Libraries

Glen Ellyn Public Library creates new collection for emerging authors

25 January 2015

From the Daily Herald:

Glen Ellyn Public Library has created a new collection to support self-published authors and give patrons a way to obtain hard-to-find reads.

To be included in the new Emerging Author Collection, books must be about the Chicago metro area or be written by authors who live here.

Although authors who didn’t publish their own works can be in the collection, the library created the section with the expanding world of self-publishing in mind.

“We actually started the collection because of the growing phenomenon that we’re seeing that so many people are publishing their books themselves,” Adult Department Director Susan DeRonne said. “And these books don’t always get reviewed by the standard journals that we usually do our selecting from.”

. . . .

 “Twenty years ago, a self-published book was sort of frowned upon as a book that just didn’t make it,” she said. “There’s no longer that stigma on self-published books at all. It’s just another avenue of information.”

. . . .

She said the collection will help authors because most public libraries still only add books to their collection that have gone through “the traditional channels of publishing houses.”

“There’s a lot of good writers out there who don’t make it through publishing houses,” she said.

Link to the rest at the Daily Herald

Toronto Public Library sadly embraces ‘culture of free’

20 January 2015

From the Toronto Star:

The Toronto Public Library, the largest in the country, has launched a new platform of penny-pinching ingenuity. The “Sell Books to the Library” program advertises to readers that it will buy used hardcover copies of bestselling titles listed on its website at the beginning of every month at five dollars a piece.

This innocuous sounding program is but the latest manifestation of the so-called “culture of free” that has ravaged the media, music and book worlds. Without the FBI threatening quarter-million-dollar fines or five year prison terms for copyright infringement — as it does on DVDs — the value system that supports the prospect of just reward is eroded. Individuals and companies used to paying nothing for artists’ work now do so without compunction.

. . . .

Alarmingly, this phenomenon of exploitation includes the very institutions whoseraison d’être (you would have thought) demand a respect of writers and their product, acting not as custodians but instead pushing for their own chance to outwit circumstance and pay nothing. The amendment, in 2012, of Canadian copyright law to include “education” as the object of legitimate “fair dealing” has faculties across the country brazenly copying entire chapters or 10 per cent of a book for the assembly of fat study guides, for which not a single writer is paid, meted out to hundreds of thousands of students.

And now the Toronto Public Library is zealously joining the cheapskates’ fray. The books it has listed on its “Sell Books to the Library” website page are not books that the public does not want; their authors are not ones who, the great lie of media and festivals, stand to benefit from extra publicity. No, the list is comprised of books so popular that the library is having a hard time meeting existing demand. December’s inaugural list includes, for instance, Canadian authors Margaret Atwood, David Bezmozgis, Ann-Marie MacDonald, Kathleen Reichs, Peter Robinson, Carrie Snyder, Miriam Toews, as well as Sean Michaels and Thomas King, winners of this year’s Scotiabank Giller and Governor-General’s Literary Award for Fiction respectively.

Instead of ordering copies of books that furnish a royalty, and supporting the trade, as all honourable purchases do, the TPL is buying off the back of a public truck it has ushered into the courtyard, depriving writers and the companies that invest in them of their just reward. It can do so because it has decided that the lowest possible price to be paid is the right one.

Link to the rest at the Toronto Star

25+ Of The Most Majestic Libraries In The World

10 January 2015

From boredpanda:

Though they are losing ground to the e-book and the audio book, libraries were once central hubs of human intellectual progress. There’s something about them that still attracts people, however – whether it’s their magnificent architecture or the unmistakable smell of books and dust, scholars and dreamers alike still enjoy perusing their hoards of literary treasures.

Because of their critical importance, libraries were often built to be beautiful and built to last. Combined with the sometimes priceless treasures that they hold, their simultaneously enormous and intimate spaces possess a charm that no other type of building can command.

a1

The National Library Of Prague, Prague, Czech Republic

Link to the rest at boredpanda and thanks to Meryl for the tip.

