Thursday, January 31, 2013

NF Book Display February 2013


So with the end of the month its time for me to change displays.  I swapped everything out a day or so early due to a second display I also have to set up for February.

February has a couple of obvious themes that come to mind, but I wanted to play and avoid the standard relationship idea so instead settled on "Battle of the Sexes."  What made this display particularly awesome in my mind is that a few weeks ago someone donated the board game Battle of the Sexes to the Friends of the Westfield Athenaeum book sale.

The final selection is a mix of books on women and men.  The result is a collection of themes spanning manhood, womanhood, communication/biological/thought differences, and achievements/notable people.  Some of it is a bit tongue in cheek, some is a bit more serious, but the display is definitely getting attention with patrons flipping through the books on display.

The books:
Brain Sex : the real difference between men and women / Anne Moir
Sex on the Brain : the biological differences between men and women / Deborah Blum
Why men never remember and women never forget / Marianne J. Legato
The consuming instinct : what juicy burgers, Ferraris, pornography, and gift giving reveal about human nature / Gad Saad
How to cook like a man : memoir of cookbook obsession / Daniel Duane
Self made man : one woman's journey into manhood and back again / Norah Vincent
You just don't understand : women and men in conversations / Deborah Tannen
What men really think : about women, love, sex, themselves / [compiled by] Mark Baker
The queen of the ring : sex, muscles, diamonds, and the making of an American legend / Jeff Leen
The soul of a butterfly : reflections on life's journey / Muhammad Ali
Guyland : the perilous world where boys become men / Michael Kimmel
What women want - what men want / John Marshall Townsend
Why is the penis shaped like that? : and other reflections on being human / Jesse Bering
Tesla : man out of time / Margaret Cheney
Madame Curie : a biography / Eve Curie
Breasts : a natural and unnatural history / Florence Williams
Vagina : a new biography / Naomi Wolf
The end of men : and the rise of women / Hanna Rosin
Adam's navel : a natural and cultural history of the human form / Michael Sims

Some interesting problems arose in putting this selection together.  First off the scope of the collection had to be limited and balanced.  As earlier stated, I really didn't want relationship books, but it took a bit of digging and keyword massage to pull out a selection not centered on "the 'man-woman' thing" (thank you, Coupling).  I deliberately excluded children from the subject of gender difference and development, that subject on its own could be a whole display.  I also did not seek out books on transgender and intersex, as those are specifically being shunted to a different display.

The next hiccup is then trying to provide a good balance.  We've got books on feminism and women's movements all over the place, but there's not a whole lot on men's culture as its own unique subject (and I don't consider this a sufficient fulling of the void).  I also distinctly did not want books of the more extreme feminist slant decrying all men as scum.  The Battle of the Sexes I had in mind was a bit more playful than that.

I has an additional struggle with balance once I started pulling books for the display.  See, when I put together the title list based on catalog searches (or books that passed through my hands that I thought would be a good idea), I didn't look at publication date.  Some of those books on display are not what you'd call current.  I had a bit of a panic about making sure I had enough newer material until I rummaged through our New section for the last titles to round out the collection.  I did run the titles by a co-worker, who felt that while some of the titles are older, they are still decent books so that was a good reassurance.

The last difficulty was trying to figure out if something was appropriate or not.  As I mentioned in an earlier post, I am aware that what I do is in the public eye and that this can have repercussions.  I know that my humor, when allowed free reign, can be rather off color.  I also know that just because a word is used in its proper context with no obscenity intended, does not mean that people will not be offended by the word.  Having Breasts, Vagina, and Why is the penis shaped like that? in the display counted as one of those things that amuses me but that I wasn't quite sure would fly.  Fortunately my co-workers have a sense of humor and similarly thought the idea was amusing and worth the risk of possible offense.

I'm interested in seeing what selections of the display are picked up over the month.  So far patrons have only picked up books to flip through before replacing.  I have some ideas of replacements, we have a book in the new section on the Suffrage movement, as well as some interesting biographies.  Additional books that will fit in the display will also likely pop up over the month and be integrated.

