January 19, 2022

New Conference Paper: “US Libraries as Publishers: Status and Concerns”

The following paper will be presented this August at the 2015 IFLA Annual Meeting/World Library Information Congress in Cape Town, South Africa.


US Libraries as Publishers: Status and Concerns


Heather Lea Moulaison
University of Missouri

Chris Le Beau
University of Missouri

IFLA Web Site


Although there are successful instances of library publishing in the United States, there has not been a large-scale implementation of library publishing initiatives. The literature on library publishing, however, is copious. Librarians voice a number of concerns about the quality of the essentially self- published books produced through library publishing initiatives and about the role of the library in helping to produce them.

To understand better the status of library publishing and the concerns of librarians in the United States, a survey was carried out at the 2015 American Library Association Midwinter Meeting among attendees at the Association of Library Collections and Technical Services forum, “Libraries as Publishers: Next Steps in Self-Publishing?” Respondents represented public, academic, and special libraries/other, and responses indicated that few library publishing initiatives were successfully up and running (10% of respondents); perhaps unsurprisingly, respondents with successful publishing initiatives had far fewer concerns about library publishing overall. The rest of the respondents were either attempting to launch a project, were in the planning phases, or were just curious about library publishing.

The concerns of these librarians included potential legal issues, the usefulness of library publishing programs, and the implementation of services necessary to support self-publishing through the library. Ten percent of respondents expressed concerns about the question of the quality of the materials and about the role of the library in collecting them. To supplement the professional literature, additional research is needed into library publishing in general, including into best practices. More research into the question of the library’s role in collecting library- published/self-published materials also needs to be carried out.

Direct to Full Text Paper (11 pages; PDF)

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) 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 Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.