From the Director
Library news and happenings.
Do you consider the environmental impact when choosing a print or e-book format?
I admit, I’ve only thought very briefly about this question and it doesn’t enter into my decision to read a book in print or digital format. My decision is based primarily on availability.
I recently came across a short article on this very topic. It gave me pause. The author considered the trees used to make paper, chlorine bleach to dye the paper, use of recycled paper, amount of ink, energy needed to produce the ink, lifespan of a typical e-reader, and carbon emissions from production and use of an e-reader.
Bottom line conclusion from the author: an e-reader is the more environmentally responsible choice for those who read more than 23 books per year.
Now that you know this, will it make a difference in the format you choose?
Last week’s blog was about e-reading vs print reading. I wrote that e-book choices through libraries are limited because many publishers do not allow libraries to purchase or license digital copies to loan to cardholders. This limit has become a freedom to read concern for libraries.
E-books are here to stay; it is possible that in the future new books may be published only in digital format. When that happens, an e-reader, a credit card, and disposable income will be necessary to read a book unless all major publishers are willing to sell or license a title to public libraries.
Currently several major publishers refuse to sell or license e-books to public libraries. Others make them available at a very high price or impose heavy restrictions on their use. Consequently the selection of e-books available for loan is limited.
Librarians and library organizations are pressing publishers to change their practices. Some pilot programs are underway as publishers and libraries strive to develop mutually acceptable models.
We need the help of readers to voice their concern about preserving the freedom to read. You can support this effort by contacting state and federal elected officials. Make them aware of the e-book lending challenges and encourage them to press publishers to work with libraries.
Preserving the freedom to read is worth fighting for.
E-books for Libraries: Freedom to Read
A recently released Pew Research Center study reports 23% of Americans, ages 16 and older, have read an e-book in the past year, up from 16% the year before. Those who read a print book dropped from 72% to 67%. Overall book readers, no matter the format, remained about the same at about 75% of the population.
Not surprisingly, there has also been an increase in ownership of e-book reading devices; 25% of those 16 and older own a tablet computer, 19% an e-book reading device.
Also not surprisingly, e-book borrowing from public libraries has increased too….from 3% last year to 5% this year.
Here at KPL we have had a whooping increase in e-book circulation: 3,593 in 2010 / 11 to 17,369 in 2011/12. That’s an increase of 383%!
The titles available to download through our website have increased substantially too. We purchase copies of popular titles just for KPL cardholders in addition to those available through the Midwest Collaborative for Library Services. Nevertheless, the choices are limited because many publishers do not allow libraries to purchase digital copies to loan to cardholders.
The American Library Association is challenging publishers to include libraries in their service model. So far, most publishers are not willing to do so.
The awards and “best of” season continues in the entertainment and publishing fields. The Library of Michigan just announced the “2013 Michigan Notable Books.”
This designation began in 1991. Each year 20 books published during the previous year are featured. The books are about, or set in Michigan or the Great Lakes region, or are written by a native or resident of our state. Fiction and nonfiction titles with a wide appeal on an array of topics are selected.
In the news release announcing this year’s choices, our state librarian, Nancy Robertson, wrote that “this program successfully shines the spotlight on the number of talented writers and illustrators we have in Michigan; these books help tell Michigan’s story.”
By coincidence, I happened to be reading Detroit City Is the Place to Be, one of this year’s selections. I’ve also added several titles to my ever-growing list of books I’d like to read.
I hope your reading year is off to a good start; mine is.
Michigan Notable Books
Year end brings a time of reflection. As I look back on 2012 for the library, many events and milestones immediately come to mind.
We were honored to be awarded a Citation of Excellence for superior customer service from our state librarian at our annual conference. It affirmed our commitment to superior service with a can-do attitude in a cost effective manner.
Our 140th birthday celebration with author Susan Orlean was a highlight of the year and we were pleased it was one of the top entertainment events on MLive.
We launched First Saturday @ KPL, a monthly program for school age children last spring, hosted all KPS first-graders twice this fall, and kept kids reading over the summer through our summer reading games. Through these efforts, kids checked out 19% more books this year than the year before!
