ACRL Board of Directors Statement on Edwin Mellen Press v. Dale Askey

The Board of Directors of the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) expresses grave concern over the libel suit initiated by Edwin Mellen Press against Dale Askey, a librarian and faculty member at McMaster University.  The suit alleges that Askey committed libel while criticizing the Press in his blog while a Librarian at Kansas State University.  This action is a challenge to both academic and intellectual freedom in academic libraries.

If successful, it would not only be damaging to Askey personally but do great harm to the ability of all academic librarians to perform their professional duties.  We trust that the Edwin Mellen Press will, in the light of growing outrage in the academic community, drop what appears to be an ill-considered assault upon free expression in general and academic librarians in particular.

– ACRL Board of Directors


  1. I find this whole debate to be nuts. Every book is a unique product. Some are good and some are poor. The actual publisher is no indication of quality. Every book needs to be judged on its individual merits. I know of some excellent books published by EMP which have had excellent reviews in leading scholarly journals.

    • First of all, this comment by Thomas Kelley (word for word) has been left on a number of other sites and is obviously a poorly veiled attempt by Mellon P to validate itself. Secondly, I am a librarian and have an advanced degree in Information Science (among other things) and thus I *AM* qualified to make judgments about academic books: it is part of the education that every librarian (esp. at an academic library) must go through. I have entire books on how to assess the quality of academic literature, if you’re interested, and yes, the publisher can be one (of many) factors to be considered.

  2. The issue I find outrageous is the nature of the lawsuit, being punished by expressing an opinion?
    Where do honest reviews come from, if you can’t criticize?

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