October 2007

The Future Of E-Books

Books printed on paper are portable, require no technical expertise, create nostalgic memories, and above all, are familiar to all humankind. Not surprisingly, our reliance on paper dates as far back as 3000 B.C., when the Egyptians beat strips of papyrus plants to use as writing material. But what if you could carry a book or even a stack of 100 books right in your back pocket? Imagine books with a built-in dictionary and search functionality; the ability to highlight text, underline passages, or write comments; plus graphics and animations floating across the screen. More

OSU Prior Library prohibits free printing

Bad News For Fans Of Free @Ohio State: Prior Library was a haven for students who needed heavy printing.

“That became one of our problems,” Hebrank said. “(Prior Library was), if not the only place left at Ohio State … certainly one of the very few.”
With so much printing being done in one lab, the library was forced to consider cost and trying to maintain the lab. Going through about $1,000 per week for paper, which does not include overhead labor cost, the library could no longer shoulder the upkeep of free printing.

Chilean President Michelle Bachelet Gives Poor Families Books

As reported in The Economist, the President of Chile, a medical doctor and breath of fresh air after the cruel rule of Gen. Augusto Pinochet, has instituted a project to give a box of nine books to over 400,000 impoverished families. Her choices, among others, are Kafka’s “Metamorphosis” and Salinger’s “Catcher in the Rye”.

In today’s The Lede (blog) from the New York Times…If You Had to Pick Nine Books…you are welcome to view other reader’s opinions, and offer your own choices if you so desire. What would you choose?

Digitization and its discontents

The New Yorker: It’s an old and reassuring story: bookish boy or girl enters the cool, dark library and discovers loneliness and freedom. For the past ten years or so, however, the cities of the book have been anything but quiet. The computer and the Internet have transformed reading more dramatically than any technology since the printing press, and for the past five years Google has been at work on an ambitious project, Google Book Search.

Bookmobile reminds us libraries are for books

I’ll never miss an opportunity to post a story on Book Mobiles! Here’s One From Wisconsin State Journal: Since 1967, the big green bus has been chugging around the county, making sure those who can ‘t get to a bricks and mortar library can maintain their contact with literacy.

But the bookmobile is becoming something of a dinosaur around the country. Though there are still about 900 operating — it is a big country, you know — they are slowly being displaced. The Boston Globe reports bookmobiles are going out of business all over Massachusetts and that those that remain in operation are struggling.

“You can be normal and still be a librarian.”

The Opening Paragraph from an article in the LSSU student paper cracked me up: “Everyone knows that the Kenneth Shouldice Library is an essential student resource, but how many know that the library is categorized as an essential student service, just like Campus Security and Foodservice? Even if classes are cancelled due to weather, the library stays open. The library itself employs nearly fifty students. Academic Services, which encompasses the library, the Learning Center, the Career Center, and the Audio Visual department, employs fully one-third of all student employees. The overdue book fines are put directly into a scholarship fund. The library adopts houseplants. The cookie jar in Academic Services Director Dr. Fred Michels office is never empty. “You can be normal and still be a librarian.”

Who says teens don’t read?

A Disturbing New Trend! Despite the Internet, video games and technological pastimes, teens are still reading. In fact, from 1999 to 2005, teen book sales increased 23 percent, said Albert Greco, a Fordham University marketing professor and publishing expert.

The average Barnes & Noble Booksellers, he said, has 74 shelves dedicated to young adult literature. Religion, meanwhile, averages 110 shelves.

“It’s growing and will continue to grow for the foreseeable future,” he said.

Team of experts to decide on new National Library building

The ongoing controversy over a planned new National Library building in Prague has come to something of a head; the conflicting sides have agreed that an expert team should determine whether the futuristic building should be built on the location that was originally chosen, and if so, whether the design should be modified to fit the historic environment. Within some two or three months, the ‘Team National Library’ consisting of architects, preservationists and lawyers, is expected to come up with a final proposal for the location of ‘the Blob’.

For Seattle, a Problem With Circulation

The City of Seattle is booming and the city coffers swell with an additional $35 million in the general fund.

Too bad so little of it seems to be going to the local public library.

The opinion page of the Seattle PI has a look at the long waiting times for popular materials at the Seattle Public Library. In a way, Seattle PL is a victim of their own success. Following the construction of four new branches, a total renovation of the main library, and improvements at 23 other libraries; well, circulation jumped 83%.

So perhaps, the article contends, the funding should jump a little too.