Event: Libraries are obsolete–or are they?

On Wednesday, April 18 at 3pm in the Piper Auditorium at GSD, Harvard Library Strategic Conversations will sponsor an Oxford-style debate on the role of libraries. The format of the debate is similar to that of the House of Commons and is known for combining a degree of wit and whimsy with serious argumentation. The debate will take up the controversial and timely proposition that “Libraries are Obsolete”. Professor Jonathan Zittrain will chair the debate, with Dr. James Tracy and Professor R. David Lankes speaking in favor of the motion, and Professor John G. Palfrey and Susan Hildreth arguing in opposition.  Two student speakers from the Harvard Speech & Parliamentary Debate Society will also participate in the event.

At the end of the debate, the audience will vote yea or nay on the motion, with the results announced over gin & tonics at the reception following the debate. The program will be held from 3 to 4:30pm in Piper Auditorium, at the Harvard Graduate School of Design.

Dr. Tracy is Headmaster at Cushing Academy and Professor Lankes is Professor and Dean’s Scholar for the New Librarianship, University of Syracuse iSchool, and Director of the Information Institute of Syracuse.  Professor Palfrey is Vice Dean for Library and Information Resources, and the Henry N. Ess III Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. Susan Hildreth is Director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Professor Zittrain is a Professor at the Harvard Law School, the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.  He will become Harvard Law School’s Vice-Dean of Library and Information Resources in July 2012.

The program is co-organized by Donna Viscuglia, Emily Baldoni, Linda Collins, Krista Ferrante, Marc McGee, and Hugh Truslow. For more information, email Donna.

This meeting is part of a series titled Harvard Library Strategic Conversations. The Harvard Library Strategic Conversations planning committee is made up of volunteer members of the library community. Our mission is to engage library colleagues in open, community-driven discussion about the future of libraries.

Scroll to Top