Saturday, April 5, 2008

Libraries and Independent Publishing

On 3/20/08 at Melville House in New York there was a panel discussion held on The Future of Independent Publishing

The panel was shown on C-SPAN during BookTV this weekend (it will be shown again on Sunday at 11:15 AM).

During the Program Andre Schiffrin of Melville Books, talks to Jacob Stevens of Verso Books and Anthony Arnove of Haymarket Books about publishing contemporary political books and the future of independent publishing in general. The talk was hosted by Melville House in Brooklyn, NY.

Andre Schiffrin in particular commented on the failure of libraries (particularly academic libraries) to support the alternative/diverse/etc. publishing of books. This is happening at the same time that libraries are patting ourselves on the back that we are better serving the public (at any kind of library) by rapidly eliminating individual selection by subject specialists (part of the Library of Congress's recent plan of action for the future); buying materials in lots electronically and then blocking print purchase of the same items; etc.

Are these conflicting patterns really the way for libraries to fulfill our responsibility to not only preserve the past; serve the present and prepare for the future? What are we going to preserve if we ignore the present?

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