Should Libraries Get Out of the eBook Business? Or get out at least until there is a better system? I know what you are going to say, I can hear it already – “We can’t! Our patrons demand ebooks!” Except the truth is our patrons want a lot of things we can’t give them – to always be first on the waiting list for the new James Patterson, to not pay fines when their books are late, for the library to be open earlier or later, or to have a system besides Dewey because despite using it their entire lives they still cannot figure it out. When it comes to ebooks, we cannot give them what they want, not really, we cannot give them books from Simon and Schuster or MacMillian or new books from Penguin or Hatchet, and not more than 26 times from HarperCollins, and probably not many books from Random House. The Demand: First let’s look at the demand. The Supply But what are we serving them? The Process A Mess The whole thing is a hot mess. I can’t help but wonder if Guy LeCharles Gonzales is right when he writes: Read More Similar Posts:
Silence is not so golden in the modern library ''Using information, learning and reading are not just solitary activities'' … Alex Byrne at the Warilla library. Photo: Sylvia Liber WHILE you've been busy Googling, there's been a revolution in libraries, and it's noisy. The State Librarian of NSW, Alex Byrne, says librarians no longer expect or want libraries to be places of quiet solitude. Rather than walking around saying ''shhh'' and waving their steel rulers to enforce silence, he said contemporary librarians understand that ''using information, learning and reading are not just solitary activities''. ''We have quiet places in the library for people who want to concentrate but we don't insist on quiet libraries. Thanks to the public library's role as a gateway to e-government services, a librarian today is as likely to help you apply online for a parking permit or submit a legal form digitally as find you a book. Advertisement
JACKET MECHANICAL: Libraries This morning, on the way to work, I read and enjoyed this short piece by Leon Wieseltier on libraries and the physical book. Leon Wieseltier is a fine stylist and an astute observer (frankly: in the past, on many occasions, I've found Wieseltier's stances–his political opinions mostly–to be wrong-headed and infuriating. But let's shelve all that for the time being). For me, a well-written paean to the physical library is to be read with relish. Some samples from the piece: "A wall of books is a wall of windows." "Even if every book in my library is on Google Books, my library is not on Google Books." "There is something inhuman about the pristinity of digital publication. Only towards the end of the article did the fact of the medium I was reading it on emerge in the foreground of my consciousness: iPad; Instapaper; found through Twitter. The text I was reading had done what text does so well: i.e. it was immersive, and transparent. And sharing is nice. But. It's not the same, is it? Love,
Dymvue Libraries and the Commodification of Culture The shift from markets to networks and from ownership to access, the marginalization of physical property and the ascendance of intellectual property, and the increasing commodification of human relationships are slowly leading us out of an era in which the exchange of property is the critical function of the economy into a new world in which the purchase of lived experiences becomes the consummate commodity.–Jeremy Rifkin, The Age of Access Neoliberalism is in the first instance a theory of political economic practices that proposes that human well-being can best be advanced by liberating individual entrepreneurial freedoms and skills within an institutional framework characterized by strong private property rights, free markets, and free trade. The role of the state is to create and preserve an institutional framework appropriate to such practices. The state has to guarantee, for example, the quality and integrity of money. I’m not saying anything particularly new. Further reading:
Saving the library one cookie at a time Foreign Libraries Will Be Infringing Sites Under SOPA On January 1, "Public Domain Day", another year was added to the copyright gap between the US and the rest of the world. In most of the world, New Year's Day marked the end of copyright for works by authors who died in 1941. But not in the USA. Copying and distribution of gap works may be legal and unrestricted in most countries, but these activities are criminal acts of copyright infringement in the US, punishable by up to 10 years of prison. One effect of SOPA, the "Stop Online Piracy Act" (which almost means "garbage" in Swedish) is that the US Attorney General will be able to extend the effect of US copyright law to foreign web sites. If Project Gutenberg Australia persisted in its criminal activity, SOPA would allow the Attorney General to force internet service providers in the US to block access to the PGA domain. The Swedish word "sopa" is not really used as a singular noun.
Erinn Batykefer: Art Incubators: How Libraries Offer More Than Books What is a library? A good place to go if you like stern, bun-headed women shushing you mercilessly? A place to store soon-to-be-obsolete books? A cultural institution past its prime in a digital age? If you really spend time in a library-- from the the New York Public Library's main branch to Monona Public Library in Monona, WI-- you might say that a library is a community center, a place to access the Internet on free public computers or to grab a cup of coffee, even a place to attend an art show, a poetry reading, or a public lecture. On the Library as Incubator Project website, we want to showcase how libraries do more for their communities than provide free access to books; we're interested in how they foster lifelong learning and creativity, and how they can (and do!) Libraries can be an office, a gallery, a performance space, even a studio. It was no accident that The Library as Incubator Project was born during the massive Wisconsin budget protests of 2011. What is a library?
Why a shift to ebooks imperils libraries It isn’t because libraries can’t figure out, technically, how to loan out ebooks. It’s because publishers don’t want them to, and may be able to prevent it. A shift to ebooks has been predicted for a while, and seems to be happening. I’ve talked to many people who wonder why their public libraries don’t offer more ebooks they can download on their e-reader of choice, assuming it’s because the public libraries don’t want to, or are not technically competent to. The prime barrier is that publishers by and large don’t want libraries to. With a print book, a library can buy a book and loan it to as many borrowers as they like, without any permission from the publisher at all. That does not apply to ebooks. Here’s a recent new york times article about this battle between publishers and libraries: Publishers vs. Here’s an account by Patrick Berry of California State University Chico on the difficulties in running a kindle lending program.
The Spaghetti Sauce Moment for Libraries This isn’t the first time I’ve featured this TED talk on my blog. To summarize the salient points for the purposes of this post, Gladwell talks about the epiphany of multiple “perfect” spaghetti sauces. While researchers were baffled by the feedback regarding what constituted the best sauce, it was only when the data points were clustered into groups that the realization that there were multiple answers became apparent. It’s one of the reasons we have a variety of flavors and types in our food products these days and extends well beyond the spaghetti sauce market. I think it is long overdue that the same epiphany should be applied to how the profession imagines the role and design of the public library. This brings me back to the idea of multiple “perfect” spaghetti sauces. We as a profession have arrived in an age when one size no longer fits all when it comes to information access. Like this: Like Loading...
Futurist Speaker Thomas Frey - The Future of Libraries The Future of Libraries Beginning the Great Transformation In 1519 Leonardo da Vinci died and left behind one of the world’s largest collections of art comprised of well over 5,000 drawings, sketches, and paintings, the vast majority of which the general public would not become aware of until over 400 years later. The largest portion of this collection was left in the hands of Francesco Melzi, a trusted assistant and favorite student of Leonardo. In 1630 a sculptor at the court of the King of Spain by the name of Pompeo Leoni began a very sloppy process of rearranging the collections, sorting the artistic drawings from the technical ones with scientific notations. In 1637 the collections were donated to Biblioteca Ambrosiana, the library in Milan, where they remained until 1796 when Napoleon Bonaparte ordered the manuscripts to be transferred to Paris. Archive of Information In medieval times, books were valuable possessions far too expensive for most people to own. Setting the Stage a.
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