We bonded with author Luis Urrea when he visited as our Reading Together author, launched our Geek campaign in the Do-Dah Parade, graduated the first class of our Nonprofit Leadership Academy through ONEplace.
Of course we continued to provide materials for reading, viewing, and listening and assistance at a variety of public service desks at Central and branches.
It was good year at the library and we are ready to move on to 2013.
Best wishes for the new year; come visit soon.
It is the time of year when we all receive many requests for donations from a wide variety of local, regional, and national organizations.
The library does not conduct an annual fundraising campaign nor send out a solicitation request. Our only fundraiser is our annual Great Grown-Up Spelling Bee to raise funds to buy books for distribution through our Ready to Read program.
Of course donations to the library are always welcome and greatly appreciated.
A donation can be designated for a specific collection, such as large print or children’s; a location, such as your neighborhood branch; or a service such as Local History, Teens, or Ready to Read. Undesignated gifts are directed where they are needed most.
And don’t forget our good Friends; your donations of gently used books and audio visual material are always appreciated.
We appreciate if you think of the library when you are considering your year-end giving.
Support the Library
My Ideal Bookshelf was recently published. We have it in our collection, although it is checked out and I haven’t yet seen it. I have read about it, however.
The premise is that the books we keep, let alone read, say a lot about who we are and how we see ourselves. The author asked dozens of cultural figures – authors, filmmakers, chefs, architects – to select a small bookshelf worth of books to represent themselves.
What books would you select if you had been asked? I’m still pondering this for myself. As I look around my bookshelves at home, I see favorite novels, biographies of presidents especially Lincoln, memoirs by women, some autographed children’s books. I’m not sure these are the ones I would select to say who I am but for various reasons and at various times, those are the books I have chosen to have on my shelves.
What’s on your shelf that says who you are? If you can’t select the entire shelf, how about one title?
My Ideal Bookshelf
The library and Kalamazoo Public Schools (KPS) recently partnered to bring children’s book author and illustrator Patricia Polacco to town for a day and what a day it was!
This was not her first visit to KPL – she’s been here several times since publishing her first book, Meteor!, in 1988. We consider her a very good friend of ours as well as the children of Kalamazoo.
Patricia spoke to 4th and 5th graders at Washington Writers Academy and Milwood Elementary schools and to more than 200 children and their families at Central Library, but she is much more than a “storyteller.”
Her presentation as well as her 85 books(!) dealt with her learning disabilities, her family, heroic teachers in her life, the pain she suffered from being bullied. She revealed very personal emotional issues and kids totally related to her. As she signed books after the presentation, she listened to tens of children tell her their stories, how they relate to her story, and how meaningful her books are to them. The book signing line moved slowly but no one complained. They waited patiently for their turn.
Her books are available in the children’s area at Central Library and all branches; there is a message for children that can also be appreciated and understood by adults.
Thanks for visiting KPS and KPL, Patricia. Come again soon.
I admit I seldom borrow an audiobook, don’t rent library meeting rooms, check out a CD only occasionally, BUT I do check out tens and tens of books and many movies, and I download ebooks through OverDrive. I live in the KPL district and I get my money’s worth with my library card.
Given the purchase price for a hardcover book, the cost to use a computer at a copy center, and fees to attend a class, the library is a good value for those who even use our services a few times per year.
How much would you pay out-of-pocket for library services? Try our library value calculator. I hope the library is a good value for you.
The Michigan eLibrary, known as MeL, just celebrated its 20th birthday.
MeL was launched in 1992, just as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation was funding computers for libraries and internet became affordable through the e-rate program. MeL provided the content.
MeL’s centerpiece is a collection of databases that support homework, small business, job searches, and general informational inquiries. There are now over 1,000,000 full-text article retrievals each year.
MeLCat, the state wide catalog for interlibrary loan, includes the holdings of 415 participating libraries. Each year, there are also over 1,000,000 requests for materials to be shared statewide, by sending the item to a user’s home library or by sending the user to the home library of the item, if it cannot be loaned.
Our statewide system is considered a model of efficiency in the tech world. MeL users consider it a model of the good use of federal money to benefit library services.
Happy 20th birthday to MeL from the 140 year old KPL! It’s a month of library birthdays.
Michigan eLibrary (MeL)