The Wall Street Journal has announced that they are going to provide their content free online. It's always annoying when I find links to WSJ articles and then get hit with a subscription required notice upon linking, so I welcome this development.
This decision points to a broader phenomenon of more content supported by advertising instead of subscription, a phenomenon that makes libraries less relevant when it comes to finding information. With subscription based resources, we are the gateway to the resource; economically speaking, we aggregate demand for a resource and serve as a purchasing agent for our community. In the ad based model, we're taken out of the loop.
I imagine there will always be information seeking "power tools" not supportable by ad-revenue, particularly in the area of backfile content, and libraries will be there to provide them.