NHLA supports joint statement regarding e-content pricing

The NHLA Executive Board has voted to support a joint statement with other state library chapters and ALA regarding the pricing of e-content. Additionally, ALA has just launched an E-book Media and Communications toolkit that may help libraries become better advocates for fair pricing that can be found at this link.

An article that discusses the joint statement in American Libraries’  “Inside Scoop” can be found here.

The text of the joint statement approved by the NHLA Board is as follows:

The New Hampshire Library Association has approved the following joint statement:

The American people long ago realized the importance of creating and maintaining a literate and informed citizenry. Publishers, authors, distributors and literary agencies have long recognized the important role played in our society by our libraries. In the past, they have supported libraries by providing purchasing discounts of printed materials, promoting authors and working with librarians to increase accessibility and enjoyment of the written word.

In this technological age, libraries must stay responsive to the public and deliver the written word in both electronic and print formats. The Indiana Library Federation, the New Jersey Library Association and the Montana Library Association are increasingly concerned about the publishers and distributors whose policies withhold e-content from library users.

Libraries, like other consumers, should be free to buy any published e-content at competitive prices, to keep these items in their collection and to loan them to their patrons. Anything less violates basic democratic principles of a free market, freedom of speech and equitable access. If financial barriers are removed in libraries, all citizens would have equal access to this material.

The Indiana Library Federation is in agreement with the Montana Library Association which asks publishers of e-content to place libraries on a level playing field with other consumers of e-content. The cooperative relationship among publishers, authors, distributors and agents must be restored.

We are aware that the American Library Association is our national voice to advocate for access to content for all members of our society and that the ALA has a Working Group on Digital Content in Libraries examining many of the issues identified above.

The Indiana Library Federation, the New Jersey Library Association and the Montana Library Association strongly oppose the actions by publishers and distributors who set unfair conditions for the sale of e-content to libraries. These conditions include unfair pricing, controlled distribution, restricted ownership and reduced access of e-content.

We join with the American Library Association and the other state chapters to speak out and vigorously oppose these discriminatory policies. We applaud the work of the Working Group on Digital Content in Libraries and urge them to identify strategies for libraries to address the significant barriers to equitable access to content created by these discriminatory policies.

Diane Lynch, New Hampshire Library Association, President

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