SLA Joins Coalition to Promote Equitable Access and Expand Lending
New group to fight for ‘technology-positive future’ for libraries
McLean, Virginia, U.S.A., 26 January 2021—The Special Libraries Association has become a founding partner of a nonprofit advocacy group that will focus on expanding access to information, preserving and expanding a library’s ability to lend materials, and ensuring community privacy.
The group, Library Futures, is committed to the following principles:
- Our world is digital: Libraries must adopt a technology-forward approach that meets the needs of our communities.
- Protect the right to lend: Library Futures supports digital lending that uses technology to mirror the library’s right to loan legally acquired books under controlled conditions while respecting copyright.
- Libraries must own content, not license it: Libraries must be able to purchase, preserve, lend, and accept donations of digital materials, just as they do with their print collections.
- Equitable access is the future of libraries: Library Futures believes in ideal, universal access to information for all patrons, regardless of socioeconomic status, identity, or ability.
- Privacy is not for sale: Libraries are uniquely positioned to help preserve community privacy, ensuring that borrowing histories, research, interests, and page views are safeguarded, anonymized appropriately, and held to the same high degree of confidentiality that should be afforded to all library records.
- We are stronger together: Publishing and corporate enclosures hurt libraries and customers alike. Library Futures is in solidarity with authors and content creators.
“The Special Libraries Association is proud to be a founding member of Library Futures because we support efforts to provide equitable access to information and preserve information for future generations,” said 2021 SLA President Tara Murray Grove.
In addition to SLA, founding partners of Library Futures include the Internet Archive, the Boston Public Library, the Authors Alliance, and Creative Commons. Library Futures is led by a board of directors that includes Jill Hurst-Wahl, a longtime SLA member and former SLA board member.
“In looking for allies, we identified SLA as a potential early ally for Library Futures,” Hurst-Wahl said. “SLA is seen as a leader by people and institutions that are affected by these issues.”
The Special Libraries Association (SLA) is a nonprofit international organization for innovative information professionals and their strategic partners. SLA serves information professionals in more than 50 countries and in a range of working environments, including business, academia, and government agencies. SLA promotes and strengthens its members through learning, advocacy, and networking initiatives. For more information, visit sla.org.