The Future of Libraries
The creation of the first libraries, which archived clay tablets in cuneiform script, marked the end of prehistory and beginning of history. Libraries preserve culture, make scholarship possible, and, in the age of democracy, theoretically give everyone access to knowledge. The Archivist of the United States leads a wide-ranging discussion on the role of libraries in a digital world. How do we impart lifelong learning skills and foster a love of reading in this age of IM’s and Tweets? What does it mean to be literate today? How do we encourage critical thinking when information, uncurated and unvetted, is omnipresent? How can school librarians support classroom teaching by organizing the digital tsunami of primary documents? What role can librarians play in shaping our new frontier, the Digital Public Library of America?
David S. Ferriero is the Archivist of the United States. Previously, he served as the Andrew W. Mellon Director of the New York Public Libraries. He was part of the leadership team responsible for integrating the four research libraries and 87 branch libraries into one seamless service, creating the largest public library system in the United States and one of the largest research libraries in the world. Among his other duties were the development of the library’s digital strategy. Before joining NYPL, he was in top positions at two of the nation’s major academic libraries, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, MA, and Duke University in Durham, NC.