Libraries

Library Loans Are a Double-Edged Sword

22 September 2016

From Digital Book World:

Denmark experienced rapid growth in digital lending from libraries between 2011 and 2015. At first this was a welcome source of new revenue for publishers. But by the middle of 2015, the digital lending market had grown even larger than the commercial market for digital book sales. Similar to the New York Public Library app, SimplyE, the national Danish library launched its own digital lending app, eReolen, which considerably simplified ebook borrowing, allowing users to borrow and read in just one click, increasing the amount of digital books borrowed.

Mofibo, the leading subscription service provider in Denmark, told book business news outlet Bogmarkedet that 16 percent of the provider’s customers said the reason they terminated their subscriptions was that they were able to get the same books for free at the library. At this point, an increased opposition from publishers and local resellers of ebooks started moving from the director’s office to the media.

. . . .

By late 2015, the third largest publisher in Denmark, Politikens Forlag, stepped in and said that they were willing to completely withdraw their books from the libraries if a new way of lending digital books was not found. At that time, the publishing director of Politiken Forlag, Lene Juul, said to the newspaper Berlingske(loosely translated): “The lending of digital books has grown rampant. The trend at the eReolen, where books can be lent for free to the consumer, is a slippery slope that has to be stopped now, because it can have devastating effects for the development of the book market in general.”

In Denmark, the libraries have a legal right to lend books without having to get permission from publishers. However, this is not the case for digital books, and by late 2015 the publishers decided to use this to their advantage. Many of the largest Danish publishers, like Gyldendal, withdrew their books from the libraries by the January 1, 2016.

. . . .

It would appear that the withdrawal of the large publishers had the desired effect. Digital books sold now account for about 67 percent of the market relative to library borrows in Denmark.

In neighboring Sweden, lending has continued uninterrupted for several years, and an estimated 72 percent of all ebooks consumed are borrowed from the public libraries. This has put pressure on the market, driving down the prices of digital books. Today the average sales price of an ebook relative to its paper cousin is 28 percent lower (including VAT), and that is even taking into account that physical books have a VAT of 6 percent compared to the 25 percent on digital books.

When looking at possible solutions for finding a natural equilibrium between the public sector and the private market, publishers have begun campaigning for the introduction of limits on the amount of loans made by libraries. One of the suggested solutions is to introduce “friction” when users borrow books. However, it is never a good solution to structurally disappoint the public by making them wait months for their books or use a complicated borrowing process.

Link to the rest at Digital Book World

Timberland libraries now offer access to self-published books

4 September 2016

From The Olympian:

There are two ways to publish a book these days.

The first is through the six prominent publishing companies that are still the recommended route to maximum exposure.

The other is through independent publishing, an approach authors take when they haven’t signed with an agent or a publishing house, but still want their work to be read.

And there was no middle ground until SELF-e became the compromise.

SELF-e is a website that lets libraries distribute the work of independent authors, and offer an array of genres and content for subscribing patrons.

The Timberland Regional Library system has joined thousands of other libraries across the country in providing SELF-e offerings, said Timberland public relations specialist R.J. Burt.

“One of the barriers for writers is being recognized enough to be picked up by a large publishing house,” Burt said. “Libraries have broken down that barrier for writers, so they should certainly use it.”

. . . .

Publishing on SELF-e is not only free but effortless, said Kim Storbeck, a library collections development specialist. After authors upload a book to SELF-e, there is a vetting process that takes roughly a week.

Barring any infractions of its policies — such as plagiarism, libel, or including hate speech — the book will be placed on the “Indie WA” list. This list is featured at participating libraries in Washington.

If a book is attracting an audience, editors from Library Journal will review the work and possibly add it to the national collection. Books added to the national collection, or a SELF-e selection, will circulate through every participating library in the nation.

. . . .

Readers can access SELF-e through Biblioboard, a companion site that libraries use as a digital library. Created in 2011, Biblioboard offers public and school library patrons unlimited access to content from publishers, historical databases, academic institutions and local organizations, Biblioboard Chief Business Officer Mitchell Davis said.

“SELF-e is one our most popular aspects of Biblioboard,” said Katie Davis, a Biblioboard library relations manager. “And indie publishing is not dying. It’s growing.”

