The Growing Importance of Ebooks in U.S. Library Collections

Some preliminary findings from a large survey of ebooks in US libraries is avialable at the
Libray Journal website

Most respondents agreed that ebook circulation will be on the rise over the next year. Large majorities of public (84%), academic (77%), and school libraries (65%) believed it would increase, while only 1% in each category believed ebook circulation would decrease.

“The traditional function of a library, of being a place where people can come to get information, to learn, to relax, to kind of lose themselves in books, is going to continue,” says Tonjes, of the D.C. Public Library. “It’s just not going to be constrained by physical boundaries.”

– from this good article by Associated Press on the NPR website on libraries adapting to technology.

Love poetry wanted by someone (with a wistful eye)

Weeding your collections, or got any spare books, maybe consider giving them to prisoners.

They would like:

  • English dictionaries and thesauruses
  • Textbooks
  • How to start a small business.
  • Law books
  • Health
  • Trades (i.e. woodworking, automotive, etc.)
  • Mysteries and thrillers
  • Westerns
  • Love poetry
  • Art books

Australian prison libraries are rarely meeting the ALIA minimum standard guidelines.

For more information on how to assist with improving collections see the National Prison Book Program website or contact your local prison library.


If you have e-books, do you also have Calibre – the ebook management tool?

It’s not very stylish looking but it is effective. It manages your ebooks, converts files so that they can be read on any device, feeds you news content to view on your reader and is open source.

See the demos here.

calibre task bar image

Banned Books Week

Banned books week
Starting now in the US is banned book week. This is primarily to campaign against censorship in libraries, as in the US individual library boards or local authorities are prone to demand the removal of books which they don’t think suitable.

Libraries in Australia are not prone to such challenges, and as librarians are not directly employed by local politicians they can easily resist attempts at coercion.
However there is still censorship in Australian libraries, as elsewhere, we just don’t talk about it, as it is normally done by librarians themselves without any prompting by anyone else.

If anyone knows of any work which an Australian library has been forced or asked to withdraw in the last year, I would be interested to know more.

Media140 Oz Politics

Missed the Media140 Oz Politics conference on social media, then see the twitter stream at: #media140

Or listen to some of the highlights on ABC Canberra 666 here.

And see the photos on Flickr here.

And see Clare Wardle’s excellent presentation on the last UK election here.

And see First Dog on the Moon’s cartoons which he live streamed during the day here. Including the below which is not completely proportionate.

Copyright - First Dog on the Moon

I won’t give my opinions on every aspect of the whole day, it was too long for that and this is not the forum.
But I think the twitter stream gave a fair interpretation. There was an awful lot of navel gazing by old media journalists on their role and the role of twitter. Although the moderators tried to get the speakers off the subject of twitter and onto other social media it was often in vain.

The speakers who did engage with the wider subject were very worthwhile, US Ambasador Jeffrey Bleich and Clare Wardle from the BBC both gave a real insight into how social media worked in recent elections overseas (US and UK).

Possum Comitatus and Jodee Rich were also very impressive, Rich in particular was insightful about the role of listening in social media. Both also said that the political use of social media in the last election was woeful. Jo Scard has now made the news by one point she made.

While Stephen Collins and Craig Thornler (gov 2.0 specialists) in the last discussion tried to raise how social media is being used in the government space and to look beyond twitter.

All in all a worthwhile day and some lessons:

  • Old media is not really prepared to engage in social media
  • Social media allows people to talk to people without the mediation of the media (which is why the old media don’t like it)
  • Successful social media in elections is that produced by people outside of the parties
  • Political parties are too risk adverse to engage fully in social media
  • Social media can galvanise large numbers of people for an election but afterwards how do you keep them engaged so they do not become disillusioned (see what has happened to Obama)
  • Half of the Australian population is on facebook, businesses know how to engage with them, political parties and organisations do not

Goodbye Jan

jan fullerton

Photo Credit - National Library of Australia

It seems a long time since 1999, but looking at a newspaper clipping from the time (below) we might say plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. I am sure the next DG will face the same challenges, let us hope they will surmount them with as much success.

Responding to the possibilities and problems presented by technology would characterise the future, newly appointed director-general of the National Library of Australia Jan Fullerton said yesterday.
Ms Fullerton, who sees her custodianship as a continuation of the work done by former director-general Warren Horton, said technology would directly influence the library’s priorities, because material could now be accessed instead of bought, distribution of material was changing because digitising made it possible to see items that previously could have been accessed only in the library, and it altered how the National Library underpinned the Australian library system.

– National Library Moving With The Times, The Canberra Times, 17 August 1999

2020 Vision

The British Library has just released its Vision 2020 at:
For a good precis read the Press release.

The key themes are:

1 Guarantee access for future generations.
2 Enable access to everyone who wants to do research.
3 Support research communities in key areas for social and economic benefit.
4 Enrich the cultural life of the nation.
5 Lead and collaborate in growing the world’s knowledge base.

The Vision statement also looks at how technology and access are changing the landscape and environment for libraries.

We estimate that by 2020, 75% of all titles worldwide
will be published in digital form only, or in both digital
and print. Our ambition is to preserve digital content
for the long term in order to safeguard our intellectual
heritage so that it can be used by future generations
of researchers. In the digital world, an explosion of
user-generated content, the creation of more research
data and ubiquity of online search tools provide new

It may be that 25% of publishing is still in print by 2020 but not many of these works will be being written or published where western National Libraries have legal deposit or much collecting interest. Niche publishing will still take place, but it won’t be 25%. Traditional book (whether print or online) publishing is now and will continue to be a tiny fraction of the amount of cultural content being produced in all media. By 2020 very much less than 1% of content production will be in a non digital form. This really is the game changer for libraries, it is good that the British Library is going some way to realise this.

Btw the National Library’s newspaper digitisation gets a mention too here.


I’m loving the NYPL digitised collection available here

In New York (public Library)

♪where dreams are made of
There’s nothin’ you can’t see
Now you’re in New York (public Library)
These digitised photographs will make you feel brand new
The Library will inspire you
Let’s hear it for New York, New York ♪

#followalibrary day

folow a library twitter
Coming soon, on October 1st it’s going to be #followalibrary day on Twitter.

How does it work?
Participating is very simple: tweet on October 1st what your favorite twittering library or libraries) is (or are). Use in your tweet the hashtag (or keyword) #followalibrary.

See the blog for all details