The Long Arc of the Moral Universe


(Picture: April Hathcock)

I feel bad for Emily Sheketoff.

The Washington Office of ALA has the odious task of working with whatever elected officials are sent there by the American people. Every two years, this task begins anew as a new Congress is sworn in. Granted, the re-election rate for Congress is pretty high so they aren’t starting from scratch so there are always a few new faces. But I’m guessing it still means putting on a brave face, compiling the latest library issue data, and going out to impress upon these people that libraries are important, libraries make a difference in a school or community, and that they are worthy of funding. Again.

Their work is not the sort of thing that I take pleasure in (at least at that level of government) and I’m thankful that there are people who like to do this for a living. It is an important mission and it does advocate for library values as well as secure funding sources for library oriented projects. It is a political voice for the organization and it still has a job to do no matter who is sitting in Congress or the White House.

However, this response feels like it is missing a greater point. This isn’t a matter of getting to the right side of the issues whether it is privacy, intellectual freedom, or the digital divide.

This is a matter of being on the right side of history.

In its history, the American Library Association has stood for civil rights, women’s rights, gay rights, and civil liberties. These public stances have been taken at times when it was neither socially popular nor politically convenient to do so. But history, in its grand motions, has shown that librarians were right.

As a public librarian, I would be abdicating my professional principles to proclaim how central the library is to the community while simultaneously turning a blind eye to its most vulnerable members. I can’t proclaim the equality ideal of the public library while forgoing the means to bring equity to its constituents. I can’t be a bystander to an administration that has displayed such deviant ideology that offends our core professional values.

I simply can’t.

So, librarians have arrived at a moment of history in which such resolve is once again called for, an undertaking that is both moral and necessary. It means standing up to a man and an administration that has shown to be both petty and vengeful, acting with thin skin with a long memory. It means a long journey of abuse, sadness, and instability that are coupled with the misgivings and doubts that difficult tasks invoke. There will be fear, anxiety, and all the mental tricks our brains play that tell us to quit and give in.

It is the hard path to choose, but the right one to take. 

Will we be fearful and cowed, or brave and right once more?

When Professional Values Must Become Political Deeds (ALA vs a Trump Presidency)

This is a “Yes, and…” post in that it builds on the themes and ideas that Sarah Houghton just posted on her blog.

Based on that, here’s where I’ll start: the values of the American Library Association are completely incompatible with the Trump administration in its present form.

Period. Full stop. The end.

As it stands at the time of writing, the Trump administration is a basket of unignorables: overtly hostile to current norms of free expression, speech, and press; a major threat to the civil rights of religious minorities, LGBTQ, and people of color; and filling his administration with like-minded individuals with track records of racism, misogyny, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, and other awful backward beliefs. This is the reality of the president elect and the men (since they all are at this point) he has tapped to lead the nation for the next four years.

It’s completely unacceptable.

I can understand the terrible bind that makes for an organization like the ALA as their mission is to advocate for libraries. I can understand the pragmatism and politics involved in finding the common ground with the Trump administration since it is what they have to work with. But there is a line too far in which values and ideals cannot and should not be compromised in order to achieve a partnership with the incoming government.

Here’s what I would suggest going forward.

First, that ALA comes out strongly against the bigotry exhibited by members of the Trump administration. Be it resolutions, press releases, whatever, but it has to be strong and clear. It has to spell out the differences in values and why libraries cannot “go along to get along”. It should encourage them to move closer to what we believe as a profession in regards to intellectual freedom, freedom of expression, and rights of all human beings regardless of color, religion, or sexual orientation. This is a time for bold statements, so let no ambiguity muddy the waters.

Second, that the ALA limit their exposure as time goes on with the new administration. The gears of grants and funding do not always line up with presidential terms, but as they wind down it should look for other funding avenues. This is neither easy or simple, but it is the right thing to do until their values line up with our professional ones. This will take time as things shake out but the goal is still to limit the reliance on the new administration.

Third, that the ALA pursues partnerships with other organizations that align with our values in one way or another. Whether it is the ACLU, NAACP, or any number of civil rights/freedom of expression organizations that exist out there, this is the time to start building a network of likeminded folks. We can support each other in working on projects that entail both of our interests and we should pursue such opportunities. Now is the time to do so.

