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Digital Public Library of America Announces Inaugural Board of Directors

Digital Public Library of America Announces Inaugural Board of Directors

Cambridge, MA — The Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) Steering Committee is pleased to announce the appointment of five members to the inaugural DPLA Board of Directors. The inaugural Board will support the DPLA’s goal of creating and maintaining a free, open, and sustainable national digital library resource.

The inaugural DPLA Board is composed of a group of public and research librarians, technologists, intellectual property scholars, and business experts from around the country:

  • Cathy Casserly, CEO of Creative Commons
  • Paul Courant, University Librarian and Dean of Libraries, Harold T. Shapiro Collegiate Professor of Public Policy, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor, Professor of Economics and Professor of Information at the University of Michigan; DPLA Steering Committee
  • Laura DeBonis, Former Director of Library Partnerships for Google Book Search
  • Luis Herrera, City Librarian for the City and County of San Francisco; DPLA Steering Committee
  • John Palfrey, Head of School, Phillips Academy, Andover; DPLA Steering Committee

“I am delighted and honored to join the Board of Directors of the Digital Public Library of America,” said Cathy Casserly, CEO of Creative Commons. “Just as libraries are the cornerstone of the educational and cultural life of a community, a digital library that’s open and accessible to everyone is crucial to the future of the Internet.”

Luis Herrera, City Librarian for the City and County of San Francisco, remarked, "I am deeply honored to serve on the inaugural DPLA Board.  Thanks to the extraordinary work of the Steering Committee, the workstreams and the DPLA Secretariat, the groundwork is in place to bring the DPLA vision to fruition.  I am excited for the opportunity and look forward to helping support the DPLA's goal of creating and maintaining a free, open and sustainable digital library resource."

In coordination with the DPLA’s future Executive Director, the Board will be largely responsible for such fundamental activities as the setting of budgets and general oversight and endorsement of strategy.  The new Board will seek to fulfill the DPLA’s broad commitment to openness, inclusiveness, and accessibility, and it will endeavor towards these ends in the best interest of its stakeholders, future employees, future users, and other affected parties.

“The cause of making cultural and scholarly works broadly available to residents of our country is a noble one,” noted Paul Courant, Dean of Libraries at the University of Michigan. “We have a tremendous opportunity to work with people and institutions across the country in the interest of making it easy for all to find and use library collections.”

The inaugural DPLA Board of Directors contains a wealth of professional experience from a wide variety of fields:

Catherine M. Casserly is CEO of Creative Commons. Cathy’s career is dedicated to openness, and particularly to leveraging possibilities at the boundaries of formal and informal learning to equalize educational opportunity. She has been a long-time advocate of open educational resources (OER). As the Director of the OER Initiative at The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation she managed investments totaling more than $100 million to harness the efficiency and effectiveness of knowledge sharing worldwide. At the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, Cathy spearheaded work in the areas of transparency and technology as a Senior Partner and the Vice President of Innovation and Open Networks. With the extended Carnegie team she launched a continuous performance improvement system to create alternative mathematics pathways for community college students. Cathy has been instrumental in supporting many young organizations and currently sits on the Startl board, the Peer-2-Peer University board and serves on the advisory committee for MIT OpenCourseWare and the University of the People. She earned her Ph.D. in the economics of education from Stanford University and a B.A. in mathematics from Boston College.

Paul Courant is University Librarian and Dean of Libraries, Harold T. Shapiro Collegiate Professor of Public Policy, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor, Professor of Economics and Professor of Information at the University of Michigan.  From 2002-2005 he served as Provost and Executive Vice-President for Academic Affairs, the chief academic officer and the chief budget officer of the University. He has also served as the Associate Provost for Academic and Budgetary Affairs, Chair of the Department of Economics and Director of the Institute of Public Policy Studies (which is now the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy). In 1979 and 1980 he was a Senior Staff Economist at the Council of Economic Advisers. Courant has authored half a dozen books, and over seventy papers covering a broad range of topics in economics and public policy, including tax policy, state and local economic development, gender differences in pay, housing, radon and public health, relationships between economic growth and environmental policy, and university budgeting systems. More recently, his academic work has considered the economics of universities, the economics of libraries and archives, and the effects of new information technologies and other disruptions on scholarship, scholarly publication, and academic libraries. Paul Courant holds a BA in History from Swarthmore College (1968); an MA in Economics from Princeton University (1973); and a PhD in Economics from Princeton University (1974).

Laura DeBonis previously worked at Google where, over six years with the company, she held a variety of management positions including her final role as Director of Library Partnerships for Book Search, Google's initiative to make all the world's books discoverable and searchable online.  A lifelong lover of books and libraries, Laura started her career in documentary film and multimedia and in strategy consulting for Internet businesses.  She is a graduate of Harvard College and has a MBA from Harvard Business School.

Luis Herrera is the City Librarian of the San Francisco Public Library, where he is responsible for the administration of the city’s 28 libraries including a main library and 27 neighborhood branches. Previously, Mr. Herrera served as the Director of Information Services for Pasadena Public Library and the Deputy Director of the San Diego and Long Beach Library systems in California.  He has served as President of both the Public Library Association and the California Library Association.  In January 2012, Mr. Herrera was named the Library Journal’s Librarian of the Year.  Mr. Herrera is currently Chair of the Cal Humanities and was recently nominated by President Barack Obama to serve on the Board of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).  Mr. Herrera earned his B.S. from the University of Texas at El Paso, a M.P.A. from California State University, and a M.L.S. from the University of Arizona.

John Palfrey is the Head of School at Phillips Academy, Andover.  He also serves as a Trustee of the Knight Foundation and the chair of the Steering Committee of the Digital Public Library of America. John’s research and teaching focus on new media and learning.  He has written extensively on Internet law, intellectual property, and the potential of new technologies to strengthen democracies locally and around the world, and is the author or co-author of several books. 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 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 received the U.S. EPA Gold Medal (highest national award).

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About the Digital Public Library of America
The DPLA Steering Committee is leading the first concrete steps toward the realization of a large-scale digital public library that will make the cultural and scientific record available to all. This impact-oriented research effort unites leaders from all types of libraries, museums, and archives with educators, industry, and government to define the vision for a digital library in service of the American public. The DPLA Secretariat is located at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University; the Steering Committee comprises library and foundation leaders across the nation. More information can be found at

Digital Public Library of America Steering Committee

Paul Courant, Harold T. Shapiro Professor of Public Policy and Dean of Libraries at the University of Michigan
Robert Darnton, Carl H. Pforzheimer University Professor and Director of the Harvard University Library
Carla Hayden, Chief Executive Officer of the Enoch Pratt Free Library (Baltimore, Maryland)
Charles Henry, President of the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR)
Luis Herrera, City Librarian for the City and County of San Francisco
Brewster Kahle, Founder of the Internet Archive
Michael A. Keller, Ida M. Green University Librarian, Director of Academic Information Resources at Stanford University
Deanna Marcum, Managing Director, Ithaka S+R
Maura Marx, Berkman Center Fellow and Executive Director, Open Knowledge Commons
Jerome McGann, John Stewart Bryan University Professor at the University of Virginia
Dwight McInvaill, Director of the Georgetown County Library (South Carolina)
John Palfrey (Chair), Head of School, Phillips Academy, Andover, MA
Peggy Rudd, Executive Director/State Librarian of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission
Amy E. Ryan, President of the Boston Public Library
David Spadafora, President and Librarian of the Newberry (Chicago, IL)
Doron Weber (Vice Chair), Vice President, Programs at the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation

Kenny Whitebloom
Project Coordinator
Berkman Center for Internet & Society

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