Back in January of this year, the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection published a report about how the state’s public libraries could gain fairer access to ebooks.
Among that report’s conclusions: “The most forward-thinking and sustainable option the legislature could pursue to increase ebook availability at public libraries is to make a significant statewide investment in the creation of an ebook distribution platform that could be shared by libraries in the state.”
On Tuesday, June 3, 2014, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy signed into law PA 14-82 to accomplish just that. It “authorizes the State Library to create and maintain a state platform for the distribution of electronic books (ebooks) to public library patrons,” according to a press release. The law goes into effect July 1.
Kudos to the forward-thinking politicians willing to invest in real solutions to real problems.
And Connecticut will not be alone. Neighboring state Massachusetts has its own ebook project, which like Arizona’s, is an initiative facilitated by South Carolina–based BiblioBoard. Or perhaps Connecticut will choose something more like Colorado’s Evoke 2.0 and California’s enki, both of which actually host the content.
The point is this: There is a trend. State libraries and regional library cooperatives are pooling their technical expertise and resources to directly address public libraries’ e-business problems, which include not only market embargoes and price hikes, but the lack of access to emerging e-content. This should be good news for publishers, too, who will have a new distribution path to give their works the wider exposure that we have repeatedly demonstrated generate sales (PDF file).
Okay, which state is next?
JAMES LARUE is a writer, speaker, and consultant on the future of libraries. He can be reached at jlarue[at]jlarue.com.