Boycott Begins as Librarians Unite Against Edwin Mellen Press

Ruined Books

It was only a matter of time. Librarians who belong to the Ryerson Faculty Association have begun to boycott EMP and will not purchase any more titles until the press drops the lawsuit against Dale Askey.

While the fervor of Edwin Mellen Press’ lawsuit against librarian, Dale Askey has waned since EMP dropped the joint lawsuit against Askey and McMaster University, there is still the ongoing lawsuit pending against Askey. In response, the Association of Research Libraries and the Canadian Association of Research Libraries have issued a joint statement asking EMP to drop the the final lawsuit. The statement reads:

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) and the Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL) commend Edwin Mellen Press’s decision to discontinue its lawsuit against McMaster University and academic librarian Dale Askey. Nevertheless, both associations urge Mr. Richardson, founder and editor of Edwin Mellen Press, to discontinue as well his personal lawsuit against Mr. Askey.

By continuing his personal suit against Mr. Askey, ARL and CARL believe that Mr. Richardson is contributing to the same chill on the freedom of expression of librarians as did Edwin Mellen Press when it lodged its suit against Mr. Askey and McMaster University. A librarian who has offered a negative assessment of the products and practices of a publisher should not be subject to intimidation and reprisal from either the publisher or that publisher’s founder.

“We are happy to see Edwin Mellen Press abandon its case against McMaster University and Dale Askey,” said Brent Roe, Executive Director of CARL. “We sincerely hope that Mr. Richardson will also drop his personal suit against Dale Askey, which does not appear to the community to be very different in nature from the suit that his company has finally dropped.”

“Edwin Mellen Press did the right thing in discontinuing its suit against Dale Askey and McMaster University,” said Elliott Shore, Executive Director of ARL. “Such a suit, if pursued, would have resulted in a tremendous waste of time and money for all concerned.”

ARL and CARL are committed to freedom of opinion and expression of ideas. Both associations, along with many other individuals and organizations, denounced the exaggerated reaction of the Edwin Mellen Press in suing Mr. Askey and McMaster University for remarks of Askey that the Association of Canadian University Presses called “well within the range of fair comment” and that the American Association of University Presses considered “measured and well within the scope of his professional expertise as a trained librarian.”

Penn State University Libraries have also issued a statement for EMP to drop the lawsuit and charges other libraries, faculty, and scholarly publishers to add their voice in the call to Edwin Mellen Press.

Is your library or faculty senate drafting a statement? If you work in collection development, are you considering a boycott against EMP?

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