Public Libraries

Libraries to try buying e-books directly

Starting this fall, the 220-member library cooperative Califa Library Group will begin rolling out a $325,000 project with the goal of buying from the smaller publishing companies thousands of e-books that the libraries will own forever. San Francisco and most other libraries lease their collection through OverDrive, a digital distribution company.

Trust me, I'm a Librarian.

A survey (conducted by Public Libraries Information Offer, hmmm) says, "Internet users trust library staff more than most other providers of online support and information, and public library staff are second only to doctors in terms of the trust placed in them by seekers of information."

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Conneaut Public Library Purchases Inflatable Movie Screen

Mark Todd writing in The Star Beacon notes that the Conneaut Public Library in extreme northeastern Ohio has purchased an inflatable movie screen for showing films. Test runs have taken place away from the library's location.

A How-to For eBooks

Residents learned how to download e-books inside the Digital Bookmobile on Wednesday at the William K. Sanford Library in Colonie (near Albany NY). The 74-foot vehicle, which will be at the East Greenbush Community Library on Thursday, is on a nationwide tour to demonstrate broadband Internet-connected PCs, premium sound systems, and a variety of portable media players, all of which help visitors explore the library ebook download service.

Elvis Has Left The Building

...the Humes High School Library in Memphis, that is... with his library book, "The Courageous Heart: A Life of Andrew Jackson For Young Readers".

The circ card with 13-year old Elvis Presley's signature is going for more than $3,500 when it goes on sale on August 14.

Taking the public library service model a step further: teaching digital literacy

The public library in Bristol, TN/VA, has teachers on staff to instruct patrons one-on-one in digital literacy. Can this be a model for re-purposing public libraries?

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Panic Buttons @ Your Library?

Cook Memorial Public Library District (IL) officials may purchase panic buttons for employees reports the Daily Herald. Library Director Stephen Kershner said he began thinking about upgrading security after the Cook Park Library in Libertyville was expanded and the Aspen Drive Library in Vernon Hills Library was built. Those projects were completed last year. Libraries are open places where hundreds of people come and go every day, Kershner said, and some visitors can be dangerous. “At my first library job, we had encounters that turned violent,” Kershner recalled. “There are safety considerations because we’re open buildings.” The buttons likely would be wireless and could be placed at high-profile spots such as the reference or circulation desks, Kershner said. They often look like garage-door openers. If a librarian were to activate one, an alarm would be sent to the district’s security company and to police, Kershner said.

Batman Kids Event Goes On at Birmingham Area Library

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama: Jeff Bogart wouldn't let a Colorado gunman who shot 70 people, 12 fatally, during a showing of "The Dark Knight Rises" in a movie theater spoil his 4-year-old son's chance for his favorite comic book character, Batman.

The father and son were among about 300 people who attended a Batman event at the Hoover Public Library celebrating this weekend's release of the latest Batman movie. The 10:30 a.m. event included library personnel dressed up as Batman, Batgirl, The Riddler and other characters from the popular comic book series.

"You still need to live life to the fullest and not let people like that crazy gunman stop you," Bogart said. "Our prayers are with those families who went through that unimaginable horror there."

Hoover Public Library director Linda Andrews said she and other library officials toyed with canceling their event, which had been planned weeks before the tragic shooting shortly after midnight Friday at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo. But in the end they felt there was no need stopping the kids from having their fun. -- Read More

What's Become of the Philadelphia Free Library's 'Know It Alls'?

From Daniel Rubin's column in The Philadelphia Inquirer: Now that everyone's an expert on fast facts, I wonder what has become of those Free Library of Philadelphia treasures known as the Know-It-Alls.

When I last visited these general-information specialists, in 1991, business was brisk. Surrounded by a wall of books and directories, they fielded 50 phone calls an hour from Philadelphians wondering how to spell Tiananmen Square, what glasnost is, how far to Fargo?

The rotating staff of 14 librarians - each with a master's in science - was in such demand that each caller was limited to three questions.

Well, all that was so last century.

Today, there's one full-fledged Know-It-All left - Lori Morse, a librarian who runs the General Information department. She's backed up now by nine less-seasoned librarian assistants.

Where the department used to field 400 calls a day, now phone requests for what Morse calls "ready research" can be counted on one hand.

"We get maybe a couple a week," she said. "We've turned more into customer service representatives - people needing to renew books, needing help downloading e-books."

"The Bookless Library" Opinion piece from The New Republic

David A. Bell, Professor of History at Princeton University and Contributing Editor to The New Republic, opens his July 12 piece, "The Bookless Library" with a comparison of the physicalities of the New York Public Library's main building and an iPhone, and concludes by pointing out that "there are now far more books available, far more quickly, on the iPhone than in the New York Public Library." He continues:

It has been clear for some time now that this development would pose one of the greatest challenges that modern libraries—from institutions like the NYPL on down—have ever encountered. Put bluntly, one of their core functions now faces the prospect of obsolescence. What role will libraries have when patrons no longer need to go to them to consult or to borrow books? This question has already spurred massive commentary and discussion. But in the past year, as large-scale controversies have developed around several libraries, it has become pressing and unavoidable. -- Read More

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