U.K.’s planned library closings show risk of NOT digitizing U.S. libraries

Hundreds of U.K. libraries may be closed, and the real villains are tightwad politicians.

But smart planning by librarians in Great Britain, the U.S. and elsewhere can reduce the risks—through digitization efforts that reflect genuine local needs. Local librarians could not only help develop local content but also adapt materials from a  national digital library system to serve their patrons.

Play up the new efficiencies, position community libraries as more than just book warehouses, and library advocates in many countries can sell politicians on such systems.

The good news is that many local and public libraries in the U.S. already offer e-books—the challenge is to increase the number and quality and also think beyoond books alone. Alas, just a third of our school libraries circulate digital books.

Meanwhile back to the U.K. As just noted in The Digital Reader, citing a press release, three and a half million people there received digital readers for Christmas. What if local libraries were better prepared to serve them and help other Brits make the transition?

(NPR via LISNews.)

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