Few issues in recent times have so provoked debate and dissention within the library field as has the concept of fees for user services. The issue has aroused the passions of our profession precisely because its roots and implications extend far beyond the confines of just one service discipline. Its reflection is mirrored in national debates about the proper spheres of the public and private sectors—in matters of information generation and distribution, certainly, but in a host of other social ramifications as well, amounting virtually to a debate about the most basic values which we have long assumed to constitute the very framework of our democratic and humanistic society.
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