It’s the end of another week, and I hope everyone is enjoying a bit of post-graduation break. How many readers work at academic libraries that hold classes over the summer? Our campus is rather barren during the summer months as students and faculty clear out, so the library tends to become eerily quiet. Does anyone else use the summer months to work on or finish lingering projects? I always have the best of intentions, but we know how those tend to turn out…
It’s a hodgepodge of Hot Topics this week. Did anyone attend National Library Legislative Day in Washington D.C.? We had a couple of representatives from our library. From what I’ve heard, there was a lot of buzz surrounding the USA PATRIOT Act and the government’s increased reliance on digital surveillance. If you’re not sure why the PATRIOT Act should matter to libraries, check out ALA’s information page. Patron privacy is becoming a hotter topic by the minute for libraries of all types. It affects our purchasing and licensing practices, our Internet security considerations, and it poses sticky ethical questions when determining which data we can or should collect in order to make well-informed decisions that benefit our users. Whether you choose to be an advocate or not, it doesn’t hurt to stay informed.
It’s a Library Buyout Extravaganza! Hot on the heels of the news that EBSCO acquired YBP (former the academic library services branch of Baker & Taylor), ProQuest announced that they have acquired Coutts Information Services, the academic arm of Ingram Content Group, and MyiLibrary, an ebook platform. The word on the street is that this means positive growth for both YBP and Coutts, who seem like logical fits for companies like EBSCO and ProQuest seeking to expand their market share in providing content as well as library systems. If you’ve spoken with your reps at any of these companies, you’ve probably heard that it’s “business as usual”, but I wonder how long that will be the case. What does this mean for YPB’s acquisitions platform: Gobi? Or Coutts’ acquisitions platform: Oasis? What will happen to MyiLibrary now that the platform is owned by a company that just spent the past several years developing a superior ebook platform of their own? What does this mean for our print book fulfillment? And aren’t these acquisitions becoming a bit…incestuous? Whatever the motivations or goals, I do hope that the vendors include librarians (you know, their actual customers) in discussions and decision-making processes. After all, we’re the ones who will be most affected and who have the potential to drive the direction of the market. So, librarians, speak up! Unite! We deserve to be more than pawns in a sandbox scuffle.
Tom Gilson. Test Bio