do this this kind of thing. It’s being done at a number of retail establishments already…at least here on the East Coast.

    As your post indicates, the only reason why people are flocking to libraries today is because of a bad economic situation. I hope this will not be the situation forever for these users (and you should not hope it’s that way too, because that means fewer tax dollars and fewer resources going to the library).

    So, I’m sorry, but it is NOT going to be OK for libraries. It simply does not make sense to think that people who use the web for materials provision will then travel to the library to “share their experiences about those materials.” Assuming that only the library can take on this community engagement role is the same mistake we made when we assumed that we were the only place in town where people could get content for free.

  6. I tossed and turned a little bit last night thinking about this post, Aaron. I agree about the increasing importance of the library and community hub/center/3rd place and more, centered around the fact that we are an anchor for the community. You make very good points in this regard.

    But I also agree with this comment posted above (and the tangents it would produce:
    So, I’m sorry, but it is NOT going to be OK for libraries. It simply does not make sense to think that people who use the web for materials provision will then travel to the library to “share their experiences about those materials.” Assuming that only the library can take on this community engagement role is the same mistake we made when we assumed that we were the only place in town where people could get content for free.

    Libraries are being cut out of circulating free content in digital format. And thats that. And frankly, that should not only be seen as harmful, to me it seems that it should be illegal. There are potential creative solutions and partnerships to be had that could make this happen. Sadly I do not see any exisiting orgs our there making these connections. And of course for-profit institutions aren’t reaching out to libraries, why should they when they can make more money and increase their market share without us? They didn’t want us to circ VHS tapes and now there seems to be away to cut us out of picture with a newer technology.

    A few weeks ago I decided that as part of my work with in libraryland and via my presentation gigs, writing and libraryman.com that I am going to do whatever I can to change this. It may not work and it may be crazy to think I could help make a difference, but it alss might not be crazy. And it could work to the benefit of librraries and the people they serve.

    So again, I strongly disagree that it is going to be ok if libraries are cut out of circulating electronic materials for free. It is not ok for a for profit to take over this part of what libraries do and it is up to US to find a way to help them work with us. It is, in my estimation harmful to just say it is ok and try to tweak what we have left to keep us around. We should do both. We need to to both. We MUST do both (in my estimation anyway).

    I don’t mean this as a dig or anything, you know I respect your work, but this post really left me feeling confused, my man!

    I’d also like to invite anyone of like mind and especially anyone that works in electronic media distribution to contact me to talk about this at michael.libraryman *at sign** gmail.com.

  7. I think you’re right about how poor library digital delivery can be, outside of the journal article. We need to fix this.

    But I also think that as long as people produce content and expect to get paid for it, there will be a need for this content from the library. We just need to make sure that people aren’t so frustrated with the library that they go spend a few dollars elsewhere to get the same content.

  8. I’m with Michael on this one…being shut out of the digital future _is not ok_. Here’s an issue that I’d like to see the ALA Council and Board actively pursuing, instead of the sometimes-irrelevant things that occupy them.

    How can we get this issue in front of more of the ALA?

  9. Aaron, thanks for provoking thought around this subject. There has been so much talk and presenting on the subject of TRANSFORMATION in the past couple of years…Alas, I do believe that this is still a concept that we need to explore more. In my view of “Transformation” –at least in my vision for libraries–there is a level of confidence and radical idealogy that seems to slip past us when we stand in the shadow of big business or warm-and-fuzzy ideas of what libraries are or should be. There are so many library organizations that are still spending time on duplicating efforts instead of building the value of libraries within the community and taking on the call to make libraries real players instead of tag-alongs. I think your post holds strong merit, but it stirs in me the feeling that if the going-gets-tough then let’s fall back on our new laurels, meaning “the library can be a place to talk about what we’re doing in our ‘real lives.'” I want libraries in all our formats, expressions and efforts to be places where we can experience our real lives more fully–with support and unflappable acceptance. Libraries–in all formats including electronic, can be a place where we ‘do’ not simply talk about what we did from home. We have power, I think that we could be turning it off. I choose the power.

  10. I don’t think this is an all or nothing situation. I’d say increasingly libraries won’t provide ‘premium content’ (we already don’t), like the newest releases of media materials etc. We’ll have to stick to the distribution of ‘tier two’ content. People do want and need that stuff.

    UNLESS

    We start focusing on helping patrons create new content and media themselves by providing more technology training and making public work space accessible. Addressing technology literacy needs to be a huge part of the future of libraries. There is a potential future in which libraries make technology literacy a service priority and our materials circulation really slows way down and we need to reassess our commitment to that. I do find it exhausting that circ statistics are the measure of success at the library: I don’t think they represent the ‘transformative’ work I do on a daily basis.

