From the Director
Library news and happenings.
Almost every magazine or newspaper I pick up seems to have an article about e-readers, often combined with the author’s viewpoint that books are going away, print will be obsolete.
Some studies show that reading overall is on the rise, be it on e-readers or traditional books. Some believe that the ease of sharing reviews about books is contributing to the increase.
Technology is allowing the casual reader to share the joy of reading, the discovery of a new author or an overlooked author. Previously major newspapers had separate book review sections; few of those still exist. Instead readers, rather than professional book reviewers, post their reviews on Amazon, bookstore websites, Twitter, Facebook, LibraryThing and Goodreads websites, and within library catalogs. Some sites provide for a rating system, usually a number of stars.
Then the dialogue begins! Other readers chime in, some, of course in agreement, others in strong disagreement. Some readers wonder if such comments are really reviews, but others say “who cares”. I’m in the group of “who cares”. I like to know the opinion of other readers; it often helps me decide to read or not read a particular book.
Book reviews may be added online to our catalog. Click on the “add a review” icon and share your opinion with others. As more readers contribute through public libraries with the same library catalog system, the number of titles with patron comments will grow.
Come visit, get a book, share your opinion.
Write a Review
Several times recently, I’ve said or written my prediction that traditional printed books will continue to be our focus for the remainder of my library career. If that prediction is going to be true, it’s a good thing I’m nearer the end of my career than the beginning!
It seems almost every publication I read lately, has an article about e-books. Amazon has announced sales of digital books increased 207% in the first five months of the year and it sells more books for its Kindle e-reader than it does traditional hardcover volumes. Last month they sold nearly twice as many Kindle books as hardcover ones.
Barnes & Noble reports physical books, as opposed to digital ones, will be the majority of its sales for the next five years but their future is bright with the Nook, their e-reader. Publishers still depend on bookstores to display their books and promote authors and they are a destination to test new products. They see a market for both.
Other publications report that authors are now bypassing publishers and posting older works or unpublished works directly on Amazon in exchange for 70% of the sales price. Many authors are reportedly earning more from such e-book sales than from hardcover sales, consistent with Amazon’s overall sales direction.
Of course this all has implications for libraries. Some are proposing inviting authors to share their works directly with libraries in digital format with libraries paying for each transaction. Some suggest a central depository for libraries to draw on and pay per download. All agree such an approach would require a coordinated effort – no individual library could accomplish this to any significant degree on its own.
I still stand by my prediction that traditional printed books will dominate during the remainder of my library career but I certainly see the shift to digital books and their advantages. That shift to a major focus on digital with printed books as almost an aside, could well happen during the career of our younger librarians.
Although we do have e-readers and e-books to check out, traditional printed books are still our mainstay and will be for some time.
Come visit soon; check out a traditional printed book OR an e-book!
My handy desk dictionary defines “transliterate” as “to represent letter or words in the corresponding characters of another alphabet.”
I’m beginning to see this word more and more in the library literature, usually as “transliteracy” meaning “the ability to read, write, or otherwise communicate across different technological platforms.”
Libraries are increasing acknowledging that our role includes supporting transliteracy as well as the traditional literacy. We provide books for various reading levels in the traditional print format but we also provide them on e-readers and as a digital download to your computer or device. We offer computer classes for the public, we have over 100 computers for public use, and we have informational databases available in the library and remotely.
Through our staff Tech Team we examine new technologies as they gain popularity and determine if there are library applications that are logical. Technology rapidly changes and it is often hard to keep up, but it is important for us to keep pace with technological needs of our patrons. Right now we are looking at music downloads, apps for iPhones/iPads, and user friendly advancements to our online catalog.
Come visit soon. Try these services to increase your transliteracy or just find a good book for the beach!
A ‘Transliterate’ design at Bedminster Library, Bristol. UK. Collaborative artwork by Annie Lovejoy and Mac Dunlop, © 2005
Earlier this spring, I read my first complete book, actually two, on one of our Sony eReaders. I’d only read excerpts previously to try it out.
My husband and I took a driving vacation. Usually I’d take five or six books along; this time I took 30+, all on the eReader and it wasn’t full.
I admit it took me a little while to get used to it – the screen, the page turning, the side light when needed, BUT it sure was convenient.
I read Little Bee, such a compelling novel that I would have kept reading no matter what the format, and a short story collection, Where the God of Love Hangs Out.
I’m not a total convert to eReaders; I still like the traditional printed book but it’s a format that has its place and it sure was easy to take an eReader rather than a stack of books on vacation.
We have several to loan; come visit and give on a try.
Audiobooks & eBooks
I recently read that Keith Richards has confessed to a secret longing to be a librarian. Yes, THAT Keith Richards, he of the Rolling Stones, the greatest rock and roll band of all times in the opinion of many! Isn’t that an interesting visual??
