Fighting for Access

November 8, 2019

To discover more about how this embargo may affect a portion of our customers who are specifically reliant upon eBooks we caught up with Albert Ruel,  the Get Together with Technology Coordinator for the Canadian Council for the Blind. he was quick to point out that there is already a limited amount of accessible content for people with visual impairment and this kind of embargo will drastically affect the reading material that blind and partially sighted people will have access to. Those who use an electronic device called a refreshable braille display must have access to the digital eBook in order to utilize it. This creates a further imbalance to access to newly released materials.   In response to Macmillan’s action, the Canadian Urban Libraries Council (CULC), Urban Libraries Council (ULC), American Library Association (ALA), public library leaders and other key stakeholders have joined together in opposition to Macmillan’s policy change. Libraries are a critical connector between authors and readers, and we fundamentally believe in open access to books, information and ideas.

It isn’t just customers who are dealing with an accessibility issue who will be frustrated. The publishers are putting libraries between a rock and a hard place.

As the ALA’s initial statement read, “When a library serving many thousands has only a single copy of a new title in ebook format, it’s the library—not the publisher—that feels the heat. It’s the local library that’s perceived as being unresponsive to community needs.” McGinley, the industry analyst, added, “Libraries are worried that if other publishers follow suit, delays and wait times for patrons will make it more difficult to expand and sustain their e-book programs.”

VIRL has taken an active role in this issue by reaching out to Mayors across our service area, asking for their support, and by bringing this to the attention of all Federal candidates in the communities we serve.

We are asking all eBook lovers and those who believe in equal access to information to stand up for libraries’ ability to buy and lend the digital content you expect to find in our libraries.

Please sign the petition today and demand that Macmillan provide you access to the new titles you want when you want.