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'Forbes,' Attacked by Librarians, Yanks Essay

July 24, 2018

Forbes has pulled an essay by a professor that advocated that Amazon stores replace public libraries and thus save the taxpayers money. Librarians and library supporters responded by saying that the article was ill informed and didn't reflect the many roles libraries play.

Here's a tweet by a newspaper columnist:

And here's one from a library science student:

On Monday, amid growing criticism, Forbes pulled the article, releasing a statement that said, "Forbes advocates spirited dialogue on a range of topics, including those that often take a contrarian view. Libraries play an important role in our society. This article was outside of this contributor’s specific area of expertise, and has since been removed."

The author is Panos Mourdoukoutas, a professor of economics at Long Island University's Post campus. He did not respond to a request from Inside Higher Ed for comment. On Twitter, however, he said that his critics were incorrect to say that public libraries are free since tax dollars finance them. He also denied owning stock in Amazon.

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Scott Jaschik

Scott Jaschik, Editor, is one of the three founders of Inside Higher Ed. With Doug Lederman, he leads the editorial operations of Inside Higher Ed, overseeing news content, opinion pieces, career advice, blogs and other features. Scott is a leading voice on higher education issues, quoted regularly in publications nationwide, and publishing articles on colleges in publications such as The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, Salon, and elsewhere. He has been a judge or screener for the National Magazine Awards, the Online Journalism Awards, the Folio Editorial Excellence Awards, and the Education Writers Association Awards. Scott served as a mentor in the community college fellowship program of the Hechinger Institute on Education and the Media, of Teachers College, Columbia University. He is a member of the board of the Education Writers Association. From 1999-2003, Scott was editor of The Chronicle of Higher Education. Scott grew up in Rochester, N.Y., and graduated from Cornell University in 1985. He lives in Washington.

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