EDIT [2/5/2013]: In some serendiptious timing, I came across this article today:Study debunks notion that men and women are psychologically distinct

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

This is why we can't have nice things

Libraries are totally into lending resources.  Lets face it, accessibility to resources is pretty core to the mission of libraries.  These days libraries are the only regular internet access a significant percentage of the population has while there is an ongoing transferal to internet as the primary access point.  We know that while most of our user base will treat our resources, while not exactly with care or respect, with the knowledge we offer resources so that many people can access them (overdue fines and billing add incentive for returning items if patrons want to continue borrowing from us).

The problem comes that not everyone cares.  Sometimes a blocked card is worth it for whatever reason, and this really puts a cramp in the fun.  And in this case I'm not talking about accidently dropping it in the bathtub, or letting your toddler with the peanut butter and jelly sandwich near a book, or even something that falls under the couch and is lost for years.  That happens, we get it, and generally the people this happens to try to make good by replacing an item or addressing the fines.  Sometimes patrons argue about it (and sadly "my cousin used my card" does not excuse you from the responsibility of the items, which is why we are so obnoxious in insisting that you use your own card and won't look up your card number without ID), sometimes there was a legitimate error on our end and we clear up their record, stuff happens.  Here's a secret: really we just want the item back, if you've been billed for an item and still have it, returning the item may literally "fit the bill (disclaimer: I am in no way talking about every library or about that item that you found under your bed from 10 years ago).  What I'm more particularly annoyed about is when people deliberately steal from the library.

Interestingly the reasons people steal don't always stem from a desire for the item.  Certain titles and subjects have an uncanny tendency to go missing from the shelves.  At my library books dealing with child abuse (such as A Child Called It), any book dealing with teen sexuality/pregnancy/drug use, and witchcraft come most immediately to mind.  I do realize the irony that books on witchcraft disappearing on us.  Whether checked out on a library card and never returned, or simply stolen in a more traditional manner, theft is often exercised by individuals as a form of censorship.  After all, if it is not on the shelves it cannot circulate.

In this case my frustration stems from a device that likely went missing because of its value.  We circulate more than books, movies, and music.  We have video games, board games, puppets, e-readers, and most recently, two shiny new Nexus 7 tablets (in news for fun items circulating, check out the musical instruments available at the Forbes Library).  Well, on its second circulation, one of the tablets has already gone AWOL.  For the most part, we are not overwhelmingly surprised (as for why we are circulating two items of noticeable value as well as demand when we expect issues with theft it really boils down to it was out of our hands).  We are however, rather annoyed.
In this case since it is a single item out of a small highly visible collection, the first step in retrieval is phone calls requesting the item back.  Once an item is overdue past a certain point the system automatically moves it to "Lost" and issues a bill to the patron.  After which there is only so much we can do.  We have in the past resorted to court for significant overdue items, but that was before my time so I'm not sure what ultimately we will be doing.  Resorting to legal enforcement of library items is always sort of a fuzzy area, because while we do own the items we are a lending institution, so libraries aren't always taken seriously when we do look for police or court support in reacquiring our items.

In an ideal world we'll get the tablet back... but since we're not in an ideal world we have to hope that we'll still get it back regardless.

EDIT (1/31/13): If we don't get it back we will be going to small claims court.  The patron does still have time to return the tablet, but hanging up on us when we call doesn't give us much hope.

EDIT (6/27/13): We worked out a payment plan with the patron, money didn't come through, and it was taken to the police.

Friday, January 25, 2013

[Book Review] Ender's World : Fresh Perspectives on the SF Classic Ender's Game

Ender's World : Perspectives on the SF Classic Ender's Game /
"Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game is a classic of science fiction. Though it began its life as a short story, it was later expanded into a Hugo and Nebula award-winning novel, served as a springboard for a much larger universe of stories, and finally, in November 2013, will become a feature film.