Link to the rest at The Olympian

A Cry for Help

31 August 2016

From Trey Veazey, a first-year elementary school librarian in Baton Rouge, Louisiana:

Anyone who knows me knows that To Kill a Mockingbird is my favorite book (as well as my favorite film). That masterwork has become such an integral part of my life. If I could be any fictional character, it would be Atticus Finch. I share a birthday with Harper Lee. I once played Boo Radley in a community theatre production. In fact, I have the Radley tree tattooed on my arm. If my son Henry was to be a girl, we had planned to name him (her?) Scout. I’m even listening to Elmer Bernstein’s film score as I write this.

All of this meandering is to reinforce the power of books & reading in my life, & this is only in reference to one book. There have actually been countless ones that have left their imprint on me, & like others similar to me, many of those impressions were made during my childhood.

. . . .

 This is how I show my students that I love them — by putting books in their hands, by noticing what they are about, & finding books that tell them, “I know. I know. I know how it is. I know who you are, & even though we may never speak of it, read this book, & know that I understand you.”

. . . .

We were at school for 2 days, & then, the rains came. You might’ve heard. 

In the spirit of school, I have to tattle on myself to say that I broke the rules. After the water receded, I sneaked inside the building to check on the status of my library. I knew that there was damage. I knew that it was likely that over 500 of my own personal books — years of classroom library building & Scholastic points — would be ruined, unusable, destroyed. I was expectant that the box of books that I had begun gathering for my next Milk + Bookies drive would never be unpacked. In my mind, I knew all of this. In my heart, I was unprepared for the visual confirmation.

As I tried not to fall down in what was surely sewage water, I began to take note of the titles that made themselves known to me amid the destruction. The books were telling me something.

Unspeakable things have happened, yet you must move forward.

The sadness is heavy, but joy lies within your own strength.

A challenge is only the beginning. (Also, you’re not dead.)

Molly Lou Melon was very specific. Stand tall, man. Stand tall.

Others have persevered through far worse than this. 

. . . .

When I returned to the library over a week later, there were no more lessons to be learned. Reality had set in.

The books were gone. I would have no chance to save titles on higher shelves such as my signed edition of Dear Hank Williams from when Kimberly Willis Holt visited my school or a brand new copy of Counting Thyme that I bought for the library after tearing through it on the beach this past summer or all of the graphic novels I’d spent the last year collecting because my students couldn’t get enough of El Deafo, The Dumbest Idea Ever!, Roller Girl, & Sunny Side Up. I don’t want to talk about the ones that I haven’t even gotten to read yet like The Seventh Wish or Jack & Louisa: Act 2. I tried to tell myself that they were “only books,” but anyone who has ever loved a book knows that there is no such thing as “only books.”

So, why am I writing my first blog post in over 10 years? Why am I reminiscing about every wonderful book that comes to mind? Why am I tearing up as the strings in Elmer Bernstein’s orchestra swell to perfection, conjuring up a young Mary Badham complaining to Gregory Peck about school? The answer is simple. I need help.

We are relocating. We’ve been ushered over to a building that was built in 1937. That means my new school is the same age as And to Think That I Saw it on Mulberry Street. It also means that, in my first year as a librarian, I have a library without any books.

Access to books is the key to educational success. Our library doesn’t have books. Our classrooms don’t have books. Many of the homes of our students don’t have books. Like the tears that rolled down our faces both in silent & violent measures, they became a part of the flood before being swept away as we looked toward rebuilding & recovery.

How does one recover without books? I know not the answer to this, & so, I plead to you. Help us. There are kids in Baton Rouge, Louisiana that are hungry for knowledge & desperate to know that good remains in the world.

If you are an author/illustrator/publisher & would love to have your books in the hands of readers, please consider sending us those books. 

If you are someone with a generous spirit that doesn’t happen to write children’s books, we are in need of new or like-new books, both fiction & nonfiction, that would appeal to readers in PreKindergarten through Grade 5. If you are someone who would prefer to help in a pecuniary fashion, be assured that your funds, directed through the proper channels, will help to revitalize the library with magazine subscriptions, music, films, & chocolate. All others, feel free to send good thoughts. After this emotional & literal depletion, we are in dire need of good thoughts.

