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Preview: Comments on: In Which I Solve the Ebook Library Lending Problem

Comments on: In Which I Solve the Ebook Library Lending Problem

Whatever It Is, I'm Against It

Last Build Date: Fri, 16 Mar 2018 21:44:46 +0000


By: someone else

Mon, 20 Feb 2012 23:08:03 +0000

Jean and The Librarian With No Name...thank you for the awesome posts...great summaries of difficult situations and I agree completely.

By: Jean Costello

Fri, 03 Feb 2012 17:40:22 +0000

D & Me, when I said "we can do better", I meant as a nation wrt our library systems. I'm convinced our libraries will be significantly contracted by the end of this decade, which is what fuels my "radical advocacy". the contraction will eliminate some waste and bureaucracy --- but a helluva lot of good work too. It will be one thing if, as a nation, we make this choice consciously. It will be quite another if we simply let things continue to erode to the point where town by town, academy by academy, we retire our libraries because they are no longer worth supporting. Regarding the latter scenario, I say we we can do better --- and it's what I bang the drum for. I'm trying to promote a focus on this amazing institution, which civilized societies have deemed worthy of investment for thousands of years, to re-imagine and re-orient it to work as well for us in the next 50 years has it has in the last century. IMO, that focus needs to congeal within the library community if it is to have any chance of resonating with the public. And so I do things like reach out to individuals throughout the ecosystem, hang out here, go to conferences and library schools and do whatever I can to connect with library folk. Anonymous Coward: I have been metaphorically lynched through hate mail from library folk, on the listservs (so folks tell me) and on the wide-open internet. It's been discouraging. I don't deserve to be deified for my advocacy, but I certainly don't deserve to be lynched either.

By: me

Fri, 03 Feb 2012 16:19:29 +0000

Of course we could do better in terms of wastefulness but those circulation statistics don't tell the whole story. Sometimes a library just needs to bolster an area of the collection to support its junior college and high school students. If you think public libraries are getting hit hard it is nothing compared to the cuts school libraries are taking. Every student that comes in tells me "Yeah, my teacher gave us assignment X and we need at least three book sources". "I went to the school library and all the books were checked out the first day." Teachers often don't contact the PL or SL to tell them about these assignments. These books may not drive circulation but as a service to the community we should do our best to support the curriculum of local schools. You can say the same regarding books on medical conditions, self-help, dealing with mental illness in the family, divorce, do-it-yourself, etc. That's why those numbers are misleading. There are a lot of valuable books and resources that we provide which are situational in nature but we NEED to provide them to our patrons.

By: Jean Costello

Thu, 02 Feb 2012 22:29:41 +0000

Joneser - I took a look at the sessions and wonder which you think might be appropriate. I'd also welcome any materials/insights you might want to share via email or phone. I've developed relationships with library folk around the country & Canada and have frequent dialogue to share ideas, dbl-check my knowledge and perspectives, etc. I'd love to add you to the list of people I converse with because I know you'd really keep me on my toes. Wanna try it? Drop me a line through the contact form on my website and I'll write back. Jean

By: Joneser

Thu, 02 Feb 2012 20:20:47 +0000

I don't have any "contacts", but I'm attending (much better than ALA for public librarians) and I was thinking in terms of what value it could give to your knowledge and experience.

By: Tom

Thu, 02 Feb 2012 00:31:45 +0000

When I get a fancy new phone, I'm going to try and see if the NFC sensor can read RFID tags. I don't see why they wouldn't, and if that's the case then libraries perhaps have a bit of leverage in this brave new world of e-book publishing. The last remaining bookstore in my town is going out of business, but there are still three libraries. Publishers that have been so desperate for shelf space that they've been subsidizing chain bookstores should look at libraries as the last remaining showrooms for their books. Imagine a non-circulating new books section that you could browse and with a tap of your phone purchase the ebook. After 90 days, the new books go into circulation on the regular shelves already tagged and cataloged.

By: anonymouscoward

Wed, 01 Feb 2012 22:31:50 +0000

Don't dare mention we could be doing better. Everyone will take it as a personal insult and attempt to metaphorically lynch you.

By: D

Wed, 01 Feb 2012 22:25:18 +0000

Yes, there's plenty of waste in libraries. Changes in the publishing industry and other forces will likely bring about the rethinking and reorienting you mention. That may be good for libraries. You're right - we can do better.

By: Jean Costello

Wed, 01 Feb 2012 20:20:32 +0000

Hi D - for me, these findings signal a much larger problem for public libraries than what happens with eBooks. They suggest a huge degree of wastefulness in the contemporary library enterprise. We spend lots of money on materials that never circulate or circulate minimally along with lots of overhead on staff & infrastructure to maintain such inefficient operations. Some of the non-circulating material has preservation value, though not nearly as much as libraries claim. And libraries do more than circulate materials, though collection development and material handling is the lion's share of what most do. What I have been saying openly to the library community and plenty of others are saying amongst themselves is that we can no longer afford to support this lumbering, inefficient enterprise. If people turned their attention to it, I believe it wouldn't be all that difficult to deliver the same value libraries deliver today for much less cost. Library folk call me a library hater when I say things like this, but all I'm trying to do is extend some tough love here. The current state just isn't sustainable, and I'm concerned that without rethinking and reorienting our library systems we're gonna lose 'em ... and eliminate a lot of good stuff along with lots of waste. We can do better.

By: D

Wed, 01 Feb 2012 17:45:17 +0000

A recent OCLC study ( underscores the urgency of the eBook problem for public libraries. The study suggests that the "80/20 rule," where 80% of circulation is driven by 20% of the collection, may be understated. They found that 80% of circulation is driven by only 6% of the collection. If publishers won't sell popular and new titles to libraries, the items that drive most of circulation, public libraries become much less effective at their core function: promoting the behavior of reading. Recommending that public libraries just relax and wait 6-12 months after books are published misses the point that newness is part of what makes items popular.