Thursday, December 06, 2012

Library eReaders for Homebound Patrons

See the No Shelf Required blog for a podcast interview about the Dayton Metro Library's program for homebound patrons using Sony eReaders.  They began the program when they noticed that certain materials the patrons had requested were not available in large print, but were available from the library as ebooks where the font could be enlarged on the device.   It makes so much sense to make eReaders available to these patrons!

Listen to the podcast to hear details.

Two years ago NTLP had a program funded by a TSLAC special project grant to help libraries implement or expand services to homebound patrons.  eReaders would be a great addition to any of those programs!  For libraries that don't subscribe to a downloadable ebook provider, they could still offer to assist homebound patrons with ereaders using ebooks from free sources.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

The Lingering eBook Mess of 2012

Brian Kenney has an excellent article in Publishers Weekly about eBooks and eReaders in libraries. -

It covers a whole gamut of topics, from library book price-fixing in 1966, to the frustration of librarians helping patrons with eReaders so they can move their reading lives to a market that excludes libraries, to the library's inability to offer newly released bestsellers in digital format. 

Here's to more chaos in 2013!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Aytz Chaim Foundation Offers Free Books to Public Libraries

Thanks to CTLS Deputy Director Laurie Mahaffey, we were introduced to Mr. "Tank" Rubinett of Aytz Chaim Foundation and that nonprofit's offer to send a compendium of books about the Holocaust to Texas public libraries. The organization will pay for the books and ship them, postage paid.

Mr. Rubinett is passionately trying to get into as many public libraries as possible a compendium of books that each cover the Holocaust from a different perspective. The compendium currently includes eight titles, but it eventually should include the third book of the trilogy, which is just hitting the press, plus one additional book he hopes to add soon. 

The organization doesn't keep a really large inventory in stock - in part because they raise funds to purchase the inventory and sometimes need time to raise those funds first. NTLP staff has made arrangements with Mr. Rubinett so that your public library may submit your order through NTLP, and NTLP will forward orders to Mr. Rubinett as we collect them. 

If you would like to order any quantity of any or all of the titles, visit and place your order as soon as you have time to do so. The Foundation will need to determine how much funding they will need and make plans to raise those funds in order to purchase and ship the items you request.

If, upon receiving the gift book/s, you would like to insert a gift or memorial book plate in these books or otherwise list them as contributions to the collection, the donor is Aytz Chaim Foundation, a 501(c)(3) entity of Congregation Agudas Achim of Austin, TX.

These are the titles included in the currently eight-book compendium.
  • Buchenwald Trilogy, Volume IThe beasts of Buchenwald : Karl & Ilse Koch, human-skin lampshades, and the war-crimes trial of the century / Flint Whitlock. First edition. Brule, Wisconsin : Cable Publishing, 2011, ©2011. How was it possible that Karl and Ilse Koch, a seemingly ordinary couple who ran Naz Germany's most infamous concentration camp, could have been loving parents while brutalizing prisoners and committing some of the worst atrocities known to mankind? This searing account exposes the whole ghastly story. Flint Whitlock is a Pulitzer-nominated author and military historian and has been called “One of America's leading military historians” by World War II magazine. 
  • Buchenwald Trilogy, Volume IISurvivor of Buchenwald : my personal odyssey through hell / Louis Gros, Flint Whitlock. 1st Ed. Brule, WI : Cable Pub., 2012. “I was only seventeen years old when the knock on our door came late one night. The French police barged in, arresting me and my father as members of the French Resistance. After months of incarceration in French prisons, two thousand inmates were jammed into twenty rail cars. Our destination was Buchenwald, the most horrific camp in Nazi Germany, where we were viewed by our SS keepers as expendable sub-humans and forced to work as slave laborers. I was beaten and starved. I witnessed brutal tortures and senseless murders. But I survived.”
  • The four-front war : from the Holocaust to the Promised Land / by William R. Perl. New York : Crown Publishers, c1979. from a Kirkus Review: “William Perl, an American psychologist born in Prague, organized and led Irgun attempts to smuggle Jews out of Nazi Germany and Central Europe from 1937 through the first years of World War II. [He] seeks to publicize Irgun actions, via its youth movement Betar, in saving thousands of lives--despite overwhelming opposition--before the implementation of the Final Solution and before the Jewish leadership thought it propitious to act.”
  • Gated grief : the daughter of a GI concentration camp liberator discovers a legacy of trauma / Leila Levinson. Brule, WI : Cable Pub., 2011. After the death of her father, a WWII Army doctor, Leila Levinson discovers shocking photos he had taken of a Nazi slave-labor camp.  When she learns that he suffered a breakdown after treating the camp's survivors, she seeks out and interviews dozens of WWII veterans who also liberated Nazi concentration camps, all of them unprepared for the unimaginable horrors they found. In this groundbreaking portrait of trauma’s legacy, Gated Grief reveals how the unspoken memories still imprisoning WWII veterans have affected their loved ones as well.
  • History on trial : my day in court with a Holocaust denier / Deborah E. Lipstadt. 1st Harper Perennial ed. New York : Harper Perennial, 2006. This chronicle of the author's five-year legal battle with writer David Irving, a prolific supporter of Holocaust denial, describes how the author and a team of experts defended against Irving's libel suit while exposing his distortions of history.
  • The Holocaust conspiracy : an international policy of genocide  / by William R. Perl. New York : Shapolsky Publishers, c1989. By combining existing research with previously unknown findings, Dr Perl draws the inescapable conclusion that it was not apathetic inaction of the worlds powers that made the Holocaust and the Final Solution so tragically ineffective. [The book] sheds shocking new light on the plots and discreet actions of world powers to effectively support the Nazi genocide programs.
  • Holocaust survivor : Mike Jacobs' triumph over tragedy : a memoir / Mike Jacobs ; edited by Ginger Jacobs. 1st ed. Austin,TX : Eakin Press, 2001. It was Rosh Hashanah 1939 when the Nazis invaded Konin, Poland and marched into Mendel Jakubowicz’s (now Mike Jacobs) synagogue. On that day, everything that Mendel had known, loved and considered precious had disappeared. Just a teenager at the time, Mike credits hope, belief and positive thinking for keeping him alive through those five and a half years. MikeJacobs lives in Dallas and is available for speaking engagements. 
  • Tomorrow will be better : surviving Nazi Germany / Walter Meyer ; with the editorial assistance of Matt Valentine. Columbia : University of Missouri Press, c1999. How does a young German who has been a member of the Hitler Youth and has competed in Nazi-organized athletic competitions become, over the span of two years, an 80-lb, tuberculosis-stricken concentration camp escapee? In this memoir, Walter Meyer leads readers from one harrowing moment to the next as he recounts his experiences during and after Hitler's reign. His experience as a non-Jewish survivor of the Nazi concentration camps provides an enlightening and varied perspective to the Holocaust dialogue.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Call for Nominees to NTLP's Board of Directors

