According to a recent post on American Libraries, the state of Maine has petitioned the Bush administration to have the state excluded from the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) Library Agreement that is currently being negotiated in Geneva, Switzerland. Maine Governor John Baldacci wrote, â€œLibraries are important sites of free and democratic exchange of information. For this reason few developed countries have committed libraries to the terms of the GATS. By committing libraries to the GATS and not specifically exempting public funding from GATS rules, we compromise the support that taxpayers give to ensure that public libraries continue to serve as valuable democratic spaces. Please carve Maine out of the libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural services sector.â€
Public Citizen notes that “the U.S. has never specified that public funds for libraries are limited to public institutions only and, ‘since aspects of these services are provided in competition with other service providers,’they may be subject to claims of unfair competition by the commercial sector.” What exactly does that mean? Well, libraries could be sued for offering videotapes and dvds, and even ostensibly for loaning materials since all of those services could be viewed as unfair competition.
SPOCK! …. must …. get…utility belt…..SPOCK!!!