Turning the Tables: Library as Publisher

Makerspaces, 3D printing, publishing on demand.

Current trends in libraries revolve around the library as a space of creation, not “passive” consumption.

Academic libraries are getting into the game by becoming journal publishers, partnering with other campus units to produce original publications. Open access journals are a hot new product.

But is this merely an attempt for libraries to justify their existence?

Wanna Write a Good One? Library as Publisher, by James LaRue

A late-2011 report from ARL’s Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition stated that slightly more than half of all ARL member libraries were either developing or already had publishing services.

About three-quarters of the programs publish between one and six journals, the majority of which are only distributed electronically and are less than three-years old. About half of the programs publish conference proceedings, technical reports, or monographs; most often electronically, but with some print-on-demand distribution.

Ohio State University launched their publishing services in response to faculty demand.

Over and over again, librarians told me something like, “faculty came to us and said, ‘I need a publisher and the library is the obvious place on campus to provide this service.’”

Impressed and interested in getting your library on board? Columbia University Libraries put together a Library Publishing Toolkit to help you get started.

Over 50 academic libraries banded together to form the Library Publishing Coalition to support libraries in this endeavour. Library Journal interviewed one of LPC’s founders to learn more about what’s pushing libraries into the publishing business.

American Libraries magazine supports library publishing services as a way to fight back against the Big Six publishers. The magazine also offers tips on recruiting authors to the effort.

Many, many libraries are in the unfortunate position of having to justify their existence. Is offering publishing services just another move to stay relevant? Would you offer publishing in your library?

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