National eContent licensing?

While scrolling through today’s Twitter news updates, I stumbled across one of  Springer’s self-aggrandizing articles about establishing a national eBook license for higher education in Germany.  As I’ve discussed in previous budget scare entries, our current system of campus to campus or university to university licensing doesn’t seem to be working.  In California, the UCs and the Cal States have a decent consortium put together to share the expenses, but what about the community colleges and public libraries?  As far as I understand, each community college or community college district has its own separate contract for access to resources, allowing each to have different numbers of resources.  Because of the split efforts, community colleges are constantly struggling to maintain access to the databases we currently have.  So why couldn’t we try a statewide or national plan for at least certain target databases to be shared?  If investment in community colleges is really a priority, this ought to be a good first step, don’t you think? Also, the different resources among public libraries can be quite shocking as well as their user policies. SFPL has a great collection, with access to many more databases that our college can offer. Shouldn’t I be able to help the English majors find articles, biographies, etc. in Gale’s Literature Resource Center without having to preface that they need to trek over to San Francisco and sign up for an SFPL library card that’s available for any Californian resident? Although statewide people can sign up for an SFPL card, the offer isn’t really for statewide access. Other public libraries are now providing library card sign up online for immediately eResource access since they are available for residents of California so what’s the holdup, SFPL? If anyone has information about this whole setup, I’d be thrilled to learn more about this.

In conclusion, as I was telling my Library Studies students just last night, being able to identify and access quality information is what will keep them employable with the quickly changing job expectations and creation of new career paths today.  Database access at the community college and public library level are one major avenue to helping people with this process. While simply stating that during a 3-hour lecture tends to not stick, I find this video (chocked full of stats) helps drive the point home.

In order for community colleges and public libraries to help support students to provide consistent access to vital information, California, the US, the Western States or any other combination of the libraries ought to try to work together and see what we can get setup with our collective power.

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