Libraries matter in digital age

SOUTHWEST HARBOR — John Palfrey will discuss his book “BiblioTech: Why Libraries Matter More Than Ever in the Age of Google” at the Southwest Harbor Public Library on Tuesday, Aug. 9, at 5:30 p.m.


Palfrey’s book advocates for libraries in an age when some might think they are less relevant. IMAGE COURTESY OF JOHN PALFREY

Palfrey argues that anyone seeking to participate in the 21st century needs to understand how to find and use the vast stores of information available online. Libraries play a crucial role in making these skills and information available, and yet are at risk. In order to survive our rapidly modernizing world and dwindling government funding, libraries must make the transition to a digital future as soon as possible by digitizing print material and ensuring that born-digital material is publicly available online while continuing to play the vital role as public spaces in our democracy that they have for hundreds of years.

Palfrey is the head of school at Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass. Prior to joining the Andover community in July 2012, Palfrey worked as a professor and vice dean of the library at Harvard Law School. He also served as co-director of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society and has published extensively on how young people are learning in a digital era, as well as the effect of new technologies on society at large.

Outside of his work at Andover, Palfrey chairs the board of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the board of LRNG. He also serves on the boards of the Berkman Center and Data & Society. Palfrey is the author or co-author of eight books, including “BiblioTech” (2015) and “Born Digital” (2016, with Urs Gasser). He holds a bachelor’s degree from Harvard College, a masters from the University of Cambridge and a juris doctor from Harvard Law School.

There will be books for sale and signing. Call the library at 244-7065.


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