Ten library systems pass one million digital checkouts in OverDrive in 2014

29 December 2014

From TeleRead:

OverDrive announced that 10 public libraries surpassed one million digital checkouts for 2014. Six did it in 2013. Checkouts include ebooks, audiobooks, music and video streaming, and periodicals from OverDrive’s collection.

Two libraries hit the two million mark.

. . . .

2 Million or more digital checkouts
• Toronto Public Library (ON): (49% growth over 2013)
• King County Library System (WA): (33%)

Link to the rest at TeleRead

Report warns of “absolute disaster” in UK library services

21 December 2014

From TeleRead:

The just-released “Independent Library Report for England” launched by the UK government’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport, has outlined a situation that its chief author, William Sieghart, has referred to elsewhere as the brink of “absolute disaster.” And it calls for both wholesale renovation of the UK’s library network, and recognition of their fundamental importance in society.

For one thing, the Report seems to to all too aware of the danger of its conclusions being ignored by politicians. “There have already been far too many library reviews in recent years which have come to nothing,” it warns. “Not enough decision makers at national or local level appear sufficiently aware of the remarkable and vital value that a good library service can offer modern communities of every size and character.” The Report also demolishes any notion that libraries are some outmoded service rendered irrelevant by digital media. “In England, over a third of the population visits their local library. In the poorest areas, that figure rises to nearly a half. It is no wonder that communities feel so passionately about their libraries.” Indeed, it concludes, “the future of libraries as community hubs is essential for the well-being of the nation.”

. . . .

What the Report was actually calling for was “a re-invigoration of the library network,” which “starts with a marked increase and improvement in digital technology, rolling WiFi out to every library in the country.”

Link to the rest at TeleRead

Stamford library faces changing reading habits

12 December 2014

From the Danbury (Connecticut) News-Times:

Along with the rest of the media world, libraries have been evolving rapidly to keep up with a public that has access to nearly limitless options for reading in many forms other than a traditional, shelved book.

Libraries are offering more classes, are making increasing numbers of e-Books available to their customers and are scheduling more author appearances to make up for the decline in area bookstores.

. . . .

The Stamford library entered the world of e-Books 11 years ago, offering mostly academic books to a relatively small audience, but as the platforms for reading have expanded from Kindles and Nooks to iPads and iPhones, the interest in getting electronic books has steadily increased.

“We had a huge increase (last year) just from December to January. It seemed to start overnight,” she said.

While e-Books still only account for about 5 percent of the material used by library patrons, this year has seen 19 percent growth in e-Books at the Ferguson. October was up 29 percent over the same month last year.

. . . .

“E-books can be very expensive and you don’t own the material,” he said, adding that in most cases libraries purchase a fixed number of downloads on a title (this is why the waiting time for an e-Book loan can be just as long or longer than the wait for an ink-and-paper book).

Shell said that very often two traditional books can be bought and shelved in the permanent collection for the cost of one temporarily leased e-Book.

. . . .

The emergence of e-Books has made it easier and cheaper for writers to self-publish and circulate their work.

The Danbury Library has offered regular sessions on “the ABCs” of e-Books, Shell said.

“We want people to understand self-publishing,” he said.

The growth of self-publishing via e-Book has resulted in more of these writers having their work added to library collections in Danbury and Stamford.

“We read it and vet it and put it in our collection,” Shell said.

. . . .

“Some of our prejudices about self-publishing have disappeared,” Knapp said. “Some of them are fantastic. When it comes to Stamford authors — (traditionally) published or self-published — we’re going to collect them. But they have to earn a place on the shelf.”

Link to the rest at Danbury News-Times 

Library contest aims to bring fame to self-published author

6 December 2014

From The Chicago Tribune:

Public libraries in Illinois once again are seeking to bring an author laboring in relative obscurity into the limelight.

For the second year in a row, the libraries are hosting The Soon to be Famous Illinois Author project that will choose a self-published Illinois author’s work for a year of book talks, author events and other promotions in Illinois public libraries.

