Utah Library Day on the Hill – Feb. 12, 2020

Our libraries receive funding from our local, state, and national representatives. Yet sometimes as a profession we struggle to do a great job building relationships with our representatives, lining up our priorities, asking for additional funding, and positioning ourselves as leaders on key issues like net neutrality. Utah Library Association is trying to build infrastructure to better meet this need. One of the efforts in this plan is active participation in the annual Library Day on the Hill alongside other partnering library organizations including the Utah State Library, the Utah Academic Library Consortium, and the Utah Educational Library Media Association. We will be hosting tables in the capitol rotunda and setting up meetings with state legislators for you, their constituents, to advocate for your library. We will be making a coordinated effort this year to ask specifically for $270,000 to be allocated to Utah Education Telehealth Network to help rural libraries and schools pay for reliable broadband Internet. This will make up the difference eRate discounts leave that those libraries and schools can’t pay.

This Library Day on the Hill will be:
February 12, 2020
7 AM – 10 AM
Utah State Capitol

Advocacy may sound like a political activity–but it’s fundamentally about making our passion for the work we do, and our transformational impact on the community, more visible. We invite ULA members to come be part of this unified effort on behalf of all our libraries! Please direct questions about Library Day on the Hill to rebekah.cummings@utah.edu

EBook and EAudiobook Licensing Changes Are Causes for Concern

The summer of 2019 has brought dramatic changes in eBook and eAudiobook licensing to libraries from many publishers.  Among the most prominent is Macmillan Publishers’ July 25th announcement that beginning November 1, 2019, a library may only purchase one copy of a new title upon release in eBook format, after which an eight-week embargo will be imposed on additional copies sold to libraries.1  Blackstone Audio is also placing a moratorium on libraries, prohibiting them from purchasing new content within the first 90 days of the retail date.2

Rather than imposing embargos, publishers Penguin Random House,3 Hachette Book Group,4 and Simon & Schuster5 have announced they are doing away with library-owned perpetual licenses and are adopting two-year licenses.  In many cases the publishers have lowered the initial prices of these timed titles which may help some libraries, but others have expressed concern over long-term costs to libraries by requiring continual purchasing of popular older titles.3

Macmillan’s representatives have pointed to reduced retail eBook sales in connection with library use as the primary motivation for their changes.6  Steve Potash, founder and CEO of OverDrive, has rebutted such claims, pointing out many timed licenses that libraries purchase never reach their maximum checkouts in the time allotted to the license, resulting in higher costs per circulation than Macmillan reported.7

ALA President Wanda Brown has expressed great concern over the timed license changes and the embargos.  “Eliminating perpetual access increases challenges to the long-term preservation of the nation’s cultural heritage. . . Furthermore, a price point of as much as $79.99 for two-year access to one copy of an audio book is excessive and reduces public access.”5  Also from President Brown, “Macmillan Publishers’ new model for library ebook lending will make it difficult for libraries to fulfill our central mission: ensuring access to information for all. . . Limiting access to new titles for libraries means limiting access for patrons most dependent on libraries.  When a library serving many thousands has only a single copy of a new title in ebook format, it’s the library – not the publisher – that feels the heat. It’s the local library that’s perceived as being unresponsive to community needs.”1

While the Utah Library Association agrees that the rights of authors, publishers, and libraries should be balanced, we echo the concerns over the potential consequences of these various changes, particularly in the cases of the large libraries of our state as they strive to serve large populations.

 

1 American Library Association. “ALA denounces new Macmillan library lending model, urges library customers to voice objections”, July 25, 2019. www.ala.org/news/press-releases/2019/07/ala-denounces-new-macmillan-library-lending-model-urges-library-customers (Accessed August 29, 2019)

Document ID: 7ee1b4cf-aba7-476e-8ef6-f4d3146e4797

2 Blackwell, Michael. Readers First. “Hachette, Blackstone change library digital content models/availability”, June 17, 2019. www.readersfirst.org/news/2019/6/17/hachette-blackstone-change-library-digital-content-modelsavailability (Accessed August 29, 2019)

3 Enis, Matt. Library Journal. “Librarians react to new Penguin Random House ebook terms”, Oct. 12, 2018. www.libraryjournal.com/?detailStory=181012PRHebookterms (Accessed August 29, 2019)

4 American Library Association. “ALA ‘concerned’ over Hachette Book Group ebook and audio book lending model changes”, June 17, 2019. www.ala.org/news/press-releases/2019/06/ala-concerned-over-hachette-book-group-ebook-and-audio-book-lending-model (Accessed August 29, 2019)

Document ID: 9684779e-4c06-44fb-ba09-6d5ea3324305

5 American Library Association. “ALA uneasy about Simon & Schuster digital lending model changes”, July 2, 2019. www.ala.org/news/press-releases/2019/07/ala-uneasy-about-simon-schuster-digital-lending-model-changes (Accessed August 29, 2019)

Document ID: 84e2ae19-9d06-4ca4-962a-199cf00110d3

6 Enis, Matt. Library Journal. “Publishers change ebook and audiobook models; libraries look for answers”, July 17, 2019. www.libraryjournal.com/?detailStory=publishers-change-ebook-and-audiobook-models-libraries-look-for-answers (Accessed August 29, 2019)