Ender’s World conscripts almost two dozen writers of science fiction, fantasy, and young adult books to offer new perspectives on the 1985 novel, along with insights gleaned from other Ender stories that fit within the Ender’s Game chronology, including Ender in Exile and Ender’s Shadow. In addition, military strategists Colonel Tom Ruby and Captain John Schmitt offer insight into the human-Formic war. Contributions from Aaron Johnson, the coauthor of the Formic Wars prequel novels, and Jake Black, the coauthor of The Authorized Ender Companion, are also included.

The collection’s insightful analyses and moving personal essays are rounded out with short pieces answering more technically oriented questions about the Ender universe, including: Why is the Battle Room a cube? and Why did the military recruit their soldiers as children?

Edited by Orson Scott Card himself, who also provides an introduction to the anthology as well as to the individual essays, Ender’s World is aimed both at readers who have kept up with the many books that came after and at those who have not, but who loved and want to revisit the original novel."

This is a great read for anyone who's ever loved Ender's Game, for anyone who wonders why Ender's Game is often considered "such a big dead", and for anyone who needs proof that science-fiction can be more than just fluff entertainment. Fascinating range of insights and discussions are covered in the essays, plus questions answered by Orson Scott Card.

Personally, while I greatly enjoyed Ender's Game, it never was one of those Sci-Fi novels that made me go "WOW."  Maybe it was the age I was when I read it (though the authors of the essays first read Ender's Game at many different ages), maybe it was the access to some truly phenomenal novels I had read before discovering Ender.  Out of the series the first is my favorite, with my interest waning as the books digressed into pure philosophical discussions with snippets of story on either side.  Ender's World did pique my interest in re-reading Ender's Game, and maybe I'll read it with a more analytical mind this time.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Lance Armstrong, Reactions, and Visibility

I'm sure everyone has seen this image:
All things aside, I love that there is a "Manly" library.
I know its been sent to me a few times, with various comments including those assuming that the reclassification was a serious thing that libraries were or should be doing.  I've also had a few snarky remarks to those (I mean, we keep Glenn Beck and Ann Coulter in Non-Fiction...).

I do not like knee-jerk policy and action, regardless of it is subject classification, stereotyping, or even law making.  That being said, I found this to be rather crass and judgmental.  I don't particularly care for jumping on the 'hate wagon' and I can remember some studies on this physiology (in particular concerning oxygenation and blood flow) that were quite interesting even with the revelation that he's used drugs.  I don't think everything the man has done is automatically false and evil, the LIVESTRONG foundation has done good and I hope that this does not interfere with its ability to do further good.  Beyond that statement I'd like to send people over to my friend's blog who talked about supporting LIVESTRONG regardless of the Armstrong scandel.

To be honest, the books will likely face a quieter fate than a reassignment to Fiction.  The biographies are likely to be weeded out sooner than they would be otherwise, or simply not replaced when they go missing or are damaged.  Books on exercise regime may stay longer because they are not necessarily invalidated by the admissions of doping.  The reality of libraries is we have finite shelf space, so as books age into displacement by discoveries they are removed from the collection to be replaced with more up-to-date information.  Books about Lance are going to change in tone, I guarantee that there will soon be a new biography available on the man focusing on everything that has just come out and overlaying on the stories that are already known.

As it turns out the whole thing with that picture in the first place was a joke.  I can understand the thinking behind a joke like that, because to be honest, as much as I found the sign to be crass and judgmental, my sense of humor can be quite a bit off color.

What this whole thing for me really illustrates though is how sometimes the fear of something being taken wrong or being overly visible isn't always wrong.  I am guilty of an over indulgence of "the spot light effect," but this sign in itself is rather harmless.  The result is an employee is now under review.  Working in the public involves an interesting balance of self-expression and concealment.  You want to be an engaging personality that patrons enjoy interacting with.  Your expression and personality comes out in projects, such as displays and programming.  At  the same time, you are under the public eye, and you need to respect that accidents and missteps can be magnified.

