Lawsuits Against Associate University Librarian Dale Askey and McMaster University

Feb. 26, 2013

The Saskatchewan Library Association (SLA) is concerned about the unwarranted and grievous lawsuits that Dr. Herbert Richardson and Edwin Mellen Press (EMP) have filed against Associate University Librarian Dale Askey and McMaster University.

The plaintiffs allege that comments made by Mr. Askey on his personal blog regarding the quality of EMP’s publications were defamatory and libelous, and are seeking a total of $4.5 million dollars in damages to compensate for injury to their reputation.

Mr. Askey is a professional librarian and needs the academic freedom to comment on works that could form a part of the collection at his home institution and has a right to share these opinions with his peers. Librarians should not be fearful that their professional judgement will result in litigation. This litigation works to silence free expression and critical discussion of ideas that might offend a publisher but in the long term may be of great value to all Canadians. Critique is a cornerstone of a free and democratic society.

SLA is disheartened by the attempts being made by Dr. Richardson and the Edwin Mellon Press through the court system to punish a lone librarian. Such unreasonable uses of the judicial system damage the necessary trust between librarians and the publishers we rely on.

SLA urges Edwin Mellen Press and Dr. Richardson to withdraw their lawsuits and work constructively with librarians to determine how the publisher can better meet the needs of academic libraries.

Robert Thomas

President of the Saskatchewan Library Association

For more information please contact:Dan Danforth

Executive Director
Saskatchewan Library Association
#15 2010 7th Ave Regina SK S4R 1C2
(306) 780-9413

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