Illinois authors who have self-published an adult fiction book are encouraged to enter the second year of the Soon to be Famous Illinois Author project until Dec. 15. The winner of the Soon to be Famous Illinois Author Project will spend a year being promoted in libraries throughout the state, participating in book signings, special presentations, media interviews, and conference appearances.

. . . .

“Librarians are all about connecting readers with books (or viewers with films, etc.),” said Dee Brennan, executive director of RAILS, a regional library system, in an email. “It’s our job to seek out the best books we can and deliver them to readers. We need to look beyond the traditional publishing world to include and support the aspiring authors who haven’t been able to break through the publishing ‘wall.’ Who knows when we will find the next Gillian Flynn?”

The project was the brainchild of a group of library marketing professionals who were inspired by remarks made by New York University professor David Vinjamuri about the importance of libraries in an era of E-books, said Christine Cigler, marketing manager of the Fox River Valley Public Library District.

She said Vinjamuri challenged libraries to bring attention to a self-published Illinois author and demonstrate the influence libraries and librarians have over the public’s reading selections.

Link to the rest at The Chicago Tribune

A Trip to the Library’s Used Book Sale

11 November 2014

From author Dan Meadows at The Watershed Chronicle:

This weekend is the Fall used book sale at my local library here in scenic Chestertown, Maryland. They have these sales twice a year, Spring and Fall. They set up a large room with hardcovers and trade paperback books piled high on a series of tables, lined up on shelves surrounding the room with more piled three rows deep underneath the tables. The hallway outside the room has another set of tables packed two layers deep with mass market paperbacks, and also has the piles of books underneath each. It takes a couple of hours to properly browse the available material. And you can’t beat the prices!

Some writers and publishers have a love/hate relationship with used books (mostly hate). I’m not one of them. It’s love all the way. If not for the availability of used books, I wouldn’t have read half of what I have in my life and the number of different authors I’ve become fans of would be demonstrably smaller. Some may not like it but when you consider none of those books are there for sale without someone having bought it full price first (or discounted as the publisher wants), all I can say is get over it! You want to know where discoverability happens? It’s right here in this room full of books so cheap as to nearly be free.

. . . .

There are a few things I took away from this morning’s jaunt, more than just the new bag full of books I needed like a hole in the head. With a little mortar, I’m pretty sure I could build a summer home out of my to-be-read pile alone.

1. Traditional publishing produces a lot of crap

You hear this a lot about indies but, man, glancing through stacks of the stuff that’s been “properly vetted” by the great tastemakers only makes me snort louder every time I hear someone say how indispensable they are to quality literature. I don’t have any particular moral judgment on this, just try not to be the pot telling the kettle it’s too black, please.

2. Lit Fic doesn’t have much of a secondary life past first sale

I’ve been going to this sale for four years now and one of the interesting things I’ve noticed is that you see the same types of books over and over again, year after year. Something with a windswept field and a sunset on the cover, inevitably with the phrase “From the NY Times Best-selling Author” scrawled across the top, titled “Yesterday’s Tomorrows” or some such inexplicable thing. The cover blurb sounds like a story my uncle would try to tell about his troubled life, after Thanksgiving dinner and one too many shots of Southern Comfort, before I get so bored I have to fake an excuse to leave the room. These books never move. They were there four years ago and I don’t doubt they’ll still be there four years from now. Even for a buck, they can’t get them to walk out the door.

. . . .

5. Romance is another exception

Nora Roberts was another mega seller whose books overran the place. The difference, though, is that they move. Nobody’s buying the Pattersons but most of Roberts’ books will be gone by Sunday. I’ve watched it happen in the past where an entire table of Roberts and Danielle Steele books that are there on the opening day are picked down to bare bones by closing. The Turows and his ilk, though, end up clustered all together, with the previously mentioned best selling lit-fic, as nearly everything else around them is picked clean. Romance seems to have the same level of churn going on but they also seem to have a vibrant life after the first sale that the mega-sellers don’t.

