Would everyone like to know something that gets me steamed up? If not, too bad, because I’m going to tell you. It’s e-book pricing for libraries. We all understand that retail pricing doesn’t work for libraries because the assumption is that library patrons won’t buy their own digital copies if they can download them for “free” from their libraries. But can anyone explain the outlandish markups publishers impose on libraries? Are there maniacal mathematicians on the payrolls of major publishing houses somewhere pulling numbers out of hats and sending them on down the line? These are the burning questions that led a number of Canadian libraries and consortia to form the Canadian Public Libraries for Fair Ebook Pricing coalition. They plan to raise awareness of and find solutions to issues in e-book pricing that affect libraries and the users they serve. Though aimed at the public library market, the same can be applied to academic libraries. I don’t know how many times I’ve looked up the price of an ebook through one of our vendor acquisitions platforms and gasped in horror. Most of those books are being sold on Amazon for a pittance. Stay abreast of their initiatives and progress by providing your email address on the site.
Now on to the good stuff. What a banner day for love! Unless you’ve been trapped in the Cave of Wonders recently, you’ll have seen the landmark announcement that the Supreme Court has ruled that same-sex marriage is legal in all 50 U.S. states. And lest you think I’m being overly political here, our professions governing body, the American Library Association themselves, released a statement applauding the ruling and marriage equality. Way to uphold our standards of diversity and inclusion, ALA! One outcome is that libraries may field more questions than ever on the ruling itself, what this means for people who want to get married, and how people can help. Be prepared to do some research. ALA offers a great toolkit of outreach resources for services to GLBT (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender) users through their advocacy efforts. Also, consider volunteering with ALA’s GLBT Round Table. What a glorious week! Now get out there and enjoy the weekend.