Welcome to the Digital Public Library of America!

As we wrap up National Library Week it’s important to herald the major announcement  of a significant resource, the Digital Public Library of America (http://publiclibrariesonline.org/2013/04/launching-the-digital-public-library-of-america/#.UXFmyZiIdH8.mailto).  Though the DPLA clearly is not the first major digital library resource, planners are firm in their assertion that it is inherently unique:  “What distinguishes the Digital Public Library of America from these other efforts, however, is its aim to serve not as a database or portal or digital repository, but as a large-scale digital public library to preserve U.S. history and enhance the knowledge of the collective U.S. for current and future generations.”

Much was written about the new entry on the digital library scene; for some reason I particularly enjoyed a couple of reviews that I had time to peruse:

–       John Darndon offers a comprehensive history of the DPLA in a recent article in the New York Review of Books (http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2013/apr/25/national-digital-public-library-launched/?pagination=false)

–       Pandodaily offers a slightly different take on the news (http://pandodaily.com/2013/04/19/the-digital-public-library-of-america-a-big-moment-for-open-access-or-too-big-for-its-own-good/)  There are countless others.

–       The NPR blog offers yet another view:  http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2013/04/18/177727014/book-news-vast-digital-public-library-of-america-launches

It is sad to note that the launch of the DPLA was totally eclipsed by the Boston Marathon catastrophe and the ensuing trauma that engulfed the city where the launch event was held.

Recalling that we started the week with the dread tax day, it seems right to note that this is a portal to libraries that are supported by and for the public.  Though the DPLA project did receive foundation support, most public depend on public support.   We are inclined to speak glibly of “free” libraries, the treasures of our public libraries are not free.  Since the birth of this nation we have recognized that libraries are and must remain a public good charged to assure that all American citizens have ready access to the tools essential to an informed electorate who are the deciders in a democracy.  The DPLA is just a handy tool that makes some of those resources more accessible to more people who would be free.

If you are among the many homebound and looking for hope as we struggle through the last blast of Winter of 2013, you may find escape, even hope, by checking out the beta version of the DPLA.  Consider that it will be Spring when you resurface – seriously.

2 responses to “Welcome to the Digital Public Library of America!

  1. Mary,

    You continue to amaze me. Your knowledge of the subjects, your abilities in finding ways for us to access related material, your genius, your … I wish* *I could follow all the avenues you have sent so that I could see these in greater depth. How do you have time to gather all these facts and related articles? I found this computer pack that leads me to where I can return comments (this feature is either new, or I just discovered it, or !)

    On Fri, Apr 19, 2013 at 12:01 PM, Poking Around with Mary wrote:

    > ** > MaryTreacy posted: “As we wrap up National Library Week its important > to herald the major announcement of a significant resource, the Digital > Public Library of America ( > http://publiclibrariesonline.org/2013/04/launching-the-digital-public-library-of-america/#.UXFmyZiIdH8.m” >

  2. Whiting Shirley

    Mary – Once again you’ve offered us riches of information! I’m going to explore these sites and I agree with you-about the importance of the tools of democracy, especially now that the world seem in so much turmoil. This ghastly situation in Boston . . .so depressing. I look forward to posts from you – keep it up and we’ll talk more, Shirley

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