    I think librarians could learn a lot from Coworking, a model that in many ways is doing what I think we should be doing (for free) at public libraries

    I also think that we should be testing ideas like Aaron is speaking of not just by debating them in the blogosphere but by adding diversified service points to our library systems. We need some small, flexible spaces for rapid prototyping of library services so we can figure out what works and what doesn’t. I’m tired of hearing how awesome the Rem Koolhaas superlibrary in Seattle is: we need some smaller, agile spaces that take advantage of what was learned in that experiment and allow us to try new things quickly. That is the whole point of a space like the Library Outpost.

    Off to work. Might not have said everything here, I’m in a rush, but I’ll be watching the post.

  11. This may seem sort of tangential, but I’d like to emphasize that storytelling as an art has changed so much because of the internet that our relationship to ‘circulating’ media objects or files is changing siginificantly as well.

    Have a look at the unbook and consider how that or even a choose-your-own-adventure youtube video changes the playing field.

  12. When I go to the library, which is often, nobody wanders the library browsing the stacks, except to find a book they are looking for, which they likely discovered in the online catalog. So most of my libraries are just big wasted spaces with a lot of really good books stacked in a nice orderly fashion. In my opinion, this hardly seems the best use of such wonderful spaces. There are so many things the library can and should be, so much more the library can do for a community!

    I think another really difficult issue with digital material, especially with regard to the crumbling corporation and our devastated economy is the archival function of libraries and librarians. We have a really big problem in front of us when we discuss digital content access, what is here today may well be gone tomorrow and it is not reasonable to assume we’ll print and put into special collections all digital content. We are not capturing the entirety of our digital culture and I sense a little danger in that from a historical perspective.

    Nimble is a good word to describe what libraries ought to be, but in that simple word is basically everything libraries have never been. Even looking at library budget cycles there isn’t the flexibility traditionally to grab onto what has a powerful and meaningful community importance “right now” to offer those materials or services in a meaningful and rapid way.

    Until you can unhinge today’s library from it primeval roots you have a serious conundrum betwixt all of this wonderful librarian intent, budgetary constraint and changing patron desire.

  13. Hmm. Henry above says “When I go to the library, which is often, nobody wanders the library browsing the stacks…”

    And when I go to my public library, which is fairly often, I see lots of people browsing the stacks, having been guided to a specific section by the catalog but leafing through books to choose the right ones (also, of course, browsing DVD and CD collections).

    Can we both be right? Absolutely…but, you know, I’ll 99% guarantee that the billions of public-library circs each year aren’t entirely known items already found on catalogs. (Or maybe this is a public v. academic thing…)

    As for the post itself, since I think “might not” is unlikely, I’ll only say that a premature flight away from the service that matters most to public library patrons–provision of materials–is not a success strategy, although scoping out new services is.

  14. @walt – do you by mean “‘might not’ is unlikely” that it is a certainty? As in, “definitely won’t [provide content]” is likely? I don’t think that’s what you mean but just want to know how to read that.

    At any rate, I don’t disagree with you that a
    “premature flight” away from lending materials isn’t a good idea. My point is that libraries could very well be forced to take this flight considering how ubiquitous, *convenient* and cheap popular materials are becoming.

  15. Aaron: Other way around–I think it likely that public libraries will continue to provide content, at least if they want to stay in business.

    And I think tens of millions of Americans–let’s say roughly half, since the median household income in March 2007 was $48,201 in 2006 dollars–may not agree that stuff is so cheap they’ll just buy everything for their ebook devices because it’s so convenient. Those are the people who NEED libraries with good circulating collections. (Remember: Median: That means almost exactly half the households in America have *less* income. And that’s gross income, not spendable.)

  16. Walt is right on.

    Book circulation continues to increase and our stacks have lots of folks browsing. This is not the time to assume that content is passe, nor that broadband access to a variety of electronic media will be universally available. Even people who can buy a Kindle or iPhone and subscribe to Netflix are likely to support public library collections for those less affluent.

    Sure, we’re developing a mobile website, etc. But we’re putting even more effort into collecting physical items. Materials aren’t loss leaders; they’re the core of our services, and will be for the foreseeable future.

  17. Gee, thanks everyone, for having yet another conversation that will keep me up at night worrying about libraries. Like Michael Porter over there (she says, pointing toward him w/ her foot), I’ve lost plenty of sleep over this stuff. There are so many challenges ahead of us that I can no longer enumerate them.

    One thing I especially agreed w/ here came from henry up at #15. he said: “Nimble is a good word to describe what libraries ought to be, but in that simple word is basically everything libraries have never been…. Until you can unhinge today’s library from it primeval roots you have a serious conundrum betwixt all of this wonderful librarian intent, budgetary constraint and changing patron desire.”

