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Wednesday, November 8 • 11:35am - 12:15pm
History Has Its Eyes on You: Lighthouses and Libraries Weathering Storms of Change - or is being the Public Good Good Enough?

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For hundreds of years, the United States has been protected by two venerable institutions. Lighthouses have served as a beacon on the shores to guide ships carrying both people and cargo to a safe harbor. Libraries have served as a beacon to guide people to books, magazines, journals, reference works, recordings and other media for enlightenment, education and enjoyment. Both lighthouses and libraries have enjoyed their status as 'public goods' with little question in regards to the rationale for funding and support. Since most ships have navigation systems and we have all library items on our smartphone (we do right???), questions are being asked about the future of these two beacons.

Change impacting both lighthouses and libraries are remarkably similar. With automation and electrification, lighthouses transitioned to low-maintenance entities and many have been turned into historical museums across the country. Libraries have seen tremendous changes as collections became increasingly electronic over the past two years. The value proposition libraries play on campuses has changed - along with their ability to support community members in the present and many years in the future. While 'what's past is prologue' helps set the scene, the reality laid before both is to adapt or 'wither away on the vine.'

In this presentation, we will look at the parallel paths taken by both lighthouses and libraries in fulfilling their self-mandated missions. To that end, we will look more closely at the meaning of a 'public good' and the demands that librarians have in supporting both current use and future use of collections as we balance between community needs and aspirations. How librarians (and lighthouse keepers) face the coming storm will have a tremendous impact on future generations of our community members.

avatar for Corey Seeman

Corey Seeman

Director, Kresge Library Services, University of Michigan
Corey Seeman is the Director of Kresge Library Services of the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. The unit has recently undergone a great transformation from a traditional library to an electronic-only library service group with the completion of the Ross Construction... Read More →

Wednesday November 8, 2017 11:35am - 12:15pm EST
Citadel Green Room South, Embassy Suites Hotel 337 Meeting St, Charleston, SC 29403