Archive for the ‘Libraries in the News’ Category

Towards a New Model of Ebook Circ in Libraries

Monday, February 28th, 2011

On Friday, news broke that, as of March, new HarperCollins ebook titles licensed though library vendors, will have a cap of 26 circulations.

Librarians, concerned about the limits this puts on their ability to serve their communities, immediately began protesting on blogs, listservs and Twitter (#hcod). The protests caught the attention of The New York Times, which published a story last night on the “Media Decoder” blog.

Some librarians are now urging their colleagues to boycott all HarperCollins’ titles, in print and well as eBooks.

Both parties are nervous right now, which makes this discussion particularly heated. Libraries are struggling for their existence, and publishers fear they are, too. The Borders bankruptcy puts a particularly strong light on the shrinking number of bookstores. Further, publishers worry that ebooks will send them the way of the music business.

Two other Big Six publishers have their own ebooks-in-libraries solution; they aren’t making them available at all. John Sargent, CEO of Macmillan, explained  last year that he doesn’t see the current model of licensing ebooks to libraries as good for his business. He later met with a group of librarians at BEA, but that did not seem to change his mind; Macmillan (which includes FSG, St. Martin’s, Holt, among others) still does not make their ebooks available to libraries. One of  the concerns Sargent articulated is that an ebook can circulate forever without replacement. The HarperCollins’ circulation cap is one alternative to that objection.

Now is the time to offer other ideas that allow you to serve your users. Creating new models is not easy, but librarians, who have dealt with electronic licensing for decades, are more expert than trade publishers in this area.

On Twitter on Friday (#hcod), HarperCollins tweeted –

We’re reading your posts – and listening to our authors. If you want to share longer thoughts with us, email library.ebook@harpercollins.com.

Take advantage of that; get a real discussion going.

You Can Download eBooks from the Library!

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

The media has discovered that libraries offer eBook downloads (note to journalists: a million new library users signed on to OverDrive last year and the company experienced 200% growth in library eBook checkouts).

“All Things Digital,” the popular Wall Street Journal technology blog, writes you can now get eBooks from your local library and that OverDrive has introduced an eReader app for the  iPad; below is the video version of the abridged story (love that opening assumption that the tech savvy readers of “All Things Digital” consider public libraries passé):

No New Books for Queens

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

It’s no news that many libraries across the country have reduced book purchases because of budget cuts. A few have even stopped purchasing books altogether, hoping that funds will be restored before the public notices.

Queens Borough Public Library CEO, Tom Galante, however, is making no bones about his library’s decisions. Last week, he told the local NPR station, WNYC (via Publishers Lunch Automat, subscription only), that they chose to maintain hours rather than buy books,

Galante said the mission of the library has shifted subtly, from lending books to providing English lessons, aiding job seekers and providing Internet access.

“It really comes down to libraries being about community — being a place for seniors in the morning, kids after school,” Galante said.

Prison Librarian Gets New Attention

Monday, November 29th, 2010

Running the Books, prison librarian Avi Steinberg’s memoir gets an additional dose of press attention (see earlier stories) from USA Today, which calls it “a smart new memoir” and says it is “about the ways in which the library provided refuge, companionship and solace to the people [Steinberg] met,” and praises the author for “leaven[ing] his often-grim memoir with unexpected bits of comedy and insight, weaving his family’s story into the narrative.”

Running the Books: The Adventures of an Accidental Prison Librarian
Avi Steinberg
Retail Price: $26.00
Hardcover: 416 pages
Publisher: Nan A. Talese – (2010-10-19)
ISBN / EAN: 0385529090 / 9780385529099

The L.A. Times Examines Libraries

Friday, November 12th, 2010

The L.A. Times today publishes a remarkably clear-eyed story about the issues libraries face in the digital age (with only a few laughable overstatements, like “Libraries are reluctant to digitize new bestsellers”).

Unfortunately, the article states that some libraries show declining circulation of books, without noting that the culprit could be reduced hours and book budgets.

Featured is the Rangeview, Colorado library as well as the L.A. Public Library.

Prison Librarian in NYT Mag

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

What are the odds? While being mugged, you suddenly recognize the knife-wielding attacker as one of your former library patrons.

The odds are greater if you are a prison librarian, as Avi Steinberg recounts in his memoir, Running the Books: The Adventures of an Accidental Prison Librarian, excerpted in this week‘s NYT Magazine.

Steinberg, who worked in a Boston prison, says that inmates’ reading tastes, unsurprisingly, run towards true crime. Coincidentally, the AP backs up that observation today; “Connecticut Prison Inmates Reading True Crime And Other Violent Books.” The article quotes State Sen. John Kissel, R-Enfield, who says he will ask that In Cold Blood and “other true crime or graphically violent books be removed from prison libraries. If the department does not remove the books…he will introduce legislation to force them.”

The American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut said it would oppose any such ban.

