To sell or not to sell? The University of London row asks stickier questions of academia and its funders, says Martin Paul EveTo sell or not to sell? That is only the smaller question. In the past week there has been uproar among the academic humanities community over the plan by Senate House library, the University of London to sell its first folio edition of Shakespeare’s work.As a lecturer in literature and somebody who cares deeply about the future of academic libraries, the prospect of these irreplaceable volumes falling into private hands fills me with dread (in writing for the Higher Education Network, I have consistently opposed the privatisation of higher education and cultural assets). Conversely though, many voices in this debate are ignoring the economic realities faced by research libraries in favour of an idealised model that avoids thinking about the causes of library budget shortfalls.There are at least three different aspects at play in this debate that are worth addressing sequentially: Firstly, the moral dilemma: is the sale a violation of the terms of the bequest? Secondly, the economic context: what is the financial outlook for research libraries? And thirdly, the practical question: how can the sale best …read more

Via: The Guardian | Books