So, let’s say librarians successfully beat publishers to a pulp and secure ownership rights to digital formats. Let’s say ebooks are no longer an issue–we’ve got them in spades. Then what?
Then we have a massive collection that requires no physical space to house. People have fewer reasons than ever to visit their local library buildings.
Or let’s say the ebook thing never works out for libraries. So we’re left behind in the digital dust.
In the first scenario, seems like our collections could sink us. In the second scenario, seems like our collections could sink us.
What if we remove ebooks from the equation? Why not focus on the things that are within our control–things like programming, classes, library as publisher, customer service, unique collections, upgraded facilities, community partnerships…you people out there on the front lines know better than me what makes your libraries special and what could make them even better for your communities and the people in them. Is it really ebooks?
Why focus so intently on something that doesn’t guarantee anything? Of course, there are no guarantees in life. But I’d venture a guess that resolution of the ebook problem will not resolve much of anything for libraries in the long run.
Time for a plan B.