26 May 2011

mommy, what is a library...part deux

hello, dear readers

let's go back, way back, waaaaay back, no, back further, all the way back to...november, 2009. well, it seems like a lifetime ago, anyway.

i wrote a really short post entitled, mommy, what's a library? it was a couple of paragraphs with a couple of links about the future of libraries. one was about libraries with or without books, and the other one was about planned construction in scandinavia of an "urban mediaspace." this 'mediaspace' was to be created by SHL Architects who “believe that library design is about more than just books. Libraries revolve around people and should provide flexible spaces for social interaction as well as studying. “Urban Mediaspace” further establishes the practice as leaders of this democratic, social kind of library design.”

fast forward to 2011. don't get dizzy. i'm conversing with a student about a project he has to do - he has to profile someone. no, not like the FBI. so i recommended some people, our library director, associate director, head of access services, research assistance librarian. but as we were conversing i had (in honor of oprah) an AHA! moment. i realized what i love about libraries (and museums which are kinda like libraries except with stuff instead of books).

i LOVE libraries because they are open...to anyone. no one asks you to identify yourself. you don't have to "belong." you just have to be. the library beckons you with its treasures, calling you, welcoming you. it WANTS you to come in. it wants you to take a piece of it and make it a piece of you. it doesn't question. it doesn't judge. it doesn't take offense if you don't like what it offered up. it's patient. it knows you will find what you're looking for...or at least get you on your way.

i LOVE reading on my amazon kindle. i LOVE reading with my grandson on an iPad. i have always LOVED technology. but when i think about why i love those things, it always takes me back to who loved me first. books, courtesy of my friendly neighborhood library.

so, the answer to the question "what's a library?" it's whatever you want it to be...and it's ready and willing to be that.

16 May 2011

buy our e-books...just don't try to lend them or lend them too much

greetings, fellow readers,

so i'm fresh from my presentation at the libris conference 2011 held in beautiful orangeburg, south carolina. my presentation basically talks about what libraries should consider before implementing a lending policy for e-reading devices (or tablets). part of my presentation is on the concept of content vs. product. that when purchasing e-books, you are purchasing a license to view content, not the electronic version of a book.

also in my presentation i discuss amazon and it's tendency to take back e-books from purchasers if there's a cloud on the copyright assignment. i also talk about the fact that several companies have cropped up for e-book consumers to lend their e-book to others.

i say all that to say this...watch out, publishers are on the warpath! they're crazy fired up with the prospect of lost revenue. they see dollars flying out of windows, through doors and out of e-readers and tablets. i mean if every individual doesn't buy their own copy of an e-book, wherever shall we go, whatever shall we do. we can't wait to think about it tomorrow, even though tomorrow is another day. oh, fiddle dee dee (apologies to margaret mitchell)

let me tell you what i'm talking about. when amazon decided to allow (with publisher permission) ebooks to be loaned (shared) between devices, several companies cropped up to assist consumers with lending e-books: lendle, eBookFling, and BookLending to name a few. these are websites where consumers register and list the books they are willing to lend, and others who want to borrow said books can do that. usually it's a 14-day loan and then the loan expires.

in the meantime, harper collins (the publisher that owns overdrive, the company that allows libraries to lend e-books) decided that unlimited lending of e-books was, oh, how do you say, wrong. so they instituted (or is trying to institute) a 26-loan limit per e-book title. once the title has been loaned 26 times, the library will have to purchase a new license for the next 26 loans.

now comes word that macmillan has decided that maybe they don't want some of their e-books to be loaned. so they are changing their status from lendable to not lendable. the issue? they are changing the lendability of titles AFTER the point of sale!! so you may have purchased a kindle e-book from amazon that was published by macmillan. and it may have said lending: enabled. and you thought, neato! i can lend this to my sister-in-law when i'm done. now, it's a few weeks later and you go to look at lending your book and sacre bleu, you can no longer lend it.

cheeky monkeys, those publishers. so what's a consumer to do? and if that's an issue for individuals, what the heck are libraries supposed to do? if you're library is loaning kindles or nooks, what is the status of those e-books at any given time? and for how long?

will e-books become fleeting phantoms? that doesn't bode well for the storytellers out there who want their readers to know and love their stories and make them as well-worn as the velveteen rabbit. who doesn't want that?

here's what some other folks have to say:

bookborrowr - are publishers opting out of ebook lending?

happy reading...no matter the format.