Outsourcing in Debate: the Dilemma over the Subcontracting of Acquisitions

The subcontracting of acquisitions out to a profit-making private enterprises, decided on by the public libraries of the State of Hawaii (United States), has provoked a lively debate among the librarians of North America. For the supporters of outsourcing, priority comes back to services intended for the population, the collections are nothing more than a simple determinable matter in a textbook. For professionals opposed to this practice, acquisitions are inseparable from professional competence. Is outsourcing the rationalization of a technical function or the negation of librarians ? The dialogue between Bart Kane, chief of the Hawaiian project, and Beverly Goldberg, of the American Library Association, presents passionate though differing arguments.