May 24, 2022

Audio: Listen Online: NPR Airs Story About the Future of Libraries in the eBook Age

The report by Lynn Neary runs six minutes and aired (or is airing) on NPR’s “All Things Considered.”

A text summary is also available.

Of course, the big issues coming from HarperCollins/OverDrive (aka #hcod) story are the focus of the story.

The report includes comments from:

***Eli Neiberger, Director for IT and Production at the Ann Arbor District Library

“Part of the models we’ve seen so far are still trying to force 20th century business models onto digital content,” Neiburger says. “And any digital native says, ‘you mean I have to wait to download an e-book? What sense does that make?’ And they’re off to the Kindle store to spend $3.99 or $4.99 or $9.99 to get that same book.”

Leslie Hulse, a Sr. Vice President at Harper Collins

“I think the tension is, at the extreme, we could be making a book available to one national library on a simultaneous access model in perpetuity,” says Hulse. “And what that would mean is everyone in the country could check out that book for free at any time, and that’s not a commercially viable solution.”

Christopher Platt, Director of Collections and Circulation, New York Public Library

“The Harper Collins limit isn’t going to stick,” he argues. “It’s going to develop into something new. And Harper, to its credit, is engaged with libraries to see what would work.”

Platt has his own ideas about what might work for the future. He says libraries use intermediaries to manage both their physical and digital book collections. He thinks libraries could work with these intermediaries to develop subscription packages of e-books. Libraries would pay the publishers for these subscriptions and use them as they see fit.

Roberta Stevens, President of ALA

When we look at the future then we have to really think very seriously about what is our role — and how can we actually serve the millions and millions of people who use our public libraries everyday if we can’t even get access to titles,” says Stevens.

Direct to Report (Audio and Text) ||| Download Audio (.mp3)

Access the Full Text/Audio ||| Download Audio

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.