The American Library Association has released an official statement in response to HarperCollins’ decision to restrict library e-book lending, criticizing the publisher for threatening patron access at a time when library budgets are in crisis. “This new limitation means that fewer people will have access to an increasingly important format for delivering information,” said ALA president Roberta Stevens. “At a time when libraries are struggling to remain open and staffed, this is of grave concern.”

While librarians have reacted strongly to the HarperCollins policy, with some libraries organizing a boycott of HarperCollins’ titles, the ALA statement is measured, and instead sought to encourage the publisher to reconsider its policy.“Crafting 21st century solutions for equitable access to information while ensuring authors and publishers have a fair return on their investments is our common goal,” Stevens said. “The transition to the e-book format should not result in less availability. We encourage publishers to look to libraries as a vehicle to reach and grow diverse audiences.”