Libraries uphold the public interest in copyright issues

Copyright is a part of intellectual property law and is explicitly mentioned in the US Constitution (Art. I, Sec. 8, Clause 8): “To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.”Libraries have a great interest in copyright issues, and librarians (not individually, but at the national association level) are among the major voices trying to influence the interpretation of just what the clause means. When a work is under copyright protection, only the copyright holder is allowed to use it to make … Continue reading

How can libraries survive? Apparently better than bookstores

[ad#Google Adsense-1] Not long ago, I noticed two articles on the same page of the local Sunday news paper (News & Record, April 17, 2011, p. H6). The headline above the fold asked Can bookstores survive? Directly underneath that article appeared one titled Library piling up e-books. While I make no claim that the juxtaposition of those two headlines completely answers the question in libraries’ favor, it does point out yet another way that libraries work to keep up with new social and technological trends. And yet some people have been trying to write off libraries for years. Among the … Continue reading

Libraries open children’s minds

According to the Children’s Reading Foundation, “It takes hundreds of hours of ‘lap time’ for a child to acquire the pre-literacy skills necessary for learning to read early and well.” Twenty minutes a day is enough to accomplish that goal by the time a child is ready for kindergarten. Any adult with even the most rudimentary reading skills can do it. Even adults who can’t read themselves can hold a picture book and make up stories. But does every child receive that kind of attention? Alas, no. Here is one way the library can greatly help. Of course, a skilled … Continue reading

Why do we still need libraries?

[ad name=”Google Adsense 468×60″] People have been asking that question for at least 20 years. I first became aware in the late 1980s that some college administrators regarded the library as obsolete. They thought it a good place to cut the budget. At that time, online databases had only recently become available for public use. There may have been some magazines and scholarly journals available online. “Everything’s online” was nothing more than wishful thinking on theĀ  part of the ignorant. Since then, the amount of information available on the Internet has increased exponentially. We could once say that older materials … Continue reading

Information literacy: the work of librarians past and present

As long as there have been public libraries, librarians have been involved in education. They have helped people choose what to read for leisure and helped with their information needs. The recent emphasis on information literacy is more of a new term than a new concept, but as technology has transformed everything in society, information literacy needs to be done differently. For most of the twentieth century, the best way for most people to identify books on a particular subject was the card catalog in the library. Specialists could use various published bibliographies or the Cumulative Book Index among other … Continue reading