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Marquette Law School and Milwaukee Journal Sentinel conference to examine future of the American public library

For generations, the public library has been a cornerstone of our democracy and a beloved cultural institution. But what about the future?

By - Oct 22nd, 2015 12:11 pm

MILWAUKEE – The mayor of Milwaukee, a leading national scholar of public libraries, the director of the American Library Association’s center on the future of libraries, and the director of the Marquette Law School Poll are among the guests scheduled to participate in an upcoming conference, titled “The Future of the American Public Library,” on Thursday, Oct. 29, from 8:30 a.m. to 12 noon in Eckstein Hall, 1215 W. Michigan St.

For generations, the public library has been a cornerstone of our democracy and a beloved cultural institution. But what about the future? How does the public library remain relevant in an age of rapid changes in technology? Has its role in American civic life changed, and should it? The half-day conference will take up these questions.

Conference sessions include:

  • The Role of the Public Library in American Life, with Wayne A. Wiegand, the F. William Summers Professor of Library and Information Studies Emeritus at Florida State University. Wiegand is the author of the new book, Part of Our Lives: A People’s History of the American Public Library.
  • Public Attitudes Toward Public Libraries. Professor Charles Franklin will discuss Wisconsin voters’ opinions about their public libraries.
  • The Evolution of a Milwaukee Institution, with John Gurda, Milwaukee historian and president of the Milwaukee Public Library Board of Trustees. Gurda will look at the Milwaukee Public Library System and the role it has played in civic life.
  • The Milwaukee Public Library Today: The Great Equalizer? Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and Paula Kiely, Director of the Milwaukee Public Library, will participate in conversation with Mike Gousha, Distinguished Fellow in Law and Public Policy. Barrett and Kiely will explain why Milwaukee is making significant investments in libraries throughout the city.
  • The Public Library of Tomorrow, with Miguel Figueroa, Director of the American Library Association’s Center for the Future of Libraries. Figueroa will discuss what’s being done to ensure the future of this important American institution.

Attendance is open to the public and complimentary, but registration is required and is available online.

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