One of the reasons I'm grateful for opportunities to do things like design displays at work is it allows me to explore the bounds of acceptable expression.  I have co-workers whom I can bounce ideas off of if I'm not sure if they go to far, and get the feedback as I grow an idea before I put my foot in it.  Additionally every community is different, so I'm also exploring the tastes of my current community in their reception to displays.  Overall it is interesting to explore the bounds of self-expression and to develop judgement through physical projections.

EDIT (1/24/13):
Lawsuit filed against Armstrong by readers claiming books as fraud
Armstrong on coming clean

Friday, January 18, 2013

Give out awesome books! #WBN13

TLDR: OMG GIVE OUT AWESOME BOOKS FOR FREE!

Actual Post:
World Book Night  is one of those projects/events that I absolutely adore (if you are already familiar with it and me, this should not come as a surprise).

There are several ideas behind World Book Night, the most basic to me is sharing the love of reading, the ability to share the love of a favorite book by gifting to those around you.  This is great for a few reasons, because while I do lend out books I adore, I'm kind of obsessive over keeping my books in good shape and while they're lent I can't read them.  I once (knowingly) lent out a copy of American Gods that had to be shipped back to me from across the country.  A good book is worth sharing, even if it means borrowing a library copy while yours is out traveling the states.

But there is more to World Book Night than gratuitious book love.

The heart is not simply sharing the love of reading, but rather raising literacy by making fantastic and interesting books accessible and engaging.  The chosen titles each year serve to wet a whole range of tastes; titles can be fiction, non-fiction, classics, best sellers, adult, young adult, or other.  This is the second year that World Book Night has happened in the US, (though it has had success for several years in Europe), and both of the years I have been blown away by the book selections, including the presence of some of my own favorite titles.

Being someone who reads voraciously for pleasure and has mostly had easy access to books I enjoy reading (there's an interesting story about me involving Sunday School and being tested for a learning disability in relation to why that statement deserves a "mostly"), I admittedly have trouble with the concept of not enjoying reading.  Enjoyment of reading I believe definitely helped the development of my literacy levels as I grew up (and in turn my high reading level meant that even when I didn't particularly enjoy school assigned books I could at least read the assignments quickly and move on to a book I did want to read).  My mom is likely largely responsible for indoctrinating me into the world of bibliovores, she always had a book on her, had a fantastic collection of books, and never told me I couldn't read a book because of whatever reason.  So I had an advantage.

Literacy is not just about enjoyment of reading, but about access.  I was able to enjoy reading because I had fantastic access to explore and discover not only that I liked reading, but to discover drastically different worlds of literature.  When it comes down to it, that is a big part of what World Book Night is trying to address.  The intent is for givers to share books with light and non-readers, and each year the response by receivers of books has been overwhelming.

The cut off date to apply to be a Giver is January 25th.  Go, check out the list of books, and sign up to give books whether it is to co-workers, patients in a waiting room, prison inmates, strangers on the street, or whomever you wish to reach out to.

For those wanting to participate or are just curious, World Book Night can be found on Twitter:

@wbnamerica
#WBN13 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

[Book Review] The Good Girls Revolt: How the Women of Newsweek Sued their Bosses and Changed the Workplace

The Good Girls Revolt: How the Women of Newsweek Sued their Bosses and Changed the Workplace / Lynn Povich (Powell's Books)
"On March 16, 1970, Newsweek magazine hit newsstands with a cover story on the fledgling feminist movement entitled "Women in Revolt." That same day, 46 Newsweek women, Lynn Povich among them, announced they'd filed an EEOC complaint charging their employer with "systematic discrimination" against them in hiring and promotion.

In "The Good Girls Revolt," Povich evocatively tells the story of this dramatic turning point through the lives of several participants, showing how personal experiences and cultural shifts led a group of well-mannered, largely apolitical women, raised in the 1940s and 1950s, to stand up for their rights--and what happened after they did. For many, filing the suit was a radicalizing act that empowered them to "find themselves" and stake a claim. Others lost their way in a landscape of opportunities, pressures, discouragements, and hostilities they weren't prepared to navigate.

