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I got this email from a staff member today. It may have made my Monday. It isn't about being a digital-only evangelist, it's about helping people (patrons AND staff) see things differently than before. It's about print, about digital. About audio. About Fiction. About Non-fiction. About librarians. About. Everything.
That's why I come to work.
"Cool! Thanks for sharing.
And, btw, I think we’ve had a
discussion or two about how much I hate e-books, got to have my hardcover
My husband got me a Kindle for
Christmas and I thought, oh shoot, this is going to be wasted money. But
I’ve got to at least give it a good-faith effort. So I picked a book—The
Game by Tom (Hinshel) Wood, who is one of my favorite authors—and gave it a
go. Tough sledding at first, but about halfway through I was sold. So much easier reading in bed at night; also easier reading when I go out to
eat, takes up so much less space.
There are only a couple of
drawbacks I’ve found so far. I have this spatial positioning thing going
on in my head, so that if I’m reading along and come to a character I can’t
remember, I would have a memory in my mind of where it was on the page, so I
could flip back through the pages fairly easily to find where that character
was introduced and refresh my memory. That’s going to be a lot tougher
with the Kindle, but once I get the hang of the Search button, it’ll probably
be fine. The other thing is that I’m having trouble finding e-books to
check out. Part of it is that I can’t seem to get the hang of how to do
the searches, but probably also that not everything is available as an e-book.
Even stranger than my reluctant
conversion to e-books is that I was cleaning up some bookshelves and came
across some of my stuff from when I was going through the MLS program. And one
of the papers I’d done for a library automation class had this gem in it: “I view the advent of ebooks as the most important trend in library automation,
believing that they have the potential to totally revise the face of libraries
as we know them.” Now, mind you, this is a paper I wrote back in 2002, so
it’s only taken me 12 years to come around.
Like I said, I think you and I
have had a discussion or two wherein I dug in my heels and gave one of those
“pry my hardcovers out of my cold, dead hands” speeches and although you must
have been laughing on the inside, knowing that I’d come around eventually, you listened
And now here we are. You
were right all along, of course. And apparently our e-book collection is
attracting attention from distant lands—like California. I got an email
query sent to the circmanager last week from a woman in California wanting to
know if she could get a non-resident card and, if so, would she then be able to
check out e-books.
Just wanted to let you know that
I’m starting to come around, dipping at least a toe into the 21st
century. But it’s people like you who aren’t afraid to forge ahead who
really make all of this possible.
Not to mention the entertaining
emails you send out!
If you are responsible for collection development in just about any size or kind of library, the chances are good that there's been a recent push to reduce the size of your print reference collection.* Print reference materials are, to use a regional expression, wicked expensive. They are also being used less and less as librarians turn to databases and patrons turn to the immediate gratification of the internet. As budgets decline and libraries look to use their space in new and creative ways, physical reference collections are obvious targets for heavy weeding. Here at my library, we are reducing our reference collection by 50%. At our branches, reference collections will be cut by 75% . . . this time around. So where do you start when you are lucky enough to get the assignment to chop chop chop?
Before You Begin
Get a firm idea of how much the administration wants to reduce the reference collection. Survey the collection and determine how much you're going to have to weed to…
So, while you were hanging stockings by the chimney with care, you may have missed the article in the New York Times setting out the "debate" between libraries and publishers regarding ebooks. We learned that inconvenience and "friction" for patrons are good things, and if a library's borrowing circumstances don't create one of these things, they must be punished.
The article made it seem as if libraries have given up nothing in the quest to provide access to digital books, and that the publishing companies are the ones suffering under the heavy burden of selling their goods. After all, how is a company supposed to survive if they sell a book to a library at double (if not more) the cost of consumer price? Sometimes, that price is double (if not more) of the hardcover price. Publishers who allow libraries to purchase their books give up the sale of more books later. Right? I mean, isn't that what they're arguing? "'Selling one copy that co…
"Denewing" is the term I invented for the process of taking books from the new shelf and changing their status to, for lack of a better word, "not-new." Sure, I could farm the work out to other people in my library, but it's never been clear to me why I would when denewing presents the perfect opportunity to see what has been circulating, how many times, and (thanks to Evergreen, our new ILS) the last library at which an item was checked out. Plus, peeling stickers = therapeutic. Denewing is something I can do on desk while I help people with their various computer issues.
Denewing also makes your new shelves look better. Because space is at such a premium in most public libraries (although regular weeding could help with that--cough), the New Shelf is the place where we have the best opportunity to showcase what we're buying and catch people's attention. The new shelf should be positioned somewhere where it will catch patrons' eyes and shout (item-…