The Libraries Bringing Small-Town News Back to Life

Source: David Beard, The Atlantic, January 28, 2018

As local news outlets disappear in America, some libraries are gaining new relevance. ….

…. To be clear, libraries are no silver bullet to everything that ails local news. Sullivan’s New Hampshire weekly won’t break investigations like The Washington Post. Libraries, with most of their funding dependent on local officials, aren’t a natural source for government-accountability stories. But library-backed efforts can help restore the foundation and appetite for local news—the love of community, curiosity about it, confidence to participate in it. Various types of community building are happening across the nation. In some cities, libraries are partnering with established news sources, teaming up in Dallas to train high schoolers in news gathering or hosting a satellite studio in Boston for the public radio station WGBH. In San Antonio, the main library offers space to an independent video news site that trains students and runs a C-SPAN-style operation in America’s seventh-biggest city. (That site was the only video outlet covering a mayoral debate last year in which the incumbent mayor’s comments on poverty became a national story—and may have contributed to her electoral defeat.) ….