Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Library Advocacy Day is March 31

Graphic courtesy of the Massachusetts
Board of Library Commissioners
A couple of weeks ago we wrote about the digital lockout in libraries across the state and how funding can help crack the code. 

Did you know: Funding to support library technology has decreased by 56%, lower today than it was in 1998? And State Aid to support local libraries is down 31%, the lowest it’s been since 1994. As a result, libraries across the state are threading the needle to keep up and maintain technology resources, circulation, events, and community services with fewer resources.

Libraries serve as vibrant information hubs and community-gathering centers. In Cambridge, where we’re fortunate to have an incredible main library facility and city-wide system, we know this all too well. Watch this video demonstrating just how Massachusetts libraries stack up...against the state championship sports teams no less!

Each of us should be speaking up about how much we value our local library. Monday, March 31 is Library Advocacy Day at the Massachusetts State House—tell your lawmakers why your library is important to you.

To find out more, the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners has an easy-to-share online resource to help you learn more about library funding, the digital lockout, and other legislative issues here.

Friday, March 14, 2014

The Growing Digital Demand...and the Library Lockout

Now that almost everyone has some kind of mobile screen in their pocket or satchel, it is no wonder that eBook demand in Massachusetts libraries is up by over 5,000% since 2005!

There are two major challenges for libraries attempting to meet this demand:
  1. Cost: Many publishers charge libraries up to 6 times more than consumers are charged for the same eBook. 
  2. Access: Lack of library funding has left technology for eBook distribution networks behind and playing catch-up; plus lending restrictions placed on eBooks by vendors limit access even further.
Libraries play a vital role in providing equal, free and open access to information for every person. But the lockout faced by libraries and patrons is hindering access to new and growing digital resources.

The Massachusetts Board of Library Commissions and the Massachusetts Library System are piloting a new eBook and eContent system with 50 libraries across the state. With increased State Aid to Libraries, the program will be expanded to 1,700 libraries, including school, academic and special collection libraries as well as public libraries in Massachusetts.

We can all help advocate for better funding to increase eBook content and improve technology and resource sharing for new digital collections in our libraries. Learn more with this easy-to-share overview online, add your name to the map of support for eBooks and technology in libraries, or even talk to your lawmakers in person about why your library is important to you and your community during Library Legislative Day at the State House on March 31.