Library Renewal Q & A: Round 1

July 25, 2011
Posted in: Board Member Posts, Q&A

Library Renewal is here because we want to help create library- and library user-centric solutions for electronic content access. We’re talking principally about things like e-books, audio books, music, tv shows and movies. We approach this work as librarians, technology experts and just regular citizens who care about the future of access through libraries. Many people involved come from libraries, but we are actively reaching out beyond the library industry as well, always looking for productive participation and partnerships.

While statements like that are nice, and true, people want to hear more about what Library Renewal is working on. So, here are some more specific answers!

What is Library Renewal trying to accomplish?
Four short answers:
1. We want to further the mission of libraries and ensure they remain relevant players in the information access landscape we inhabit, regardless of the technological or business changes we expect to see.

2. We want to be the place where library advocates of all stripes go to support the work of creating new ways to access and distribute electronic content, something that gets people what they want, when and in the formats they want it … through the library for decades to come.

3. We want libraries and librarians running this system, negotiating deals for this system and acting in the best interest of libraries and library users.

4. You know how you can access great electronic content from services like Netflix, iTunes, Amazon, Spotify and Hulu? We want to make accessing electronic content through libraries works as well and as seamlessly as it does on those services.

What makes Library Renewal different?
Our mission is to further the mission of your library, not a bottom line driven primarily by profit and shareholders. We have respect for the systems and the innovations that popular commercial content access infrastructures drive, but believe that libraries can also lead in this arena. We exist to make that happen and are committed to making that happen.

We know libraries, and we know technology. We are reaching out to a variety of industries to help further our mission. For example, the legal, technological, entertainment and governmental industries all have key players that support libraries – we are already connecting with many of these people. We are also on a quest to engage with even more of these key players, so if you know anyone like that or are one of those people, please drop us a line.

Who is involved?
Hopefully YOU! We also have Board Members, Contributing Editors and a crew of Library Renewal Advocates. We are currently focusing lots of work that Advocates Program and can now happily report that it will be fully up and running before Summer is up.

Advocates:
The Advocates Program is especially exciting because it will have a slew of practical, useable features and tools, all designed to get people started doing real, results oriented work on the kinds of solutions libraries *really* need when it comes to electronic content access. We’ll have specific tasks people can work on right off the bat and will also periodically be soliciting people with specific skills who might be interested in becoming an Advocate. Of course, Library Renewal Advocates are those that are especially interested in and committed to this work and are willing to invest real time and effort in it, not a more casual supporter. Still, even understanding that, we already have dozens of people interested in becoming Advocates. It may have taken us a while to get this program set up, but we wanted to get it right. And now we are close to launching it. People are itching to substantially contribute to solving the challenges electronic content access poses to libraries and finally there will be program to organize our work together and get maximum value from our efforts toward renewal. So watch for announcements about the Library Renewal Advocates program soon!

Partner Libraries
We are also hard at work gathering a select group of partner libraries and institutions. When we say we are “hard at work” developing the Library Renewal Partner Program, that means we are in active discussions with multiple libraries around the U.S. about formally partnering with Library Renewal and working closely together as we go about our work of creating research, partnerships, plans and building actual technology solutions. If your library is interested in learning more about what becoming a Library Renewal Partner Library entails, please be in touch; we would love to talk with you.

Who do you partner with?
At a basic level, we partner with anyone who believes in our mission and is willing to do something to support it. That support can come in many forms, from staff time to special expertise to monetary contributions. At another level we are interested in partnering as an organization with specific libraries, consortia, state organizations, non-profits and businesses. If you’d like to know more and talk with us about partnering, we are ready to talk. Get in touch any time.

So my library can be a part of Library Renewal?
Absolutely. And if you can’t make the call for the library or library system you work in or use to get material, no worries. You can take part as an individual.

How can I make sure Library Renewal is successful?

Visit the site. Read the blog. Sign up for our newsletter. Get on our list of Advocates/Volunteers (more info on that is on this page). Talk with people about Library Renewal. If you have questions, please ask! And if you are a library leader, technology expert, copyright expert, publishing expert, non-profit expert or have some other skill or connection that will help further our mission, well, please let us know!

What if I want to give Library Renewal a monetary donation?
We’ve made that fairly simple via our Donation Center/Store. We have a bevy of spiffy “Thank You!” gifts to send you in return for your generous donations. You can also make monetary donations here, though if you have a substantial gift or idea to fund a project, we’d prefer to talk with you about that first, so you know how your dollars will be put to use.

You are clearly
1. nuts …
2. on to something …
3. getting me interested …
4. making my head swim …
5. making me want to ask more questions …

… and I want to tell you that in an email. How do I get in touch with you?

Email us here: info *at sign* libraryrenwal.org (or use this form).
You can drop us a line any time. If you have other questions, we are happy to answer them. We prefer emails for questions, but comments work too. Just a note, we’ll be turning answers your questions into future blog posts or newsletter articles, so not all responses will go in-line in the comments.

Thank you again for your interest in Library Renewal. Hopefully we answered some of your questions about the org and our work so far. We believe that if you care about libraries and electronic content access you’ll definitely want to stay tuned!

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