on getting our undies in a bunch …

high wire 3photo © 2007 Graeme Maclean | more info (via: Wylio)

I’m a rather high strung kind of guy.  Being high strung is not a requirement for being a librarian, but based on a series of recent events, I’d say that it is a characteristic fairly common to many librarians.

A few weeks ago, Harper Collins announced a “loan cap” that, in effect, limits the number of times a library can circulate an ebook to 26 loans.  LM_Net, a listserv of approximately 17,000 (mostly school) librarians got FLOODED with messages from librarians having virtual cows (with horns and everything!!!).  People wanted to call for boycotts, wanted other to write to Congress, wanted … You get the picture.  Undies all over LM_Net were in bunches!!!  When those around me (either in my immediate 3-D world or virtually) get their undies in knots, mine tend to get bunched as well.  It’s just the way I am … Anyway, one brave sole individual (I forget who it was) posted the thought that, in the long run, it wasn’t a big deal.

“OMG!!! NOT A BIG DEAL?!?!?  A loan cap of 26 loans???? NOT A BIG DEAL?!?!? How can that be?!?!?” The poster went on to say (metaphorically at least) that, in reality, most of our paperback and hard cover print books were lost, were damaged, or fell apart long before they ever circulated 26 times so we should all relax and un-bunch the undies. 

More recently 60 Minutes ran an expose about how the author and apparent philanthropist Greg Mortenson, who authored Three Cups of Tea allegedly had made up parts of the tale and how his foundation spent a significant portion of its funding doing things other than building schools in Afghanistan.  Disclaimer: I didn’t see the 60 Minutes piece and I haven’t read much about the controversy.  Anyway, LM_Net and another listserv both lit up once again and folks clearly had their undies in a bunch!!!

“Are you going to remove the books from your collections?” Kind of stuff. 

Really?!?!? Even if parts of his books do turn out to be embellished or outright fiction, if they were good reads before aren’t they going to still be worth reading?  It isn’t like they are the kind of factual inaccuracies that a student might use in a paper.  It is a memoir and memoirs are about how people recall their experiences.  Why are all the undies in bunches over this?

Now, I can certainly understand if people made donations to his foundation and are upset, but I also see that as a separate issue from whether the books merit inclusion in a collection.

I dunno … Should I have my undies in a bunch over this?

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One thought on “on getting our undies in a bunch …

  1. I was expecting a publisher to do something like this, but honestly I was expecting them to try a loan cap of ONE, like Amazon did for their kindles (and no one raised a stink over that)! The fact that HC came out with a number like 26 implies, to me, that they actually gave considerable thought to the needs of libraries and tried to find a reasonable compromise between their need for profits and library budgets.Or…maybe they really wanted to end up with a circ. cap of 52, so they started with a low bid, and then after everyone gets in an uproar, can appear magnanimous by offering to double their initial bid…naw, they're not *that* cynical, are they?~ Susan Timmons

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