I continue to be on leave but am looking forward to being back soon!
As I've been out of libraryland for the past months, I now see something more clearly in light of my own media consumption habits. Traditional library collections, which are inevitably limited by space, expertise, and resources, are being supplanted by portable personal libraries, and at present this is to the advantage of business but to the disadvantage of the public.
For certain [better-off] individuals, the new collection model is a dream come true -- free from historical constraints, it's within reach to have access to a mind-bogglingly vast personal collection with you at all times. Then again, this collection is probably not free, it can be hard to manage, and time will tell how durable it is.
Even when librarians are savvy about collecting electronic materials, the content may still be invisible due to a lack of awareness of libraries doing this. So the process has to start again -- we have to re-invent the idea of a shared library for a group of people with similar interests. This library will look very different -- heck, it might be almost unrecognizable -- but there is definitely utility and need for it.
P.S. There is a nice post about e-books and access over at Attempting Elegance that succinctly says what I've tried to in various posts.
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