San Francisco is surely not whispering its overwhelming support for digital libraries.
At its April 18 meeting, the Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to pass Supervisor Connie Chan’s resolution supporting digital libraries and the Internet Archive.
The resolution recognizes the essential rights of all libraries to own, preserve and lend digital and print books and is urging the state Legislature — as well as Congress — to act to protect digital libraries.
Chan spokesperson Robyn Burke said the Internet Archive is a nonprofit research library that preserves internet sites and other cultural artifacts, providing free access to researchers, historians, scholars, people with print disabilities and the general public. It provides access to over 41 million books and texts through its Controlled Digital Lending Program. The Internet Archive library includes preservation of books that the public might not otherwise be able to access, either due to book bans, physical obstacles, or geographic licensing unavailability.
“At a time when we are seeing an increase in censorship and book bans across the country, we must move to preserve free access to information,” Supervisor Chan said. “I am proud to stand with the Internet Archive, our Richmond District neighbor, and digital libraries throughout the United States.”
Chan was joined at a news conference Tuesday by Brewster Kahle, founder of the Internet Archive; Cindy Cohn, executive director of Electronic Frontier Foundation; Chuck Roslof, lead counsel of the Wikimedia Foundation; Liz Henry, a local author; and activists.
Chan’s resolution advances to Mayor London Breed for her signature. Afterwards, it will be sent to the state Legislature and Congress to urge their support.