Swedish Library Association (SLA) recently launched a campaign, depicting the largest Swedish commercial aggregator of e-books, elib.se, as a ruthless capitalist that step by step, through monopolism and blocking of access to new e-books, is trying to take over the role of the librarian. According to SLA, this state of affairs is threatening the free and non-biased public libraries, and consequenlty, the free and open access of digitized information and culture.
The campaign has received massive support from the cultural sector and also some political support. But what happens when trust between the public and the private sector is under strain? What impact does the hardening debate climate have on the oppportunities for creative cooperation between public libraries and private entrepreneurs? Are we prepared for the public/private tug of war in the digital age?
Åke Nygren and Alireza Afshari