‘The most urgent digital library needs are those of Lady Gaga and the Kardashians’

Lady_Gaga_BTW_Ball_Antwerp_02Just a dream. But what if I really could write the headline above—and not as a joke?

Would more Americans, inside and outside the media, care than now about the Hispanics, African-Americans and poor people mentioned in LibraryCity’s digital library commentary below?

Of course, as is evident from the post, you don’t have to be in a minority to benefit from well-stocked digital libraries.

The challenge is to let people know, “We can make full-strength national digital libraries happen. We don’t have to put up with a crappy $4.20 per capita spent each year on public library content in all formats. And libraries also can be much more efficient at it. Especially if publishers will stop overcharging them for e-books—while libraries at the same time understand the publishers’ side as well.”

If Americans can actually associate the words “digital” and “efficiency” with “More library books available for you and your kids,” life will in fact get better.

More and smarter coverage in the media wouldn’t hurt. This week I was in touch with a veteran reporter with a big and famous media organization. Without the slightest sarcasm, he wrote me: “Let’s begin with the obvious but basic question. How much of a library crisis is there? I’ve never seen a convincing argument either way…"

Next month the American Library Association will hold its midwinter meeting. What if the ALA  could successfully educate reporters like him about actual needs? Suppose ALA even passed a resolution in favor of a national digital library endowment and two well-stocked national digital library systems (one public, one academic).

If the press still doesn’t give a squat about solutions, ALA is very welcome to call these efforts “The Lady Gaga Digital Library Initiative.”

(CC licensed photo is from Yne Van De Mergel.)

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