It has taken me over a week to muster the determination to conjure up this post, & while it’s possibly — ok, almost certainly — of an absurd length, it is my heart on display. It is a written manifestation of what I feel every time I walk into my public library — that there is a place for me, that there are others who care, & that the world is a naturally good place. I know all of these things to be true because of books (& family & movies & music & honey buns).

. . . .

 Trey Veazey
Glen Oaks Park Elementary School
2401 72nd Avenue
Baton Rouge, LA 70807
This is the address of our temporary location (formerly known as Banks Elementary). We are not guaranteed to receive any books sent to our home site on Lanier Drive. 

Link to the rest at Trey Veazey and thanks to Dave for the tip.

For visitors to The Passive Voice from outside the United States, an extremely powerful storm caused catastrophic flooding that inundated about 100,000 houses plus businesses, schools, etc., in Louisiana, a state located on the Gulf of Mexico in the southern United States.

Louisiana is not a wealthy state. Out of the fifty states, Louisiana ranks 44 in median household income.

Here are some photos of school and library damage in the Baton Rouge area:

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Additional photos of Louisiana flood damage are here and a description of the flooding is here.

Adult library usage falls ‘significantly’

15 August 2016

From The Bookseller:

There has been a “significant decrease” in the proportion of adults who engage with public libraries across all demographic groups for the first time since records began.

A report on public library engagement comissioned by the government department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has revealed that 33.4% of adults had visited a public library in the year April 2015 to March 2016, down from 33.9% a year earlier, and down from 48.2% in 2005/06. The report revealed there has been a “significant decline” in the proportion of adults who used a public library in all individual English regions since 2005/06, when records began, with the South East region seeing the largest decline, from 51% in 2005/05 to 31.9% in 2015/16.

The research also found that the gap between ethnic groups using libraries is increasing, with a higher proportion of adults from BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic) groups using a library in the year April 2015 to March 2016, than adults from the white ethnic group (45.6% compared with 31.6%). The divide reflects a “significant” decrease in the proportion of adults from the white ethnic group using public libraries since 2013/14, while the proportion of BAME adults using libraries has remained stable.

Link to the rest at The Bookseller

The Librarian Who Changed Children’s Literature Forever

6 August 2016
Comments Off on The Librarian Who Changed Children’s Literature Forever

From Slate:

They called her ACM, but never, ever, to her face. Her staff at the celebrated Room 105 of the New York Public Library were expected to observe strict decorum at all times, but those who passed muster got to see the giants of the first age of children’s book publishing walk through the door to pay court to Anne Carroll Moore, superintendent of the Department of Work With Children for the NYPL from 1906 to 1941. Beatrix Potter considered her a close friend; she could summon William Butler Yeats to appear at her library events. Carl Sandburg described Moore as “an occurrence, a phenomenon, an apparition not often risen and seen among the marching manikins of human progress.”

The first half of the 20th century was a formative era for the relatively new enterprises of children’s libraries and children’s book publishing, and Moore was one of its undisputed doyennes, if not quite its absolute ruler. Authors, editors, and publishers sought audiences with Moore for advice and, above all, for her blessing on their latest offerings. In addition to presiding, unofficially, over children’s librarianship across the nation, Moore wrote a regular column reviewing new books for the New York Herald Tribune and, later, the Horn Book, a highly influential journal devoted to children’s literature, co-founded by one of her many protégés. Her end-of-year lists were sacred anointments of the chosen titles; she was reputed to be able to make or break a book, much as the New York Times’ theater critic was said to determine the fate of a new play. The only thing more terrible than having your book dismissed by Moore with her signature opprobrium—“Truck!”—was the rubber stamp she kept in her desk that read “Not Recommended for Purchase by Expert.”

. . . .

Until the late 19th century, libraries weren’t even considered a fitting place for children under 10, and the first children’s rooms, installed in the 1890s, were initially meant to cordon off noisy young patrons so they didn’t bother the adults. Moore pioneered the children’s room as we still know it today: a homey space with plenty of comfortable, child-size chairs, art on the walls, space for events like storytelling, which Moore almost singlehandedly made a regular feature at libraries. All children’s librarians adopted her credo of the Four Respects: respect for children, respect for children’s books, respect for one’s colleagues, and respect for the children’s librarianship as a profession. None of these was a given before Moore and her cohort came along.

