Stewardship has always figured predominantly in the mission of libraries. This paper discusses major findings and implications of a study of licensing in U.S. academic libraries. The data suggests that not all libraries are accepting their heritage role â€” that is, they are not planning for longâ€“term preservation and access for their growing licensed digital collections and resources. Instead they rely increasingly on third parties to perform this fundamental function. This shift may have farâ€“reaching implications for longâ€“term preservation and access to the world's knowledge and cultural and historical record.