LibraryCity’s take on K-12 libraries and the DPLA

Digital Public Library of AmericaYes, LibraryCity has been on an S. R. Ranganathan kick lately (here and here).

Still ahead is a DPLA-related essay on his Five Laws of Library Science as applied to K-12, including school libraries—a follow-up to the LibraryCity post by Apple Distinguished Educator Donald R. Smith, a teacher-librarian with 40 years of experience. If you want to share any relevant thoughts for the next Ranganathan-inspired essay, just e-mail LibraryCity or use the comments area of this post. The essay should be online at in the next week or two, after some crucial research materials arrive.

Meanwhile, some other ideas on K-12-related matters:

The DPLA should work with state and local libraries toward the creation of a public national digital system with a strong K-12 component. The public system should cooperate with but be separate from the mostly higher-ed-oriented system that the DPLA seems eager to create despite some good work in the K-12 area.

Don’t let the university dog wag the public tail. Both count, so, no, the metaphor isn’t exact. Still, I fear that academics and friends are imposing their ways on the rest of the world or at least accidentally shortchanging it.

Consider this example in a K-12 context:

Harvard Prof. Robert Darnton, the originator of the DPLA idea, says in the New York Review of Books that experts could update some math and agronomy books and others in the public domainExcellent. I also like DPLA leader John Palfrey’s vision of the DPLA providing shared resources to help schools meet the new Common Core Standards (Core site here). Both ideas would cut schools’ content costs for those items. And yet they are hardly a full-fledged solution, even with plenty else thrown in. Schools, for example, may find that software apps written from scratch, not traditional textbooks and reference works, are the answer in more than a few math-related situations.

Continue reading …

* This Creative Commons licensed article first appeared at, the website of TeleRead founder David Rothman

About David Rothman (6824 Articles)
David Rothman is the founder and publisher of the TeleRead e-book site and cofounder of He is also author of The Solomon Scandals novel and six tech-related books on topics ranging from the Internet to laptops. Passionate on digital divide issues, he is now pushing for the creation of a national digital library endowment.

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