March 20, 2008 (REVISED April 23, 2008) The John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress Opens Lecture Series on "Digital Natives"

Press Contact: Donna Urschel (202) 707-1639
Public Contact: Robert Saladini (202) 707-2692

Young people today born into a digital world are experiencing a far different environment of information-gathering and access to knowledge than a generation ago. Who are these “digital natives” and what are they thinking? How are they using the technology, and are IT experts adequately responding to them? These questions will be addressed in a new Library of Congress series titled “Digital Natives.” The first lecture will explore how young people think, learn and play. Distinguished scholar and child-development expert Edith Ackermann will present “The Anthropology of Digital Natives” at 4 p.m. on Monday, April 7, in the Montpelier Room on the sixth floor of the James Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, D.C. Sponsored by the Library’s John W. Kluge Center, the event is free and open to the public. No tickets or reservations are needed. In addition, the lecture will be made available on the Library's webcasts homepage at a later date. Ackermann is an honorary professor of developmental psychology at the University of Aix-Marseille in France. She is currently a visiting scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the School of Architecture and a visiting professor at the University of Siena in the Department of Communications. The four-lecture series will examine the generation that has been raised with the computer as a natural part of their lives, with emphasis on the young people currently in schools and colleges today. The series will seek to understand the practices and culture of these digital natives, the cultural implications of the phenomenon and the implications for education – schools, universities and libraries. Ackermann is particularly interested in helping shape the future of play and learning in a digital world. “I study how people use place, relate to others and treat things to find their ways – and voices – in an ever-changing world,” she said. Future lectures in the series will be at 4 p.m. in the Montpelier Room of the James Madison Building. They include: Monday, May 12: “Everything Bad is Good for You” by Steven Berlin Johnson, author of the book by the same name. Monday, June 23: “The Anthropology of YouTube” by Michael Wesch, assistant professor of cultural anthropology at Kansas State University. Monday, June 30: “Open Source Reality” by Douglas Rushkoff, author of “Screenagers: Lessons in Chaos from Digital Kids.” The moderators and coordinators for these events are Deanna Marcum, associate librarian for Library Services at the Library of Congress, and Derrick de Kerckhove, holder of the Harissios Papamarkou Chair in Education at the Kluge Center. The Papamarkou Chair in Education was established at the Library of Congress by a gift from Alexander Papamarkou (1930-1998), an investment banker who was generous in his support of the arts, education and medicine, in honor of his grandfather, a Greek educator. Holders of the Papamarkou Chair focus their research on the Library’s role in education and examine the impact of education on individuals and society. Through a generous endowment from John W. Kluge, the Library of Congress established the Kluge Center in 2000 to bring together the world’s best thinkers to stimulate and energize one another to distill wisdom from the Library’s rich resources and to interact with policymakers in Washington. For further information on the Kluge Center, visit


PR 08-057
ISSN 0731-3527