University of Toronto Faculty Association Letter to Rector Beauvais

Please see the letter sent from UTFA to Chantal Beauvais, Rector at St. Paul University. Scott Prudham, President of UTFA writes,

…I do feel obligated to remind you that academic staff – including librarians – are integral to the teaching and research missions of any university. In order to undertake their professional work in the university, and to further human understanding more broadly, academic staff require academic freedom, including the genuine security that permanent status and tenure provide. Security for academic staff in a university must be upheld and never trivialized in the face of
budgetary concerns no matter how severe those concerns may be. Moreover, in the unlikely event that terminations are the only way to address whatever fiscal problems your institution is encountering, collegial deliberations rather than unilateral decisions are warranted.

Thanks to UTFA for its support in this serious matter.


Pledge to the Library Community by Rory Litwin of Library Juice Press

In answer to the Mellen Press scandal, Litwin Books has formulated the following “Pledge to the Library Community”:

As an academic publisher, we understand our role in the information ecology, and respect the roles of academics and librarians in the same ecological system. To clarify our understanding of our place in that system, we offer the following pledge to the library community:

1. We recognize the free speech rights of librarians, and respect the fact that criticizing a publisher is sometimes part of a librarian’s professional duty. We will not sue librarians for criticizing us.

2. We will attempt to make money by selling books, not by charging authors fees to publish.

3. We will price our titles reasonably, so that individuals as well as institutions can afford to buy them.

4. We will always use acid-free, sustainably-sourced paper.

5. Our books will include bibliographic references and indexes where appropriate.

6. Contributors of chapters in edited volumes will maintain all their rights (the rights we license from them will be non-exclusive).

7. We pledge to balance timeliness, quality, and “timelessness” in our choice of book projects and our processes for bringing them to publication.

8. We pledge to make our full backlist available as DRM-free PDF files to personal and institutional members of Library Juice.

9. We will explore e-book publishing models with a creative approach and an effort to respond to the new logics of changing media, with the interests of scholars and librarians in mind.

This statement on the web:

Rory Litwin
P.O. Box 188784
Sacramento, CA 95818
Tel. 218-260-6115

Petition to Support Dale Askey


If you have not already done so, please sign the petition in support of Dale Askey. The remaining lawsuit against him is still forging ahead. Simply put, Dale Askey, who made a professional remark about Edwin Mellen Press on his personal blog while working at Kansas State University, is being sued for stating that Edwin Mellen Press publishes books of dubious quality.

I don’t need to remind you that part of a librarian’s daily tasks is to evaluate the information that we acquire for our libraries. Professional opinions are central to making good decisions. Dale’s opinion was based on results of a survey that he conducted where Mellen came out at the bottom in a ranking of academic publishers in the field of philosophy. The survey was public and I understand that several academic also participated in it. In other words, Dale was communicating the community’s findings regarding the press.

I hope that more signatures on the petition will discourage the publisher from pursuing this lawsuit against our colleague. Please sign:


LAC’s “Values and Ethics” Powerpoint Leaked

With thanks to Myron Groover of Bibliocracy.

See the powerpoint presentation here that was used as part of LAC’s new “code of conduct” for employees which has been in effect since January 2013. For more information, see Myron’s post “LAC Code of Conduct: First Look” and the article at Canada’s federal librarians fear being ‘muzzled.’

Here is the Code of Conduct.

ARL-CARL Joint Statement in Support of Dale Askey and McMaster University

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) and the Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL) share a commitment to freedom of opinion and expression of ideas and are strongly opposed to any effort to intimidate individuals in order to suppress information or censor ideas. We further share the belief that a librarian must be able to offer his or her assessment of a publisher’s products or practices free from such intimidation.

Consequently, we are highly supportive of Dale Askey and of McMaster University as they confront the lawsuit brought against them by Edwin Mellen Press. We strongly disapprove of the aggressive use of the Canadian court system to threaten Mr. Askey with millions of dollars in liability over the contents of a blog post. We urge Edwin Mellen Press to withdraw this suit and use more constructive means to address its reputation.

“No academic librarian, research library, or university should face a multi-million dollar lawsuit because of a candid discussion of the publications or practices of an academic publisher,” said Brent Roe, Executive Director of CARL. “The exaggerated action of Edwin Mellen Press could only impose a chill on academic and research librarians’ expression of frank professional judgments.”

“Unfortunately, this is just the latest publisher that has chosen to pursue costly and wasteful litigation against universities and librarians,” said Elliott Shore, Executive Director of ARL. “These hostile tactics highlight the need for people who share the core values of research libraries to embrace models of publishing that foster—rather than hinder—research, teaching, and learning.”

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) is a nonprofit organization of 125 research libraries in the US and Canada. Its mission is to influence the changing environment of scholarly communication and the public policies that affect research libraries and the diverse communities they serve. ARL pursues this mission by advancing the goals of its member research libraries, providing leadership in public and information policy to the scholarly and higher education communities, fostering the exchange of ideas and expertise, facilitating the emergence of new roles for research libraries, and shaping a future environment that leverages its interests with those of allied organizations. ARL is on the web at

The Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL) provides leadership on behalf of Canada’s research libraries and enhances their capacity to advance research and higher education. It promotes effective and sustainable scholarly communication, and public policy that enables broad access to scholarly information. Its members include the 29 major academic research libraries across Canada. CARL is on the web at

Together, ARL and CARL represent 136 research libraries in the United States and Canada.

APUO roundup for February

APUO librarians take note:

– The General Assembly is on Feb. 14th on the 12th floor of Desmarais. Everyone come and vote on the proposals that the Collective Bargaining Committee prepared for negotiations.

– APUO’s first even curling event is on Feb. 17th at the Royal Navy Curling Club, 3:00 – 5:30. Free for APUO members, including parking, pizza and instruction for beginners.

– Negotiations are beginning at the end of this month. Stay informed about negotiations!


Our colleague, AUL at McMaster University (yes, McMaster again) is being sued for $3 million for criticizing Edward Mellen Press. Read about it.