Collection Development Librarian
Douglas County Libraries, Castle Rock, CO
MLIS, Clarion University of Pennsylvania, 2000
Worked in a ski shop, where she was the top salesperson, even though she doesn’t ski
Photo by Carol LaRose
Jordana Vincent won’t take no for answer, not when it comes to the right for libraries to own ebooks rather than license them. As a result, she’s earned a nickname—the bulldog.
Vincent is a major player in Douglas County Libraries’ effort to build a new business model that will permit libraries to own e-content outright and treat ebooks like hard copies. Her library was the first in the United States to purchase an Adobe Content Server to host a digital collection. Vincent has taken the unusual step of dealing directly with publishers rather than distributors. Douglas County Libraries hopes other organizations will benefit from its efforts, Vincent says. “We’re trying to forge that new model that anyone can re-create.”
When publishers say no, Vincent asks them to consider a pilot project with her library, says Monique Sendze, the libraries’ associate director of information technology. Vincent tells publishers that by collaborating they can create a model that will work for all. If the answer remains no, Vincent calls back in a few months.
“She tries to cajole them into understanding it is a valuable relationship,” says Sendze, of a colleague she describes as courageous and vocal, adding that “she really believes it’s a symbiotic relationship.”
Vincent, who began her career as a children’s librarian, has struck deals with Lerner Digital, Gale, Marshall Cavendish, and the Colorado Independent Publishers Association. The library now owns 41 percent of its 17,000-item digital collection.
Vincent says she works to educate the publishers about libraries’ mission of sharing works and protecting copyright. She explains library practices including purchasing multiple copies and weeding. Her library also provides a click-through link for patrons to purchase their own electronic copies, she says.
At BookExpo America 2011, her first experience speaking with publishers, Vincent realized that the dearth of communication between libraries and publishers had led to a lack of understanding of library practice. “For us, as a library, an ebook isn’t any different than a book or a DVD,” Vincent says.
Though Vincent didn’t start out with enormous technical knowledge, explains Sendze, “she fills in her knowledge gaps and makes it happen.” She educated herself, for example, on the concerns about digital rights management and the economies of scale that disincentivize the six largest publishers from dealing directly with libraries (two currently do). She is also working toward a statewide consortium for volume ebook purchases. “I’ve learned so much about what the issues are and what the communication breakdown is about,” Vincent says. “I’ve changed my spiel a million times to address their fears.”
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