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This essay proposes that librarians practice ethical consumption when purchasing electronic devices. Though librarians have long been engaged with environmentalism and social justice, few have suggested that such issues as e-waste and sweatshop labor should impact our decisions to acquire e-readers, tablets, and other electronics. This article presents a philosophical framework for evaluating the ethics of these acquisitions, as well as guidelines for librarians considering specific purchases. Ultimately, the article argues that librarians should consider curtailing the purchase of new electronics on the basis of the environmental and social justice impact of the manufacture and disposal of such devices.


Copyright © Johns Hopkins University Press. This article first appeared in PORTAL: LIBRARIES AND THE ACADEMY, Volume 16, Issue 3, July 2016, pages 581-597.



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