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Dialogue on Public Libraries - Background Readings

This collection of reading materials was created to prepare participants for the 2013 Aspen Institute Dialogue on Public Libraries.  The selections helped frame the discussions around efforts to re-imagine and transform public libraries. It is not intended to be a comprehensive collection of materials, but rather an overview of subjects relevant to the Roundtable dialogue.

Section I. Impact of the Digital Disruption on Individuals, Organizations and Society

Thomas Friedman, “It’s a 401 (K) World,” The New York Times, April 30, 2013.

Mobile only (and beyond), in Tech Trends 2013: Elements of postdigital, Deloitte, 2012.

Dylan Scott, “Can Libraries Survive the e-book revolution?” Governing, July 2013.

Section II. Public Libraries and the New Information, Learning and Civic Ecologies

Joshua Kauffman, “Knowledge, Networks and the Public Library: A discussion paper highlighting key issues facing public libraries in the knowledge society,” 2013

David Giles, Branches of Opportunity, Center for an Urban Future, January 2013, pp. 13-25.

Andrea Saveri, “Five Future Trends That Will Impact the Learning Ecosystem,” Edutopia, June 19, 2013.

S. Craig Watkins, “Poorly Educated and Poorly Connected: The Hidden Realities of Innovation Hubs,” The Young and the Digital, May 24, 2013.

Section III. Rethinking Public Libraries

R. David Lankes, “Beyond the Bullet Points: Libraries are Obsolete,” Virtual Dave…Real Blog, April 12, 2012.

Jeff Goldenson and Nate Hill, “Making Room for Innovation,” Library Journal, July 23, 2013.

Library as Place/Space:

Martha Minow, Dean of Harvard Law School, “Putting Public Space in its Place Panel 6: Public Space, Democracy, and Equality: For the People, By the People, Of the People?,” Transcription, March 8, 2013.

Henrik Jochumsen, Casper Hvenegaard Rasmussen and Dorte Skot-Hansen, “A new model for the public library in the knowledge and experience society,” Centre for Cultural Policy Studies, Royal School of Library and Information Science.

Library as People (Relationships + Networks)

Gaspar Caro, “Thank You,” posted on StoryCorps June 28, 2011.

Andy Havens, “From community to technology … and back again,” Next Space, OCLC blog, January 15, 2013.  

Library as Platform:

David Weinberger, “Library as Platform,” Library Journal, September 4, 2012.

Section IV. The Library of the Future

Alan Davey, “The Library of the Future,” Arts Council, England, May 2013.

Jeremy Greenfield, “Does the Library of the Future have Books?Forbes, July 18, 2013.

Roger E. Levien, “Summary,” Confronting the Future: Strategic Visions for the 21st Century Public Library, American Library Association, June 2011, pp. 3-7, 12-13.


Kathryn Zickuhr, Lee Rainie, Kristen Purcell, “Library Services in the Digital Age,” Pew Internet & American Life, January 22, 2013.

IMLS 2010 Public Library Survey Results Announced, Institute for Museum and Library Services, press release, January 22, 2013.