ARCHIVED: PBS TV Show Explores the Role of Libraries in the Digital Age

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January 16, 2003

PBS’ “NOW with Bill Moyers” will take a look into the digital future of intellectual property and the debate that has pit private control against the public domain on Jan. 17.

The show will discuss whether the information revolution is making libraries obsolete given that the Internet delivers publications and broadcasting for free directly to homes. Public libraries embody the American ideal that anybody can read, watch or listen to just about anything they want. But as more people gain access to Internet content, the copyright owners -- in many cases, large corporate publishing entities -- are looking for ways to charge fees. A growing chorus of lawyers, librarians and educators fear the implications of losing free access to information for everyone.

"Our information and communication infrastructure is so central to everything we do," says former American Library Association President Nancy Kranich. "But what's really underlying that is the free flow of ideas, which is essential to democracy."

Tune in and share your views on the issues by joining the online discussion at

Check your local listings for the program’s time in your area at