. . . .

Which brings me to the last book I picked up this morning. Yes, I bought a Doug Preston book. I’ve never read anything he’s written (outside of his Authors United blustering. I really hope his fiction stylings are way better than that), so I’m curious. The description sounded interesting, so I thought, “What the hell? I’ll give it a go.” There was another one of his books there that sounded interesting, too. But it was a hardcover and hardcovers were $2 and I just didn’t want to pay that. (I can hear the screams of “entitled” now.) The reality is that I have no idea if I’m going to like his work. For a quarter, it’s a no-risk proposition. For $2, it’s a slightly less than no-risk. But $2 bought me that aforementioned cup of coffee. And, yes, I’m saying that fleeting cup of coffee was more important to me this morning than trying one of his books. That’s life. Get used to it.

If I read that book and enjoy it, the dynamic changes. I don’t question dropping the $2. Hell, I might even buy one (or more) new, depending on how much I like this one. But none of that happens if I don’t have access to this book for a negligible sum. At the last book sale in the Spring, I loaded up, getting about 25 books of all different stripes. Since then, there have been six new book purchases by me as a direct result of those buys. That’s six sales that would not have existed otherwise. Preston’s odds of getting me to buy one of his books new is virtually non-existant without the super-cheap used variety available to experiment and check out the lay of the land, as it were. His odds of me turning into a fan may be slim in any case, but they’re non-existant if my only choices are list price or small discount.

Even if his ebook version was $5.99, I’m not buying that. I wouldn’t pay $2 for one of his hardcovers. If the book I bought today was priced at $6, it would still be on the table where I found it. If those are my only options (or my cheapest options) he has precisely zero chance of turning me into a full paying customer. Here’s my concern with ebooks: no used versions at miniscule prices means it’s either the library or some random chance someone gives me one. Publishers have gouged libraries with exorbitant ebook prices and overly restrictive licenses. That option isn’t as viable as print either. You want discovery for ebooks to be better? Stop handicapping it. Libraries, used books for slightly above free and sharing between readers is where most discovery happens. You may think it’s bookstores but odds are most shoppers are “discovering” something there they already knew about. Discovery in that sense is more surprised to discover something you actually want is there in stock.

Link to the rest at The Watershed Chronicle and thanks to Dave for the tip.

Here’s a link to Dan Meadow’s books

Library Ebook Growth Slowing but Still Substantial

4 November 2014

From The Digital Shift:

Ninety-five percent of public libraries currently offer ebooks to patrons, up from 72 percent in 2010, and 89 percent in both 2012 and 2013. However, money remains the biggest impediment for libraries looking to add ebooks or expand collections, according to Library Journal’s fifth annual Ebook Usage in U.S. Public Librariesreport, sponsored by Freading.

The growth in demand for ebooks has cooled during the past four years, although as the report notes, this “is only because [ebooks] have become less of a novelty and more mainstream.” Survey respondents said they expected to see their library’s ebook circulation grow by 25 percent this fiscal year, compared with 108 percent growth in 2011, 67 percent in 2012, and 39 percent in 2013.

Collections have grown substantially during the past four years as well, and increased options and availability for patrons likely played a role in slowing the growth in demand. In 2010, the median number of ebooks offered by libraries was only 813, compared with a median of 10,484 titles in 2014—an increase of nearly 1,200 percent.

. . . .

Survey respondents reported that their ebook collections are 74 percent fiction and 26 percent nonfiction, while print book collections were split at 57 percent fiction and 43 percent nonfiction. The top five fiction ebook categories reported by respondents are bestsellers, mystery/suspense, romance, general adult fiction, and YA fiction, while the top five nonfiction categories are bestsellers, biographies/memoirs, history, self-help, and cooking.

. . . .

