Archive for the ‘Libraries in the News’ Category

Libraries Save Lives

Friday, August 23rd, 2013

9780062218834Standing in the library that served as a “safe haven” to her and her four siblings (Middle Country Public Library on Long Island, NY) when they were the homeless children of a mentally ill and abusive mother, Regina Calcaterra talks to Inside Edition (video here) about her memoir of that time, Etched in Sand (HarperCollins/Morrow original trade pbk).

Amazingly, Calcaterra managed to not only survive, but to also put herself through law school and help her siblings who are now all doing well. She says she is very moved by “just the thought that my book may be in this library where I came as a kid who was impoverished and that one day one of these kids are going to be reading it too and figuring out how … they are going to be able to pull themselves up out and out.”

In the new issue of People magazine reviewer Caroline Leavitt writes, “Her book reminds us that it’s possible to suffer the unimaginable and still grow up to make a difference.”

Hero Librarians

Monday, August 12th, 2013

NPR’s Morning Edition today reports on the role libraries play during natural disasters, as part of their series on public libraries.

The story  features the many ways  NYPL helped residents during Hurricane Sandy.

The story notes a service that will be familiar to everyone in the profession. Librarians not only helped with practical issues, like handing out coats and showing people how to fill out emergency forms, but they also acted as “defacto therapists,” to those who need a sympathetic ear.

Libraries Behaving Like Bookstores? Amazing.

Friday, December 28th, 2012

bcpl-1The NYT  reports today that libraries are adopting the bookstore model, by stocking what readers want and offering bestsellers in quantity.

A brand-new concept?

Hardly, as a 1979 article from Publishers Weekly about Baltimore County Public Library’s move toward the “demand-oriented, public bookstore” direction proves (click here to view pages onetwo and three in full size).

It’s a good reminder as we head into the New Year that “everything old is new again.”

Our thanks to our friends at Publishers Weekly for permission to reproduce this story. In case you are wondering, the author of the piece, Kenneth C. Davis, went on to write the “Don’t Know Much About” series.

FIFTY SHADES Back on Brevard County’s Shelves

Friday, June 1st, 2012

This may be a historic moment. Public pressure has forced Florida’s Brevard County PL director to put Fifty Shades of Grey back on library shelves (the books were removed said the director, “because [the trilogy has] been called ‘mommy porn’ and ‘soft porn.’ We don’t collect porn”).

A local mother and he 16-year-old daughter considered this censorship and started a petition drive to return the books to the shelves.

The story is being reported in national news sources, including ABC News.

Meanwhile, Stephenie Meyer told MTV News that, even though Fifty Shades began as Twilight fan fiction, the two series are quite different genres.

NPR On Ebooks in Libraries

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

NPR’s Morning Edition today looks at the “promise and problems” of ebooks in libraries, focusing on New York’s Queens Borough Public Library. The NPR reporter describes the major problem this way, “libraries are struggling to stock ebooks. Most major publishers impose heavy restrictions or refuse to lend their titles. They are afraid that could undercut digital sales.”

The NYT on FIFTY SHADES In Libraries

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012

Two weeks after stories emerged about libraries removing copies of the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy from their shelves, the paper of record takes a look at the controversy.

The story also reports that the National Coalition Against Censorship has organized several groups to oppose the decision to ban the books in Brevard County Public Library.  Last week, they sent a letter to the library’s board. The groups who signed the letter are:

American Booksellers Foundation For Free Expression

Association of American Publishers

PEN American Center

American Society of Journalists and Authors

The Independent Book Publishers Association

National Coalition Against Censorship

More Libraries Withdraw FIFTY SHADES

Thursday, May 10th, 2012

An Associated Press story released late yesterday uncovers more libraries withdrawing a #1 NYT Best seller weeks after it first arrived in that spot, Fifty Shades of Grey.

Earlier in the week, the Palm Beach Post published a story about Brevard County withdrawing their copies. The AP reports that three other libraries have removed their copies — Gwinnett County in Georgia, Leon County, Florida and an unnamed library system in Wisconsin. The story is being picked up widely. A Google search on “Fifty Shades Libraries” returns over 300 hits, from Gawker.com to the UK’s Guardian.

The majority of the 345 comments on the AP story express opposition to the action, such as this one from “GolfingSusan”:

I am glad I have the freedom to buy a book if I want it because I sure as hell don’t want some librarian deciding what I should or shouldn’t read. It’s none of her business! Having been to the library often, I can safely say, I find a lot of the “selections” offensive. There are a lot crappy books in there no one wants to check out!

A Brevard County resident has begun an online petition to have the books reinstated. It has 327 signatures so far.

Brevard County Pulls FIFTY SHADES OF GREY

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

The Palm Beach Post reported Friday that the Brevard County, Florida, public library system has pulled all but “a handful” of copies of Fifty Shades of Grey from their shelves (via E! Online). That handful must have been withdrawn since; the library catalog currently shows none of the titles in the trilogy.

Library Director Cathy Schweinsberg says the move was not a result of public pressure, telling the paper,

Nobody asked us to take it off the shelves. But we bought some copies before we realized what it was. We looked at it, because it’s been called ‘mommy porn’ and ‘soft porn.’ We don’t collect porn.

Many librarians tell us that the only public pressure they’ve received about the book has been in the form of long holds lists (in some cases, over 1,000 requests for the print version and an additional 550 for the eBook).

