To the editor:
Your April 11 editorial concerning the University Libraries began with a premise we fully support: That Carolina's libraries have a great deal to offer residents of the Tar Heel State when it comes to research materials.
Unfortunately, the editorial board failed to do its own research. The editorial proposes several areas for action, and I would like to address them in turn, with correct information.
First, NC LIVE, far from being a search engine, is actually a powerful consortium that selects and licenses digital resources on behalf of every North Carolinian. The legislature considers this function—and the cost savings it provides—important enough that it allocates money for NC LIVE through the state budget. Librarians from colleges and universities, community colleges and public libraries work together to select and deliver online subscriptions that will provide the most value to the most people.
North Carolinians can access NC LIVE at one of these libraries, or else by logging in with their higher education i.d., public library card number or a password available from their public library. The need for these passwords is not a library decision; it reflects the realities of the marketplace for scholarly content. In general, publishers price subscriptions by the number of people who can access the resource. Making even a single journal available to any user anywhere in the state would be prohibitively expensive.