SPEC Kit 313: E-book Collections · 17
Libraries are changing. The publishing industry is
changing. Patrons are changing and expecting more
and different things from their libraries. “The Global
Reading Room: Libraries in the Digital Age” states
“the role of libraries is becoming more important and
more far-reaching than ever” and “though their mis-
sion remains unchanged, libraries are rethinking their
collections, services, spaces, and opportunities for
pooling resources.” The line between collection de-
velopment and acquisitions is blurring. Librarians are
communicating with patrons through instant messag-
ing and twittering. Some libraries provide print-on-
demand machines. Budgets are decreasing with the
current economic crisis and libraries are looking at
ways to maximize their collection development funds.
And while the Library of Congress reports that their
Copyright Office currently defines print as the “best
edition format,” this is being revisited.
Libraries are facing both internal and external
factors in developing and maintaining e-book col-
lections. With change, however, comes denial and
pockets of resistance. Librarians and library staff can
lobby for new policies and procedures and increase
communication among departments. Library admin-
istrators can leverage internal change by encourag-
ing new workflows and can significantly impact the
building of a new business model with publishers and
aggregators to manage external factors.
The last comment of the survey sums up the over-
all conclusion of this SPEC Kit:
Well, good luck with all of this. It seems libraries
are all over place with e-books and some are very
aggressively trying to acquire while others appear to
be sticking their heads in the sand and pretending
it doesn’t exist. Libraries, librarians, and publishers
should all be working harder in this place to help
shape the model and the future of all of this. Hon-
estly it makes my skin crawl when libraries suggest
that e-books should be purchased and/or operate like
print models. If we are just trying to recreate the
print model here, then I’m not sure I understand the
point. The reality is that nothing in academic librar-
ies is going to be what it used to be, and so many
libraries are clinging to that without realizing that
the war has already been lost.
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