Knowledge for Sale

| July / August 2005

Are America's public libraries on the verge of losing their way?

Before joining the Utne staff in 1999, Chris Dodge worked for 19 years in a suburban Minneapolis library system, helping the activist librarian Sandy Berman reinvent the art of cataloging. Long before search engines swept the Web, Berman and his team created a network for searching the system with plain words and phrases, not arcane jargon. Today, that innovative system has been dismantled -- a symbol, Dodge argues, of wider trends that are transforming public libraries across the country. Are we on the verge of losing a cultural treasure? Dodge finds reason for both concern and hope. -- The Editors

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