For the first time this year, tablets overtook dedicated e-readers as the device of choice for ebook readers. Eighty-four percent of respondents said that their library’s patrons were using tablets such as iPads, Kindle Fires, or Google Nexus tablets to check out ebooks, while 78 percent said that patrons were using dedicated e-reader devices such as NOOKs or Kindle Paperwhites. This compares to 66 percent who said patrons were using tablets for ebooks in 2012, and 90 percent who said patrons were using dedicated e-readers.

“Tablets will likely continue to take over, as they can access a wider variety of content, from ebooks to streaming video, to music, to audiobooks, to the Internet in general,” the report notes. “The killer app for the earliest dedicated ereaders like the Kindle was the reflective display which was ‘as easy to read as paper.’ Well, these days, people are more used to reading on screens than on paper, and backlit screens have improved so that older eyes can read even smartphone screens with minimal squinting.”

Link to the rest at The Digital Shift

How Andrew Carnegie Built the Architecture of American Literacy

2 November 2014

From The Atlantic CityLab:

Across the nation, the libraries that Andrew Carnegie built have been transformed and reused as historical museums, city halls, art centers, and even bars and restaurants, sometimes by dramatic means.

It is a testament to Carnegie’s philanthropic investment in cities—the largest in U.S. history—that so many of these buildings are still in use. Yet no one can say exactly how many are standing now. Despite the important roles the libraries continue to play in towns and cities, our understanding of these buildings as a piece of civic infrastructure is far from cohesive.

. . . .

Between 1893 and 1919—a three-decade run that librarians refer to as the Golden Age of the American public library system—Carnegie paid to build 1,689 libraries in the U.S. These seeded the DNA for nearly every American library built before the end of World War II. That may explain in part why there is no central accounting for Carnegie’s libraries, which were built without any oversight from a formal program or foundation: Even libraries that aren’t historical Carnegie libraries share their aesthetic philosophy.

. . . .

According to the figures assembled by Jones (adjusted here for inflation), Carnegie spent as much as $1.3 billion on public libraries in the U.S.—a gift unmatched before or since. Some 70 percent of these buildings were built in small towns. The grants sparked the national enthusiasm for libraries at the turn of the century, with the majority going to cities that now occupy the Rust Belt region (in addition to always-fashionable California).

. . . .

“It was an expectation in communities across the country—if you didn’t have a library, somehow you were not supporting culture,” says Wayne Wiegand, professor emeritus of library studies at Florida State University and author of a forthcoming history of public libraries, tentatively titled Part of Our Lives: A People’s History of the American Public Library. “Without Carnegie, we’d still have public libraries, but they’d be different and probably fewer in number.”

Close to 800 of Carnegie’s library buildings are still in use as public libraries, according to Carnegie Libraries Across America, while another 350 have been given new purposes as office buildings and cultural centers.

. . . .

A letter addressed to Andrew Carnegie from the city of Eau Claire, Wisconsin, was typical of an application for a Carnegie library grant. Dated November 18, 1901, the letter reads:

In and by a resolution heretofore unanimously adopted by the Common Council of the City of Eau Claire, Wisconsin, the undersigned were appointed a committee to prepare and present to you, in behalf of the City of Eau Claire and its inhabitants, a request that you give to said City the sum of fifty thousand dollars, or such additional sum or portion thereof, as, in your bounty and good judgment, you deem would be commensurate with the needs and requirements of this City and its inhabitants, to build and construct a suitable building to be devoted to the purpose of maintaining a free library in this City for all future time, to be known as the “Carnegie Library.”

What follows in the letter is part Census form, part tourism brochure, extolling the noble history of Eau Claire while detailing its population, geography, and amenities. The application was enough to earn a $40,000 grant for the construction of the Eau Claire Carnegie Library—$1.1 million in 2014 dollars. (Today, the building serves as city hall.)

Link to the rest at Atlantic CityLab

Here’s a photo of the Carnegie Library in Belleville, Illinois:

Carnegie_Library_Building_Belleville_Illinois

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