July 24, 2013 By Dylan Scott, Governing
The Montgomery County, Md., Council unanimously passed a resolution Tuesday urging state and federal authorities to help public libraries obtain fair prices for e-books.
The resolution makes Montgomery County one of the first state or local jurisdictions to make more equitable e-book pricing a formal policy. Another is the state of Connecticut where Gov. Danell Malloy signed this June a bill that called for an investigation into library e-book pricing in that state.
It asks the Maryland General Assembly, the U.S. Congress, the U.S. Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission "to examine this issue and seek any appropriate remedy so that county library users will have the access to materials in a reasonable and non-discriminatory manner."
In their legislative analysis, county staff cited Governing's July cover story on libraries and e-book pricing. The story documented the obstacles that libraries face in procuring e-books from the major publishers: limited availability, onerous conditions and higher prices.
County officials said that the Montgomery County libraries had seen an 88 percent growth in e-book checkouts between 2010 and 2011 and another 87 percent increase between 2011 and 2012, which is in line with national trends.
All over the country, community leaders are looking to boost economic development through various initiatives. One key element in many of those initiatives is the use of information technology. When local governments build IT infrastructure, create e-government applications, assist high-tech startups or otherwise focus on technology, they create conditions that draw businesses to their communities and help retain skilled workers. This paper discusses and provides examples of these various ways local government can use technology to ultimately make a community more attractive to businesses, visitors and residents.