ALA signs agreement to mitigate RoweCom library losses

Contact: Larra Clark


For Immediate Release

March 10, 2003

ALA signs agreement to mitigate RoweCom library losses

(CHICAGO) The American Library Association (ALA) today announced it has signed the agreement with EBSCO that commits the association to continuing subscriptions to libraries affected by the financial collapse of RoweCom.
CHOICE, Booklist, Book Links, American Libraries, Library Technology Reports and
Smart Libraries (formerly
Libraries Systems Newsletter) are among the ALA and affiliated publications covered by the new agreement.

"As the national organization advocating for America's libraries and the millions of people who depend on them, we made the decision to put libraries first and foremost," said ALA Executive Director Keith Michael Fiels. "This financial debacle could not have come at a worse time for librarians, many of whom are struggling with funding cuts and reduced collection budgets."

EBSCO Industries, Inc. last week finalized agreements to acquire the U.S. operations of RoweCom, which filed for bankruptcy January 27 and announced it would not fulfill orders for which it already had been paid. Publishers that agree to participate with EBSCO agree to fulfill subscriptions to their publications for which a RoweCom customer paid RoweCom, but for which the publisher did not receive payment. In exchange for agreeing to send issues, publishers are to receive the equivalent of the RoweCom customer's claim on the bankrupt RoweCom estate to the extent of the value of the subscriptions they have agreed to fulfill.

Library losses are reported to be near $65 million and have hit academic and research libraries, which spend more than 36 percent of their operating budget on current serials, hardest. Association of College and Research Libraries, the ALA's largest division, had taken the lead in encouraging academic and research libraries, a number of whom are among the 40 libraries with the largest exposure, to apply to join the creditor's committee established by the Eastern Division of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court. Three universities ultimately were named to the committee: Marquette University, Boston University and Emory University. Two publishers, Elsevier and Wiley, also were named.

The ALA and its divisions and offices had earlier announced an extension of all existing subscriptions from RoweCom customers until March 1, 2003, pending further analysis and receipt of additional information on the number of subscribers affected.

Subscribers who have questions or concerns are encouraged to contact the following staff at the relevant ALA publication or publications:

  • Book Links and
    Booklist: Bill Ott, 800-545-2433 x5717,
  • CHOICE and other ACRL journals:
    CHOICE/ACRL Customer Service, 860-347-6933 x133,
  • For all other ALA publications, including
    American Libraries, Smart Libraries Newsletter and
    Library Technology Reports, please call 800-545-2433 and press 5 or select extension 4290 for Vicki Williams in ALA Customer Service. Subscribers also may email to