Friday, October 23, 2015

New Librarian of Congress needs to embrace digital world

By Cynthia Becker

President Obama is in charge of appointing the next Librarian of Congress. James H. Billington, who had served as Librarian of Congress for the past 28 years, resigned his position on September 30.
Who the president picks is important because this position has the power over copyright policy and to declare exemptions to copyright with the use of media and digital devices.

It is important that the next librarian be in touch with the changing needs of digital copyright so they can declare fair exemptions. And in general this position could provide a broader leadership to libraries around the country. He or she could finally help the Library of Congress to participate in the Digital Public Library of American and make even more of its archives available digitally. It also could march forward for the digital revolution and be leaders in preserving materials and advocating for libraries on other information trends, such as open access to information.
Libraries are in a new world, but still can be leaders in that world. The next Librarian of Congress not only needs to embrace that role but also should be looking forward to shaping libraries' roles in the digital world.

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