Discussion Topics for 11/6
Long Overdue: A fresh look at public and leadership attitudes about libraries in the 21st century
Is the library's top rating as a public service representative of the service's success or does it represent a lower standard held for a service perceived to be less vital? People claim to value libraries but they do not receive much support; they are not seen as vital.
Should libraries be involved in implementing standards, rules and measures for the internet, since it is perceived as a service they are obligated to supply or are they doing enough by simply offering it as a free resource to the general public?
What explains libraries vulnerablity to budget cuts even in the so-called "information age?"
The Public Agenda study lists four services that respondents indicated they would appreciate, but are rarely offered. Those services are teen activities, adult literacy development, government information services and public computer access. All four are undoubtedly worthy of time and money but resources are typically limited. Of the four which service or services should get priority and why?
What are some possible reasons why people who rarely use libraries still see them (or at least answer that they still see them) as important to their communities?
In Madison only the Central Branch library is open on Sundays, and this branch is not even open on Sundays in the summer. In light of our class discussion and the Public Agenda article what do you think about this?
Looking at the graph on page 33 "Top Community Priorities" how can you imagine the public library best filling these needs? Have you heard of innovative programs that correspond to these priorities?
Differences Between Real and Virtual Libraries by Thomas Mann
Is it in the interest of knowledge for the internet to be organized as a librart or does this restrict it as a conduit to free publication?
Could a virtual library that adheres to all of Mann's guidelines perform to the same level as the libraries it mimics?
Mann makes the point in his article that computer cataloging is inefficient and unnweildy compared to traditional methods available through so-called "real" libraries. In the eight years since this article was written computer cataloging has grown by leaps and bounds and search technology has been greatly redefined. Does Mann's criticism hold true?
Mann believes that readers will always feel more comfortable reading books that are published in a traditional paper format (that is, if readers are reading as opposed to searching for information). Do you think he is right?
Remember Kevin Kelly's article "Scan this Book!"? Who do you think makes better arguments, Mann or Kelly? Who do you think will end up being right about the future of books? Who do you hope will be right and why?
On page 134 Mann states that copyrights are the solution to the problems faces by libraries in reagrds to the internet; looking at things like Google's book scanning project does it still seem like copyrights hold any power over controlling information or are they simply a roadbump in the road to information?
According to Mann there will always be some sort of restraint on access to information, based on what, who and where restrictions. Is there a way to eliminate all these restrictions and if not which would be the msot inclusive restriction to have in place?