An e-book subscription platform used by thousands of public libraries in the United States and elsewhere offers Holocaust denial, COVID misinformation, LGBTQ conversion therapy and other conspiracy theory books , according to a report by Motherboard.
Hoopla – a Netflix-like subscription service that libraries use for audiobooks, e-books and movies – serves more than 8,500 public libraries in the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Titles on Hoopla included anti-Semitic books like Holocaust debate and A new nobility of blood and soil. Unlike physical books, which libraries can order individually, Hoopla sells libraries a subscription to its service, i.e. librarians don’t always have control on what is on offer. OverDrive, another popular eBook platform, allows libraries to request individual titles.
Some librarians started noticing the books in February and issued a statement requiring accountability and transparency on how content is approved by both Hoopla and OverDrive. In an email response to affected librarians, Hoopla CEO Jeff Jankowski said the reported books came from a network of 18,000 publishers and had escaped “both human and human-focused review and filtering.” on the system”. The reported books have been removed, according to Jankowski.
“These e-books are inaccurate and are sources of propaganda that have no place in the hoopla Instant collection,” he said at the time.
But a keyword search by Motherboard for “homosexuality” in Hoopla’s library returned dozens of titles in the “non-fiction” category, including e-books promoting conversion therapy and other anti-LGBTQ content. Hoopla did not immediately respond to questions about how it vets the titles it offers.
In their February letter, the librarians said that cutting library budgets, media consolidation and other austerity measures have led to “a proliferation of misinformation, particularly in news feeds and platforms.” digital information”.
“Libraries should be trusted centers for quality information, and these companies are undermining the traditional role of the library in the information landscape,” they wrote.