    If libraries ever stop focusing on content, it had better be *after* they manage to become known for something else that’s really appealing.

    As far as movie discussions & games, etc in libraries… I just don’t feel like that’s The Next Big Thing. mind you, I’m not saying I’m against all of that. And I’m not even married to the “core mission” of providing “stuff” for everyone (meaning, largely, those who can’t afford it). I think that’s part of our downfall, trying to be all things to all people — pleasing the techiest by having ebooks in all the latest formats while still offering simple paperbacks for the underprivileged who can’t buy their own. All while being community centers and event sites… When you look at all those missions, it’s just crazy. We can’t keep it up, especially when we’re losing funding.

    I try to teach librarians to promote themselves and their services. I love libraries and I try to be hopeful, but overall, they don’t do a good job of the marketing that is more essential than ever.

    And as far as being meeting places for community discussion… I just read a whole thread on PRTalk this week where PLs exchanged policies on meeting room usage. Burning questions included: Do you even allow for-profit groups to use the rooms? (often not) Do you dare charge a fee? (OMG!) Who pays for the janitors? People are still mired in this minutae. Most small PLs are running on their 100-yr-old value sets and are scared to change any tradition. Which is why I liked henry’s assessment so much… We need to be nimble to face the future, but this industry is anything but.

    I appreciate reading all these great thoughts of the future, and even have my own sometimes. But here’s my biggest concern: It’s all moot, until the people who run libraries stop insisting that every little change be approved by stodgy directors, boards of people who don’t know crap about libraries, endless committees, and huge glacial associations. *This* is what we need to transform first. Until the library industry as a whole develops a culture of change, we ain’t gettin’ nowhere.

    The Pessimist Has Spoken. Aren’t ya glad I chimed in??

  18. Kathy said: “It’s all moot, until the people who run libraries stop insisting that every little change be approved by stodgy directors, boards of people who don’t know crap about libraries, endless committees, and huge glacial associations. *This* is what we need to transform first. Until the library industry as a whole develops a culture of change, we ain’t gettin’ nowhere.”

    Exactly. How are we going to be nimble in our service offerings if we are anything but nimble in our organization? While we remain extremely hierarchical, we will be stodgy. So I ask: How do we incorporate some of the radical trust that characterizes web 2.0 into the structure of our libraries? Is that even possible?

  19. Kathy wrote (& Amanda agreed):

    “It’s all moot, until the people who run libraries stop insisting that every little change be approved by stodgy directors, boards of people who don’t know crap about libraries, endless committees, and huge glacial associations. *This* is what we need to transform first. Until the library industry as a whole develops a culture of change, we ain’t gettin’ nowhere.”

    Aw, c’mon. This is:
    a) finger-pointing scapegoating
    b) stereotyping
    c) unrealistic

    Where to start? There’s a library industry? Guess I’m too stodgy to have noticed it. Our library is part of our City government. That means our Mayor and Alderpersons have a big voice in our budget. That means we’re overseen by a board of trustees, who are volunteers not professionals, but who care a lot. They’re often our biggest boosters, and saying they “don’t know crap” is both an insult and and acknowledgement that we have failed to educate them.

    Some directors may be stodgy, some may not. Some staff people may stodgily resist management attempts to break down hierarchies. I think in many ways we have a wonderful culture of change, but we are limited by demands that out-strip resources and conservative funding bodies who won’t sanction the expense of increasingly public dollars on experiment. Despite this, a lot of libraries are doing great innovative things, so be careful how broadly you tar with that brush.

    Bottom line: we’re a profession, not an industry. We’re all in it together. What we have in common are our library schools, our publications and blogs and our glacial associations. Let’s make the best of it. Don’t like the way your director is doing it? Go do better, elsewhere if need be. Or maybe talk to the director — they can’t work in isolation, and trust is a two-way street.

    Your mileage may vary.

  20. Terry, you make some good points. And some of them I don’t disagree with. As for your comments on my thoughts:

    “finger-pointing” — you bet.
    “scapegoating” — I wouldn’t go that far. These people are responsible for a lot.
    “stereotyping” — sure. hey, stereotypes are built on what people see, and sometimes people see a spade as a spade.
    “unrealistic” — actually, I think I’m very realistic, tho leaning hard toward the pessimistic side.

    as for boards “not knowing crap,” it’s not a nice thing to say, but it’s often true. too many people sit on library boards and make decisions on topics that they don’t fully understand. and yes, libs often fail to educate board members or, more often, try to educate them in a last-minute panic, like when something major is up for a vote (filters, privacy, social stuff). by then, it’s too late. board members are one target market that PLs should pay a lot more attention to.