He has said he has been “quietly nurturing his inner bookworm” and considered some type of training (that would be librarianship!) to manage the 1000’s of books at his various homes. He says he started to arrange his books in categories but gave up, instead opting to keep his favorites close at hand. He also loans books to friends with little hope of getting them back and leaves books by the bedside for guests in his homes.
Richards’ autobiography, Life, will be released in the fall. According to advance publicity, he will reveal how he found comfort in books before he discovered music.
I expect we’ll be ordering his book for our collection; how could we not when he writes that the public library is one of two institutions that affect one most powerfully! By the way, the other is the church, he says.
Keith Richards’ Library
The e-reader choices are expanding – the Kindle, the Sony E-Reader, the recently announced Nook, and the Apple Tablet expected later this month. With each new device, there is more news coverage in the popular press.
Amazon announced that on Christmas Day, for the first time ever, it sold more e-books than regular paper books. It sounds as if lots of folks received Kindles for Christmas.
If you, like me, did not receive an e-reader but would like to try one, visit Central Library, AV department. We have Sony E-Readers to loan. We chose that model as a better fit for library use than the others.
I still don’t think paper books will go away, at least not in my library career, but e-readers certainly have a place and it good to keep up with the latest “gadget.”
Come visit soon for an e-reader or a book….we have both!
Audiobooks & eBooks
Over thirty teens participated in our celebration of “National Gaming Day @ Your Library” on November 14. Overall, participating libraries had 31,296 players nationwide, double the number from 2008.
KPL teens played online against Ann Arbor, Detroit, and Darien, MA. We had video gamers as well as an enthusiastic group of card gamers.
The American Library Association sponsors this event to showcase that libraries are about much more than books. Video games complement our other services and expand our reach into the community. The games give kids a chance to practice reading, writing, and computing in a safe environment surrounded by their friends, library staff, books, and knowledge. What’s not to like about that?!
The comments from KPL teens and teens across the country are very positive. We like to be called “awesome”!
Enjoy some photos of our National Gaming Day and come visit soon.
ALA National Gaming Day 2009
WWMT recently ran a story on their website and on the local newscast about KPL. They were following up on the many stories in the national print and broadcast media about the surge in library business in these tough economic times.
I told the reporter what I have written on this blog and in Link, the library newsletter, that our circulation is up almost 10%, with a 25% increase in AV materials. Program attendance, registration for computer classes, computer usage, use of our meeting rooms… all up.
One patron in the WWMT news report commented that our AV shelves are sometimes empty. Some days the shelves of new AV materials are rather bare. It’s a high priority to get returned items, especially new, popular ones, back on the shelves ASAP. However, we have a strong collection of older titles too….ones you may have missed or ones worth watching or listening to again.
We’ve pleased our local TV station followed-up the national stories with the local experience. It is still another opportunity to remind viewers of our resources and that there is no charge to borrow any materials, including AV items.
Come visit soon.
KPL on WWMT
If you are reading this blog entry, you have obviously found our website, but have you really explored it yet?
We launched this website in June, 2008. Since then we’ve added many more features, further developed the original sections, and added videos of many of our events. It’s a site to browse for reading, viewing, and listening suggestions; a doorway into our catalog to search our holdings, reserve materials, and check your own account; a source of information through our topic guides; a calendar to our many events and programs at all locations for all ages.
Some website features are basic and will always be there, others are seasonal…..we currently have a link to tax forms and information. Others are constantly being expanded…..look at the local history section.
Library websites are frequently called online branches. We hope it is becoming that for you with logical, easy navigation and information you needed. We hope, however, that it is also a site you just want to browse even when you aren’t looking for anything in particular. I’d welcome your comments about our website.
Do explore our online branch soon.
Kalamazoo Public Library Website
In early January, the focus of The Diane Rehm show on NPR was the role of libraries in economic hard times, an increasingly timely discussion. Her guests were the directors of the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore and the D.C. Public Library, and the president of the American Library Association, an academic librarian.
They all described increases in visits, registrations, computer use, program attendance, and circulation at the same time their revenues are decreasing. Listeners who phoned or emailed in shared similar stories from their local library; folks are turning to their public library for services and materials they might have looked for elsewhere previously.
Our experience is similar. AV materials…DVDs, CDs, audiobooks, digital media…have experienced the highest increase. Circulation is up almost 40% at the central library; close to 30% across all KPL locations for the nonprint materials.
We purchase the films shown by the Kalamazoo Film Society and have established a Hot Picks on DVD collection with current, often just-released titles. As always, there is no charge to borrow an AV item, including new titles. You just need a library card. Those not on the shelf when you visit can be reserved. Just ask any staff member.
And come visit soon to browse our AV items….at any location or on our website.