Link to the rest at Slate and thanks to Matthew for the tip.

Syria’s secret library

28 July 2016

From The BBC:

When a place has been besieged for years and hunger stalks the streets, you might have thought people would have little interest in books. But enthusiasts have stocked an underground library in Syria with volumes rescued from bombed buildings – and users dodge shells and bullets to reach it.

Down a flight of steep steps, as far as it’s possible to go from the flying shrapnel, shelling and snipers’ bullets above, is a large dimly lit room. Buried beneath a bomb-damaged building, it’s home to a secret library that provides learning, hope and inspiration to many in the besieged Damascus suburb of Darayya.

“We saw that it was vital to create a new library so that we could continue our education. We put it in the basement to help stop it being destroyed by shells and bombs like so many other buildings here,” says Anas Ahmad, a former civil engineering student who was one of the founders.

. . . .

The siege of Darayya by government and pro-Assad forces began nearly four years ago. Since then Anas and other volunteers, many of them also former students whose studies were brought to a halt by the war, have collected more than 14,000 books on just about every subject imaginable.

Over the same period more than 2,000 people – many of them civilians – have been killed. But that has not stopped Anas and his friends scouring the devastated streets for more material to fill the library’s shelves.

“In many cases we get books from bomb or shell-damaged homes. The majority of these places are near the front line, so collecting them is very dangerous,” he says.

“We have to go through bombed-out buildings to hide ourselves from snipers. We have to be extremely careful because snipers sometimes follow us in their sights, anticipating the next step we’ll take.”

. . . .

The location of the library is secret because Anas and other users fear it would be targeted by Darayya’s attackers if they knew where it was.

. . . .

There is one child who visits the library every day, however, because he lives next door. For 14-year-old Amjad it is safer there than being above ground, and over time his enthusiasm for the place has earned him the role of “deputy librarian”.

. . . .

I ask him, in a besieged town that has only had access to two aid convoys in nearly four years, wouldn’t it make more sense for the library enthusiasts to spend their time looking for food rather than books?

“I believe the brain is like a muscle. And reading has definitely made mine stronger. My enlightened brain has now fed my soul too,” he replies.

“In a sense the library gave me back my life. It’s helped me to meet others more mature than me, people who I can discuss issues with and learn things from. I would say that just like the body needs food, the soul needs books.”

Link to the rest at The BBC and thanks to J.A. for the tip.

The Street Librarian

25 July 2016

Abandoned Wal-Mart now a Library

28 June 2016

From 99percentinvisible:

Big-box stores promise convenience and jobs for suburbs and small towns, but have a mixed reputation with designers and citizens. Many see big boxes as icons of unsustainable sprawl, reinforcing car culture with highway-oriented access and expansive parking lots. These boxy buildings not only take up vast amounts of land but often also require infrastructure around them to be overhauled. Later, when their super-sized occupants leave: a giant empty structure is left in their wake, which can be difficult to reuse unless a similar retailer takes its place.

. . . .

In one Texas town, a vacated Walmart has become the biggest single-story public library in the United States.

. . . .

The open floor area was strategically split into various sections, including public meeting spaces and computer labs, as well as an auditorium, bookstore and cafe. On the ceiling above, the designers left structural and mechanical elements exposed, coating them in white paint. Below, bright carpets, colorful floors and modern details distinguish various occupied zones and transitional areas. New colors and materials have transformed the entry and exterior.

. . . .

Big boxes have been turned into everything from commercial gyms, markets and offices to institutional museums, schools and churches.

Link to the rest at 99percentinvisible

Are Libraries the New Bookstores?

27 June 2016

From Writer Unboxed:

Last year I was about halfway through my book tour in Ohio when I noticed something strange: I had not yet laid eyes on a bookstore.

I was traveling with my father and my sister through northwest Ohio. My novel Thieving Forest, which prompted the tour, took place in this area in 1806, when it was known as the Great Black Swamp. Today the swamp is mostly drained except for a few state parks and forests, and what has taken its place is farmland. Miles and miles of farmland.

