Not everything can be free

The information and services provided by libraries and documentation centres cannot be entirely without cost to the user. We live in a capitalist society and it is erroneous to believe that information should be free of charge simply because it is at hand. To fully understand the stakes of the debate over whether libraries should be free or not, information and libraries should first be looked at from the economic angle; information should then be studied as a “common good”, as several economists have suggested. The following step should be to identify exactly what is meant by libraries being free at the point of delivery and by paying for information.