Last, and this falls to my peers, it’s to organize ourselves. The ALA can’t politically advocate in the manner that is required here, so it is up to the individual to do so. Make your own contacts and networks to call, fax, email, and/or march to protest and make your voices known. I wouldn’t impose a mandate on what level of involvement, but I know that some of my peers are community organizers who can get people together while others work better in smaller groups of active voices. Find your activity level and embrace it. 

A couple of final things to take under consideration before we part.

This is not the easy path. There is no easy path. This will be a hard decision and as with all decisions there are consequences (most likely funding). There may be some PR backlash, but keep a few things in mind. Libraries have a 90%+ approval rating; this is to our advantage that people believe in us. Librarians are seen as trustworthy, according to a recent Maine poll; I would presume that this is not an outlier for the profession as a whole. As obnoxious as librarian stereotypes are, they don’t include deceit or bigotry; people see us in a positive light for that reason. We can and will survive such an ordeal as libraries have survived over the last hundred plus years. This is just another chapter in the history of the profession.

Finally, Donald Trump is vastly interested in things that get him attention, respect, and fame. We don’t need to feed the beast by engaging him on his boring and petty feuds; we need to focus on the bigger pictures and the items and issues that matter. As the American public focus shifts, we need to snap it back to the larger and more impactful topics: immigrations and deportations, persecution of religious minorities, and the threats to freedom of speech and expression. That’s where it really matters.

Good luck, everyone.

“Conscience Do Cost”

The Black Caucus of the American Library Association released a statement last week denouncing the ALA for not moving the 2016 Annual Conference out of Orlando, Florida in protest of the existing version of the “stand your ground” law and the resulting homicides that have raised that (ahem) defense. You can read their statement in full at their website as well as an update from the BCALA President regarding their press release. It’s the background material for the rest of this blog post.

One particular passage of the BCALA press release jumped out at me:

BCALA believes that ALA, which claims various commitments to diversity and tolerance, should have begun plans to find a new venue for ALA 2016 following the July 2013 acquittal of George Zimmerman. BCALA must question ALA’s true commitment to diversity and racial tolerance when ALA, North America’s largest and strongest library association, still plans to hold its largest and most financially lucrative function in a state that has become Ground Zero in initiating weapons laws, as well as voting policies, that potentially put the rights and safety of African-Americans at risk. ALA annual conferences are generally well-documented and publicized, and BCALA fears that librarians, 20,000 strong, conducting business and spending money in Orlando will negate any claim that librarians have to being advocates of equality and social justice.

But the strength of this passage seems weakened by the subsequent update by BCALA President Jerome Offord, Jr.:

To be blatantly clear, BCALA did not and has not called for a boycott of the 2016 conference. I want to remind each of you to understand that your leaders were sensitive to the matter, while understanding the stance. Please do not allow others to use our concern as a way to divide and/or isolate BCALA, Inc., its members, and/or its leaders. Again, we did NOT call for a boycott.


Your leaders are aware that ALA, an organization that we all pay dues to, has a financial obligation and contract. We are aware that the possibility of moving the conference is near impossible. However, the impossibilities and challenges regarding the Orlando conference does not mean that we should or shall remain silent about an issue that impacts our communities and people we serve.

(Emphasis mine.)

As an outside observer (read: not an ALA member), I don’t have any skin in the game. But what I find so compelling within this issue is an larger looming question, how committed is the ALA to the politics of its principles and ideals? At first glance, the answer is when they have to get out their wallet.

To be fair, there are financial consequences for pulling out of a conference contract. I don’t know what they are but I would presume in the tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars. But in reading some of the financial based points, it’s as if no one has ever broken a lease or ended a cell phone contract or withdrew from an agreement ever. Has no one ever paid a monetary penalty for making a change in their lives?

Contrary to what Mr. Offord has written, moving the conference is not “near[ly] impossible”. Contracts can be breached, other arrangements can be made, and the conference can go forward in a more suitable location. For all the talk I’ve heard from fellow librarians of “We are the ALA, we can be the change”, that spirit has evaporated in the face of “it would be a lot of work to do and would require some sacrifice on your part”. I would presume part of that sacrifice would be in the form of potential one time member fee to offset the breach expenses. Given the vocal opposition to membership increases, that would an interesting conversation to listen as to why people would not want to chip in to support a core value.

ALA is not a stranger to the race issue in its history. The 1936 ALA conference in the segregated city of Richmond made it an experience that was roundly limited to white participants. Inferior accommodations, separate seating areas, and exclusion from social events limited or denied participation from African American librarians.

