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Twelve Case Studies: Letter


1400 16TH STREET, N.W., SUITE 715
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20036­2217
TELEPHONE (202) 939­3370 ï FAX (202) 939­3499

Dear [Library Director]:

June 2, 1995

Will the coming “Information Superhighway” bypass your library, run over it, or enable you to make it more valuable to your patrons than ever?

We know you are too busy to write a long answer. But we also know you are likely to have specific plans or projects under way to take advantage of electronic­information technologiesóprojects of potential value to other libraries.

At no cost to you, we want to identify and publicize such endeavors. All we ask of you is a short paragraphófive sentences at mostódescribing “electronic­age” innovations that you may already be planning or implementing. Let me explain quickly.

By the year 2000, proponents of a national fiber­optic Information Superhighway expect to have it in operation. A lot of hyperbole surrounds this undertaking, and a lot of problems need solving before anything like it can succeed. But already, much information from many sources is becoming available electronically, information from government agencies, research centers, and “virtual libraries” around the world, information of potential value to patrons of libraries.

Can libraries make electronic information available to people who themselves will not be able to afford the necessary computer equipment, hook­ups, and access fees? Can libraries establish sufficient control over electronic information to enable patrons to find what they need amid the mass of electronic material? Can libraries even take leadership roles as advocates for their communities by determining what kinds of information will be most helpful, how to organize it for ready use, and how to increase access to it?

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the Council on Library Resources want to help libraries answer those questions. We are looking for innovative plans and projects to publicize nationally.

June 2, 1995
Page 2

Long a supporter of American libraries, the Kellogg Foundation is interested in how new information technologies can be used to strengthen communities and enhance democratic decision-making in our diverse society. The Kellogg Foundation has asked the Council on Library Resources, a private operating foundation that since 1956 has helped libraries solve problems, to identify librarians who are already attempting to take advantage of new technologies for those purposes .

Are you preparing to provide electronic access to anything more than catalogs of library holdings?

Are you working with groups in your community to identify information of use for asserting rights, understanding issues, and solving problemsóinformation available through new technologies?

Are you helping design systems by which your patrons can get access to such information in your library or by remote connection with it?

Are you preparing in other ways to assure your patrons of a place on the Information Superhighway? For example, are you planning to use electronic technologiesóto expand the range of information available to students?

to improve basic learning skills?

  • to link community resources with those of higher education?
  • to strengthen information networks for health and human services in your community?
  • to extend information access to rural communities?
  • to provide resources for leadership development?

If you are planning or making efforts of such a kind, please let us know. Just one short, descriptive paragraph will suffice. From the descriptions we receive, we will select a range of particularly promising projects about which to seek more information. We will share the information we receive with the Kellogg Foundation, and publicize it so that libraries nationwide may benefit from pioneering work that you, among others, may be undertaking.

I hope to receive your paragraph soon. Thank you !

Deanna B. Marcum


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