OK, I presume we'll be getting to online photo and video sharing (i.e. flickr and YouTube) eventually, but I just got some news that is thrilling to my inner library nerd as well as cementing my love of the Library of Congress.
The LoC is proving to be a real force for pioneering remote access of public collections. They started digitizing their collections years ago, and the American Memory collection of collections is still a fascinating way to kill some time at the reference desk (and learn something, too).
But the LoC didn't stop there. In a move that made lots of archivists and traditionalists nervous, they started putting their collections on flickr, the public photosharing website. In my estimation, this was revolutionary - rather than waiting for the public to find them, they put their materials where the public already was. They also enabled community tagging, making it possible for any member of the public to add a search term to an item. The world did not come crashing down on the heads of catalogers and archivists, and other libraries and museums have built on the work of the LOC. Flickr is now home to The Commons, a searchable, taggable repository of public photographic collections. Again, a great way to spend free time. And as a bonus, most of these images are copyright free, so it's a fun place to look for images to spice up presentations!
This brings me to my latest discovery - LoC now has it's own YouTube channel! I haven't had time to do much digging, and there's not much there yet, but it looks to once again put library material where the users and non-users already are. This seems the ultimate outreach.
I am so pleased that my tax dollars support the work of this institution. They are expanding the possibilities for libraries and archives beyond the walls of their buildings, and I can only hope we all go along for the ride.