April 2010

Solution for libraries: digital picture frames

We’re all looking for new, shinier, and better ways to promote ourselves to our customers. Or perhaps just a way to reduce the mass of paper signage. Usually, we think BIG- giant flat screens at entrances and service points flashing the latest event information or latest new materials…

Instead of a ginormous flat screen why not try digital photo frames at your service points? Digital photo frames are CHEAP these days and will allow you to scroll through those static images promoting your program showtimes, upcoming events, new materials, reminders about dvd’s or databases, or even photos from your last exciting event! $50-$100 will buy you a good 7-10 inch frame that you can easily add images to.

Full blog entry at The Strange Librarian

A Gentle Reminder to Special-Collections Curators

Let this, then, serve as a gentle reminder to rare-book curators that your job is not to keep readers from your books but just the opposite: to facilitate readers’ use of the collections. If altruism or professional integrity aren’t sufficient motivators to get you to play nice, you might consider the fact that you have a job only because people want to read what’s in those collections, and you will keep your job for only as long as readers feel welcome to approach you to make use of the materials.

Full article

If Libraries Remove Computers, Will Anyone Come?

If iPads and other new mobile computers catch on, libraries might not need to offer rooms full of computers for students to do their research, writing, and Facebooking. But if that happens, will students have any reason left to visit the library?

That’s the provocative question posed by Brian Mathews, assistant university librarian at the University of California at Santa Barbara, on his blog this week.

The trend in the last few years was to add more computers to the library, creating spaces often called “information commons.” And during that time, visits to the library have increased greatly. “I think the key to our current success has been the computers,” Mr. Mathews says on his blog.

Article and link to blog post here

Raphael New ALA President-Elect

LJ reports: The latest American Library Association (ALA) election, a low-turnout affair, turned out Molly Raphael to be not so close at all, with public librarian Molly Raphael besting school library media specialist Sara Kelly Johns by 5,857 to 4,399 votes, according to ALA.

Of 55,330 eligible voters, 11,069 (20.01%) voted, compared to 23.41% last year.

Raphael, former director of the Multnomah County Library, Portland, OR, and the District of Columbia Public Library, will become president-elect in June 2010, and will serve a year as president in June 2011, following the ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans. Johns, a stalwart among school libraries, serves grades 6-12 at Lake Placid Middle/High School, NY.

Question for ALA members: Why does such a significant majority of members abstain from voting??

Prize Winning Photo Reflects The Joy of Reading

From The Item, BISHOPVILLE SC – For the third time in four years, the Lee County Public Library has won top honors in the State Library’s Annual Photo Contest: Day in the Life of South Carolina Libraries.

Librarian Elizabeth Snyder-Powell’s photo of Head Librarian Dawn Ellen reading to 18-month-old T. J. Brown captured the award for the best overall photo.

The library also won the Best Humorous Photo Award with Snyder-Powell’s photo of a youngster asleep in the library.

Mendeley Throws Open the Doors to Academic Data

Innovations in communications software and websites can be quite exciting. After the dust dies down, however, it’s really not clear how much more information has been made available, how much more people can communicate, how much more thinking has been enabled.

London-based Mendeley’s offering up an Open API and making a vast catalog of academic publications searchable, well, that might make the cut.

Full blog post at ReadWriteWeb

Amazon Cuts Prices in Tiff With Penguin

In the latest round of the book pricing wars, Amazon.com Inc. has begun selling a number of new hardcover books published this month by Pearson PLC’s Penguin Group (USA) for only $9.99 amid a dispute between the two companies over electronic books.

Penguin stopped providing digital editions of new titles to Amazon as of April 1 because Penguin and Amazon haven’t yet struck an agreement on a new “agency” pricing model, in which publishers set the retail prices of their e-books. Out of the five major publishers that struck an agency-pricing deal with Apple Inc., Penguin is the only one that hasn’t yet reached an agreement with Amazon.

Since Amazon can’t sell the digital editions of Penguin’s books, it is, in effect, showing its customers that Amazon is still the place to go for discount pricing. The low price also serves to put pressure on Penguin, as publishers passionately dislike the steep discounts. Many publishers say a $9.99 price tag on a new hardcover book cheapens the value in the minds of consumers.

Full article in the WSJ

Ex-librarian fears national companies keep books out of local sales

This Friday and Saturday, readers will flip through mysteries, thrillers and best-sellers, searching for the perfect story. At the Friends of the Batavia Library book sale, those bargain books add up to big bucks. Last year, the used-book sale raised $19,000 for the library.

That’s why Barbara Palmer is so frustrated with the national book collection companies she sees in town. Palmer, a board member for Friends of the Batavia Library, feels those companies divert books from local sales and misrepresent themselves.

Full article here