Pennoni Panel: Is a Book Still a Book if Not a Book?

Date / Time

  • April 13, 2023
    6:00 pm - 7:30 pm


2008-2010 Delancey Place, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 19103, United States

Sponsored by Vivian and Mark Greenberg 




The printing press is considered one of the greatest innovations in literature – making documents and texts more easily reproduced and accessible. The physical book has been the dominant form for centuries. As digital books and audiobooks take hold, will the physical book be flushed out of existence, a remnant of what used to be? Or will it be able to maintain its place on the shelf? 

Discussion Moderator

Danuta Nitecki is Dean of Libraries at Drexel University. Since assuming the position in 2010, Dr. Nitecki has worked to envision the academic library and to model one that best contributes toward achieving Drexel University’s dynamic mission. Serving on the Provost’s Academic and Deans Councils, the President’s Executive Council, as well as various campus groups, she has worked to evolve the Libraries as an integral part of the learning enterprise. A Drexel alumna, Nitecki is also a Professor at Drexel’s College of Computing and Informatics.

Prior to returning to Drexel, she held administrative positions in the libraries of Yale University [1996 – 2010], University of Maryland at College Park [1983-1996], University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign [1978-83] and the University of Tennessee at Knoxville [1972-1978]. She has been active in national, state and regional associations, served as a consultant and invited presenter throughout the US and internationally, and has published over ninety articles, books, compilations, and reviews on such topics as user-based evaluation of library services, research methods, library space, document delivery, and management of library services and information technology applications.


Jeannine A. Cook has worked for more than ten years as a writer for several startups, corporations, non-profits, influencers, and most recently, herself. In addition to a holding a master’s degree from The University of the Arts, Jeannine is also a Leeway Art & Transformation grantee and winner of the Black Girl Magic Award, South Philly Review Difference Maker Award, Philadelphia Magazine’s Best of Philly, Women Leading the 175th, the PACDC Equitable Entrepreneur Award, and the Metro’s Power Women Award. Jeannine’s work has been recognized by several national and international news outlets including the New York TimesVogue Magazine, the Washington PostOprah Magazine, MSNBC, and The Today Show. She is a proud educator and mother with 8 years of teaching creative storytelling in alternative schools and on city blocks. 

Jeannine writes about the complex intersections of motherhood, activism, and the arts. Her pieces are featured in publications including a column in Philadelphia Stories as well as articles and short stories published by Princeton University Press, the Philadelphia InquirerMothering MagazineGirl GodMahogany BabyGood Mother ProjectPrintworksAdelaide Magazine and midnight & indigo. In February 2020, Jeannine completed her first book of short stories, Conversations With Harriett, and opened Harriett’s Bookshop in the Fishtown section of North Philadelphia & Ida’s Bookshop in Collingswood, New Jersey, with the mission to celebrate women authors, women artists, and women activists.

Trevor A. Dawes is Vice Provost for Libraries and Museums and May Morris University Librarian at the University of Delaware, and Vice President / President-Elect of the Association of Research Libraries. He has worked in the academic library sector for over 20 years, developing and providing a range of service-enhancing training and professional development opportunities that positively impact library-wide projects and programs. Dawes also facilitates workshops on leadership development and diversity, improving the knowledge, skills, competencies, and abilities of librarians and library workers.

In 2015 Dawes had two book chapters published – both on the topic of leadership. These chapters appear in Creating Leaders: An Examination of Academic and Research Library Leadership Institutes and Crucible Moments: Inspiring Library Leadership. His previous publications include Twenty-first Access Services: On the Frontline of Academic Librarianship (ACRL), 2013. Dawes received his Ed.M. in Educational Leadership from Teachers College at Columbia University and his Master of Library Science from Rutgers University. He earned his Master of Art in Educational Administration from Teachers College at Columbia University and his Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Columbia University. Dawes was a 2008 Frye Fellow and participated in the UCLA Senior Fellows program in 2014.

Peter Dougherty is a native of Philadelphia who graduated from La Salle College with a B.A. in history. He served as director of Princeton University Press for 12 years, retiring from the Press in 2017. He currently serves as Director of the American Philosophical Society Press in Philadelphia. You can read more about Dougherty’s storied career in academic publishing, which has spanned profound transformations in the publishing industry, in Princeton Alumni Weekly.

Alexander L. Ames is Director of Outreach & Engagement at the Rosenbach Museum & Library, where he collaborates with his colleagues on exhibitions, tours, as well as onsite and virtual programs. An intellectual historian and material culture scholar, Ames’s research has explored the production and use of religious books and manuscripts in Pennsylvania and beyond, with a special focus on unlocking how the material construction of books and manuscripts impacted their dissemination, use, and preservation as cultural artifacts. His first book, The Word in the Wilderness: Popular Piety and the Manuscript Arts in Early Pennsylvania, was published by Pennsylvania State University Press in 2020. His second book, Grolier Club Bookplates, Past & Present, co-edited with Mark Samuels Lasner, will be published by The Grolier Club of New York in 2023. His next monograph, Ships of Reason: The Enlightenment of Stephen Girard, and the Mariners Who Built His Merchant Empire, is an intellectual history of the early modern French Atlantic world, as encountered in surviving libraries and business archives of Enlightenment-era philosophers, merchants, and statesmen.  It is under contract with De Gruyter Oldenbourg of Berlin.