“Even the most passive will confess that the conference got off to an unfortunate start. The interjection of face antagonism, however it may be ‘defended’ as being necessary or expedient, could have been avoided by the proper action, and was most certainly not calculated to win the admiration of those who desire to look upon the American library movement as a great force for the service of all mankind.” [1]

This is in sharp relief to how attitudes had changed by 1954 when segregated chapters were banned from participation within the organization. ALA has the capacity to take a stance here, so doesn’t it?

Part of the argument against moving the conference is the observation that some of the future venues are in states where gay marriage is illegal. While I can appreciate the point, I don’t find it compelling here. Growing public support as well as the key court cases have shifted the gay marriage issue to an inevitable conclusion of acceptance. It is true that this does not help couples right now who are denied the benefits of marriage even if they are legally wed in other states. But for me it falls short as a rebuttal since improving conditions for people of color doesn’t have the same cultural force behind it. There is no growing public support, legislative action, or court cases seeking to bring opportunities (social, economic, educational, or otherwise) to people of color, in particular to African American men. In any event, the presence of another injustice should not act as a pass for the venue; two negatives do not make a positive. Under such scrutiny, the gay marriage parallel doesn’t hold up.

The apparent fallback position from there is a shoulder shrug of “well, you can find something wrong with every state which means we couldn’t meet anywhere”. I will concede that there isn’t a “perfect” venue and that each state has its own prevailing brand of social injustice. But in this case and context, there are better options that can be taken in this timely manner. Orlando could still be a good conference venue in the future but there is importance of sending a message now. Granted, some of the concerning elements could change in the next two years (the law could be revised or repealed) but the timing here is everything.

For myself, this feels like the well tread territory of the profession doing things for the sake of convenience over principle and ideals. We enter into ridiculous contractual arrangements where we sign away control just so we can provide eBooks, journals, and other services rather than building our own infrastructure. The oft repeated library science graduate philosophical question revolves around the pros and cons of buying controversial material for our collection. While we give the pitch perfect answers of material inclusion over outside objections, the actual application of this question too often ends with avoiding material because we don’t want to be inconvenienced by the time and energy it would take to defend it. In putting our communities first, we cast aside ownership and development in favor of throwing money at what we can get right here and right now based on the fear of losing people’s attention. In our journey to make our mark in this modern digital age, we are selling our souls in little bits and pieces.

That’s how we erode our moral high ground when it comes to questions of information access and material availability. It’s the pragmatism of conflict avoidance gone amuck, good people acting in fear of the negative comment, letter, or editorial that will put the library in a “bad light”. We have an approval rating of over 90% and yet we hide from ourselves and our values. Not because we will be arrested, oppressed within our community, denied our freedom of expression, or suffer some other calamity, but because it’s too damn hard and too much damn work. The term “slacktivism” leaps to mind as it is just easier to pass a resolution in support of an issue but I don’t want to wrinkle my shirt by rolling up my sleeves.

It’s disappointing to watch well meaning people sit on their hands and run out the clock on taking action that lines up with their professional ideals and values. It’s sad to me that the Mr. Offord felt the need to clarify the statement to provide assurances that their members would still be encouraged to attend. The library is an institution that supports diversity through its service to all people; the ALA can and should do better on this situation.


[1] Jesse H. Shera, “Richmond and Beyond!” Wilson Bulletin for Librarians 10, no.10 (1936)

Note: The origin of the post title comes from an episode of The Wire.

ALA Midwinter 2014 After Action Report

I should start off with a confession: I have been bored with library issues for awhile.

It’s not that there isn’t anything interesting going on in the library world, just it’s not interesting to me. Or it involves the act of dragging old bones in new graves on topics that I feel have been talked to death (eBooks and libraries, for example). Or, most recently, if I can succinctly add my input to a conversation on something like Twitter or Tumblr, I do it there. When others have better insight or commentary on topics, it’s much more satisfying to share their posts or articles.

And, let’s face it: there are far fewer librarians writing these days online, most conspicuously in blogs. I remember the leading advice of 2006 being to start a blog to get noticed online; now, if I heard a professor say that to their students, I would tell the students to flee. Even the Annoyed Librarian has been relegated to writing about last week’s news that was sent (I guess they can’t be bothered to find it) to them or “interesting” comments in previous entries. For myself, it’s slim picking for content or commentary without sounding like I’m recycling previous entries.

