John Palfrey will discuss his new book, BiblioTech: Why Libraries Matter More Than Ever In An Age of Google. He argues that anyone seeking to participate in the 21st century needs to understand how to find and use the vast stores of information available online. Libraries play a crucial role in making these skills and information available — and yet are at risk. In order to survive our rapidly modernizing world and dwindling government funding, libraries must make the transition to a digital future as soon as possible—by digitizing print material and ensuring that born-digital material is publicly available online, while continuing to play the vital role as public spaces in our democracy that they have for hundreds of years.
John served previously as the Henry N. Ess III Professor of Law and Vice Dean for Library and Information Resources at Harvard Law School. He is a director of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society, where he was executive director from 2002-2008. John came back to the Harvard Law School from the law firm Ropes & Gray, where he worked on intellectual property, Internet law, and private equity transactions. He also served as a Special Assistant at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency during the Clinton administration. He previously served as a venture executive at Highland Capital Partners and on the Board of Directors of the Mass2020 Foundation, the Ames Foundation, and Open Knowledge Commons, among others. John was a Visiting Professor of Information Law and Policy at the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland for the 2007-2008 academic year.
John graduated from Harvard College, the University of Cambridge, and Harvard Law School. He was a Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholar to the University of Cambridge and the U.S. EPA Gold Medal (highest national award).