The Big Shift: Public Library Strategies for Access to Information in Any Format

OCLC received a grant from ILMS in 2012 to explore the challenges that US public libraries face in providing e-book content, and to work with library leaders to identify possible strategies for addressing these challenges – the Big Shift.

The report of this project is The Big Shift: Public Library Strategies for Access to Information in Any Format.

The report summarises the results of desktop and market research undertaken in late 2012, including:

  • An overview of the e-book ecosystem in the US, including the market share of major publishers before and after recent mergers
  • The demand for e-books in 65 of the largest 100 library systems in the US, including their current spend on e-books
  • The expected future spend on e-books in these library systems, both if supply problems stay the same, and if they were improved (the increase would double if supply limitations were removed)
  • The level of purchasing of best-selling titles in both hard-copy and e-books at these library systems
  • The likelihood (quite likely) of these library systems sharing e-book usage data with publishers, distributors and retailers

The report also summarises strategies for addressing e-book issues, developed through workshops with library leaders in 2013, which are now being actively pursued by public libraries:

  • Create NEW value in the e-book supply chain
  • Use data to articulate library value in the e-book supply chain
  • Educate about the public policy issues around e-book access
  • Develop a common narrative
  • Coordinate and administer these plans