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Old 01-12-2012, 06:07 PM   #1
gracie
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Geographic restrictions at the county level?

I"ve seen references in here to geographic restrictions on ebooks in the past, but I always thought it was between continents, or at least between countries...

Now, even here in Minnesota, I"m seeing sudden geographic restrictions where Hennepin County library decides only people that LIVE in Hennepin can get ebooks. The 7-county metro residents can still get paper books from the library, but they can't get ebooks. And the St. Paul library has now decided only people in the 7-county metro can get ebooks from them, not other residents of MN that can still get all other materials.

Is this short-sighted, parochial attitude hitting everywhere? So once county A decided only people on THIS side of the street can have one of their extra special ebooks from THEIR library, won't county B decide only THEIR people can have their ebooks, followed by count C, D, E, etc? What's next, the city of East Overshoe decides you have to be within the CITY limits to get a library ebook?

Are city libraries supported exclusively by some form of city tax? Or do they get money from counties and the state and the feds? How about counties? Do their libraries operate EXCLUSIVELY on some form of county property tax or do they get state or federal money? The whole thing seems incredibly stupid to me, but if say, a county library system is SOLELY SUPPORTED by taxes or other funds collected EXCLUSIVELY WITHIN THE COUNTY, I can see where such a provincial attitude would come from... So, does anyone know how the library system here in the US works?

Last edited by gracie; 01-13-2012 at 08:08 AM.
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Old 01-12-2012, 06:15 PM   #2
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Libraries are funded by local taxes. It all comes down to a lack of funding for local libraries. As a result they are restricting access to only those people who are paying the local taxes. I can't say that I blame them.
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Old 01-12-2012, 06:16 PM   #3
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That is not at all the same as geographic restrictions on sales.
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Old 01-12-2012, 07:01 PM   #4
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It might help further the discussion if you edit your first post to make it clear you're talking about borrowing from libraries, not sales. Most discussions about geographic restrictions have been about sales, not libraries.

And a lot of libraries won't issue cards to non-residents at all. Nothing new about that.
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Old 01-12-2012, 07:18 PM   #5
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Where I last lived, I had that problem. There was no county library, only city ones. Since I didn't live within citylimits of any of the nearby towns, I couldn't access the library. Nearby counties' libraries I could only access if I paid a yearly fee.
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Old 01-13-2012, 02:38 AM   #6
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gracie, geographic restrictions refers to the publishing rights on books, and how ebooks and paper books are treated differently with regards to point of sale. In short, if a book is published in one geographic market but not another (eg USA vs Australia) then it is available for sale in USA but not Australia. With paper books, the point of sale is considered to be the location of the seller. So I, in Australia, can happily import US-published books if I buy them from a US seller. With ebooks, the point of sale is considered to be the location of the buyer. Which means that I, in Australia, cannot buy an ebook published only in USA, even if it is not, and has no prospect of being published in Australia.

THis is obviously very simplified and doesn't take into account wholesale imports, parallel import (and restrictions thereof), ways to get around geo-restrictions, etc.

What you are talking about is a library choosing who has patronage rights. Usually libraries are funded from local taxes, so residents are in fact subsidising those non-residents who are using the library's resources. With physical resources, you pretty much have to be physically in the area to use them, which naturally limits who uses them. With purely digital resources, you can be anywhere in the world and in theory you could have 7 billion potential users of a library supported by a few thousand local residents. While I am *grateful* that certain libraries (thank you Singapore) allow non-residents access, I don't *expect* it, and should that privilege be taken away tomorrow, I would understand that decision and be happy that I had that access at all for a short time.
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Old 01-13-2012, 08:17 AM   #7
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OK, I edited the original post to make sure people knew it was libraries...

What I'm getting from the replies is that this has been a long-standing policy of limiting access to library resources. So, it's true that the East Overshoe library is supported by LOCAL taxes collected ONLY from residents of East Overshoe? And there's no county, state or federal money used to buy materials or in any way support any function of the East Overshoe library? Same for county-wide library systems - NO state or federal money used to provide materials or anything else?

