At least somebody is hearing the message–The following excerpt was in The LA Times on Nov.10 on questions about Google and its library projects:
“Google’s goal of creating a giant literary database may not fit the traditional model of free public libraries.
Google, whose corporate ambition is ‘to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful,’ has reached a breakthrough agreement with book publishers to make millions of out-of-print volumes accessible to the public. Unfortunately, it’s not clear how useful the pact will be to libraries and their patrons. That’s because the deal promotes a ‘pay to read’ approach that’s the antithesis of the free public library model…
Proponents of the deal say it’s just the starting point, and that Google and the registry will have the flexibility to explore more business models. The initiative will give publishers important new insights into how people want to use their works online and how digital technology is transforming the book market, they say. Nevertheless, some libraries are worried about a shift toward charging readers each time they take a book out of the digital stacks. It’s unfortunate that Google and the publishers didn’t take advantage of the emerging standards in the electronic book field to enable libraries to acquire and circulate digital versions of out-of-print titles. Companies such as Overdrive are providing a model for e-book lending that preserves the spirit of free public libraries. Google and the publishers should look for ways to apply that model to their new effort, helping libraries keep pace with a reading public that’s increasingly eager and equipped for a world with less paper.