It was a decent election for libraries across the nation, although library supporters this week have mixed feelings about the results—happy that a fairly high number of local library projects were approved; disappointed that some high profile measures were defeated; and many left to worry about a troubling trend—are library supporters losing steam at the ballot box?
EveryLibrary’s John Chrastka observes that despite some good outcomes on Tuesday, he remains concerned by "a real softness in the level of support voters have for library funding.” Of the 79 library-related elections EveryLibrary tracked (the full list is here) 48 (72%) passed their measures; 13 (20%) failed; four (6%) remain ‘too close to call’ as of this writing. The remaining measures had no reliable information available at press time. And while there were some big wins in that bunch, the results look "significantly less positive for libraries than the 2017 elections," Chrastka observed, suggesting that library supporters need to change their approach to advocacy. Last year, library-related ballot initiatives posted a 94% success rate.
Here’s Library Journal’s take on how libraries did at the polls.
And here is American Libraries roundup of ballot initiatives, broken down by state.
And, on the EveryLibrary blog, Chrastka offers the best analysis I've seen yet, via these 10 takeaways from the election, including this opening analysis:
"When you combine a hyper-divided Congress and the dysfunctional political climate in D.C. with an overall approach of the Trump Administration to diminishing or dismantling the federal government’s funding, regulatory, and rulemaking role, then add in the still-coming impact of the 2017 Tax Act, we foresee that most of the major policy and funding decisions over the next several years will be coming from states and by cities. Library leaders need to pay close attention to what is happening in their state houses, city halls, county seats, and school boards. And we need to we prepared to work on influencing that local and state level policy and funding picture for library."
AAP: Plan S 'Disrespects' and 'Devalues' the Publishing Industry
In a strongly-worded press release this week, the Association of American Publishers lodged its opposition to Plan S, the European open access initiative supported by a coalition of major funding bodies.
“It is the strong view of the U.S. publishing industry that Plan S is ill-conceived and unsustainable,” said Maria A. Pallante, president and Chief Executive Officer of AAP. “Plan S is a violation of academic freedom to publish and is a disservice to all who rely upon credible research literature. Plan S devalues and disrespects the publishing industry threefold: it imposes strict regulations on an innovative private sector marketplace; it creates market access barriers for American publishers; and it places unreasonable constraints on individual researchers.”
Chemistry World (which is published by the Royal Society of Chemistry) has a good report on the open letter, which includes a response from Plan S organizers, and even a response from Emma Wilson, the Royal Society of Chemistry's (RSC) director of publishing (RSC is one of the society publishers referred to in the letter, and is a signatory). Wilson comments that the RSC "agrees with many of the principles outlined in Plan S," and supports "a sustainable transition to open access."
Also this week, Nature reports that two major funders, The Wellcome Trust, and the Gates Foundation, have come out in strong support of Plan S.
In a press release, The Wellcome Trust said that its policy supports the proposals in Plan S. Among its new policy changes, the Wellcome Trust is now requiring immediate open access (no more six-month embargoes) and is no longer supporting publication in hybrid journals.
If you're curious to see how they came up with their policy, the Wellcome Trust has also made its "Open Access Policy Review" available, which includes this rather interesting conclusion at the end of the executive summary: "While it is appreciated that the onus now falls on the publishers to respond reasonably and fairly, the appeal of the Fully OA proposition is caveated–as most of the ideas must be–by what is expected to be a rather intransigent journal response."
While the AAP's release sounds like fighting words, in Health Europa, Robert-Jan Smits, the European Commission’s Senior Adviser on Open Access, said OA advocates are prepared for the pushback. "I expected resistance because Plan-S is a radical plan,” Smits said. "I still wait and hope for the first big publisher to go full open access.”
From the Thomson Reuters Foundation, a disturbing report on how LGBT+ people are being "erased from books in Russia" because of a new "gay propaganda'" law.
The BBC has a report on an exhibit at Oxford University's Bodleian Libraries' featuring works once deemed too obscene to put on the open shelves, including Lady Chatterley's Lover, The Joy of Sex, and a range of 17th Century pornography.
The Guardian meanwhile, writes about the ways librarians are heroes: "whether they’re saving books from censorship, or sheltering their community from danger, there’s nothing new about librarians choosing actions alongside words..."
Also from The Guardian, a report on Tim Berners-Lee's opening talk at the Web Summit in Lisbon, in which he outlined a new “Contract for the Web” that aims to protect people’s rights and freedoms online. “Humanity connected by technology on the web is functioning in a dystopian way," he said. "We have online abuse, prejudice, bias, polarisation, fake news, there are lots of ways in which it is broken. This is a contract to make the web one which serves humanity, science, knowledge and democracy.”
Readers may remember the outcry that came when the University of Texas began removing books from its Fine Arts Library for a renovation project? Well, The Daily Texan reports that the renovation is complete...and sounds pretty cool.
Devastating news from the Poughkeepsie Journal, which reports that the Pleasant Valley Library has been "ravaged" by a fire.
Architectural Digest has a beautiful spread featuring "the world’s 8 most futuristic libraries."