Libraries as Commons

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Charlotte Hess:

"The idea of libraries as commons — a storehouse of democracy — has been championed by Nancy Kranich. She chose this theme during her year as president of the American Library Association in 2000 (Kranich 2003, 2007; see also Bailey and Tierney 2002; and Lougee 2007). Waters (2007) argues for preservation of the digital commons; Cox and Swarthout (2007) describe a digital library commons in practice; Krowne (2003) discusses building digital libraries using peer production.

In the past five-ten years, academic libraries in the US have begun calling their dedicated online digital service areas “information commons” (Beagle 1999; Duncan 1998). There is a separate “commons” literature dedicated to these types of shared library-computer spaces, but this literature is outside the focus of this paper." (

More Information

  1. Knowledge Commons
  2. Cultural Commons