The problems begin with the DPLA name. The Chief Officers of State Library Agencies has even passed an official resolution asking the DPLA to drop the “Public.” This counts if we care about the branding of brick-and-mortar public libraries.
“People have said that the age of the library is probably ending,” the mayor of Miami-Dade County recently said in a video about the proposed closure of 22 branches and lay-offs of 251 workers. Thankfully, cuts of that scale did not occur. But the long-term fiscal outlook for public libraries in communities like Miami-Dade is still bleak when uninformed political leaders fail to observe the buzz of library life right under their noses. Will some communities eventually ditch neighborhood libraries in favor of a short-sighted, virtual-only approach, and even suggest that the DPLA is “good enough for us?” All the more reason to reserve the term “public library” for the real thing. This unique brand is priceless.
Why has the nonprofit DPLA so far ignored COSLA, even though as shown in Part One of this series, the DPLA site is more of a portal into higher-education archives than a true public library?”