Certainly, if the above is true, I can see why the systems would be restrictive and limit the use of resources. What I find curious is that the DON'T have the same restrictions on borrowing a paper book, a CD, a video, or anything EXCEPT e-materials...
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Old 01-13-2012, 09:44 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by gracie View Post
So, it's true that the East Overshoe library is supported by LOCAL taxes collected ONLY from residents of East Overshoe? And there's no county, state or federal money used to buy materials or in any way support any function of the East Overshoe library? Same for county-wide library systems - NO state or federal money used to provide materials or anything else?.
Whether or not they are getting county money you would have to research for yourself. I've never heard of any public libraries getting state or federal funds.
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Old 01-13-2012, 09:55 AM   #9
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With the physical resources, you have to be there in person in order to make use of it, so the local government that supports the library is seeing some sort of impact of your presence, although possibly indirectly. Plus many libraries have agreements of reciprocity with other items that cover physical items (most of these agreements predate digital stuff). If their agreements are only over the physical, and the digital can be costly (Overdrive has had rates shoot up, due to publisher issues. Many publishers don't like digital stuff at libraries, and so are pulling their stuff completely, or charging more.), a way to cut costs is to limit things to only the local residents whose tax money directly supports the library. That way, they're still abiding by their agreements with other libraries, and expenses are reduced.
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Old 01-13-2012, 10:37 AM   #10
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Whether or not they are getting county money you would have to research for yourself. I've never heard of any public libraries getting state or federal funds.
In Pennsylvania most public libraries get state money. The state money was cut back last year, but it's still there. PA has an ILL like thing that all of the libraries that get state money are part of as well as reciprocal borrowing between the libraries. By showing a member library card I can get a card for any other library that's a member. There are some libraries that aren't members. Allegheny county has something similar where almost all libraries in the county are members of the Allegheny Library Association and have a unified catalog. I can borrow books from any library in the county and go pick them up at whatever library I choose. All ILL requests for the county are handled by the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh at Oakland.

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Old 01-14-2012, 07:24 AM   #11
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Gracie, it doesn't matter if any state or federal money is funding the county library system, that doesn't entitle you to anything. In fact, your federal taxes are all being spent in Alabama...

It may also be that the publishers are charging royalties when libraries 'lend' ebooks. I don't know.

And, then again, maybe the county libraries in the area weren't able to work out a sharing agreement.

I'm actually suprised that the country library doesn't charge non-county residents for physical books.
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Old 01-14-2012, 12:22 PM   #12
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Not the same as geographical restrictions and it has been happening, perhaps not where you live, since libraries began. Many libraries require you to live, work or study in the area for normal books as well as e-books.
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Old 01-14-2012, 01:16 PM   #13
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No free lunch. I don't see too much issue with this sort of policy. Digital is different from old world. And as such things can go differently. Printed material need to be retrieved and you might support the local community while doing so, digital is one way thing...
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Old 01-14-2012, 09:11 PM   #14
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>In fact, your federal taxes are all being spent in Alabama...

I don't understand that part of the statement... Why are all my taxes going to Alabama?
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Old 01-14-2012, 09:32 PM   #15
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I think what you are seeing is being driven by a couple of factors.

First, as eBook use is growing exponentially, so is the use of the library Overdrive system. Some libraries who were fairly liberal in the past about borrowing rights to their digital catalogs are starting to tighten down just because they simply cannot serve an expanded client base. The waitlists are getting too long and their funding isn't growing to match the demand.

Second, Overdrive itself is starting to restrict certain books to libraries that do not carefully limit borrowing rightly only to the set library district boundaries. This is because of pressure by the Publishers. Because of this, some libraries that previously allowed access to reciprocal or out of district clients have discontinued that policy.
You can read about that here.

http://librarianinblack.net/libraria...overdrive.html
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