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.

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