February 20, 2018

Here Comes LibraryCity

By LJ Staff

A new nonprofit, LibraryCity, as of now virtual, aims to put thousands of ebooks and other items online, in partnership with local libraries and schools. Among those at LibraryCity, Lori Watrous-deVersterre, the executive director, is a tech veteran, while Tom Peters, the project’s advisory librarian, is an e-book usability expert as well as former director of the Center for Library Initiatives at the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC), the academic consortium of the Big Ten universities and the University of Chicago. Peters, interviewed in Innovate, said, ‘Our goal is to construct a worldwide digital library of both public-domain and copyright-protected e-books… LibraryCity wants to stretch the traditional notion of a library… For example, we will make it possible for readers to post study guides, comments, and other documents that support the continued use of public-domain information as well as copyright-protected e-books.’ It’s not yet clear how that would work.

 Peters thinks that digital libraries rely too much on local funding. ‘When we allow it to happen, usage of a digital library is remarkably diverse and widespread… Because nearly all digital libraries, however, are tied to bricks-and-mortar institutions, the funding base tends to be quite localized,’ he said. As for funding LibraryCity, organizers are considering foundation grants, as well as perhaps a percentage of proceeds from the sale of copyright-protected e-books.