With Arms Wide Open
by Dick Kaser
Generally, when you think of openness and libraries, two trends come to mind: open access (OA)—the movement to free up scholarly research papers funded with public money—and open source—the movement to crowdsource software development to create nonproprietary operating systems. Both trends have had an increasing impact on libraries, although neither the OA journal article publishing model nor the open source software model has overtaken branded, commercial options.
The columnists in this issue touch on these topics, but during its creation, the issue morphed into a consideration of library “openness” in general. We have Lora Baiocco talking about how an old collection of postcards in a small Canadian library has been brought back to the community that donated it by using interactive digital technology to make it hands-on.
Patrick “PC” Sweeney shares his experience with systems designed for political fundraising campaigns, encouraging librarians to open up to the idea that collecting and keeping patron data may not be such a bad idea or antithetical to library values.
Liz Hickok tells you how your library may not just be a place to find and borrow ebooks—it could also act as a publisher.
And CIL’s former editor, Kathy Dempsey, provides an update on how Beacons are changing the way patrons may experience the library—once librarians open up to the idea that sensing patrons’ mobile devices may be a way to provide exceptional service in a noninvasive way.
While we continue, throughout our culture, to be cautious about privacy and security, the articles in this edition promote the idea that we might also be optimistic about the brave new world that IT is opening up, for both libraries and their patrons.
As you read this issue, keep an open mind.
Dick Kaser, Executive Editor