Libraries and Broadband: Forging a New Social Compact

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“Libraries and Broadband: Forging a New Social Compact” Delaware Library BTOP Launch, Newark, DE.

Abstract: The time for introspection is done. The time for trivia is done. The time for looking for the future of libraries in catalogs, and strategic plans is done. The needs of our communities is too great, and our promise for improvement to large. Our families worry about jobs and the ability to fight their way into a shrinking middle class. Our education system is broken – students unable to learn, or drowning under crushing debt. Our system of government increasingly polarized, our appetites for energy unsustainable, and the very memory of our society eroding behind walls of commerce and false scarcity and obsolescence. These then are among our grand challenges. 

And I know what you are thinking. I know that tomorrow you’ll be dealing with broken printers, and shelving backlogs, and the rising costs of subscriptions. But you must look up. You must never make what you do replace why you do it. And if you can’t link broken printers and shelving to the grand challenges of our society, then you ought to ask why you are doing them. We must stop reacting to the world around us and start inspiring it!

For too long have we defined the core of our profession – service – as standing ready to serve. No one ever changed the world by standing ready. We do it through action. This is the time – this is the place – we are the people.

Slides: http://quartz.syr.edu/rdlankes/Presentations/2011/Delaware-Lankes.pdf
Audio: http://quartz.syr.edu/rdlankes/pod/2011/Newark.mp3

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3 responses on “Libraries and Broadband: Forging a New Social Compact

  1. Walter den Haan

    Your concepts are so forward thinking and in my opinion spot on. Libraries are positioned to take their place in society and to help society move forward. The question I see is how does a libray system take your vision and in a tactical way move forward? Is there any group now that is taking steps forward where other libraries contemplating this can learn from them?

    regards,
    -walt

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