Herb Strentz examines the impact of digitization on institutions valued by historians and archivists. -promoted by Laura Belin
Whatever the outcome of our presidential election, there will not be a traditional Donald Trump Library to inspire jokes about his presidency or to morph millions of scattershot tweets into scholarly insights.
Nor, for that matter, will there be a Barack Obama Library, once lawsuits over a proposed Obama Presidential Center in Chicago’s Jackson Park are settled. Scheduled for groundbreaking in 2018, the proposed $500 million community center is mired in litigation over its location and other issues.
Regardless, we likely have seen the last of public presidential libraries under the aegis of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) as fixed places where citizens, visitors and scholars can read through millions of books and billions of pages to better understand the challenges and promises of democracy. That is what President Franklin D. Roosevelt dreamed when he set the library idea in motion in 1939.