California’s First Official Virtual Library

September 4, 2007 at 3:37 PM Leave a comment

Not exactly new news, but thought provoking nonetheless. California has designated The Internet Archive, Brewster Kahle’s strikingly ambitious (“Universal access to human knowledge”) undertaking, as an official library of the State of California.

Kahle’s post about it seems a bit wide-eyed, but perhaps he really wasn’t aware of the way library funding works. He writes, “It turns out that to receive a particular kind of federal funding, you have to have your state sign off that you are a library.” If I’m not mistaken, that particular kind of funding is the same federally-backed, state-administered program that all of California’s public libraries must depend upon.

It’s not clear from the news story how much funding the Archive project might siphon off from the funding pool — if any — but the implication seems a little ominous for the existing (physical, and their associated virtual) libraries of California.

Not that I have anything against the Archive; how can you not love an enterprise dedicated solely to the preservation of ephemera like educational films about keeping yourself clean?

I’d be curious to know how the library community in that state is receiving this news, which dates back to June. And to know your opinion, as well, phantom reader.

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Entry filed under: Digital Libraries, Library Funding.

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