The Revolution Isn't Just Digital

Alan S. Inouye, January 2012, American Libraries
The digital revolution in libraries is not exactly a secret. Every day we read about some upheaval in the ebook industry, a new development in digitization, or yet another service from Google. And the recent announcement of an ALA-wide initiative on digital content and libraries, while important and necessary, won’t exactly make media headlines. It is natural enough to focus on digital content, whiz-bang technology, and how libraries should provide innovative services for our communities. Yet there is more going on than meets the digital eye.

Why librarians should care about national broadband

Alan S. Inouye, June 2010, American Libraries
Broadband is the new national infrastructure. Just as electricity, telephones, and highways became essential in the 20th century, full participation in life in the 21st century depends on broadband. Librarians know all too well the consequences of having only modest connectivity—for instance, how a library’s network slows down midday after the school bell rings. The plan has great potential for increasing broadband capabilities for the library community.

The Best of Copyright and VideoLib

Carrie Russell, 2010, The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois. This article first appeared in Library Trends, Volume 58, Number 3, Winter 2010, pp. 349-357.
This article provides responses to five copyright scenarios—institutional pricing, the face-to-face classroom, video copying and replacement, film clips and streaming video—that are frequently faced by librarians who manage and acquire media. Copyright is a particularly complex area for librarians who work with media. Frequently, librarians are confused about the legality of certain uses of media. This confusion is magnified when vendors sell licenses to librarians when they are not necessary. The Technology, Education, and Copyright Harmonization Act of 2002 is a convoluted law that many view as a restriction of fair use rights. Fair use is a copyright exception that can be applied to all of the exclusive rights of copyright including public performances and digital transmissions. This article also suggests that behavior affects how we interpret the law.

On-the-Ground Lessons from OITP's Public Library Connectivity Study

Timothy Vollmer, January 2009, Library Technology Reports
OITP IT Policy Analyst, Timothy Vollmer's “On-the-Ground Lessons from OITP’s Public Library Connectivity Study” discusses findings from the 2007 OITP Connectivity Study, examining the exploding demand for broadband connectivity at public libraries, analyzing barriers to increasing connectivity, and suggesting ways libraries and policymakers may better plan for and implement fast connections in public libraries. Increasing demand for public library Internet Access and the increasing bandwidth requirements of today's Internet applications and services have created a perfect storm of library connectivity challenges. And, ongoing financial, political, and industry obstacles have limited the adoption of broadband. This article summarizes OITP's 2007 Public Library Connectivity Project. Through interviews and public library site visits, it analyzed connectivity demand, barriers to broadband adoption, capacity planning, and positive steps forward in ensuring America's libraries can get the connectivity they need to serve their users.

Rethinking the E-rate

Carrie Lowe, October 2008, American Libraries
What is the largest source of potential federal funding for public libraries? Your first thought may naturally be the Library Services and Technology Ac, a program that provided around $220 million for libraries in FY2008. But the correct answer is the Education-Rate Program, commonly known as the “E-rate,” with at least $2.25 billion per year—one of the four programs that comprise the federal Universal Services Fund (USF) that was established in the Communications Act of 1934 to equalize the cost of telephone services to underserved areas of the country. The 1996 Telecommunications Act took it a step further by adding support for advanced telecommunications and information services, extending the USF’s priorities to include K–12 schools and public libraries. Thus, the birth of the E-rate.