Pew report suggests most people don’t use library e-books

19 September 2015

From Chris Meadows at TeleRead

Pew Research has a report out on how people interact with libraries. … Of particular note, more people now know their libraries lend e-books (38%, up from 31% in 2012) but 46% of library patrons 16 or older don’t know if their library has e-books. Given that 95% of all libraries in the US do have e-book collections, this seems like a pretty big knowledge gap.

Even those who are aware their library lends e-books don’t necessarily take advantage of it:

<i>Some 16% of those who are aware their library lends e-books have downloaded an e-book from their public library – that amounts to 6% of all those ages 16 and older who have borrowed an e-book from their library.</i>.

. . .

Other interesting findings: 50% of public library website users accessed it with a mobile device (tablet or smartphone), up from 39% in 2012.

Link to the rest at TeleRead

Posted by vacation blogger Bridget McKenna

How Much Money do Libraries Spend on e-Books?

17 September 2015

A breakdown of what Douglas County, CO, library pays for ebooks.

A staggering 95% of all libraries in the United States have an e-book collection. Sometimes we take this granted and get irked that there is a long waiting list for a New York Times bestseller. Why can’t libraries simply have enough titles to meet the demand? The answer, is that libraries are gouged on the price for digital content from the publishers.

This might surprise a fair amount of people, but the average library paid six times the consumer price for e-books on the USA Today bestseller list.  This is not greed due to distributors such as 3M, Baker & Taylor or Overdrive, but the publishers.

James Larue of the Douglas County Library system recently said “libraries and taxpayers who support libraries are being ripped off in ways that not only outrageously inflate the payment to publishers (surely their costs are not three times greater to provide the book to us than to the consumer), they also greatly reward distributors. The result? At a time when about half of our patrons use e-readers, we barely offer 10% of our collections to them in their preferred format. When does a vicious price become complicity between publisher and distributor, to the detriment of the public?”


All data is interesting, says vacation blogger Karen Myers.


7 September 2015

From SOMA:

On most days, twenty-eight-year-old Alicia Tapia works as a private school librarian in the Tenderloin neighborhood of San Francisco, constantly surrounded by books and the young minds in which she instills a love for reading. Tapia is also the proud creator of Bibliobicicleta, a mobile bicycle library that hands out free books to people of all ages. The Bibliobicicleta motto? “To promote a love of learning and literacy: page by page, book by book, pedal by pedal.”

Inspired in part by the Little Free Library movement, Bibliobicicleta is a completely independent, donation-based library. Tapia first began toying with the idea in 2010 while studying to become a librarian at the University of Hawaii. “Someone asked me, ‘How do you say librarian in Spanish?’ The word is bibliotecario. I told him, and he was like, ‘What? Bibliotaqueria?’ So for the longest time I had this silly idea to start a taco truck that’s also a library, so people can read and eat tacos. Then I thought if people are eating tacos and reading, they’re going to fall asleep.”

It wasn’t until the Hawaii native moved to San Francisco and made friends with another bike-loving librarian that the idea for Bibliobicicleta came to fruition: “We kind of joked about it like, ‘Wouldn’t it be really funny if we had a library on the back of our bikes?’” The idea would continue to resurface for weeks until one day Tapia decided enough was enough. “I was so tired of talking about it and decided to just do it. Then I put a Kickstarter up.”

. . . .




The trailer was quickly found through Bikes at Work, a bicycle cargo trailer manufacturer out of Iowa. Constructing the wooden bookshelf for the trailer, however, proved to be a more challenging task. After the original builder backed out of the project, Tapia decided to place an ad on TaskRabbit. There she would meetJasper Montgomery. “We talked about the vision of it and he really improved it,” Tapia explains. His design allowed for airflow to pass through the bookshelves, greatly increasing mobility—especially on windy bike rides.

Tapia, who also holds her master’s degree in Library and Information Science from the University of Washington, can often be seen parked around the Panhandle, in addition to San Francisco’s various Sunday Streets events. “Free books!” she proclaims to fellow bike riders, joggers, and families who pass by—some will stop and take a book; some drop books off. The shelves hold a variety of fiction and non-fiction for both children and adults. The titles are constantly changing as books exchange hands, taken off of the shelves as often as they are replaced.

The response for Bibliobicicleta has been overwhelmingly positive over the course of its first year. “Kids are my weak spot, obviously. It’s why I teach,” says Tapia. “The first time I took it out, this little girl walked by and said, ‘That is the prettiest bookshelf I’ve ever seen.’ That made it all worthwhile. By seeing this crazy bookshelf, that kid is going to think that reading is something that’s important—reading is something cool.”

Link to the rest at SOMA and thanks to Dave for the tip. Photos from the Bibliobicicleta Kickstarter site and thanks to Dave for the tip.

