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Library

ALA finds 90 percent of U.S. libraries now lend ebooks
July 25, 2014 | 4:25 pm

New data shared by the American Library Association confirms that "90 percent of libraries lend e-books, up from 76 percent in 2012." The study, ALA's Digital Inclusion Survey, which "collected data from a nationally representative sample of public libraries at the branch/outlet level between September 3 and November 30, 2013" and "received 3,392 responses, for a 70.1 percent response rate," also found that "98 percent of libraries provide free public access to Wi-Fi, up from 89 percent in 2012," and "98 percent provide technology training, ranging from internet safety and privacy to coding to using social media." Although focused primarily on...

School district protests removal of books by untrained ‘helpers’
July 25, 2014 | 12:25 pm

booksVia Boing Boing came this story, of a school district in Wisconsin whose librarians were appalled to discover that untrained volunteers were sent in to 'help' librarians clear out less-used books, and they were making a mess of it. The workers were reportedly removing many books which were published before 2000 or were not being checked out regularly, and a few librarians reported returning to work to find boxes of literary classics boxed up for donation or disposal. From the article: “There is no possible way for to me to explain tonight all of the criteria that librarians consider when developing a library...

Cell phone book clubs: A new way for libraries to promote literacy, technology, family and community
July 17, 2014 | 12:25 pm

textgirl2A friend of mine in his 40s is about to start teaching in Houston, Texas, and he recently shared a discovery. Many teenagers in Houston tote cell phones, but don’t know they can read library e-books for free on their phones. This would jibe with a 2012 poll showing similar ignorance among Americans at large. A bigger issue also comes up. Just how much do young people care about books in the first place? Americans 15-19 spend only about four minutes reading for fun on a typical weekend day. Too bad. Students who love books are more likely to excel in school....

How the public library looks these days
July 12, 2014 | 3:25 pm

libraryI completed an annual ritual this week---the renewal of my public library card! I almost exclusively use the library for ebook borrowing these days, but my local library system still insists on that antiquated ritual of the card renewal. You must show up at a branch, in person, at least once a year with proof of your address in order to maintain your borrowing privileges. They have renovated the library branch I go to since my last visit, and it was interesting to see what they've done. In no particular order--- 1) The librarians seem to be serving different functions these days....

New York Public Library panel: ‘Amazon: threat or menace?’
July 2, 2014 | 11:33 am

Origin 712014 71734 PMWell, the New York Public Library panel discussion on Amazon was a big disappointment. I suppose I should have expected it, given how the panel was stacked with some of Amazon’s harshest critics and others from the old-guard publishing industry, but I had harbored some hope they might be willing to listen to an opposing viewpoint. Unfortunately, it was even worse than I’d feared. The 90-minute video is available at the livestream page if you want to watch the carnage. First of all, the meeting was clearly put together with an anti-Amazon agenda, as the selection of...

New York Public Library Amazon panel discussion takes place tonight
July 1, 2014 | 11:05 am

Just a friendly little reminder to block out 7 to 9 p.m. Eastern tonight to watch the panel discussion that the New York Public Library is hosting on Amazon’s business tactics, featuring James Patterson, Bob Kohn, and Passive Guy. It will be livestreamed, and promises to be rather entertaining. I’ll try to write up some thoughts about it afterward, or tomorrow....

New York Public Library to host panel discussion on Amazon with James Patterson, Bob Kohn, Passive Guy, and others
June 27, 2014 | 4:07 pm

Nate mentioned this New York Public Library panel discussion, “Amazon: Business As Usual?” a few days ago. It’s going to have a number of the loudest complainants about Amazon taking part, including James Patterson and Bob Kohn. I wondered what the point was, given that it seems the deck was largely stacked with publishing-industry types who have ample reason to dislike Amazon. That was before I learned that David Vandagriff, aka “Passive Guy” from The Passive Voice blog, will also be taking part. One of big publishing’s most outspoken critics, he is assured to have plenty to say at...

Why can’t libraries charge for books?
June 25, 2014 | 4:25 pm

overdrive librariesTwo articles in today's Morning Links dovetailed nicely for me. The first was on a plan that Overdrive Books has to charge for movies on a pay-per-use basis. The second was on the struggle libraries are having to balance eBook acquisition with customer demand. It struck me, as it often does when reading about the libraries, how limiting it must be to try and problem-solve when you are constrained by an outdated model. Libraries cannot meet demand because they are limited by a model which says only one person can sign out each book at a time, and they are limited...

Open a small community library, get fined or shut down?
June 23, 2014 | 10:25 am

Spencer community libraryThe spirit of the community library and encouraging reading is clearly not evenly distributed everywhere across the U.S. As citizens of Leawood, Kansas, found when they started erecting Little Free Libraries in their yards - which apparently are prohibited under a city ordinance banning freestanding structures in their front yards. Campaigners supporting one of the most widely publicized Little Free Libraries, erected for nine-year-old Spencer Collins as a gift from his grandfather with the help of the other members of the Collins family, have put up a Facebook page, "Spencer's Little Free Library," to rally support, after the Leawood city council...

Overdrive segregating Smashwords books. Disappointed but not surprised
June 19, 2014 | 12:25 pm

overdrive logoNate at The Digital Reader has a story about an author discovering that books from Smashwords have been segregated in the Overdrive system. According to the article, author Maria Schneider made the discovery when she talked to a librarian friend to make sure they were available. Well. Smashwords does ship the books to Overdrive. HOWEVER, in order for the librarian to even FIND the books in the list, she had to spend a lot of time researching. None of the usual methods worked: Title, nope. Author name, nope. OH. Turns out there is a box on overdrive underneath some other menu…labeled “Self-published.” Once she FOUND...

ALA comes out in favor of HathiTrust appeals ruling
June 18, 2014 | 12:25 pm

hathi.jpgThe American Library Association (ALA) has gone on record to declare its support for the recent appeals court victory by HathiTrust versus the Authors Guild for specific fair use by libraries. As already noted in Teleread, the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals upheld an original ruling in Authors Guild v. HathiTrust, deciding that it is is fair use to provide a full text search database and access to works for those with print-reading disabilities . This shouldn't come as a surprise, since the whole case revolved around fair use by libraries in the first place, but it's good to see...

National Digital Library Endowment plan makes New York Times of philanthropy
June 9, 2014 | 10:25 am

"Civic-minded billionaires could get the endowment rolling with a goal of $10-billion to $20-billion for the first five years. The endowment could also help local libraries start Kickstarter-style campaigns through which local donors could send money to their favorite local library projects. The money raised would be crucial to improving school and public libraries---and the reading and math skills of America’s students. Much of the money could go to hire and train librarians, family literacy workers, and others, especially in the very poorest areas."...