Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Google to allow Downloading of Public Domain Books

I read on Techcrunch today that Google is going to allow users to download books that are in the public domain which seems to go against what Google has said in the past.

Until now, Google only allowed people to read the out-of-copyright books online (and only snippets of copyrighted works). To search the database of available full titles, go to and click the “full view books” option when searching. This new move contradicts earlier statements by Google that scans of out-of-copyright books would not be made available for printing.

For those libraries who are hurting for Collection Development funds, this would be one way to offer the classics to your community with no cost.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Librarians at the Gates

This article from the Nation made me proud to be a librarian!

Courage, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. And in an era of increasing controls on the gathering and dissemination of information, many Americans are unaware of the courageous stands librarians take every day.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Bookmooch - Trade Books Online

Bookmooch is an online trading community for books. You get points for giving away books and you can recoup the points to receive books from others. I emailed them to ask how public libraries could take advantage of the site. Here is the reply:

Two ways:
1) by participating, ie getting rid of the books they no longer want in order to earn points, which they could use to get free books they'd otherwise buy
2) as a charitable cause: I have a small number of points received to the "library fund" as donations that I can give out to public libraries. This is not big yet (we've been up only two weeks) and is around 10 book points.

If you are weeding, you might want to take a look at this site as an optional way to discard your books and get something in return.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Why have an "About Us" Link on your Web Page?

“An About page should provide context and necessary facts, but should also give the reader compelling reasons to do what you want them to do.” Like the rest of your website, your About page is a robot. You load it up with information, give it directives, and send it out to represent you in the world. Although forums, blogs, and other two-way forms of online communication help bring humans back into the equation, you’re pretty much stuck with the robot model for relatively static essentials like the About page—but you do get to decide what kind of robot you want to use.

An interesting article posted on A List Apart examines how to build this section into a more robust area. And I have to admit after recently perusing several library webpages, there is some room for improvement.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Public Libraries - Are they going private?

From the Idaho Statesmen:

BoDo developer Mark Rivers began marshaling his forces Tuesday in a bid to sell Boise Mayor Dave Bieter and Capital City Development Corp. on his $130 million Library Blocks neighborhood development.

At a breakfast with Downtown business leaders, Rivers asked for their support in building the "political momentum" needed to overcome civic leaders' caution and propel his vision for a new Downtown urban neighborhood consisting of homes, stores and offices, plus a new $42 million public library. Construction of the library would be privately financed.

The building would be sold to CCDC, the city's urban renewal agency, which would then lease it to the city for almost $2 million a year. Government watchdog Dave Frazier has labeled the plan unconstitutional and compared it to "a man that buys City Hall, then offers to lease it back to the city."

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Do You Charge Tourists to Use Your Computers?

Six bucks and hour
Six bucks and hour,
originally uploaded by travelinlibrarian.
This picture has caused a lot of conversation in the biblioblogsphere this afternoon. I cannot imagine a public library being this unfriendly to outsiders, but apparently it happens. What about you? Do you charge to use your computers if the person is not a resident?

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Handheld Devices in the Library

This article made me contemplate how libraries can take advantage of the fact that the younger generations who like to use cell phones, Ipods, Portable PlayStations, etc to communicate with each other through text messaging and instant messaging. The article details a new handheld device from Sony called "Mylo" which stands for My life online. The device comes with built-in IM services from Google, Yahoo and Skype.

The mylo is meant to operate on Wi-Fi wireless networks, which are increasingly available on college campuses, in busy public spaces and in homes with wireless broadband connections.

Since more and more public libraries are establishing Wi-Fi networks(those busy public spaces mentioned above), it seems like a logical next step would be to market to the younger generations about their ability to use these Wi-Fi networks for their text messaging and IMing. In my mind, it would be a great way to get this generation to come to library.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006 Getting User Reviews for your Library is an online social networking site where users can write reviews on local businesses and government services. I learned about it on the Librarian in Black Blog.

Here is what they write about themselves.

Yelp is...
...the ultimate city guide that taps into the community's voice and reveals honest and current insights on local businesses and services on everything from
martinis to mechanics.

As advised on the Librarian in Black blog, I did a search using the term library with the zip code 76109 and received several possibilities, including one for North Texas Regional Library System. No one had written reviews for any of the NTRLS libraries. What a great, easy way to collect feedback on your library. The service is at no cost and if your patrons start to write reviews, you might receive some helpful feedback on how to improve your library.

Now all we need is someone to create a online social networksing site exclusively for library reviews. What a boon of data that would be!