The late William F. Buckley Jr., the conservative columnist-editor-novelist, supported the idea of a national digital library. The push for one is nonpartisan. But President Obama’s State of the Union address makes the idea all the more timely—complete with mention of digital textbooks (just a start, as I see it), even if the State of the Union address didn’t use the word “library.” Excerpt:
Within the next five years, we will make it possible for business to deploy the next generation of high-speed wireless coverage to 98% of all Americans. This isn’t just about a faster internet and fewer dropped calls. It’s about connecting every part of America to the digital age. It’s about a rural community in Iowa or Alabama where farmers and small business owners will be able to sell their products all over the world. It’s about a firefighter who can download the design of a burning building onto a handheld device; a student who can take classes with a digital textbook; or a patient who can have face-to-face video chats with her doctor. All these investments—in innovation, education, and infrastructure—will make America a better place to do business and create jobs.
Over the next ten years, nearly half of all new jobs will require education that goes beyond a high school degree. And yet, as many as a quarter of our students aren’t even finishing high school. The quality of our math and science education lags behind many other nations. America has fallen to 9th in the proportion of young people with a college degree. And so the question is whether all of us—as citizens, and as parents—are willing to do what’s necessary to give every child a chance to succeed.
- National digital library endowment plan featured in Education Week
- Osama bin Laden’s death is a military triumph, all right—but how secure are we if dumbed-down U.S. high school students think ‘Al’ Qaeda is a person?
- L.A. kids can’t read a Warren Buffett bio at their school library—because it’s shut down: How Buffett and other billionaires can help
- ‘A Beautiful Mind,’ e-books and the Five Laws of Library Science: RIP, John Forbes Nash, Jr.
- More ammunition for a national digital library system playing up early childhood education and a family literacy approach? Thanks, Messrs. Kristof and Friedman!