7 Potash, Steve. Thoughts from a digital advocate: The official blog of Steve Potash. “Macmillan publishes a work of fiction”, Aug. 1, 2019. overdrivesteve.com/macmillan-publishes-a-work-of-fiction/ (Accessed August 29, 2019)

Utah Library Association Wins 2019 ALA Gerald Hodges Award for Intellectual Freedom

The Utah Library Association is honored to receive the 2019 American Library Association Gerald Hodges Intellectual Freedom Award! This award is given to the most innovative and effective intellectual freedom project covering a state or region. ULA is awarded the 2019 Hodges Award for taking the lead in building a coalition of partners that lead to the reinstatement of access to EBSCO databases for more than 650,000 students after a state Board blocked access based on complaints that EBSCO databases were pornographic. The month-long campaign to overturn the censorship decision was multi-faceted, strategic, and generated thousands of emails from ordinary Utah citizens direct to UEN Board Members, resulting in a reversal of their initial decision to ban access to the databases.

ULA Advocacy Chair Peter Bromberg, who coordinated the effort to reinstate EBSCO, will be at the ALA Annual Conference in Washington DC to receive a plaque and $1000 prize on behalf of the Utah Library Association. Congratulations, Peter and ULA!

ULA writes letter of support for increased federal funding for LSTA “Grants to States” program

Last Friday, November 9, ULA President Rebekah Cummings wrote the following letter of support for increasing funding to $1 per capita for LSTA.

Dear Chief Officers of State Library Agencies (COSLA),

I write today on behalf of the Utah Library Association (ULA) in support of increasing funding to $1 per capita for the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) Grants to States program. IMLS/LSTA programs have had a tremendous impact on Utah residents through funding programs that support early digital literacy (WeeLearn), expanded book delivery for at-risk children (Community Collections and Connections), and leadership and technology training for Utah librarians (ILEAD USA). LSTA funding strengthens Utah libraries and communities by providing critical services and resources. Therefore, the Utah Library Association supports the following resolution:

RESOLUTION TO SUPPORT INCREASED FEDERAL FUNDING FOR LIBRARIES

WHEREAS, the Chief Officers of State Library Agencies (COSLA) have started a “One Dollar Per Capita” campaign to increase funding for the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) Grants to States Program; and

WHEREAS, one dollar per capita represents a doubling of current funding for the Grants to States program. The current funding for Grants to States is $164 million. COSLA proposes to increase that funding level to $325 million. Funding for Grants to States has remained essentially flat for more than 20 years despite rising costs to state library agencies and local libraries; and

WHEREAS, Utah libraries have greatly benefited from LSTA funding and an increased federal investment in libraries would support lifelong learning, early literacy, economic growth and workforce development, services to veterans, community sustainability, and many other programs that grow communities and enrich the lives of persons of all ages here in Utah;

BE IT RESOLVED that the Utah Library Association supports COSLA’s “One Dollar Per Capita” campaign to increase funding for the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) Grants to States Program and will encourage Utah’s Congressional Delegation to support this investment in the state’s and nation’s libraries.

Sincerely,

Rebekah Cummings

Utah Library Association, President

Utah Education and Telehealth Network (UETN) votes unanimously to reinstate Ebsco for K-12 Utah Schools

In late September, the Utah Education and Telehealth Network (UETN) shut off access to the Ebsco databases for K-12 Utah students after receiving and investigating complaints about inappropriate content in the Ebsco database. On October 1, the UETN Board voted 6-1 to retain the ban on Ebsco pending further investigation.

Over the past three weeks, ULA has partnered with UELMA, EveryLibrary, UEA, and ALA to advocate that UEN restore access to Ebsco. ULA and EveryLibrary created an online petition that generated nearly 7,000 emails to members of the UETN Board, and an additional push through ALA Engage this week generated 550 more emails. Peter Bromberg, ULA Advocacy Chair and Elaine Shelburne, a UELMA representative and librarian at Bonneville High School, were interviewed on KRCL 90.9 Radioactive Wednesday night encouraging Utah residents to attend the UETN Board meeting today where the Board would vote on whether to restore access to Ebsco.

This morning, the UETN Board voted unanimously to immediately restore access to Ebsco for K-12 students. Several library representatives from ULA and UELMA made public comment and State Librarian Colleen Eggett spoke in support of restoring access to Ebsco. The motion to restore Ebsco was passed with the caveat that should UEN receive future complaints, UEN staff will immediately verify the legitimacy of the complaint and work with Ebsco to block the offending item. If the verified offending content can’t be blocked, UEN will again shut down access to the whole database. To mitigate the risk of Utah students again losing access to Ebsco, ULA will follow up with UEN to make sure they are aware of the granular administrative control that can be exercised over Ebsco content.

The Utah Library Association wishes to thank our membership for their support of Utah students and intellectual freedom. Your actions through signing petitions, commenting on UEN’s website, and making public comment at the UETN board meeting helped raise awareness and garner support for a critical information resource that keeps Utah students informed and academically competitive. We also want to thank EveryLibrary, UELMA, UEA, and ALA for partnering with us to restore Ebsco. Lastly, thank you to the UETN Board for making sure Utah students have continued access to high-quality, safe, and scholarly resources.

Sincerely,

Rebekah Cummings, Utah Library Association, President

Peter Bromberg, Utah Library Association, Advocacy Chair