Stateline Reports, “Librarians and Lawmakers Push for Greater Access to E-Books”
“The current model is frustrating for libraries and archives whose service mission is totally different from the capitalist goals of a for-profit company,” said Kyle K. Courtney, the copyright adviser for Harvard University and a founder of Library Futures, an advocacy group pushing for the bills. “We have dealt with publishers and rights-holders for centuries, but it’s never been as bad as it is now.”
“E-books used to be on libraries’ digital shelves forever, but now you’re paying $60 for a title every two years,” said [Michele] Kimpton [the global senior director of the nonprofit library group LYRASIS]. “That definitely is not favorable for libraries, but that’s kind of where we are right now.”
In addition to straining limited budgets, which since the early 2000s have remained roughly flat in most places, librarians say current licensing models have hollowed out their digital back catalogs and skewed their current collections. Forced to spend more money on fewer books, librarians inevitably focus on bestsellers, titles by big-name authors and new installations in popular series, said Michael Blackwell, the director of St. Mary’s County Library in rural Maryland.
“We believe many people across the country are being disadvantaged,” said Blackwell, who also leads the global library coalition ReadersFirst. “You shouldn’t need to have a credit card to be an informed citizen.”
About Gary Price
Gary Price (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com. Gary is also the co-founder of infoDJ an innovation research consultancy supporting corporate product and business model teams with just-in-time fact and insight finding.