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New York City 500, Brooklyn Librarian 0

Using a sledge hammer to drive home a thumb tack, NYC's Conflicts of Interest Board fined Brooklyn Tech librarian Robert Grandt $500 for promoting a Manga edition of Macbeth that his daughter co-illustrated. Grandt apparently got off easy—the board's original fine was $1,000.

Although Grandt's actions could technically have resulted in a "conflict of interest," it's worth noting that he provided all copies of the book used in his display, donated a copy of the book to his library, and was giving out copies for free to anyone who asked. Neither he nor his daughter made any money directly from the library or its patrons. Furthermore, as Gothamist rightly points out, "Next up for Brooklyn Tech kids: College, where they will be required to buy their college professors' books for courses."

Take Gothamist's point one step further. University libraries, many of them publicly funded, are encouraged and often required to buy books written by faculty members. And we, as tax payers, are asked to fund scientific research that, once concluded, we must then pay publishers to read. Are these conflicts of interest?

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