ebooks, Google, Libraries, Music, Social Media, Technology

Post Holiday Library Technology Help

Like most librarians in a public library, I am expecting a sizable number of patrons visiting the library after the holidays in search of technology help.  For the last few years, I’ve watched this phenomenon grow a spattering of random technology questions to something that libraries need to plan in advance for.  Luckily, we’re already doing that.  I point to these two awesome examples:


Over the next few days, the Princeton Public Library in Princeton, NJ is having a number of programs focused on helping patrons with their new devices.  The program mentioned above, Help Desk for Holiday Gadgets, is just one of many offerings that the library has to help out their community.  You can click here to see the full list of programs being offered by the Princeton Public Library that focus on post holiday technology help.


The Maine State Library tweeted about their Getting Started with eBooks page and it caught my eye.  If your library can’t have programs like the Princeton Public Library, offering an online walk through will no doubt help out your community.  You can view the full Getting Started with eBooks page here.



The Darien Library in Darien, CT does a great job at throughly collecting technology help resources for you at their eBooks page.  They offer both print and video resources to help you navigate your new devices.  Double bonus points goes to them for offering this digital only catalog: http://digital.darienlibrary.org

And finally, why not give YouTube a try?  There are many public libraries out there utilizing YouTube to share video walk troughs for their community to view.  I really liked this well put together video by the Hennepin County Library.  It is well made and very clear and easy to follow.

In closing, I pose this question: Should public libraries begin to look to next year when there will most likely be even more of a need for technology help?  Should we look to establishing year round technology help departments in our library?

ebooks, Libraries, Music, Technology

Digital Resources

I don’t post  a lot about digital resources in libraries anymore because 1) I really don’t care for debating the pro/cons of every digital resource 2) I’d rather focus on doing something cool for the community than talking about stuff all the time 3) I just really don’t have the time.

However over this past weekend I signed up for a 48 hour trial of Spotify Premium and felt compelled to write something.  I downloaded their app onto my iPhone to take advantage of the new Spotify Radio, which is free for all Spotify users to use .  With that, I also got 48 free hours to listen to all of the music in the Spotify catalog.  I can only use one word to sum up how I felt about this: awesome.

I came to a few conclusions about digital resources this weekend:

  1. I’ll be signing up for a Spotify Premium account soon.  Who doesn’t want access to as much music as they can digest at all times?  I’ve also got Netflix at home and while I don’t have access to everything that I want at the click of a button, I’m more than happy with their selection.
  2. Libraries have very little place in the world of streaming content.  I can’t imagine any scenario where any kind of library product (Freegal, Overdrive, Alexander Street Press) would be better than something like Spotify, Netflix, Amazon Prime, and even YouTube.
  3. Having access to Spotify for 48 hours reaffirmed  just how important these excellent words from Mick Jacobson are when it comes to libraries moving forward.

I dig the fact that I can share music with the click of a button.

The snag in my argument: all of these services cost the individual money (plus some kind of internet/data connection) and some people may not be able to afford these services (like all of the teens that I serve).  The only comeback I have to this: in the grand scheme of things, these services are relatively cheap (Spotify is $9.99/month, Netflix streaming is $7.99/month) for the amount of quality things you get.

Conclusion: I just can’t see any reason why I would want to invest any of my library budget in any kind of digital resource at this time when there’s so much better stuff out there that isn’t tailored towards libraries.  I’d rather pay $18/month for Spotify and Netflix and move the library towards a place where cool stuff can happen.

Books, ebooks, Libraries

Ebooks, again

Every blog post should have a good image. I don't have a good image for ebooks, so this sloth will have to do. They're really neat animals. Carol Schaffer took this picture, and you can find the original picture here: http://goo.gl/eQX0A

Now that Penguin has pulled out of lending ebooks to libraries, that leaves 2 of the 5 big publishers left in the library lending ebook game.

I don’t know about you, but the whole situation depresses me.  It’s not because there are less and less ebooks and not many way other ways to get ebooks into libraries, but because it feels like every time something happens in regards to ebooks and libraries, the same thing happens over and over again.  People involved with libraries recommend that you:

  • Cancel your subscription to Overdrive
  • Quit buying physical books from these publishers
  • Write the publishers and voice your concern
  • Talk to your patrons about what the publishers are doing
  • BoycottTweet/Blog/+1/Facebook a lot about it

And I’m not saying that any of these things are wrong.  I’m a firm believer in people doing whatever they feel is best for them to do at that moment in time.  But it all just feels like we’ve had these discussions before and it’s led to…the same thing happening.

I don’t have a clear answer of what libraries should be doing, but what I keep coming back to is this: The ebook wars have given us an excellent opportunity to forever change the idea of what a library means.  Long before ebooks came along, we were doing so much more for our patrons (reference, the library as a space, programming) but we were still known as the “place where all of the books are”.  Now that we can’t have ebooks, we can work towards getting rid of that stereotype.  We can change our image to include everything we do: we provide space, we make stuff, we inspire people, and we lend out a lot of neat things.

To me, this is a beautiful way forward.