E-books catching on in K-12—plus the rejection of the Google Book settlement: Two good reasons for a well-stocked national digital library system

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imageE-books and other digital texts are continuing to catch on in K-12 even if most students still lack access to, say, Kindles or iPads. See here and here.

K-12 benefits are clearly among the more important reasons for a well-stocked national digital system—with cost-justified efforts to bring high-speed connections and the right hardware to the masses.

Meanwhile a judge has tossed out the Google Books settlement, saying it should be opt-in rather than opt-out.

For both K-12 purposes and as a way to bring together zillions of books as Google wanted, we need a universal national digital library system more than ever. And, yes, it should be genuinely public and not just for the elite and help both “ordinary” library users and those with special needs. Such an approach would be far more library-friendly than turning over America’s library system to Google, in effect—or foundations and nonprofits. Those risks aren’t immediate. But long term, they are very real. Help for public libraries from foundations and nonprofits? Definitely! But not control.

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