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Jump to: navigation, search -- Beyond Books: News, Literacy and Democracy in America's Libraries

Cambridge, Mass. (Boston), April 6-7, 2011 at the MIT Center for Future Civic Media

A one-and-one-half day convening (Wed. afternoon/evening, all day Thursday) preceeding the National Conference for Media Reform (Fri-Sun) in Boston. Location: [Bartos Theatre, MIT Center for Future Civic Media, Media Lab Building E15, Lower Atrium, 20 Ames St., Cambridge MA 02142.



Journalism That Matters, the MIT Center for Future Civic Media, the American Library Association, the Media Giraffe Project and the New England News Forum.


To develop the concept of libraries as community information centers beyond books and facilitating citizen journalism. Librarians want to expand public access to accurate information, particularly local news. So do journalists. Each is facing diminishing resources.

How can libraries, educational institutions and reporters/editors collaborate using the web to foster the values, principles and purposes of journalism?

How might public, university and school libraries expand their role as community information centers to inspire and perhaps equip citizens who want to practice and support the values, principles and purposes of journalism?


(First two bullets excerpted from an Oct. 3, 2010 Associated Press story available at the USAToday website.)

See also: "The Role of Libraries in the Digital Age," (Pew/Lee Rainie), and the RESEARCH DATASET.


Collaborators so far(alpha order): Joe Bergantino (New England Center for Investigative Reporting), Jessica Durkin (New America Foundation fellow), Mike Fancher (RJI / Seattle Times-retired), Fabrice Florin (NewsTrust), Marsha Iverson (ALA board and King County libraries), Library Leadership & Management Assn. (LLMA), Alan Inouye (director, Office of Info Tech Policy, ALA), Nancy Kranich (Rutgers Univ., chair ALA Center for Public Life), Lorrie LeJeune and Andrew Whitacre (MIT C4FCM), Leigh Montgomery (Christian Science Monitor librarian), Donna Nicely (Knight Commission/Nashville Public Library), Patrick Phillips (Vineyard Voice), Josh Stearns (, Colin Rhinesmith (Univ. of Illinois), Bill Densmore, (New England News Forum/Media Giraffe Project).


Wednesday -- Convene for afternoon networking session about 3 p.m. on Wed., April 6. Buffet supper at MIT, then an evening panel/program. Thursday -- Continental breakfast at 8:30 a.m.; program start at 9 a.m., run through 5 p.m. with snack breaks and box lunch. Birds-of-a-feather Dutch Treat (you pay) dinner arrangements facilitated.

SUGGESTED COST (assuming some sponsor underwriting)

  • Wed/Thurs. -- $75.00
  • Thurs. no lunch -- $45.00
  • Thurs. inc. lunch -- $60.00

Inclusive registration with Free Press

(includes Wed.-Sunday)

  • Through Jan. 14: $175.00. (we pay FP $100)
  • After Jan. 14: $225.00 (we pay FP $150)


"The Office for Information Technology Policy (OITP) at the ALA Washington Office is working on a policy brief on the evolving newspaper industry and the implications for libraries. In a number of communities, the ability of newspapers to provide local community information is declining. At the same time, informal sources of local information are rapidly increasing. What are libraries doing to foster improved access to community information in the context of these changes?"

ALA-cited issues:

  • Empowering patrons to create their own news and media at the grassroots level. Such endeavors might include enhancing patrons’ skills in creating do-it-yourself forms of media using technology tools and resources available at the library
  • Generating news-like content via community documentation projects hosted at a library
  • Partnering with other like-minded organizations to create news collectives, non-profits, or citizen journalism projects




(Atrium is bigger than photo suggests)