How is your computer system similar to the library ebook on your tablet or the journal article you downloaded from a library vendor?
The answer might surprise you: you don’t own your content or your containers – or at least you don’t own any of them the way you might a print book you bought (new or used) or the tile you bought to redo your bathroom floor or even your vacuum cleaner (as long as it’s not Wi-Fi enabled).
Corporations want us to believe that our electronics aren’t meant to be fixed, and so they glue in batteries, make their products impossible to open, and come with dire but inaccurate warnings about voiding warranties. Ebooks and journal articles are licensed, not owned. If you work in libraries, you know that publishers want you to pay and pay and pay again when it comes to digital content, even if you own the item in print.
We are therefore thrilled to work with our partners at iFixit, who are top advocates in establishing the Right to Repair our computers, tablets, phones, and many other technologies that populate our daily lives and whose makers, much like digital content vendors, want us to pay and pay and pay again for newer, shinier models rather than keeping our old equipment running.
To that end, iFixit has donated 100 Pro Tech Toolkits to libraries who want to keep their machines running rather than replacing them at great and often unnecessary cost. If you’re a public librarian and want to get one for your library, please fill out our ultra-short, super-fun survey.
We encourage you to explore the resources at iFixit and to compare the ways that Library Futures and iFixit are working toward similar goals – namely, making both content and technology more sustainable, affordable, and available to all.