Not too much to report for this week. I’ve been thinking about other things. Family has been taking up most of my time and thoughts. Over the weekend I learned my grandmother has days left… To say that I’ve been incredibly sad doesn’t quite describe my feelings. I’m headed home to see her and be with my mother today so this has been a bit rushed…
I did get a good evaluation though. Thanks boss!
On to the readings for this week:
After reading some less than positive things about the public library this is most welcome. David Morris provides a quick history of the public library in the US then follows up with a rebuke of privatization efforts and the closing of libraries to ‘save money.’ He points to some interesting studies that highlight how the money invested in public libraries provides an economic stimulus to the community. I’ll have to try and read some of those. Looks interesting.
Om Malik gives us a very thoughtful post about the past, future and limits of technology. Are people the limiting factor of technology?
If the hue and cry over Apple’s location data collection methodologies is any indication, then are we the people becoming the limiting factor in the evolution of technology and its adoption? Will the idea of what computing can do and what it will be in the future be limited by our collective ability to grok these changes? I mean, things aren’t exactly getting less complicated.
Jeff Jarvis wrote a piece about the business rules and realities of news. I’m including the post here because I think they apply to libraries as well. They could probably apply to a variety of occupations. Some of my favorites:
- Tradition is not a business model.
- Virtue is not a business model.
- You no longer control the market. You are a member of an ecosystem.
I’m beginning to like Francine Fialkoff. This post on the commonalities of librarians is thought provoking. She attended the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) conference in Philadelphia recently and believes the disparity between public and academic librarians is shrinking. One of the sessions she attended featured ‘next-gen’ librarians. They focused on a set of virtues that we could all use:
collegiality, playfulness, collaboration, flexibility, creativity, courage, and service-orientation, characteristics that must span the profession if we are to move our libraries ahead.
I also like the ‘rapid prototype model’ she mentions. It is essentially a philosophy that encourages:
incremental testing so that failure comes quickly in the process of change and at little cost.
Two things on a pollen related note:
- We learned that my oldest daughter has basic pollen and mold allergies this week.
- Pollen levels have been pretty high in the Richmond area lately.
That makes for an unhappy little girl. I guess we’ll help the good people at Claritin put their kids through college now…
- Proposal #1: We want to have a discussion with other attendees about the future of libraries, what they think about them and how we can make it better. The plan is to have a brief presentation about changes libraries have managed already, show some things other libraries are doing now to manage change then open up for discussion. Will it get selected? Don’t know. It’s worth a shot though. We are calling it “Library Crystal Ball” (cheesy…or clever?)
- Proposal #2: Technology Petting Zoo. We’re bringing the library’s gadgets and are encouraging other conference attendees to bring theirs to this session. Instead of standing in front of a room and telling them about what the gadgets will do we will encourage them to play with them and ask questions. We are calling it “Bring Your Own Gadget…or not”
We’ll find out in June if either of our proposals are accepted. I’ve never presented at a conference before so if they pick one or both it will be my rookie presentation. Should be fun though.
The links this week are all over the place. Municipal broadband, a library ‘love’ letter, more eBook frustration, a library prediction and a great discussion about a popular service.
Since we recently began offering Freegal, I found this post very interesting. As you can tell from the title, Sarah doesn’t like Freegal. Her reasons are solid and she makes a good argument. The comments are where the real action is though. Wow! That’s a fantastic discussion.
I don’t share her opinion. My experience with the people at Library Ideas has been pretty positive. I do worry about the sustainability of the service though. It’s not cheap and it is not a core service. We may not renew our service if things don’t improve financially.
Oh wow! Where to start? This is a very interesting piece. Mike Shatzkin is a pretty smart guy and he discusses the future of libraries here. It’s a thought provoking piece. Here’s a quote:
The core purpose — the founding purpose — of a library, around which other things have grown, is to deliver access to printed words. Even the smallest local library almost certainly had more content housed within it than any individual had in their home and, in most cases, far more content than would be available at any local store. It was the books in the library that initially defined the library and attracted a core of patrons to it. When all of us have access to more books on our screens than are in the library, what’s the point to the library?
