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General Agreement on Trade in Services: 
A Resource for Librarians


What is GATS?

History of GATS

Present of GATS

GATS &  Gov't Services

WTO &  Gov't Services

Application of Regulations

Libraries as a Cultural Industry

Protecting Culture

Concerns for Libraries


Works Cited


Why Does GATS Matter?

You've probably heard about GATS on the news lately. It's on the news a lot of the time. People are protesting and governments are negotiating. But what's it all about? That's something that the newscasts never seem to explain.

If you are a librarian, you may have heard that GATS is a concern for libraries. Librarians are actually among those protesters we see on the news! So what's going on? Why does a trade agreement have any impact at all on libraries?

Libraries primarly function to provide service to our communities. GATS is an agreement about trade in services and affects a huge array of services, even services we don't normally think of as being part of trade, including library services. The reason that librarians are vocal in this debate is that the GATS may have an impact on libraries that politicians haven't forseen.

The problem when one is trying to learn about GATS is that it inspires a very polarized debate. One camp seems sure that GATS will destroy life as we know it and the other says that GATS will improve our lives and cause an age of new prosperity for all. The truth lies somewhere in the middle.

This web site is intended to offer a balanced view of the debate about GATS and to list useful resources for those interested in learning more about this issue. This information was originally presented as a paper so the links can be read sequentially, but of course, you might also like to jump around and just read the sections that appeal to you.


Site created by Sandra Anderson in April, 2003 as part of
LIS 583 - Globalization, Diversity and Information, a course offered at the
School of Library and Information Studies at the University of Alberta.
Please send all feedback about this site to Sandra Anderson