Since reading some fellow classmates blog posts and thinking about the idea of the DPLA and its issue of funding over the long term, I couldn’t help but wonder about the model used by Public Television and NPR, both nationally and locally. Would it be too out in left field to entertain this model for a national digital library? I am not necessarily advocating it, but it might be worth at least considering how that model might work when applied to a network of digital libraries across the country. If I understand how the DPLA is being envisioned, it will provide a platform of tools/coding/metadata to allow many public libraries to add their own digital collections to the national level search and discovery interface. Perhaps the national site will have its own specific programs while local libraries can use the technology and digital infrastructure on a local level to meet their patrons’ specific programming needs. This to me sounds an awful lot like how NPR and Public Television function. Perhaps cultivating a membership base to help support both a national digital library system both at the national and local levels is worth considering, at least as one potential revenue stream.
Of course there are inherent drawbacks that jump out immediately, such as the additional infrastructure needed to support such large-scale fundraising. Could a digital library generate enough members and donations to be worth the outreach effort? Would libraries that are able to cultivate more funds ultimately have more power on the national level of the DPLA? Would such fundraising efforts take away from support to the physical brick-and-mortar library? Or, could such a system be implemented to also benefit both the digital library and physical library on the local level? Ultimately I think that the success of the DPLA is hinged on creative partnerships and cultivation of multiple funding sources, government and private, grant-based and perhaps a variety of donation-based schemes.