Statement of support aims to protect free speech, defend academic freedom

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The University Libraries' Library Faculty Organization (LFO) voted March 13 to issue a statement of support for MacMaster University librarian Dale Askey in the lawsuit brought against him by Herbert Richardson and urged other libraries to follow suit. The suit brought by Richardson, founder of the Edwin Mellen Press, is over alleged defamatory remarks about him personally.

LFO's statement can be read at http://www.libraries.psu.edu/psul/groups/lfo/support-statement.html.

Askey was a librarian at Kansas State Univeristy in 2010 when he published a blog post criticizing the quality of Mellen Press books, which later resulted in suits by both the press and its founder. Although the press recently dropped its suit after an intense social media campaign, Richardson’s suit continues. “Like many librarians across the world, we’ve been shocked that a librarian would be sued for making comments that fall well within his professional expertise. This could have been filed against any librarian, and its success threatens academic freedom as well as our basic professional responsibility to evaluate the quality of scholarship,” said Mike Furlough, Penn State's Libraries’ associate dean for research and scholarly communications.

LFO serves as an advisory board to the dean of University Libraries, may initiate legislation and coordinates exchange of communication among librarians. Many libraries and library organizations in Canada have made similar statements of support, as have the American Library Association and the Association of Research Libraries.

More on the lawsuit can be read at http://www.infodocket.com/2013/03/04/edwin-mellen-press-drops-lawsuit-ag... and at http://www.infodocket.com/2013/03/08/second-mellen-press-lawsuit-against....

For additional information, contact Mike Furlough, associate dean for research and scholarly communication, at mjf25@psu.edu or 814-863-5447.

Last Updated March 20, 2013