Equitable access to digital materials for public libraries
  1. United States
  2. N.Y.
  3. Letter

Equitable access to digital materials for public libraries

To: Rep. Williams, Sen. Schumer, Sen. Gillibrand, Pres. Biden

From: A constituent in Camillus, NY

July 4

Libraries play a vital role in providing equal access to knowledge and literature for all members of our communities. However, the exorbitant pricing models imposed by publishers for digital materials like e-books and audiobooks severely undermine this mission. It is unacceptable that libraries are forced to pay several times more for electronic copies compared to physical formats, while also being restricted to limited licenses that expire after a set period. Both print and electronic formats are most often one copy/one user, necessitating that libraries purchase multiple copies to address patron holds lists. This excessive burden drains library budgets and impedes the ability to meet patron demand equitably. To uphold the principles of equal access and freedom to read, we must address this exploitative pricing model. Publishers should not be permitted to gouge libraries with artificially inflated costs simply because the materials are in digital form. Fair and reasonable pricing consistent with physical formats is crucial to ensure libraries can build comprehensive collections accessible to all. Limiting access to digital materials due to unreasonable costs runs counter to the values of an informed society. I urge you to take action to curtail these predatory practices by publishers against our public libraries. Implementing sensible regulations to align e-book and audiobook pricing with their physical counterparts will safeguard libraries' ability to serve all patrons equitably. Our communities deserve unfettered access to literature and knowledge, unencumbered by corporate greed. Protecting library budgets and collections is an investment in promoting literacy, curiosity and an informed citizenry.

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