“A global pandemic and a national reckoning with race and social justice helped turn 2020 into a record year for digital lending in public libraries, according to OverDrive, the leading digital platform for public libraries and schools. Readers worldwide borrowed some 430 million e-books, audiobooks and digital magazines in the year, a hefty 33% increase over 2019, OverDrive officials reported, based on data drawn from some 65,000 libraries and schools worldwide….”
“When Marygrove College closed in 2019, the Board of Trustees donated the library to the Internet Archive for digitization and preservation. With more than 70,000 books and nearly 3,000 journal volumes, the Geschke Library is a well-curated, world class collection with strengths in the humanities, education, and social justice. Video about the reopening online. …”
“Over the past decade, Silicon Valley’s tech behemoths have discreetly and methodically tightened their grip on American schools, and the pandemic has given them license to squeeze even tighter. By 2017, tens of millions of students were already using Google Chromebooks and apps for reading, writing, and turning in their work. Google Classroom now has more than 100 million users worldwide—nearly seven times the number reported in The New York Times three years ago. When we emerge from the pandemic, schools will be even more reliant on such systems. Industry is bolting an adamantine layer of technology onto the world’s classrooms, in what amounts to a stealth form of privatization….
But in practice, this convenience comes at a staggering cost. Billion-dollar companies like Follett and EBSCO are renting e-books to schools each year, rather than selling them permanent copies. By locking school districts into contracts that turn them into captive consumers, corporate tech providers are draining public education budgets that don’t have a penny to spare….
So why not shop around for a better deal? She can’t. Just as you can’t use iPhone apps on your Android phone, a school district’s choice of software providers locks administrators into a tangled web of agreements, training, and financial and organizational investments that publishers exploit to their advantage. California requires providers to sign a privacy agreement promising not to sell student data, further limiting options, Woodcock said, because not all providers are willing to sign….
Woodcock proposes what is surely a fair deal: Schools should be able to purchase e-books outright, rather than having to rent them. “I buy it, I own it. It doesn’t go away.”
Another obvious way to relieve the pressure on schools would be to expand the use of free public resources like the Internet Archive’s Open Library, which lends e-books on traditional library terms (you can’t download books from the Open Library; you can only borrow and read them). Early in the pandemic, the Open Library made waves by creating a temporary resource, the National Emergency Library, dropping restrictions on the number of people who could access a given title simultaneously. With bookstores, libraries, and schools closed all over the world, Internet Archive staff reasoned, students needed emergency access to books.
The suit seeks to destroy the Open Library altogether. But what publishers truly want is the end of ownership. If they win, books will someday become like movies on Netflix—something that schools, and all of us, will have to keep paying for forever….”
“Amazon has generally been reluctant to allow libraries to have access to its ebooks, preferring instead to make those available via its own Kindle ebook store. Public advocacy groups and libraries however have taken strong exception to this and are demanding easy availability of the Amazon titles via libraries to allow the public to have easy access to the information contained therein.
Fortunately for book lovers, Amazon indicated it is deliberating licensing its digital titles to libraries though any concrete development on this is yet to be seen on the ground. The Hill however did confirm the Digital Public Library of America is discussing with Amazon Publishing on this though no one knows for sure how soon we can see the content being available in public libraries.
Michele Kimpton, director of business development and senior strategist for the Digital Public Library of America also confirmed to Publisher’s Weekly they have been discussing this with Amazon Publishing and that the talks have been going on since spring. Kimpton however said they have made good progress on this so far so that the Amazon titles can well be seen in libraries on the DPLA exchange by early 2021 itself. That said, some outstanding issues still remain and are being worked upon….”
“The case involves the Internet Archive’s decision to create a temporary “National Emergency Library” at the height of the pandemic’s first wave—a service that expanded how many e-books clients could borrow simultaneously. The publishing industry sued, saying the non-profit was handing out digital books without permission.
The Internet Archive case has received national attention—a widely shared article in The Nation described it as “publishers taking the Internet to court”—and has drawn attention to the reality that, as library branches close over COVID concerns, patrons must often wait 10 weeks or more to borrow the digital version of a best-seller….”
“If you check out books from Internet Archive’s lending library, we’d love to hear from you. We are gathering testimonials so that we can describe the impact of our lending library. With your consent below, we will use your feedback in blog posts and other communications about the impact of the Internet Archive’s collection and controlled digital lending, the library practice that powers our lending library. Learn more about our Empowering Libraries campaign: http://blog.archive.org/empoweringlibraries/ ”
“This paper follows these threads to investigate a series of case studies of electronic access to books and cultural heritage, each incorporating some notion of a public-private partnership and some notion of the importance of open access or public good agendas, using as case studies projects like the HathiTrust’s Digital Library, Google Books, and Microsoft’s partnership with the British Library in the ill-fate Live Search Books project. The paper asks how the principles of open social scholarship contribute to a better and more nuanced understanding of digitization as a cultural practice and asks how a better understanding of the networks, partnerships, and paperwork (agreements, policies etc) of digitization could inform developments in open social scholarship. …”
“When readers need access to a book that is essentially “locked up” in print, help is starting to be on the way through the concept of Controlled Digital Lending. This is an approach to library curation that allows print books to be digitally loaned in an environment that restricted people’s abilities to redistribute or copy the book while providing digital access on e-readers, computers, or even phones. Controlled Digital Lending (CDL) was started so that readers could access books that are out of print or difficult to find but are still in copyright. CDL functions similarly to how a library lends out physical materials. This means that libraries have complete control over the number of copies of each book that is circulating….”