Are Libraries Obsolete?

An Argument for Relevance in the Digital Age


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SKU: 9780786473564 Category:

About the Book

The digital age has transformed information access in ways that few ever dreamed. But the afterclap of our digital wonders has left libraries reeling as they are no longer the chief contender in information delivery.
The author gives both sides—the web aficionados, some of them unhinged, and the traditional librarians, some blinkered—a fair hearing but misconceptions abound. Internet be-all and end-all enthusiasts are no more useful than librarians who urge fellow professionals to be all things to all people. The American Library Association, wildly democratic at its best and worst, appears schizophrenic on the issue, unhelpfully. “My effort here,” says the author, “is to talk about the elephant in the room.”
Are libraries obsolete? No! concludes the author (also). The book explores how libraries and librarians must and certainly can continue to be relevant, vibrant and enduring.

About the Author(s)

Mark Y. Herring is the dean of library services at Winthrop University, Rock Hill, South Carolina. His work has appeared in American Libraries and Library Journal and many other publications.

Bibliographic Details

Mark Y. Herring
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 268
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2014
pISBN: 978-0-7864-7356-4
eISBN: 978-1-4766-1591-2
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments 1

Part One  5

 1. Introduction 7

 2. Everything Is Still Not on the Internet 19

 3. Searching the Web 30

 4. Quality Control, or Lack Thereof 42

 5. Rotting from Within? 57

 6. En Masse: Mass Digitization 67

 7. Copyright 80

 8. Ebooks Über Alles? 96

 9. Depth and Ubiquity 111

Part Two 123

10. Reading and Literacy 126

11. Privacy 138

12. Piracy 150

Part Three 165

13. You Are Here 171

14. Are Libraries Obsolete After All? Two Scenarios 187

Epilogue: Reviving the Spirit of Andrew Carnegie 216

Chapter Notes 219

Selected Bibliography 246

Index 255

Book Reviews & Awards

“vital”—Library Journal; “in a book that is both alarmingly provocative and maddeningly candid in its appraisal of libraries and their place in an increasingly digital world, Mark Herring asks questions that few librarians are honest enough to ask…an even-handed and comprehensive evaluation…a first-rate book that takes on some really tough questions…his clear-headed sense and insightful analysis of the current library malaise, the manifold challenges facing librarians, and his articulation in particular of the specter of a potentially all-digital world are superb, and I suspect without peer. Persuasive, engagingly-written, and provocative…outstanding. It may well prove one of the best library and information science books of the year”—Against the Grain; “Herring presents this well-referenced work as an updated and on-going debate on the relevance or obsolescence of libraries in the digital age…highly recommended. It will promote honest and thoughtful debate on this important issue facing all libraries in the ever-advancing digital age”—The Australian Library Journal.