I love the food metaphor used:
Perhaps because on my campus we held a conference on food last fall, I keep thinking about things in terms of need for a sustainable, healthy, and secure food system. Once upon a time, libraries stocked our own pantries. We even set up a kind of pot-luck sharing system, relying on first sale rights to loan things among libraries. Now we outsource our nourishment, paying for campus-wide access to an all-you-can-eat buffet. There’s much more to choose from, but we have no say over what gets served, where the ingredients are sourced, or whether we can accommodate unusual dietary needs or sustain regional cuisines. Oh, and there are strict rules against taking leftovers home or inviting the locals to dinner. Do you know someone – maybe a recent graduate – who doesn’t have a campus ID and is wasting away? Too bad! Sharing with them is strictly against the rules. But hey, you have so much more to choose from, and it’s so convenient! Help yourselves! Of course, the price goes up every year. And there’s no telling what will be on the menu from one day to the next. But who cares when there’s such abundance?Where do all those dishes come from? Scholars cook it up as part of their jobs and give it to the mega-corporations who put into the churning machine and it becomes a part of the all-you-can-eat (so long as you can afford it) banquet. This is unhealthy and unsustainable and does not serve the public good.