With warmth, humor, and perspective, the book also explores why changes in the law did not change everything for today's young women."
After the work put in, the legal battles fought, and rights won, we tend to take for granted the opportunities that now exist and wonder if we still need feminism. This book is not only a well written narrative of how one group of women fought to over turn the norm, it is consistently anchored with facts and comparisons, and highlights the continued need who aren't afraid to question the status quo and will challenge for what needs to be done.

While the Good Girls Revolt is far from an in-depth treatise on the history of feminism, it is a recount of a pivotal effort and reminds the reader that feminism is not about hatred of men and bra burning, but about a legitimate fight for recognition and equality.  Povich writes with frankness and humor that makes this book an engaging read that I highly recommend.

Friday, January 11, 2013

NF Book Display January 2013


Wanting to do more with our non-fiction collection, I started to put together small themed displays a few months ago.  With the new year started and the displays receiving positive support I wanted to make a record for at least myself of the displays, their themes, and perhaps see if they grow/mature stylistically.  This makes the 4th library display I've ever been responsible for, and I am having quite a bit of fun.  It also adds a neat facet to collection development as I find areas that need more coverage, areas that happen to need something more current (the cover of our copy of Gates: How Microsoft's Mogul Reinvented an Industry -- and Made Himself the Richest Man in America is fantastically dated), and sometimes odd duplications (Steve Jobs may be a popular title, but we do not need three copies of it).

I went with Computers (and related tech) for the month of January as my job gets quite busy and at times interesting with a surge in tutoring and tech support I provide due to many patrons get new devices for Christmas or in post-holiday sales.  I wanted to do more than just instructional manuals, and to try to appeal to different areas of computer interest.  I admit there are some glaring holes obvious to techies, I don't have a biography of Linus Torvalds, or Grace Hopper, or Alan Turing (though I do have Turing's Cathedral : The Origins of the Digital Universe ordered), and our books on using Windows 8 are roaming the wilds of Inter-Library Loan.

So, without further ado, the core of this month's display:

The Road Ahead / Bill Gates
Gates: How Microsoft's Mogul Reinvented an Industry -- and Made Himself the Richest Man in America / Stephen Manes and Paul Andrews
Impatient Optimist : Bill Gates in His Own Words / Bill Gates
Windows 7 for Dummies / Andy Rathbone
Office 2010 : The Missing Manual / Nancy Conner and Matthew MacDonald
Using Windows 7 / J. Peter Bruzzese
Tubes : A Journey to the Center of the Internet / Andrew Blum
Networked / Lee Rainie and Barry Wellman
Digital Assassination : Protecting Your Reputation, Brand, or Business Against Online Attacks / Richard Torrenzano and Mark Davis
Where Wizards Stay Up Late : The Origins of the Internet : Katie Hafner and Matthew Lyon
This Machine Kills Secrets : How WikiLeakers, Cypherpunks, and Hactivists Aim to Free the World's Information / Andy Greenberg 
Blogs, Wikis, Facebook, and More : Everything You Want to Know About Using Today's Internet but are Afraid to Ask / Terry Burrows
Nook Book : An Unofficial Guide, Third Edition / Patrick Kanouse
My Kindle Fire / Jim Cheshire
Adobe Photoshop CS5 for Photographers : The Ultimate Workshop / Martin Evening and Jeff Schewe
Mac OS X Lion for Dummies / Bob LeVitus
iPad 2 : The Missing Manual / J. D. Biersdorfer 
iCon Steve Jobs : The Greatest Second Act in the History of Business / Jeffrey S. Young and William L. Simon
Steve Jobs /



