The DPLA listserv is probably too impractical for most of Code4Lib, but Nate 
Hill (who's on this list as well) made this contribution there, which I think 
deserves attention from library coders here.

On Apr 5, 2011, at 11:15 AM, Nate Hill wrote:

> It is awesome that the project Gutenberg stuff is out there, it is a great 
> start.  But libraries aren't using it right.  There's been talk on this list 
> about the changing role of the public library in people's lives, there's been 
> talk about the library brand, and some talk about what 'local' might mean in 
> this context.  I'd suggest that we should find ways to make reading library 
> ebooks feel local and connected to an immediate community.  Brick and mortar 
> library facilities are public spaces, and librarians are proud of that.  We 
> have collections of materials in there, and we host programs and events to 
> give those materials context within the community.  There's something special 
> about watching a child find a good book, and then show it to his  or her 
> friend and talk about how awesome it is.  There's also something special 
> about watching a senior citizens book group get together and discuss a new 
> novel every month.  For some reason, libraries really struggle with treating 
> their digital spaces the same way.
> I'd love to see libraries creating online conversations around ebooks in much 
> the same way.  Take a title from project Gutenberg: The Adventures of 
> Huckleberry Finn.  Why not host that book directly on my library website so 
> that it can be found at an intuitive URL, 
> and then create a forum for 
> it?  The URL itself takes care of the 'local' piece; certainly my most likely 
> visitors will be San Jose residents- especially if other libraries do this 
> same thing.  The brand remains intact, when I launch this web page that holds 
> the book I can promote my library's identity.  The interface is no problem 
> because I can optimize the page to load well on any device and I can link to 
> different formats of the book.  Finally, and most importantly, I've created a 
> local digital space for this book so that people can converse about it via 
> comments, uploaded pictures, video, whatever.  I really think this community 
> conversation and context-creation around materials is a big part of what 
> makes public libraries special.

Eric Hellman
President, Gluejar, Inc.   Gluejar is hiring!

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