In attending ALA Midwinter in Philadelphia, I was hoping for rebirth, rejuvenation, and other “re” words that signify the rekindling of interest.

I was not disappointed.

Granted, since I’m not a member of ALA and therefore not on any committees, roundtables, or interest groups, that makes my schedule completely free for lunches and dinner with drinks anytime. My only “official” obligation was attending the EveryLibrary board meeting which was in full compliance of the “drinks anytime” portion. (More on that later.) In spending time with friends, both old and new, and sharing a meal or a drink, I found (for lack of a better phrase) my mojo again.

You see, the aspect that brought me back from my ennui to put fingers to my keyboard was the people. The best conversations I had during my time came from conversations either one-on-one or in small groups that lasted longer than a half hour. These were the times when people (myself included) let loose, spoke frankly, shared ourselves, and had meaningful and thoughtful discussions. The online librarian world is rich in many ways, but it is but a simple façade for the living, breathing people behind the internet avatars and nom de plumes. 

My takeaway from ALA Midwinter was not a million ideas, but a handful of good ones. Really good ones. The reasonable, totally possible worthy of attention kind. (I can’t help it, I’m a bit of an idea snob.) Also, as an ongoing advisor to EveryLibrary on their social media strategy, it renewed my commitment to the organization in attending the annual board meeting. It gave me the insight into what I see as their big picture: that they are an organization that nimble enough to work at the local level for library ballot matters as well as on issues of national library importance. I won’t mince my words that as a political action committee (a dread PAC) they need our financial help to accomplish that. (You can donate here.) I hope I can count on your support for this worthy cause.

For the naysayers, the few words I have for you right now is that denying the reality of the impact of the ballot box on public and school library funding is ‘the earth is flat’ madness. The political reality demands a breed of librarians who are willing to step into the issue based forums and persuade others to vote in favor of library issues. To act otherwise is just plain folly.

But, as I fondly reflect on the events of the last few days, it came down to a matter time. There was never enough time. I didn’t even catch a glimpse of people I’ve grown to know over the years. Even at some of the social events I attended, for the most part I didn’t spend more than five minutes with anyone. It was “hello, how are you, what are you up to” before the flow of socializing carried us away from each other. Perhaps this is a sign of my shifting social priorities as I grow older, but what I really wanted was the chance to sit, visit, and have those longer and more in depth conversations.

Over the course of three days, I drove into Philadelphia in the hopes of finding my passion for the profession again. I am happily renewed in my faith, in the direction and the people who make up libraryland. I don’t know if this will translate into more posts on here, but there are certainly things afoot behind the scenes here.

It’s good to be back.

That ALA Code of Conduct

While ALA has many strengths as an institution, rolling out new organizational policy changes is not one of them. Since the announcement of the Statement of Appropriate Conduct at Conferences (hereafter Code of Conduct), there has been much in the way of hand wringing. How does this reflect on the organization’s commitment to freedom of ideas and expression? What kinds of speech are expressly allowed, contextually allowed, and outright prohibited? What is the procedural structure for people accused of violating the code? In the current framing of the debate, it’s as if people are seeing institutional regulation of speech and behavior for the first time when they are not.

I’m willing to bet dollars to donuts that every nearly library has a policy in place about patron/customer conduct that outlines what is acceptable and unacceptable. They set the boundaries for behavior and conduct within the library. Like the Code of Conduct, these policies contain instances and situations in which there will be several possible staff action outcomes: no action, intervention, ejection. We don’t always act on patron activities nor do we accept when people are being disruptive or harassing to other patrons or staff in our libraries, so why should our professional conferences any different? The presence of a policy and procedure provides a structure to address those issues, regardless of the outcome.

The discussion of the sticky wicket of freedom of expression and speech hinges on a few ideas. First, that this policy will act as a chilling effect on it. To me, there is always a chill on freedom of expression no matter whether a policy exists or not. People will be intimidated to speak up under either model for a number of reasons. It’s the lesser of two evils to accept some form of regulation in order to get more speech out of a greater number of people. Also, it’s not unheard of that a library would have a customer conduct policy in a library that aims to be inclusive by regulating behavior. We are a community resource, not the executive clubhouse for assholes.

