Future Of Libraries: Legal Providers Of Free Content

from the entertainment-industry-suing-libraries-next? dept

Quite often when there’s a discussion about free content online someone will eventually bring up the library comparison, pointing out that libraries provide free access to books and it certainly never killed off the book business (though, there are still some publishers who mistakenly think that libraries are bad for business). At the same time, however, libraries have been struggling with how to update in order to be more relevant in this digital age. Well, apparently one area they could focus on is becoming the legal provider to all kinds of free content — even beyond the areas of content they’re already known for providing. This certainly won’t endear libraries to the entertainment industry (at least those in the entertainment industry who are still convinced that their obsolete business model makes sense), but certainly could bring in plenty of younger folks who are interested in checking out the available content and experiencing new books, music, movies and data that would otherwise be difficult to access.

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Comments on “Future Of Libraries: Legal Providers Of Free Content”

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hoeppner says:

our library has a bunch of movies, DVD’s, and CD’s for check out. along with a whole bunch of magazines that make better resources on papers than a handful of internet websites, or just for enjoyment reading on topics you’ve never thought to go over.

and if my college didn’t already have access to databases they’d be great for that too… the only database/agent you can’t find is a good one for recommending what to read next for your general fiction.

Simon says:

Re: A physical location?

RTFA: it was talking about using public libraries to access subscription databases, with a wealth of content from magazines, journals and newspapers. Most people can’t afford to pay thousands of dollars to subscribe to these databases, but they’re available free of charge to public library users. Already. Via the library’s website.

(Plus you still get to use libraries to access physical media, if that’s what you want; and you may not even have to drive to the library, seeing as many libraries will deliver books by mail these days).

spencermatthewp says:

You must be back east

I don’t know how it is back there, but in the Northwest where I live you can’t go to a library that doesn’t have a huge selection of videos, DVDs, cassettes, CDs, and more. Not to mention a several (as in more than 10 in even a very small library) computers accessing the internet. It;s been that way for years here. I’ve checked out the entire first 4 seasons of 24 at the library (The first episode I saw on tv was in Season 5) Not to mention movies — Talk about a cheap date night. The only problem is that since they are free to check out they are often checked out. Not to worry, just get on the waiting list (Hmmmm. sounds like Netflix but without the door to door delivery)

OH and get this, I’ve never been to a library and seen it empty. Because of all the free services, there is someone there using it all the time. Sounds like your libraries simply need to get caught up to the present, rather than thinking that this is the future.

RoyalPeasantry says:

I know my college is hooked into a large number of online information databases that you can’t access without being a student. Libraries should get get hooked up the same way.

Most librarians I’ve met are experts at finding information on whatever topic a person might need. Instead of stumbling around looking for information on your own, go to a library and talk to people who do it all the time.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Most librarians I’ve met are experts at finding information on whatever topic a person might need. Instead of stumbling around looking for information on your own, go to a library and talk to people who do it all the time.

Be careful what you ask about though. Everything you access in a public library that leaves a record can wind up in your FBI file. And without any explanation things can look a lot worse than you might imagine.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“News flash! Libraries do not provide anything for “free”. They are funded by tax dollars. It’s always sad when someone refers to any government service as being free.”

I think sometimes people use the word “free” to mean “without additional cost” rather than “without any cost”.

kuru oujou (user link) says:

Librarys already are

Libraries already are, for the most part, multi-content providers. At the local library here, there are about 40 computers in the children’s area, and about 40 in groups in the adult stacks, along with a few scattered about for catalog lookup (not the old text-based system, it’s actually a website that they have them set too, and you can search their stacks anywhere you want in the world if you have internet). It has tons of CD’s, about as many as the local…er…ex-cd store (it went out recently due to lack of business). It has a section for VHS and DVD’s that’s huge, and even a section for software. (although they don’t have a lot of software yet). It has all sorts of media. The other libraries that I have been too also have most of this media (with the exception of the software, I have yet to visit another library that has software). I think that this post is just a little out-of-date…by what it sounds from my experience and other commenters, most libraries already do this…ok, i’m done blathering about useless crap, no one here probably cares anyway.

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