Running the Books: The Adventures of an Accidental Prison Librarian
Avi Steinberg
Retail Price: $26.00
Hardcover: 416 pages
Publisher: Nan A. Talese – (2010-10-19)
ISBN / EAN: 0385529090 / 9780385529099

A Tribute to Bookmobiles

Wednesday, August 11th, 2010

On NPR’s All Things Considered last night, W. Ralph Eubanks talked about how the bookmobile shaped his life [Listen to the Story],

…it is my identity as reader that shaped the type of writer that I am. And I owe that to an old Ford bookmobile, a summertime pleasure that changed the way I see the world. Rather than feeling alone and isolated in turmoil-ridden Mississippi, a cool, air-conditioned library on wheels connected me to a world beyond the limits of where I grew up. In my life, that has made all the difference.

Eubanks, the Director of Publishing at The Library of Congress, wrote the memoir Ever is a Long Time, called one of the best books of 2003 by the Washington Post’s Jonathan Yardley and The House at the End of the Road.

Ever Is a Long Time: A Journey Into Mississippi’s Dark Past A Memoir
W. Ralph Eubanks
Retail Price: $15.95
Paperback: 264 pages
Publisher: Basic Books – (2005-01-03)
ISBN / EAN: 0465021050 / 9780465021055

…………………………

The House at the End of the Road: The Story of Three Generations of an Interracial Family in the American South
W. Ralph Eubanks
Retail Price: $26.99
Hardcover: 224 pages
Publisher: Smithsonian – (2009-06-01)
ISBN / EAN: 006137573X / 9780061375736

Old Spice Guy on Libraries

Thursday, July 15th, 2010

We’re not sure how much this will do for libraries, but thanks for the effort (and the great abs) Old Spice Guy.

WSJ on the Internet Archive

Thursday, July 1st, 2010

The nonprofit digital library, Internet Archive has created the “Digital Lending Library” (Openlibrary.org), a project that scans public domain books and makes them available for borrowing through libraries. The project is covered in the Wall Street Journal.

The scanned books are available through OverDrive’s Digital Library Reserve.

The story is also covered in a WSJ video:

Ugh…

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

Fox News Chicago asked “do we still need public libraries?” (via GalleyCat). Despite the oh-my-god-look-how-much-libraries-cost (all of 2.5% of annual property taxes in Chicago) tone, most of the interviewees and email responses are pro libraries

Boston Doesn’t Do It

Monday, June 14th, 2010

The Boston Globe reveals a shocking secret about Boston.

They have never had a One Book program.

When questioned about the lapse, the mayor’s office replied, “There are so many different interests here that we encouraged local groups to do their own reading. The mayor doesn’t want to impose a book on people.”

It seems the mayor is not alone in his view. Says the article, “Critics argue the idea is one more example of officials intruding on people’s lives by telling them what to read, or that it’s simply trying to fill a void that doesn’t need filling.”

Boston’s not the only major city without an ongoing program; New York ran a program in 2002, but hasn’t held one since.

However, Boston will put a toe in the water during the Boston Book Festival this Fall, with a One City, One Story event. 30,000 copies of a short story by a local author (as yet unnamed) will be distributed around the city and made available online.

A Bookless Library

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

Stanford University’s Physics and Engineering Libraries are undergoing some very heavy weeding. The two libraries are being turned into a smaller electronic library, according to the San Jose Mercury News. The new facility “saves its space for people, not things. It features soft seating, ‘brainstorm islands,’ a digital bulletin board and group event space,” as well as access to online databases and scientific journals.

The NYT Discovers Manga in Libraries

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

Manga is extremely popular in the ethnically diverse neighborhood of Bayside, Queens, where young adults crowd the library to read and discuss their favorite series, reports the NYT, also noting “the genre has colonized young-adult rooms in libraries around the country.”

Beware what this can lead; “One young woman discovered a love of languages and now studies Russian in college,” says the Christian Zabriskie, Assistant Coordinator for Youth Services.

The article also notes the harsh reality that the collection is threatened by budget cuts.

Dumpster Diving Book Lovers

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

A Bucks County, PA, resident was outraged to find that a book that hadn’t been checked out in five years was removed from the shelves of the Doylestown branch of the county library system.

He took his case to the local newspaper. Happily, the newspaper quoted Director Martina Kominiarek at length about the reasons for weeding library collections. It’s a model response.

The article closes by pointing out that the book the man was seeking is available online for $.01. Put that up against the cost of housing and storing a book for five years with no usage.

(via Library Link of the Day)

OVERDUE Reviewed on NPR Site

Friday, March 5th, 2010

Just posted on the NPR site, a review of Marilyn Johnson’s This Book is Overdue (warning: some librarian stereotypes, but used to illustrate how outdated they are).

We’re also expecting a review in the upcoming 3/7 NYT Book Review.

The book hit #130 last week, its highest point to date on Amazon sales rankings. Clearly, the general public is more interested in us than we imagined.

——————————————-

This Book Is Overdue!: How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save Us All
Marilyn Johnson
Retail Price: $24.99
Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Harper – (2010-02-01)
ISBN / EAN: 0061431605 / 9780061431609

Audio: Tantor; 2/22/10
Trade: 9781400116348; 7 CD’s; $34.99
Library: 9781400146345; 7 CD’s; $69.99
MP3: 9781400166343; 1 MP3-CD; $24.99