Second, that presenters and speakers must adhere to (for lack of a better term) political correctness. Beyond the fact that the policy asks (not demands, not requires) presenters to be inclusive, speakers are given an additional degree of latitude since they act to provoke critical thinking and discussion. This section is more of a reflection of our professional collection development policies. The library may have something that will offend patron; we advise them to don’t read, listen, or watch it and move along.  Standards in modern construction are required to make exits highly visible and since no sessions prevent people from leaving, egress from a talk that offends someone is encouraged by the Code of Conduct (the law of two feet). You might not like what the speaker is saying, but you don’t have to subject yourself to it either.

My only remaining concern is how the definition of “conference social events” will be interpreted. Does this include unofficial events like tweetups? Parties at the ALA Think Tank house? How far does the Code of Conduct reach into the unofficial outlying social events around the conference? And before anyone jumps on it, I’m not talking about harassment behaviors which can arise to criminal offenses but to civil (and possibly uncivil) discourse. There are some grey areas here that need to be explored.

Overall, I think the Code of Conduct is a good policy, one that will be altered over time as issues and situations arise. Unfortunately, it needs some test cases in order to see how it would work in the field. I hope people can be patient while the policy matures. In the long run, it will change to reflect the needs of the attendees and the organization. It’s just a matter of getting there.

ALA Annual 2013 Newbies Twitter List

Just a quick post to announce that I’ve started my annual new conference attendee list on Twitter. I’ve been making a list each year since I went to my first ALA a couple years back during the “OH MY GOD WHY IS IT SO HOT” Washington DC conference. If this is your first conference, send me a message (@wawoodworth) on Twitter and I’ll add you on the list. If you’re a more experienced person attending the conference or want to live vicariously through the new folks, then be sure to follow the list. I won’t be in Chicago for the conference this year, but I look forward to reading, seeing, and hearing all about it from everyone headed to the Windy City.

Here’s all the lists so far:

The 2013 Twitter List

The 2012 Twitter List

The 2011 Twitter List

The 2010 Twitter List (the original!)

Scraping the Bottom of the Librarian eBook Patience Barrel


Librarian Patience Has Run out on E-Book Lending Issues, Library Association Says” was the title of the article that ran in Digital Book World last week covering a private meeting between the ALA and the American Association of Publishers. The title was hinting at a strongly worded open letter to publishers that ALA President Maureen Sullivan wrote last week about the current state of library eBook affairs (which is more complicated and surreal than a paternity suit in a Korean soap opera). Even after the AAP made its own reply, it was a chance for publishing executives to get their own digs on Maureen and the ALA position.

I suggest reading the original article since I’m going to pull out some of the “highlights”, a term I use very loosely and probably owe the creator an apology after this post. While the article is not an exhaustive recounting of the meeting, there are some things I wanted to point out.

An executive from Perseus Book Group who did not identify herself said, “our executives are confused as to what is a library?” She cited concerns that the free and wide availability of e-books to library patrons could undercut publisher business.

Perhaps these big time executives do have a point. If we line up five books in an empty postbox or phone booth or anything with a shelf and call it a ‘library’, what does it mean to be a library? This might be what the library eBook debate really needs: a final definition of what it means to be an eBook, to ‘lend’ a computer file, or to ‘own’ a copy. Afterward, we can work on questions like what it means to be an author (“does writing poetry on a napkin count?”) or a publisher (“can I sell that napkin?”). Maybe we can get some MLS students to work on this for us so long as this was a legitimate philosophical question and not the overheard utterance of a crazy person.

As to the second point, it’s the standard unproven eBook canard that allowing libraries to lend eBooks will hurt their bottom line, smother the nascent eBook market, or some other nurturing/parenting allusion that the Big Six publishers are the caretakers for this new market. It has never been proven because the moment it is proven all the future eBook library holdings in the country will be in jeopardy. Since that is not happening, it’s just some boogey man living under the big time publisher bed, waiting for an errant foot to dangle over the side so it can FEED ON THEIR BONES.

Tim McCall, vice president of online sales and marketing, digital sales at Penguin Group USA, criticized the ALA’s supposed stance, as written into its letter earlier in the week, that e-books should should be available to libraries under the same business models as print books.

Well, make up your damn mind. You want libraries to pretend its print when it comes to lending practices (one book, one person). Libraries played this stupid game because of the publisher’s belief that any other lending model other than a copy of the print model would be the end of the world. In order to be able to offer eBook lending, librarians had to ignore the obvious fact that it was a computer file and treat it like a book. The Stockholm syndrome finally took over and librarians suggested that it actually operate under the same business models as print.

