The ALA has created the ALA Digital Content and Libraries Working Group

The ALA has created the ALA Digital Content and Libraries Working Group which I think may be a good step in the right direction with the encroaching of eBooks, ePublishing, eDistribution, and just about eEverything else. I recieved the email below on the ALA Council Listserv from Molly Raphael who is the current President of the American Library Association. Let me know what you think of this development and ALA’s role in digital content and information.

New digital forms of information offer rich and extraordinary opportunities for libraries to expand community access to information and to revolutionize in positive ways the relationship between libraries and users. At the same time, these new forms of digital content pose new challenges for libraries.

As libraries struggle to meet these challenges of providing digital content in an environment characterized by significant uncertainty and changing on a daily basis, there is a need for this Association-wide group of experts, broadly representative of the many constituencies within the library community, that can proactively address these digital content opportunities and issues at the highest level and from both a policy and practical perspective.

To this end, the ALA Digital Content and Libraries Working Group will be charged to:

  • Advise the Association regarding opportunities and issues related to libraries and digital content and the provision of equitable access to digital content for all.
  • Explore, analyze and share information on various options for expanding access to digital content for libraries and the public and for overcoming legal, technological, policy and economic barriers to equitable access
  • Suggest information and training that would be of use to librarians so that they can make informed choices, serve as advocates for digital access, and design and support digital services.
  • Advise the Association on efforts to increase public awareness and understanding of issues related to access to digital content and the challenges to/role of libraries in providing equitable access to digital resources.
  • Assist in the identification of strategies to influence decision makers—whether government officials, publishers, other information service providers, interest groups, and others—to effect changes that would assist libraries in better serving their communities.
  • Address specific issues such as Business Models, Accessibility, Privacy, Education for the Library Community, Public Outreach and Publisher/Service Provider Relations through working subcommittees, bringing in other experts and advisors as appropriate.
  • Serve as formal liaisons to various ALA and ALA affiliate groups (examples would include the divisions, round tables, ethnic affiliates, and ALA Accessibility Assembly).
  • As appropriate, reach out to other organizations and experts in other fields in order to better understand the broad technological, social and economic environments and trends and their potential impact on libraries
  • Working Group members have been selected based on their high level of expertise and range of experience regarding libraries and digital content, and to be broadly representative of the various constituencies within the Association and library community and various types of libraries and library situations. A list of members of the new Working Group is attached as well as additional details on the Working Group’s scope of work and proposed responsibilities. We are grateful for their willingness to serve and especially for the willingness of the two co-chairs , Sari Feldman and Robert Wolven, to lead this very important effort. ALA President-elect Maureen Sullivan has volunteered to serve as the Executive Board’s liaison.