Libraries at University of Nebraska-Lincoln




Date of this Version


Document Type



Library as Publisher: New Models of Scholarly Communication for a New Era by Sarah Kalikman Lippincott. Published by: United States of America: ATG LLC (Media), 2017.

Series: Charleston Briefings: Trending Topics for Information Professionals, edited by Matthew Ismail.


Also available at


Copyright 2017, the author. License, CC-BY-NC-ND. Used by permission.


Why Library Publishing?

In a post on library publishing for the influential Scholarly Kitchen blog, publishing consultant Joe Esposito (2013) asked rhetorically, “Why would anyone want to get into this business when those of us who were already there were trying desperately to get out?” The publishing community has established that publishing is not easy, it is not usually profitable at a small scale, it is in a constant state of “crisis,” and it is dealing with a variety of challenges and tensions, from changes in technology to changes in the marketplace. So why don’t libraries leave this up to the existing players? Charlotte Roh, scholarly communication librarian at the University of San Francisco, offers an explanation: Publishing is a natural fulfillment of librarians’ role as information disseminators. Roh elaborates, “The easiest way to explain my job is to relate it to the traditional duty of librarians: making knowledge available now and for the future. Publishing is an extension of what a librarian has always done.” Beyond its natural alignment with librarianship, the reasons for library publishing’s growing popularity are manifold and nuanced. This section summarizes the major motivations behind this trend, from responding to frustrations with traditional scholarly publishing to showcasing libraries’ unique collections.