The paper notes, however, “While the naughty novel doesn’t check out with local library officials, a quick look at the Brevard system’s online catalogue reveals a solid stash of some of the most erotic and enduring literature,” such as The Complete Kama Sutra, Fanny Hill, Lady Chatterley’s Lover, Fear of Flying, Tropic of Cancer and Lolita.

Taking it to the Public

Monday, January 16th, 2012

In a front-page article yesterday, the Washington Post highlights what librarians have been discussing for months; libraries can’t buy enough ebooks to meet demand, both because of “limited budgets” and because of “little cooperation from some publishers.”

Included is a chart that shows availability of best sellers in as ebooks in local libraries. Seven of the 20 titles are not available to libraries, most of the rest show heavy holds.

 

THE HUFFINGTON POST On Libraries

Monday, November 21st, 2011

A new series, Libraries in Crisis, debuted in The Huffington Post last week. As described by Books Editor, Andrew Losowsky, it will look at “how today’s libraries are about more than books [ed note; oops, someone neglected to communicate this to the logo designer]…how they can be a community resource where reliable information and guidance is provided, free of bias and commercial influence.”

The first article in the series, “Library Budget Cuts Threaten Community Services Across Country,” uses an image that does make the point that libraries “are about more than books” (from Gilpin County Public Library, Colorado):

Andrew Losowsky became the Huffington Post‘s Books Editor in August, an unexpected move for someone who has demonstrated a passion for print, specifically print magazines; he runs Stack America, which provides subscribers with a bi-monthly selection of the best of independent print publications and co-wrote the books We Love Magazines (Gestalten Verlag, 2007) and We Make Magazines: Inside the Idependents (Gestalten Verlag, 2009). His new book, however, Reading in Four Dimensions, is a self-published e-book about the future of books.

Men of the Stacks

Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

Make a space next to your Nancy Pearl action figure for “The Men of the Stacks” 2012 calendar, featuring that rare breed, male librarians (Mr. January is to the left of Nancy).

The library profession doesn’t often get attention in Entertainment Weekly, but this project is currently featured in EW’s “Shelf Life” blog.

The calendar is dedicated to Locke Jeffries Morrisey, former Head of Reference and Research Services at the University of San Francisco Library, and one of the driving forces behind the project. Proceeds from its sales go to the It Gets Better Project.

If you’re curious about the guy in the photo (we’re not showing the full shot — he is holding a book in his right hand — we’re dying to know what it is, but the cover is difficult to read), he is listed as Zack, New York City. Originally from Nebraska, he is 6′ 5″, plays rugby and works as an EMT on weekends (“Working at emergency medicine in New York City relaxes him, compared to the library business), but no word on what library he works in.

THE ATLANTIC Draws Lessons from NYPL

Thursday, June 23rd, 2011

In a feature of the new issue of The Atlantic magazine, Alexis Madrigal lauds the NYPL’s digital efforts, because,

The library’s employees give a shit about the digital aspects of their institution, and they are supported in that shit giving. I mean this in the most fundamental way possible and as a damning critique for media companies…The logic of protecting offline revenue pushed most media companies away from aggressively reevaluating their role in the information ecosystem. Something you hear a lot in the magazine business, for example, is that you “can’t trade print dollars for digital pennies.”

Kindle Library Lending Coming to OverDrive

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

Amazon announced this morning that they are working with OverDrive to make eBooks available for Kindle users later this year. The story is being carried by several national news sources:

NYT, Media Decoder blog; Coming to Your Kindle: Library Books

CNN, Amazon announces e-book loans for the Kindle

TIME; Amazon Announces e-Book Lending Partnership with Local Libraries

Wall Street Journal; Amazon to Add Library Lending to Kindle

The Associated Press; Amazon says library e-books coming to the Kindle

Specific question about the program are being addressed on the OverDrive blog.

NPR on HarperCollins’ eBook Limit

Tuesday, April 5th, 2011

Last night, NPR’s All Things Considered looked at “The Future Of Libraries In The E-Book Age,” in light of HarperCollins’ newly-instituted limit of 26 circulations in libraries.

Two librarians offered differing solutions. Christopher Platt of the NYPL is in favor of a leasing model that allows libraries to buy a number of uses and apply them as they see fit. Eli Neiburger, Ann Arbor District (MI) Library (who has said elsewhere that libraries are “screwed” in the ebook world) thinks libraries should bypass publishers and deal directly with writers and artists to get content.

The NYT on Libraries & HarperCollins

Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

It’s now official; in a front-page story, the New York Times, the “national newspaper of record” writes that libraries are protesting HarperCollins new 26-loan restriction on library e-book lending (the NYT covered the story earlier, but in the “Media Decoder” blog. It’s also been covered by other newspaper, such as USA Today).

Ironically, this attention may serve to bring more users to libraries for ebooks. As the article notes, “It is still a surprise to many consumers that e-books are available in libraries at all.” Nevertheless, ebook lending has risen by 36% in the New York Public Library in the last year.

The story quotes Macmillan CEO Jon Sargent, one of the two major trade publishers that does not loan ebooks to libraries (the other is S&S), who says Macmillan will continue that policy until they “…find terms that satisfy the needs of the libraries and protect the value of our intellectual property.”

As to whether other major publishers will follow the HarperCollins’ approach, Stuart Applebaum of Random House says they have no immediate plans to do so, but will not rule out that possibility.

How important are library sales to large trade publishers? In an industry where statistics are difficult to come by, there are no reliable industry-wide figures. Two major trade publishers told the NYT reporter, “Sales to libraries can account for 7 to 9 percent of a publisher’s overall revenue.”