Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Nicholas Baker's Double Fold

I created this blog because I am concerned about the future of libraries and the storage and retrieval of our national treasure of books and other perishable media. I believe in the liberty of all libraries to pursue complete collections and to fund and manage the storage of some media that may be obsolete. I read Nicholas Baker's excellent book "Double Fold" which entailed the destruction of precious American materials in order to save the overhead of owning and maintaining buildings to house it. The former system of microfiche scanning never worked well to preserve materials, but new techniques may help save the texts if not the books themselves.

The digital age rendered many old systems obsolete, and some believe even librarians. A Catch-22 is evident in regard to the digital age. It heralded much more efficient systems of storage and retreival, as well as the ability to search for very specific information from within a large amount of media. However, library patrons and librarians must adapt to ever-changing technology, and the whole concept of libraries as a "community place" are changing. Many patrons search for information online and through databases without the aid of a librarian. People listen to audiobooks or read e-books on corporate-designed e-book readers. Unfortunately, Digital Rights Management of all this material is unregulated. The books "1984" and "Animal Farm" were recently removed from Kindle e-book devices by staff for unclarified reasons.

For these reasons, I believe it is imperative for librarians to take back their collective power, (pun intended.) We must ensure that the public has full access to any knowledge it seeks, as long as it not intended to be used for malice. Libraries should have the liberty to protect intellectual property rights and preserve information in any way possible. I have not chosen my specific field of interest in library science at this time, but I want to promote the advancement of all libraries because that will promote the advancement of all people.

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