Thursday, January 10, 2013

Book Love: Indispensable to all, even the shallow

"Okay, for anyone who's still not convinced that books--paper books, as sold in brick-and-mortar bookstores--are not absolutely indispensable to even the most shallow among us, here's my go-to argument, my deal closer, as it were. Listen up, horny people, and hipsters: Anyone who ever said they got laid reading an e-book is lying. It is physically impossible to look cool in the coffee line holding a tablet. You just can't do it! But if you've got a thin volume of Baudelaire poems, say, or a Murakami novel, look out! That Rolodex you bought at Goodwill is gonna fill up in a hurry, bro! You know why? Because books are social currency, always have been. Books will always be cool. Even if most people don't read them. As long as they buy them, the rest of us will be okay."
--Jonathan Evison, author of The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving, in an essay called "The Argument for Books: 'Heavy, Smelly, Cumbersome, Perfect Bound Books' " on NorthwestBookLovers.org, the first in a series of posts by winners of the 2013 Pacific Northwest Book Awards.

Monday, January 7, 2013

[Book Review] Hedy's Folly : The Life and Breakthrough Inventions of Hedy Lamarr, the Most Beautiful Woman in the World

Hedy's Folly : The Life and Breakthrough Inventions of Hedy Lamarr, the Most Beautiful Woman in the World  / Richard Rhodes (Powell's Books):
Pulitzer Prize-winning author Richard Rhodes delivers a remarkable story of science history: how a ravishing film star and an avant-garde composer invented spread-spectrum radio, the technology that made wireless phones, GPS systems, and many other devices possible.

Beginning at a Hollywood dinner table, Hedy's Folly tells a wild story of innovation that culminates in U.S. patent number 2,292,387 for a "secret communication system." Along the way Rhodes weaves together Hollywood’s golden era, the history of Vienna, 1920s Paris, weapons design, music, a tutorial on patent law and a brief treatise on transmission technology. Narrated with the rigor and charisma we've come to expect of Rhodes, it is a remarkable narrative adventure about spread-spectrum radio's genesis and unlikely amateur inventors collaborating to change the world.

I was greatly disappointed by this book. It presents itself as the story of Hedy Lamarr as more than just beauty, but instead meanders all over history of those years in a poorly connected narrative. At least half of the book is devoted to George Antheil and his self-promotional life, including an afterword addressing his music and his family after his death. The rest of the book largely looks at Hedy as a woman who flitted through life, with out much exposition her her achievements and intelligence until the end of the afterword.

This is barely a book about Hedy Lamarr's work as an inventor, and only slightly more so about her "Folly," her "extravagant and consequential invention," on which the premise of this book is supposedly built. The book does have some very interesting information, but the narrative is dry and poorly held together, which is odd considering the apparent interest and enthusiasm for the related history that the author displays.


I will not deny that I felt some measure of relief after reading other reviews to see that my feelings towards the narrative were not unique.  Hedy's Folly definitely touches on some interesting history, but when a book comes with such recommendations as "narrated with the rigor and charisma we've come to expect of Rhodes, it is a remarkable narrative adventure about spread-spectrum radio's genesis and unlikely amateur inventors collaborating to change the world," I do not expect a dull book that is confused about which story it is telling.

The continued life of the printed word

In response to being interviewed for this article,  I wrote in my last blog post:
All of the complications concerning library ebooks aside, and there are many, booms in technology are bringing new opportunities to libraries.  The internet has not killed libraries, but it did drastically change aspect of our services.  Ebooks are changing libraries, and the needs that we meet are changing as well.  Flexibility in meeting is necessary to sustain demand and viability of libraries, but ebooks aren't the end of the road for books, and books are not the only service libraries provide.
I then found several articles today about how bound paper books might just not be as doomed as everyone's been saying.  In particular tying both my interview and these new articles together, is a Pew Study displaying an increase in ebook reading and a decrease in printed book reading.  What's really interesting about this study is that it doesn't really show the death of printed books, in both cases the changes are rather slight which means a significantly smaller increase in ebook reading than previously projected.  I feel it more demonstrates an increased consumption of books in any form supported by more opportunistic access.