“Hey, have you noticed there are no bookstores anywhere?” I asked my sister.

She said, “But there are a lot of libraries.”

That was a good thing, since I was on a book tour of libraries—eight of them. Every reading I held except for one (there’s always one) was extremely well attended with an audience full of avid readers. They had interesting questions, insightful comments, and we always engaged in a lively discussion. It was every writer’s dream. And then, after each reading, my sister and I sold my books—at a discount, since there wasn’t a bookstore’s cut to consider. The readers were happy and I was happy, too.

It turns out that just because there were no bookstores didn’t mean there were no readers. They were all at the libraries.

. . . .

Authors are becoming aware of the benefits of reaching out to libraries and making their books and themselves available. For one thing, nearly every library has at least one book club, if not two or more. What author doesn’t want to promote their book to as many book clubs as possible?

But book clubs aren’t the only ways that libraries promote books. According to Holly Kabat, the Acquisitions Editor at Medina County District Library and the librarian who organized a reading for me in Cleveland, “Libraries spend a lot of money and time, including training staff and coworkers, on best marketing practices. . . We want your books to circulate as much as you do!”

. . . .

“Academic, public and school libraries are experiencing a shift in how they are perceived by their communities and society,” according to the latest State of America’s Libraries report from the American Library Association. “No longer just places for books, libraries of all types are viewed as anchors, centers for academic life and research and cherished spaces.”

Libraries are becoming what’s known as “Third Spaces”—a social area apart from home or work. Even in the most rural of areas, I was told that people drove for miles to attend libraries events. And in fact I witnessed that first-hand as I read from my novel in crowded rooms.

. . . .

Don’t wait: contact libraries as soon as your book is released.According to librarian Holly Kabat, “Libraries rely heavily on their “new” section for continual circulation, because a lot of patrons don’t look beyond displays, and a lot of members don’t have an interest in books that aren’t new releases, for whatever reason. It is very rare that I buy a book with a pub date more than a year or two past the current date.” Also, keep your request short, giving a concise summary of the book.

Ask friends to request your book from their library, especially if they live in different cities and/or different states. Libraries listen to their members, and often have automatic requests built in to their web site—you can request without leaving your couch!

Link to the rest at Writer Unboxed

In PG’s experience, libraries often have much better facilities for readings/gatherings than most bookstores do.

Timberland libraries now offer access to self-published books

21 June 2016

From The Olympian:

There are two ways to publish a book these days.

The first is through the six prominent publishing companies that are still the recommended route to maximum exposure.

The other is through independent publishing, an approach authors take when they haven’t signed with an agent or a publishing house, but still want their work to be read.

And there was no middle ground until SELF-e became the compromise.

SELF-e is a website that lets libraries distribute the work of independent authors, and offer an array of genres and content for subscribing patrons.

The Timberland Regional Library system has joined thousands of other libraries across the country in providing SELF-e offerings, said Timberland public relations specialist R.J. Burt.

“One of the barriers for writers is being recognized enough to be picked up by a large publishing house,” Burt said. “Libraries have broken down that barrier for writers, so they should certainly use it.”

. . . .

Publishing on SELF-e is not only free but effortless, said Kim Storbeck, a library collections development specialist. After authors upload a book to SELF-e, there is a vetting process that takes roughly a week.

Barring any infractions of its policies — such as plagiarism, libel, or including hate speech — the book will be placed on the “Indie WA” list. This list is featured at participating libraries in Washington.

If a book is attracting an audience, editors from Library Journal will review the work and possibly add it to the national collection. Books added to the national collection, or a SELF-e selection, will circulate through every participating library in the nation.

Olympia author Ned Hayes, 47, published his first novel on SELF-e in 2015. “Coeur d’Alene Waters” went viral and was added to the national collection.

. . . .

“In this new world of publishing, I think these options give authors more flexibility to move outside genre boundaries and seek new audiences for their writing,” Hayes said in an email to The Olympian. “I appreciate the flexibility of being able to control my own publication rights and my own promotions for this book.”

Link to the rest at The Olympian

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