Category Archives: In the News

Libraries Receiving a Shrinking Piece of the University Pie

In his article, “Libraries Receive a Shrinking Piece of the University Pie,” Phil Davis at the Scholarly Kitchen responds to a new graphic from the American Research Libraries (ARL). According to Davis, libraries have struggled with tight budgets since the 80s, all while remaining relevant and resilient through huge technological shifts. Davis also suggests that the budgets of universities have grown larger, therefore, the graph illustrates, “that universities have failed miserably to keep their own spending under control.”

The campus library at my university is usually very crowded. It is a quiet place to study and nap, but it is also a place people go to eat, socialize, attend events, conduct research, do fundraising, relax between classes, check email, read the newspaper, etc. The bulletin boards are prime advertising space and are always slathered with paper. There is no denying the community presence of the library. At a time when the State of Florida may cut huge amounts of funding to universities, the libraries will have to absorb even more (and more devastating) cuts. We have to keep advocating for libraries and letting our government and universities know that libraries are crucial social learning hubs.

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Random House Makes Deal With Libraries

Check out this story, “Random House makes history, says it will sell books to libraries with no restriction on number of loans,” by Dennis Johnson at Melville House.

The emergence of ebooks has proven to be a difficult venture for libraries for a number of reasons. With physical books a library buys copies from a vendor, and when the books get worn out or updated the library simply buys more copies. With ebooks, the book is not physical but digital. Publishers have been reluctant to sell ebooks to libraries at all, and the ones who do (namely, Harper Collins), put a limit on how many circulations each “copy” of the ebook can have. Random House is the first of the major publishers to agree to sell ebooks to libraries at a slightly higher price than regular books but with no limit on the number of loans. This move should help alleviate some of the tension that has been building between the two interests, at least for a while.

Though it seems like an ebook will last forever, there are reasons to doubt. The formats and file types will eventually evolve, as will the methods of delivery. Libraries will continue their endless task of updating the catalogs to reflect current technology and formats.

Privacy, Technology and Law

In an opinion piece for the New York Times, “Privacy, Technology and Law,” Barry Friedman argues that “expanding use of technology narrows rights.” What do you think? Privacy is an important and difficult issue for librarians. How do we protect privacy when current uses of technology gravitate toward information sharing, personal or not?