The Library and the Future: Jaron Lanier in Conversation with John Gage

October 21, 2013

Contact: Library Administration
Donna Corbeil, Director of Library Services

Berkeley Public Library Foundation
Kirsten Cowan 510-981-6115


The Berkeley Public Library, in conjunction with the Berkeley Public Library Foundation and the Harry Weininger Family, invite you to join us for a special evening at the South Branch Library, 1901 Russell St. on Friday, November 15, 2013, at 6 pm.This is event is free and open to the public, but seating is limited.

“The most important thing about a technology is how it changes people.” – Jaron Lanier, You Are Not a Gadget.

How is technology transforming the library and the people in it?  Author Jaron Lanier, who The New York Times calls a “mega-wizard in futurist circles,” sits down with scientist and philanthropist John Gage to answer that question, and investigate how the frenetic pace of technological change and information technology are fundamentally altering our libraries, our communities, and us.

Jaron Lanier is a computer scientist, composer, visual artist, and author, named byTime Magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2010. Lanier’s name is also often associated with Virtual Reality research.  He either coined or popularized the term ‘Virtual Reality’ and in the early 1980s founded VPL Research, the first company to sell VR products. Since 2009, he has been a Partner Architect at Microsoft Research. Lanier writes and speaks on numerous topics, including high-technology business, the social impact of technological practices, the philosophy of consciousness and information, Internet politics, and the future of humanism.  His writing has appeared in The New York TimesDiscover (where he has been a columnist), The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Harpers Magazine, The Sciences, Wired Magazine (where he was a founding contributing editor), and Scientific American. He has edited special “future” issues of SPIN and Civilization magazines, and his most recent book is Who Owns the Future?, which The New York Times calls “terrifically inviting.” Lanier was an Honored Author at the Berkeley Public Library Foundation Authors Dinner in 2009.

John Gage was previously the Chief Researcher and Vice President of the Science Office, for Sun Microsystems, Inc. From 2008-2010 he was a partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers focusing on green technologies.  He is also well known as one of the founders of NetDay, which calls upon high-tech companies to connect schools, libraries, and clinics worldwide to the Internet. Since 1995 over 500,000 volunteers have wired over 50,000 schools and libraries in the United States.  He has served on scientific advisory panels for the US National Research Council and the National Academy of Sciences, and has been a member of the Board of Regents of the US National Library of Medicine, the Board of Trustees of Fermi National Laboratory, the External Advisory Council for the World Bank, and the Board of Trustees of the Internet Society (ISOC).

This event is underwritten by the Berkeley Public Library Foundation, through the generosity of the Harry Weininger Family. The Harry Weininger Family celebrates the life and generosity of Harry Weininger, who was a well-known figure in the Berkeley community and a long time supporter of the Berkeley Public Library. Harry was involved in a number of community organizations and played a peace-making role in the city’s political scene. He served for many years on the board of directors of theBerkeley Democratic Club and was the club’s president in 1983 and 1986. Mr. Weininger was always interested in the law and received a law degree from theUniversity of San Francisco in 1988 when he was 54, then volunteered his legal services through the Berkeley Public Library’s “Lawyers in the Library” program. This evening represents the second annual public event to be sponsored as a memorial by the Weininger Family.

The Berkeley Public Library Foundation brings together donors and supporters to make our great libraries extraordinary. For 20 years the Foundation has raised private contributions to augment strong public funding. Generous donors to the recent Neighborhood Libraries Campaign gave more than $3 million to outfit the renewed Claremont, North, South and West branches.

To find out more about this event, as well as how you can contribute to the Foundation’s work in support of our public libraries, please contact the Berkeley Public Library Foundation at:, by calling 510.981.6115, or visit us

Please join us for this memorable event. For questions regarding this program and accessibility information, call 510-981-6195, TDD 510-548-1240, Wheelchair accessible. To request a sign language interpreter or other accommodations for this event, please call (510) 981-6195 (voice) or (510) 548-1240 (TTY); at least three working days in advance to ensure availability.

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