The role of the library in the digital age is one of the compelling questions of our era. How are libraries coping with the promise and perils of our impending digital future? What urgent initiatives are underway to assure universal access to our print inheritance and to the digital communication forms of the future? How is the very idea of the library changing? These and related questions will engage our distinguished panelists, who represent both research and public libraries and two of whom serve on the steering committee for the Digital Public Library of America.
Robert Darnton is Carl H. Pforzheimer University Professor at Harvard, Director of the Harvard University Library and one of America’s most distinguished historians. He serves on the steering committee of the Digital Public Library of America and has been a trustees of the New York Public Library since 1995. In a recent essay in the New York Review of Books, Darnton defended a NYPL plan to liquidate some branches in the system while renovating the main Fifth Avenue branch. The essay sparked a number of responses. In November of last year, Darnton provided a status report on the DPLA. Darnton is the author of many influential books including The Case for Books, Past, Present, and Future and The Great Cat Massacre.
Susan Flannery is director of libraries for the City of Cambridge and past president of the Massachusetts Library Association.