Note from Gary: Montgomery County, MD borders Washington, DC and includes Bethesda, Rockville, Silver Spring, Potomac, and Gaithersburg. Montgomery County, MD is also where I live and produce infoDOCKET.
Earlier today the Montgomery County, Maryland Council passed a resolution (full text embedded below) “urging” the Maryland General Assembly, the U.S. Congress, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the Federal Trade Commission to investigate the policies and pricing of ebooks. The resolution also has the support of County Executive, Ike Leggett.
From a Background Document:
The resolution urges the Maryland General Assembly, the U.S. Congress, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the Federal Trade Commission to examine policies and pricing related to public library access to e-books and seek any appropriate remedy so that County library users may access materials in a reasonable and non-discriminatory manner.
The demand for e-books in MCPL has increased dramatically in recent years, reflecting a trend in other areas of the country. MCPL reports that there has been an 88% growth in e-book checkout between 2010 and 2011, and 87% growth in the demand between 2011 and 2012. The Council appoved additional funding of $300,000 in the FY14 operating budget for MCPL to address customer demand for e-books. However, e-book pricing and distribution policies have placed strain on the MCPL budget and limited the access of e-books to library patrons.
Today’s news from Maryland comes 16 days after Connecticut Governor Daniel Malloy signed legislation requiring the Connecticut Commissioner of Consumer Protection to study the availability of electronic books to users of public libraries.
Given our recent comments, I would have liked to have seen the resolution ask a look at issues/policies surrounding transparency and privacy of ebook and other library based electronic transactions.
UPDATED July 24, 2013: Here’s a Statement About the Resolution that ALA Has Shared With infoDOCKET
The local resolution is reflective of some of the frustrations that libraries nationwide are facing as they work to serve the public and to continue to fulfill their role in society. The American Library Association continues to call upon publishers to make their e-books available to libraries at fair prices and fair terms.