This is the end of the library as we know it

26 August 2015

From Quartz:

When, in 2005, the University of Chicago entered into an $81 million renovation of a major library building, one of the primary goals was to ensure that the university’s collection of printed books in the social sciences and humanities would remain under one roof.

That goal was achieved six years later. However, it also meant that a good part of the library’s print collection, while technically being “under the library roof,” was moved “under the ground.” The renovation included a subterranean automated system that can store and retrieve up to 3.5 million books.

Chicago’s library project could well represent the end of an era—the era of colleges and universities expending millions of dollars so that printed books can be housed in on-campus libraries.

. . . .

While I believe there will always be a place for the book in the hearts of academics, it is far less likely there will be a place for the book, or at least for every book, on the academic campus.

. . . .

Keeping a printed book in a library is not cheap.

The most recent analysis pegs the total cost of keeping one book in an open library stack (the kind that allows browsing) at $4.26 per year (in 2009 dollars). High-density shelving, a less costly alternative to open stacks, comes at $.86 per book, per year (again, in 2009 dollars).

And given the costs, academic financial officers blanch at proposals to build new on-campus storage capacity for thousands, in some cases millions, of books.

. . . .

At Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), the web page providing information on the construction of a new library building for the Monroe Park campus proclaims: “90% of the new space will be for student use, not for storing books or materials.”

The University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) is in the midst of an addition and renovation project that will add 60,000 square feet of new library space and renovate 92,000 square feet of existing library space.

The stated goals of the UCSB project include such desiderata as “expanded wireless access,” “additional and enhanced group study and collaboration spaces,” and a “faculty collaboration studio.” Additional book capacity is not part of the plan.

Even more extreme, the University of Michigan’s $55 million renovationof its Taubman Health Sciences Library (completed in 2015) has removed all print books from the library in order to accommodate classrooms and “collaboration rooms.”

An entire floor is now devoted to “clinical simulation rooms” where medical students hone their diagnostic and clinical skills through simulated hands-on practice.

All these are part of a mainstream trend in which the printed book, though still part of the academic library ensemble, is being relegated to the role of supporting player rather than the lead actor.

Link to the rest at Quartz

Pilot schemes to give all children automatic library membership

26 August 2015

From BBC News:

All Scottish children could automatically become library members in a bid to promote literacy.

Pilot projects are being developed in every council area to enrol children during their early years.

Children will be given library cards either at birth, age three or four – or in P1.

The scheme will also see libraries working with schools and communities to promote the services they offer to families.

. . . .

Ms Sturgeon said: “Our libraries are often the hub of a local community – providing vital access to information and resources that people would otherwise not have.

“Now, thanks to £80,000 Scottish government funding, every local authority in Scotland will trial methods to give children automatic membership to their local library.”

. . . .

Earlier this year Dumfries and Galloway Council launched its Every Child a Member initiative.

It means every family registering a birth is offered a library membership for their child.

Link to the rest at BBC News

ALA Releases New Digital Privacy Guidelines

5 August 2015

From The Digital Reader:

The American Library Association announced on Tuesday that it has published a new set of privacy guidelines.

Spurred on by last fall’s revelations that Adobe was spying on readers, the ALA has come up with new set of best practices for vendors and librarians to follow so they can better respect the privacy of library patrons.

The fact of the matter is, librarians have always taken patron privacy seriously. That’s why librarians objected to the Patriot Act and it’s why many librarians were upset when OverDrive partnered with Amazon to bring library ebooks to the Kindle, but lately it’s become clear that practice isn’t matching up with principle any more.

. . . .

The new guidelines note that contracts between “libraries and vendors should address appropriate restrictions on the use, aggregation, retention, and dissemination of patron data, particularly information about minors.” The guidelines go on to add that:

The vendor should give users options as to how much personal information is collected from them and how it may be used. Users should have choices about whether or not to opt-in to features and services that require the collection  of personal information. Users should also have the ability to opt-out and have their personal information erased if they later change their minds.

Later sections cover ereaders and other user devices,

There’s also a long section which spells out the rules for patron data, including how vendors should protect, encrypt, and anonymize the data.

Link to the rest at The Digital Reader and thanks to Susan and others for the tip.

University of Michigan reopens medical library without books

5 August 2015

From The Toledo Blade:

The University of Michigan has reopened its Taubman Health Sciences Library after a $55 million overhaul and rethinking of how a library for medical students should function.

Hundreds of thousands of books were moved to an offsite location and are available on demand for delivery, and by becoming “bookless” the school said that frees up space for medical student education. The facility on the school’s Ann Arbor campus officially reopened over the weekend.

“Today’s library can be anywhere, thanks to technology, yet there is still a desire for a physical location that facilitates collaboration, study and learning,” Jane Blumenthal, associate university librarian and Taubman Library director, said in a statement.

The books were moved about two years ago, before construction began. The library includes a realistic simulated clinic and medical students will work with those studying public health, dentistry, pharmacy, social work, nursing and kinesiology — much like they will in their future careers.