But not all is lost. He finishes up with this:
…librarianship will be needed by people long after buildings full of books are not. That’s going to require an entirely new business model that hasn’t been invented yet.
First off. GO RAMS! My wife’s alma mater is in the Final Four! It would be sweet if they won it all! Even if they don’t they have energized the entire Richmond metro area. Kudos to them! It’s great exposure for a great school. Just two more wins!
Did I mention that we’ve almost got a contract signed for Boopsie? No? Well, it looks like things are moving fairly quickly (quickly being a relative term) for my library to begin working with Boopsie to provide mobile apps on all mobile platforms. I’m excited by this and hope it doesn’t get derailed somewhere. I’m keeping my fingers crossed…
On to the links for the week!
Look! only 1.5 links about eBooks. I’m getting better…
If you read nothing else on the list for this week read this. It a great interview and Tim O’Reilly has interesting answers to good questions. He’s a very smart man and has an interesting philosophy on many things. His take on DRM is very interesting:
Let’s say my goal is to sell 10,000 copies of something. And let’s say that if by putting DRM in it I sell 10,000 copies and I make my money, and if by having no DRM 100,000 copies go into circulation and I still sell 10,000 copies. Which of those is the better outcome? I think having 100,000 in circulation and selling 10,000 is way better than having just the 10,000 that are paid for and nobody else benefits.
So, read this. It’s a little long but worth it.
Eric Landes does a great job of explaining the conundrum publishers are facing with eBooks. He makes a pretty sane recommendation for the pricing of eBooks. He doesn’t discuss libraries and that’s good because I’m interested in learning more about the publisher’s point of view.
This is a great use of Amazon and the Library. Too bad she couldn’t do this within the library’s catalog.
Lane Wilkinson provides a quick framework for understanding the term ‘literacy’. I admit that I am a bit confused by all of the different ‘literacies’ and am hesitant to embrace ‘transliteracy’. Maybe I’ll come around but I like this post as a primer for all of the ‘literacies’ out there.
Kansas City will partner with Google to deliver SUPER FAST internet service. It will be interesting to see how this works, if other communities get an opportunity to try it and how the big ISPs will react.
I’m really looking forward to the weekend. It’s been a long week and I don’t feel like I accomplished much.
I’d like to thank Nate for reposting my Modest eBook Proposal post on his site. It’s gotten some pretty thoughtful comments. I appreciate that a lot. It’s good to get comments about eBooks and libraries from people not employed by libraries.
I don’t know what’s going to happen with regards to eBooks, publishers, and libraries. It’s a bit scary and not only because I’m many years away from retirement, with a mortgage, and a family to support. I think libraries are one of the only places left that can actually benefit ALL of society. But we need to change how we do business if we are going to be around for the next 100+ years. We should really question our focus and how we chose to spend our community’s money. I have no answers. Lots of questions and hope are all I can offer.
Hope you enjoy this week’s links:
Francine Fialkoff thanks Harper Collins for making librarians question the current model of digital distribution. I do too.
David Lankes give us his opinion on publishers, digital content, and libraries. I’ve been looking forward to hearing what he has to say on this issue. He doesn’t disappoint. Here’s a quick bit:
We shouldn’t be angry with publishers – we should help them see there is life in the digital frontier – that they can be more than their inventory. Just like us. And like us it doesn’t have to be for free (libraries are not free – members pay for them with tuition, taxes, budget lines and so on).
This is a very interesting article about the effects of file-sharing on the recording industry. The author highlights some studies that suggest illegal file-sharing did not have the negative effect the recording industry says it did. Other factors (ex lousy economy and reduced discretionary income) are more likely the causes of the decline in revenue for the recording industry. Definitely worth a read.
Steve Matthews discusses the difference between the library as ‘Community Center’ and ‘Center of the Community’. Big difference.
I’m sure risk management would love this idea. While we may not run with this particular type of program/service it is worth thinking about new ways to engage our community. Ideas like this, while they may not stick, are good to consider.
This week’s list wouldn’t be complete without reference to the Google Books decision. Ars Technica does a good job of summing up the implications of Judge Chin’s decision.