    I agree that we’re limited by “conservative funding bodies who won’t sanction the expense of increasingly public dollars on experiment.” this is part of the problem. If your board was made up of Aaron Schmidts, Meredith Farkases, and Jenny Levines, would they vote differently b/c they understand what’s at stake w/ these experiments? (I do value the “outsiders’ POV” of boards but they need to know our side too!)

    and yes, I did tar lots of people w/ a wide brush. that doesn’t mean there wasn’t plenty of tarring to be done. not everyone is bad or uneducated; none of us are uncaring. but when any sizeable portion of “conserative” folks is holding back the progress that libraries desperately need to survive, I can’t sit back quietly.

    the whole “we want progress” vs “oh dear, we can’t do that!” is summed up w/ great humor in this animation (http://usingdata.typepad.com/usingdata/2009/03/web.html). I saw the link on Stephen Abram’s blog. Does it stereotype? you bet. Is there lots of truth in it? sure is. I’m just trying to push all of us toward embracing the new ideas and being less conserative in thought and deed.

    Will libraries still be about content in 20, 30, 50 years? I dunno. But if we’re not, we’d better have something that people still want. The best way to assure that is to try harder to go with our constituents’ flow, not to stay frozen in time inside our own glacial floe.

  21. Another blogger, in an offshoot of this conversation, mentioned some points from a Seth Godin article which provides some more insight into the whole copyright monopoly, digital copyrights and, with a little reaching, the future of libraries.

    The key quote which I find so relevant to the ideas Aaron presents in this blog post are well represented in this quote:

    “I had coffee with the executive producer of a network news show last week. He told me that every year, in addition to getting smaller in size, his audience, on average, ages almost a year. The people he needs in order to maintain his monopoly are finding something else to do with their time.”

    The excerpt above was taken from:
    http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2007/12/monopolies-seve.html

  22. You all forget the users who are not YOU. Libraries are great for children, families, and students and are morphing into early literacy centers. Novels translate well to Kindle, but picture books never will. Libraries provide access to those who do not have PCs at home (yes, these people exist). And there is still that little problem about quality of content…Even if libraries migrate to the web, at least these digital libraries will be be sources of information that is vetted.

  23. It’s up to us as political activists to get governments to pass laws to give public libraries the right to free distribution of data of the kind being discussed here.

    The first library collections (Ninevah, Yangcheng, Alexandria,etc.), the first public libraries (at the Roman baths and the Islamic Halls of Science), and the first modern public libraries (Carnegie libraries, etc.) were maintained by the state. Most public libraries are still governmental institutions.

    If our current governments, and the voters they answer to, decide that libraries in the digital age provide a necessary service, they will pass laws to open up free data access within the library context.

    The definition of necessity will be, as it always has been, the inability of a large segment of the population to pay for it themselves. It’s unlikely that data (and the devices to access it) will ever become so cheap that everyone can afford what a library offers. Public libraries will survive, albeit with a different interior format – perhaps more of a clubhouse than a warehouse. The default data-transport medium will change from ink-on-paper to electronic devices. Shelving will be replaced with furniture.

    Such a place will combine circulation of data with conversations about the data – a kind of community center for lifelong learning. Maybe it won’t be called a library (not many “libri”). But along with lending, it will provide expanded spaces for meetings, programs, discussions, study groups, and so on, keeping alive what James Billington, head of the Library of Congress, calls “The Life of the Mind.”

    Will that vision come to pass without circulation, as Aaron suggests?
    I don’t worry about it – as long as we get political.

  24. As someone who lives in a ‘remote’ community our library is small but with a reasonable range of books and about six computers. There’s also a mobile library that travels round to give regular access to books for people in outlying areas. As the community has a large number of older residents I can’t see this library set up changing much for several decades as most people don’t seem that interested in the new reading devices. The bottom line is that people like curling up with a book where they can turn the pages and don’t have to worry about the batteries running out.

  25. “A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.” – Max Planck, quoted by Thomas Kuhn in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions

  26. This may seem sort of tangential, but I’d like to emphasize that storytelling as an art has changed so much because of the internet that our relationship to ‘circulating’ media objects or files is changing siginificantly as well.

    1. You mean all those millions of ebooks that are not available for free? The great danger to library are the uneducated that somehow think all econtent is free. As long as capitalism exists, so will libraries.

  27. Almost every day I spend up to an hour scanning my Bloglines, checking new posts on more than 200 blogs (thank goodness they don’t all post every day). I follow some very popular food blogs, of course, but I also follow more than 100 newer blogs. While I don’t comment on every blog post every day, I do try to leave good comments on each of the blogs I’m following, from time to time.

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