But, no no, you can’t treat it the same because it’s not the same media, they say now. Really? It’s not the same? I’ve never had to spend fifteen minutes explaining how someone can hold and open a book the same way I’ve done it with trying to help people download books onto their eReader. Then why are you making us lend it like it is a print book?

“When will the ALA start proposing to us some best practices on what models you think will work from your digital solutions working group? You put a lot on us and it’s created a lot of chaos and clearly it’s [e-book library lending] broken. We have twelve different models,” he said. “You have to come back to us with more than just ‘equitable access at a fair price.’”

As the question was being posed, many heads in the publisher-heavy audience were nodding in ascent. […]

The business model suggestions have to “come from you and [have] to be a lot more specific than what I’ve heard here. I challenge you with that,” said Balis.

Um, no.

Why do libraries have to come up with business models for publishers? We’re the customer. We have reasonable demands: equitable access (being able to offer a library member a book in any format) for a fair price (a recognition that eBooks are computer files and that they should be priced accordingly). Make it work!

But, no. “You put a lot on us.” “It’s created a lot of chaos.” That’s the sound of publishers punting on the issue. Libraries only put “a lot” on publishers because publishers were insistent about holding all the cards when it comes to eBooks. The only thing unreasonable is the fact that libraries pointed out that we had to wait for them to make up their damn minds when it comes to eBook lending. How dare us!

The “chaos” that resulted is what happens when publishers want to create a market but give nothing up. Retention of file ownership and dictating lending policies broach on library territory. And guess what? Not all libraries are comfortable with that. The “chaos” that Balis likes to point out originated from his side of the equation.

Our lack of satisfaction in eBook lending availability and policies is not the fault of libraries, but of big publishers wanting to have their cake and eat it.

Balis again confronted the ALA delegation on the mission of libraries, questioning whether e-book access was for the “less fortunate” that libraries are, in part, there to serve or for “wealthy residents of Greenwich [Conn.] who just want to have a lot of nice, free access to a lot of books?”

My jaw dropped when I read this.

It is a blatant assault on the integrity of libraries to openly suggest that eBook lending access is sought simply so that rich people can have free eBooks. It is the implication that eBooks are and will always be a luxury item reserved exclusively for the Martha’s Vineyard crowd so that they can have something to talk about between polo rounds and yacht sailing competitions. It is, at its most basic, questioning our basic professional principle of ‘service to all who seek it’. I have but one response to this impertinent question:

Fuck you, strong statement to follow.

With the continued price reduction of a basic eReader (Amazon will soon be giving Kindles away for free) and personal computer and the expanding smartphone market, the opportunity for the average American to download eBooks onto their personal device (be it phone, computer, eReader) is continuing to expand. The cost barrier continues to come down allowing for more people to participate in the online market and conversation, including eBooks. Granted, until national broadband because a reality, there will be some people left out. But they will not be left out simply because of their financial situation or to use your phrase, “less fortunate”. (I dare you to ask the people who exist at the opposite end of the Greenwich crowd if they consider themselves to be “less fortunate”.)

Libraries serve their communities. Full stop. There is no income restriction or requirement. In duty, librarians strive to be egalitarians, providing service to all who seek it. That’s who we are and what we do. For the record, librarians know a few things about social equality as well.

Mr. Balis, you can question many things about the library when it comes to eBooks, but not our mission of service. It’s a distraction, a craven act of arrogance, and an insult to suggest that library eBook lending relates to income levels. You didn’t deserve the answer that Maureen graciously gave you for your boorish question. You should be ashamed of yourself.

Pivoting back to the purpose of the meeting, I can’t imagine any patience being replenished between ALA and the Big Six members of the AAP. The underlying feeling presented from the article is that those publishers are trying to blame shift to libraries for the state of library eBook affairs when they have been calling the tune the whole time. The challenge to libraries to create business models is just a stalling tactic to pull the heat off themselves and to further a status quo of limited checkouts or outrageous pricing. Beyond that, their beliefs are controlled by fear and conjecture about what libraries could possibly do to the publishing business.

I’m just glad that there are libraries with other projects in play with other (sane) publishers. It shows that this is a problem to which there are excellent solutions. It’s just a matter of finding those who want to work with us and not ones who want us to do the work for them. There is a road ahead, but it may not entirely be through New York.