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Showing posts from May, 2013

the Last One Standing

[This article appeared in the January/February (volume 51, No. 1) issues of Public Libraries. Since then the link to the article has disappeared. So as copyright owner, I am putting it up on my blog.]

The Last One Standing
By James LaRue, Director
Douglas County Libraries
For Public Libraries, January/February 2012
Volume 51, No. 1
pp. 28-32

Back in 2008, I was interviewed by a reporter. With a sly and knowing air, he asked me if libraries were going to survive the Internet. On Feb. 27, 2009, after 150 years of operation, his newspaper, the Rocky Mountain News, printed its final edition.
Now when reporters ask me that question I answer, "You bet we'll survive. Will you?"
Trends in publishing
Two key trends have emerged which will drive the future not only of publishing, but of public librarianship. They are:
The rise of e-books. By the end of 2010, Amazon reported that it had sold 115 e-books for each 100 paperbacks, and 3 e-books for each hardback. On October 19, 2011 auth…

Smashwords study

Mark Coker does a great analysis of the emerging economics of self-publishing, and what that means both for would-be authors, and legacy publishers. Recommended.

DCL publishes first ebook

Oral history interview with Attilio F. Caporiccio by Caporiccio, Attilio F., 1916-2007 The key points: This is an outgrowth of our ten year partnership with the Library of Congress’s Veteran’s History Project. Mr. Caporiccio, who gave us his oral history of his WWII experiences, was a resident of Douglas County. Adam Spiers, one of our staff members, converted the transcript and some digitized photographs to the epub format. It is “published” on our website under the Creative Commons license. It is a short work: 42 pages long. You don’t need a library card to check it out. Just search for either the name “Caporiccio” or “Veterans History Project” then scroll down to find the cover. (Or just click on the first paragraph of this post.) Click on that, then scroll down to Access eContent. It begins to download. If you have an epub reader, now you’ve got it, and can read it. Why is this significant? This is an example of library as publisher, taking local content and making it fr…

New Jersey esummit

On May 2, I spoke (with others) at New Jersey's esummit . I jotted down several thoughts I wanted to record.First, I'm always surprised by the natural beauty of the state. When I left Denver, it was snowing (between days of over 70). New Jersey was blooming, green and growing. It truly is the garden state.Second, I really enjoyed meeting Eli Neiburger, who gave a rollicking and provocative first talk.But I think he was entirely too dismissive of the library's role in the collection, discovery, curation, and preservation of content. Overwhelmingly, the public looks to us for our cooperative purchasing power. They look to us to gather, organize and present.At DCL, we check out over 8 million items a year in a community of 300,000 people.We get 2 million plus visits to our website. The key use? Our catalog.We get another 2 million visits to our 7 facilities. The key reason for their visits? To check stuff out.After that, things drop significantly in levels of use. People come…

Back in the saddle again

We're back from picking up Max from Lewis and Clark, a liberal arts college just south of Portland, OR. A cool place. It's a wonderfully walkable city. (I'll try to patch in a few pictures as I think of it.) Max has decided that although he liked it there, and did very well, he'll pursue the next phase of his education in Colorado. We packed him up in a couple of hours, and everything he had fit into the back of a rented Tahoe. After a three day trip back, we UNloaded last night in about fifteen minutes. It reminds me of my hitchhiking days. Everything I owned weighted 14 pounds -- the last time in my life I knew where everything was. I still have a couple of days off, although I had lunch with my astute board chair today, and will head to a couple of state library functions late this afternoon. Here's a truth about the administrative life: you're never really off. You have one life, not several. And it's a good life. It's been interesting, and a litt…

Urban Libraries Council on ebooks

This is quite well done - ULC's Briefing Paper on ebooks. I don't know who first wrote this sentence: "Public libraries are democracy's best kept promise." But that's the best sentence about libraries I've seen in a long time.