Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Digitizing Library and Cultural Resources

Charles B. Lowry, executive director of the Association of Research Libraries, has an interesting article, “Let's Spur Recovery by Investing in Information,” in the Chronicle Review, calling for federal aid in digitizing library and other cultural resources as part of the economic incentive plan intended to create jobs. I am sure we will see many more such calls.

“Investing in an open, universal digital commons will help ease the current economic crisis by creating jobs, equipping workers with 21st-century skills, and laying a foundation for innovation and national competitiveness in business and research.

There is a growing bipartisan consensus that extensive federal spending on public-works projects is needed to roll back unemployment and modernize the nation's aging infrastructure of highways and facilities.

Talk abounds about the need for projects that will be "shovel ready" in a matter of months, but that phrase belies the reality of our infrastructure.

Roads and bridges are essential, of course, but we should also build our digital infrastructure and equip workers with skills they can use in the years ahead — skills for the information age.”

The full article can be read at http://chronicle.com/weekly/v55/i22/22b00401.htm.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yes yes, but let's not only invest in the digital information, but in the public libraries as well...they can't rob Peter to pay Paul all the time either. :-)

Back in October 2008, this article was in Library Journal:

http://www.libraryjournal.com/article/CA6609686.html

"ALA Seeks $100 Million in Stimulus Funding for Public Libraries"

Lynn Blumenstein & Norman Oder -- Library Journal, 10/29/2008

"Library use rises, but budgets decline "

"ALA points to increased hours, help with job search, financial literacy "

"Funds would be distributed according to LSTA formula "

"While public libraries depend heavily on local property taxes to maintain operations, increased foreclosure rates, lower home values, and fewer sales have sharply reduced available funds, forcing libraries to cut services and hours."

"Crucial services"

"A recent ALA study shows that 73 percent of all libraries nationwide provide the only free Internet access in their communities. In rural areas the rate rises to 83 percent. Many libraries have reported double-digit growth in computer use this year."

“America’s free public libraries provide a lifeline for citizens in need across the country,” said ALA president Jim Rettig. “Ensuring Internet access, career workshops, business seminars, and other economic support services are vital links in the nation’s financial recovery. This is no time to cut much-needed support, reduce hours or close library doors."