It’s hot in Chicago, but librarians gathering in the Windy City for the 2013 American Library Association annual conference are beginning to feel a breeze at their backs on the long-simmering e-book issue. As the conference opens, all of the big six publishers are now involved with e-book lending in some capacity. And now, ALA officials have announced a major new advocacy initiative with authors.
The campaign, Authors for Library Ebooks, asks authors “to stand with libraries in their quest for equitable access to e-books,” and begins with public support from three bestselling authors-- Cory Doctorow, Ursula K. Le Guin and Jodi Picoult.
“Whether it’s a digital file or a paper copy, I want readers to find my books—and all books—in their libraries,” Picoult said in a statement. “Young, old, rich, poor—libraries encourage exploration and a love of reading. I stand with libraries—and I invite other authors to join me in the campaign for library e-books for all.”
The campaign is the latest development in ALA’s advocacy strategy to ensure readers have access to books, regardless of format. “The heart of the issue is that access to authors’ works through libraries is being restricted, hurting discovery, reading choice, literacy and the simple love of reading,” said ALA president Maureen Sullivan. “We’ve made some progress over the past year, but not far or fast enough to meet the growing needs of our communities.”
Developed by the ALA’s Digital Content & Libraries Working Group, the Authors for Library Ebooks campaign encourages authors to sign on to a statement of shared values, to discuss the issue with their publishers, and raise awareness of their concerns through their Web sites, social media and other communications channels.