The other day I was pointed by LIS News to an interesting documentary at Soundprint called Who Needs Libraries? It's a half-hour streaming audio piece that takes a look at the relevance of libraries in today's Webworld. There's nothing in here you haven't read in a dozen other places, but it's neat to hear it instead of read it. Lots of information about the pros and cons of digitization, including some interesting stuff about what's contained in the original Shakespeare folios at the Folger. They also discuss the lack of permanence of the digital information we have, with a nifty reference to Rollerball (the original version) and the scene where the librarian has misplaced pretty much the whole 13th century :-) (I don't think I've watched that movie since I became a librarian - I'll have to give it another go...)
They mention several times that lots of stuff can be obtained in online databases, but never mention that those databases can be accessed remotely! They keep mentioning people coming in to the library to access these databases, and use that as evidence of the continued importance of the library. Bad argument says me.
I did have a little light-bulb moment towards the end, when someone was talking about analogies. The World Wide Web shouldn't be compared to a library, it should be compared to a big encyclopedia. They were talking about the type of facts that people use the web to find - stuff they wouldn't normally go to a library to find anyway (they could, but they wouldn't, just for one fact). IMHO, libraries aren't in danger of becoming obsolete, but when was the last time anyone you know bought a multi-volume encyclopedia for the home?!?
Oh, forgot to mention there are also some neat links towards the bottom of the page, including one to the Internet Archive where they have a copy of the 1947 b&w film, The Librarian.