We’ve got a lot of parenting to do…

I just read this article about social media, porn and teenage girls in Vanity Fair and my wife and I have a lot of work ahead of us.

What’s the plan? Not sure but I think any plan will involve lots and lots of honest conversations with the kids. My current strategy involves being around for them as much as possible now and answering any of their questions honestly. It’s a start…I guess. I’m not a psychologist or parenting expert. I’m just a guy trying to do his best to raise his kids.

It’s staggering how much we’ve learned.

Earlier this month I was asked to put together a timeline of the technology my library has introduced since 1995. We want to get a clearer picture of all the things library staff have had to learn, absorb and incorporate in their daily work lives. I’ve been able to put a basic timeline together that shows a lot of library initiated technology. Things like introducing public access computers, teaching computer classes, introducing an online public access catalog and much, much more.

I’m running into a problem though…

I’m not sure how to show all of the things library staff has had to learn because of the introduction of public access computers.

The different versions of Windows and Microsoft Office would be a lot by themselves. Add to that the changes the internet has introduced and it’s staggering how much library staff has had to absorb. Changes in search engines (remember AltaVista?), and email to the social web (blogs, Facebook, Twitter etc.) have progressed very quickly and library staff has had to keep up in order to answer the most basic questions (How do I sign up? etc). These are all changes we didn’t institute. They are changes that came from outside the library. The items listed on the timeline are all initiatives launched by the library.

So, what’s a good way to reflect the knowledge library staff has gained and shared by the introduction of public access computers in 1995?

Would OverDrive ever offer an eBook Subscription Service?

Nuvem de Livros is a subscription based eBook service in Brazil. It has over 1 million subscribers. According to this post a big part of its subscribers are students who pay a about $1 per month (regular subscription fee is $3). What does this service offer?

The students can read novels, biographies, short story collections, or essays, and they can also look up terms in encyclopedias and dictionaries or study interactive maps. The Nuvem de Livros catalog also includes audiobooks, educational videos, and author interviews. The apps are equipped with features that allows users to search through books to find specific terms, bookmark pages, and learn.

The collection size is currently 10,000 titles and can be accessed via the web or iOS and Android apps.

While this type of service hasn’t made it to the American market yet I think it’s only a matter of time. Similar services exist (or will launch soon) in other countries. Amazon has their Kindle Owners’ Lending Library as part of their Amazon Prime service. It’s kind of like a subscription service but it’s only available to Kindle owners.

I wonder what would happen if OverDrive decided to offer a direct-to-consumer subscription service? They’ve got agreements with most of the big publishers and many small publishers and a pretty a good delivery system. With their new OverDrive One service (rolled out yesterday with version 3.0 of their app) they are getting people to create OverDrive specific accounts. What’s to keep them from launching a subscription service? A service like this could be an additional revenue stream. It may undercut their library market but how much money could they make in a direct-to-consumer service?

Just a thought. 

Winter 2013 eBook Instruction Tour

During the first nine weeks of 2013 I conducted 18 eBook instruction events at nine library locations in the county. Nine of them were eBook Clinics, 2 hour workshops that cover the basics of using the library’s eBook collections. The other nine were eBook Consultations, one-on-one appointments with people.

A total of 154 people attended these events. The attendance was down from last year’s post holiday eBook tour. I think that’s a good thing. I think it shows that people are:

  • Getting the hang of using our eBook collections.
    • Or know someone who has already gotten the hang of it that can help them.
  • Purchasing tablets/smartphones instead of eInk eReaders.
    • The OverDrive app (available on all major mobile operating systems including Kindle Fires and Nook HDs) makes using our eBook collections much easier.
  • Getting their questions answered when they visit their library.
    • Library staff is more knowledgeable and comfortable with our eBook collections and how they work.
      • Maybe the staff training in December and eBook page revisions helped?

The audiences for the eBook clinics were overwhelmingly 50+ with most people 60+. This is just like last year.

I have scheduled a new round of eBook Consultations for April and May. I enjoy the consultations. I like being able to help people individually. It gives them the chance to ask ‘silly’ questions they may not ask in a room full of people and they get answers specific to them and their device.

I tried to take pictures of the attendees at the eBook clinics this year. I got pictures of 6 of the 9 clinics.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I’d be scared if I saw a bear

The youngest’s preschool class has been talking about emotions this week. It is Valentines week so it makes sense.

Today her teacher sent home a list of the class’ emotions during the week. I guess she asked each one how he or she was feeling and wrote them down. Some of the children mention what makes them happy (my sister, Valentines day, school etc.) others, what makes them mad or sad.

My daughter’s response:

I would feel scared if I saw a bear!

That’s my girl! I would too.

I wish I knew what the exact question was. I’ll have to ask her about it tomorrow.

Leap Motion – a replacement for keyboards and mice?

Read this post on GigaOm then watch this video.

If you don’t want to read the entire post at least read the paragraph below. Then watch the video.

The company, which was founded in 2010 has built a peripheral device that you plug into a computer or laptop that can enable a gesture-based user interface that incorporates all directions — not just a flat perspective. Some have described it as a Kinect for computers. The device has a 150-degree field of view and can accurately track the movements of all 10 fingers down to the 1/100th of a millimeter, which is apparently pretty darn impressive according to reviewers.

How cool is that!

Not sure if it is something the library could use soon but it is a very interesting bit of technology to keep an eye on.