May 21, 2022

Harvard Political Review Takes a Look at “The 21st Century Library”

Ed. Note: If you are not familiar with the Harvard Political Review (HPR), “it is written and published entirely by Harvard undergraduates and is housed at the Institute of Politics.”

“The 21st Century Library” was written by James Bikales, runs 1529 words and includes quotes from a number of leaders in the library world.

From the Article:

“The fundamental role of the library is not to provide books, it is to provide information. So that has not changed,” said Eileen Abels, dean of the Simmons School of Library and Information Science, in an interview with the HPR. “But I think the time has come for librarians to reach into new media.”

The central mission of a library has been and will remain to be to provide “unlimited access to high quality sources of information,” Suzanne Wones, director of library digital strategies and innovations at Harvard Library, told the HPR. Rather than through print books, Wones said, this is now mostly achieved through digital resources and tools.

“More and more resources are digital only — there’s no print counterpart,” Peter Suber, director of Harvard Library’s Office for Scholarly Communication, told the HPR. “When there are print and digital editions, more and more libraries will choose the digital edition, since more and more patrons expressed a preference for that.”

Others Quoted in the Article Include:

  • Mark Herring, Dean of Library Services at Winthrop University
  • David Leonard, President of Boston Public Library
  • Jake Orlowitz, Wikipedia Library Project
  • Laura Saunders, Simmons College

Direct to the Full Text Article

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.