The library also features a virtual cadaver, a life-sized display that’s manipulated using a touch screen to view different layers of the body, The Ann Arbor News reported. A scalpel tool can also be used to make incisions and even cut away portions of the body for inspection.

Link to the rest at The Toledo Blade

8 Weird Facts From the History of the Library

28 July 2015
Comments Off on 8 Weird Facts From the History of the Library

From Flavorwire:

“The hallmark of public libraries — the printed book, bound by covers and centuries of page-turning — is being shoved aside by digital doppelgangers,” the Washington Post wrote this month. It’s true. And because of the recent incineration of hundreds of thousands of printed volumes across the Western world, libraries are of increasing interest to the “general intellect.”

As it happens, too, they are of interest to the specialized mind. Thankfully, the two intersect in The Meaning of the Library, an excellent collection of essays on the cultural history of the library in the Western world, edited by Alice Crawford and out this month from Princeton University Press. One of the many virtues of Crawford’s collection is that it situates the contemporary library’s precious present within a long history of upheaval and general weirdness. Below is a sampling, from the book, of that history.

. . . .

“The papyrus on which most ancient Greek and Latin books were recorded, as an organic material, was extremely vulnerable to rotting and wear and tear. Aristotle bequeathed his personal library to his student Theophrastus, but two generations later the collection of rolls ended up in the hands of some “ordinary people” of Scepsis in Asia Minor, who did not know how to store its precious contents.” — Edith Hall

. . . .

“The majority of books published during the Renaissance fell victim to more mundane dangers: rats and mice, birds and moths, worms or damp. Fire, neglect, and use all took their toll. But it does illustrate vividly the great gulf between the rhetoric of the humanistic book world, and the practical experience of those who sought to build a library. It might have been thought that the invention of printing in the fifteenth century, and the huge increase of the availability of books, would usher in a great new age of library building. In fact, the opposite was the case. Many of the great Renaissance collections were broken up, the victim of predators, politics, or neglect. In the sixteenth century the library… took a backwards step.” — Andrew Pettegree

. . . .

“Pirate publishers rarely attempted to produce a book that would look like the original. They churned out down-market editions, eliminating “typographical luxury” as they called it. They used relatively cheap fonts of type, eliminated ornaments and often illustrations, and frequently abridged the text. Because they paid no author’s fees and had access to inexpensive paper, they could undersell the privileged edition, even when they had to smuggle their works into France… Probably half the books sold in France during the twenty years before the Revolution — current literature of all kinds but not chapbooks, religious tracts or professional treatises — were pirated.” — Robert Darnton

Link to the rest at Flavorwire

With 10,699 books printed, Windsor library’s self-publishing machine is a hit

22 July 2015

From the Windsor Star:

Sue Perry likens her role at the Windsor Public Library to that of a midwife.

Perry runs the main library’s self-publishing Espresso Book Machine which has produced 10,699 books in three years and she hopes to be even busier delivering professionally-bound paperback books into the hands of local authors.

Windsor was the first public library in Canada to install such a machine in 2012 so it wasn’t clear how well it would be received. Three years later, the service isn’t a money-maker but its growing popularity and a proposed fee increase could help it break even.

Perry said it’s not about turning a profit but providing a service that, in this case, led to the birth of a writer’s group and gave people a way to publish their work even if they only want one book.

. . . .

The machine is growing in popularity. In its first half year, the machine pumped out 986 books. So far this year, it has printed more than 4,000 books.

There have been more than 248 individual titles produced, books in English, Arabic, Polish, Spanish and French, and authors from teenagers to writers in their 80s. Although people can make a copy of an out-of-print book, 98 per cent of the customers are self publishing, she said. There are children’s books, textbooks, memoirs, fiction novels, how-to manuals and genealogy books.

Link to the rest at The Windsor Star

E-book prices marked up too high at $85 per copy, libraries protest

23 June 2015

From CBC News:

Why aren’t there more e-books on your library’s virtual shelves? Libraries say it’s because big publishers are charging them up to $85 per copy — and they can’t afford it.

The Kindle edition of Lena Dunham’s bestselling memoir Not that Kind of Girl retails for $14.99 at But the book’s publisher, Random House, charges Canadian libraries $85 per copy of the e-book — five times more, according to the Canadian Library Association.

Despite the premium, only one borrower can access each copy of the book at a time.

. . . .

“We’re very concerned about what this means for mandate of the public library in providing universal access to a diverse collection in a range of formats … we need to be able to provide customers with access to e-content in the same way that we’ve always provided access to other forms of content in books and DVDS and CDs et cetera.”

That’s a big concern because demand for e-books among library users is soaring.

With print books, libraries have traditionally paid less than retail price for copies. With e-books, it’s the opposite.

Link to the rest at CBC News and thanks to Simon for the tip.

Next Page »