"Library Futures Releases Policy Paper: Digital Ownership for Libraries and the Public"

In response, Library Futures recommends policymakers adopt an approach of digital ownership that extends the current paradigm for print works and allow libraries to both maintain the benefits of print collections and innovate even further toward providing new methods of access, preservation, and education by creating new lending models, equitizing access for underserved communities, and contributing to a more democratic balance. To that end, we have outlined some approaches to solving this issue through structural, community-based, and technical means:

  • Legal reform: This can include judicial remedies through the courts, legislative action on the part of Congress, or regulatory intervention by an authority such as the Federal Trade Commission.
  • Collective action: Community intervention can be a powerful way to act concertedly to stand against entities that are prohibiting libraries from exercising their rights, such as boycotts and grassroots action, state legislative initiatives, and the collective use of incentives and accountability measures for publishers.
  • Library-owned infrastructure: The library community can build its own infrastructure to ensure that it is oriented towards the needs of their users and provides libraries with the choice to own their digital content. This is not without its challenges (practical and resource-wise), but sustainable infrastructure can put control of digital content back into the hands of libraries and users.

Policy Paper


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Author: Charles W. Bailey, Jr.

Charles W. Bailey, Jr.