Numerous independent booksellers reported this past holiday season as their "best season ever" for sales.  Interestingly the flip side of that is that the book sales for general retailers and for ebooks was not quite as lucrative as expected.  Ebook sales growth has been slowing down from its dramatic climb to that of a more casual stroll for some time.  Looking at the Pew study the drop in print is less than the growth in ebook.

In particular, I enjoyed this quote from Nicholas Carr in the Wall Street Journal:

"E-books, in other words, may turn out to be just another format—an even lighter-weight, more disposable paperback. That would fit with the discovery that once people start buying digital books, they don't necessarily stop buying printed ones. In fact, according to Pew, nearly 90% of e-book readers continue to read physical volumes. The two forms seem to serve different purposes.

Having survived 500 years of technological upheaval, Gutenberg's invention may withstand the digital onslaught as well. There's something about a crisply printed, tightly bound book that we don't seem eager to let go of."
He also has some quite interesting speculations as to the whys of the slowed growth of ebooks and the continued popularity of print found in his blog, at the end of an post that was rewritten for the article above.  One point in particular that he makes is that some types of books may be better suited to the format than others, and I feel it is worth remembering that the biggest area of consumption for ebooks are romance and erotic novels, the digital equivalent to paperback originals, that are generally low priced and quick reads.  Personally, while I'm happy Pynchon's work is now available as ebook, I do not think I could handle reading Gravity's Rainbow on my nook!


I think ongoing factors will also include DRM restrictions, quality of ebook titles available, ease of discovery, and availability of ebooks to libraries.  The ability to transfer books to the device of choice and not segregated by purchasing store is slightly less of an issue when a reader is committed to a single brand of reader, but with the changing market and the growth of tablets, smart phones, and even desktop reading, the forced arbitrary division of collection will be a source of irritation.  It isn't hard to change the compatibility of the files, but that requires a comfort with computers that most of the ebook consumers don't have.  The quality of the books available is partially tied to ease of discovery, as floods of poorly written and/or edited ebooks impede the discovery of quality titles.  Additionally if most of the books easily found are of questionable quality, it becomes quickly discouraging to make impulse buys.  It is also a distinctly different experience to browse a physical book shelf than it is to browse an online book shelf, which affects ease of discovery.  Lastly, libraries are pretty big boosters in the discovery process for consumers, with "over 50 percent of all library users go on to buy books by an author they were first introduced to at the library."

So, I guess in light of encouraging reading no matter the format, and with the addition of a liquor license to this bookstore's operations, I will end with a message from "The Most Interesting Man in the World"
[Edit 1/8/13]
Additional Reading:
The wrong goodbye of Barnes and Noble
On the difficulties Barnes & Noble is currently facing, and some predictions of doom for the company.  However, also of direct relation to what I wrote above, is on the importance of venues of discovery:
"It gets less subtle than that. Surveys say “showrooming” — seeing a thing before buying it — is an integral part of buying books online. One survey I wrote about a year ago posited that 40% of the people who buy books online looked at them in a bookstore first.
...

Got that? The closing of bookstores selling print books may also be hurting the sale of ebooks."

Friday, January 4, 2013

Acting as a reputable source on ebooks


Last week I was interviewed for an article on e-books for the Springfield Republican.  Ultimately only a very small fraction of what we discussed made it into the article, but it was still fun and always exciting to make it into the paper (and in a story on the front page).
At the Westfield Athenaeum, the city’s public library, technology services librarian Tegan Mannino said the boom in technology has translated into “getting new patrons and serving long-term patrons in a new way.”

On the other hand, while circulation at her library has “skyrocketed” in the past year, “e-book lending is comparatively a small fraction of what we circulated,” Mannino said.

The full article can be found here.
All of the complications concerning library ebooks aside, and there are many, booms in technology are bringing new opportunities to libraries.  The internet has not killed libraries, but it did drastically change aspect of our services.  Ebooks are changing libraries, and the needs that we meet are changing as well.  Flexibility in meeting is necessary to sustain demand and viability of libraries, but ebooks aren't the end of the road for books, and books are not the only service libraries provide.