Stories indexed with the term ‘Digital Public Library of America’

Ann Arbor Library Frames Tech Issues

Ann Arbor District Library board meeting (March 21, 2011): Monday’s meeting of the AADL board included an animated discussion about how digital books are transforming the publishing industry, and the impact those changes are having on public libraries.

Eli Neiburger avatar

The avatar for Eli Neiburger – or click the photo to see how he looks in real life. Neiburger has been named by Library Journal as one of its 2011 Movers & Shakers.

The topic stemmed from a report by AADL director Josie Parker, who described her experience at a recent working group meeting for the Digital Public Library of America. At that invitation-only event, Parker framed the discussion among industry leaders regarding the future of public access to information, from the perspective of public libraries.

It’s an issue highlighted by the decision of two major publishers – Macmillan and Simon & Schuster – not to sell eBooks to public libraries, making more than 25% of the eBook market unavailable to library patrons. More recently, HarperCollins announced restrictions on how libraries can circulate eBooks that it publishes.

Eli Neiburger, AADL’s associate director of IT and product development, gave a talk on the impact of eBooks at a national summit last fall called “ebooks: Libraries at the Tipping Point” – his presentation can be viewed online. At Monday’s meeting, Parker congratulated him for being named by Library Journal as one of its 2011 Movers & Shakers, in the category of tech leaders.

In another technology-related update, Parker told the board she’s been invited to serve on the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation‘s public access technology benchmarks program. That workgroup will be developing benchmarks that libraries can use to determine the kind of technology infrastructure they need to deliver services to their communities.

Parker also briefed the board on new standards imposed by the Library of Michigan, which changed how public libraries qualify for state aid. Those standards – originally proposed as rules – are the subject of a lawsuit against the state library, filed by the Herrick District Library in Holland. The AADL has filed an amicus curiae – or “friend of the court” – brief in support of the Herrick library’s position, which charges that the state library has no authority to set these rules, and is taking away local control from district libraries.

Aside from updates made by Parker, the board dispatched with the rest of its business quickly. No one spoke during the time available for public commentary. [Full Story]

Ann Arbor Library Board Starts New Year

Ann Arbor District Library annual board meeting (Jan. 17, 2011): The library board’s first meeting of 2011 served as the board’s “annual meeting.” It kicked off with a swearing-in for four board members – including three incumbents – who won their elections on Nov. 2. The ceremony was officiated by Judge Elizabeth “Libby” Hines of the 15th District Court.

Barbara Murphy, Ed Surovell, Nancy Kaplan, Jan Barney Newman

From left: Barbara Murphy, Ed Surovell, Nancy Kaplan and Jan Barney Newman were sworn in as Ann Arbor District Library board members at Monday's meeting. Elizabeth Hines, a judge in the 15th District Court, officiated the ceremony. (Photos by the writer.)

The seven-member board also elected new officers – there were no competing nominations, and all votes were unanimous. Margaret Leary, who has previously served as president, was again elected to that office, replacing trustee Rebecca Head. In her final remarks as president before new officers were elected, Head gave an overview of the past 18 months, citing both challenges and accomplishments during that period.

The board also heard some details about AADL director Josie Parker’s involvement in the Digital Public Library of America initiative. Parker has been invited to be part of a small working group that will help launch the project, which is spearheaded by Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society. Paul Courant, dean of libraries for the University of Michigan, is also involved. [Full Story]