Due to resignations and the current Board's decision to increase the number of Board members to a total of 11,SIX of the 11 positions will need to be filled for FY 2013.

Since NTLP no longer serves as home of NTRLS, its Board members no longer must be affiliated with any library (although we would hope that they're strong library supporters), and our Board members no longer must come from any particular geographic region.

Do you know of anyone who would be a good addition to the NTLP Board? If so, please send to that person a link to this blog post.

Those wishing to volunteer to serve on our Board are asked to submit via email to NTLP no later than Monday September 10 the following:
  • Their name, as they want to be known by our library Partners
  • A Statement of Purpose (Why they support NTLP enough to volunteer for its Board)
  • A resume OR short summary of experiences / expertise
  • A photo
In addition, all potential NTLP Board members are invited to register for and join us at NTLP's Annual Membership Meeting in Denton (details below), although participation at that meeting is not required for those wishing to serve on NTLP's Board.

Here's information about the meeting; a FAQ for potential board members follows.

NTLP Annual Membership Meeting
Wednesday, September 19, 2012, 10:00 AM - 12:30 PM
breakfast provided
Everyone is welcome to attend.  Representatives from partner libraries
are especially encouraged to attend,  but others are also welcome.
Center for Visual Arts
400 East Hickory Street
(Located at the corner of Bell and Hickory)
Denton, TX, 76201

Frequently Asked Questions regarding serving on the NTLP Board of Directors

How often does the group meet?
The group meets at least quarterly but may meet more often provided that the meeting announcement is sent to each Board member at least 14 calendar days (10 calendar days for special meetings) in advance. Additionally some Board members meet with Board-appointed committees, and those committees usually meet quarterly at this time.

What is the length of a Board member's term?
According to NTLP's Bylaws, all Board members shall serve three-year terms. A Board member may be re-elected for one consecutive term and qualifies for re-election after sitting out one term.
HOWEVER, because NTLP's Board is evolving with the membership-driven nonprofit at this time, some of the people elected to the Board in FY 2013 will serve only one year, others two years and others 3 years, and those terms will be decided by a straw vote.

What are the powers and duties of the Board?
According to NTLP's bylaws, the Board of Directors shall have all the powers necessary to operate the Corporation, including but not limited to the power to:
(a) Sue and be sued in its own name;
(b) Contract;
(c) Employ an Executive Director to serve at the Board’s pleasure, who shall appoint all other
(d) Authorize a compensation plan for employees;
(e) Receive money, property and services from a Partner’s governing body, or any government,
private individual, foundation, business or other sources of funds;
(f) Expend the money and use the property and services to carry out the purposes of the
(g) Rent, lease, lease with an option to purchase, or purchase property for the use of the
(h) Adopt and amend policies for the administration of the Corporation and to authorize
(i) Approve the Annual Plan of Service, including any amendments, and any Long Range Plans
formulated with input from the Partners;
(j) Appoint standing and special committees;
(k) Hold special Corporation meetings as the need arises, notice having been given to Partners at
least ten (10) calendar days in advance of the meeting;
(l) Hire a certified public accountant to provide accounting and financial advice to the staff and to
the Board and to perform an independent annual audit;
(m) Employ a general counsel to serve at the Board’s pleasure;
(n) Approve all grant applications;
(o) Solicit funds from private and governmental sources;
(p) Approve new Partners; and
(q) Hold such other duties and powers as are usually vested in the Board of Directors of a non-profit organization.

Is NTLP's Board of Directors covered by liability insurance?

What if I have other questions?
Contact NTLP.

Issues Facing Libraries that Want to Circulate eReader Devices

A few times in recent months librarians have asked me for advice about circulating ereader devices pre-loaded with content.  

I often refer librarians to the successful Nook lending program  at the Burleson, Texas  Public Library, and to Buffy Hamilton’s blog, The Unquiet Librarian, which has excellent accounts of a Kindle lending program that had to be discontinued and the Nook lending program that replaced it. also has useful information about the issues involved in Kindle lending, and PC Sweeney’s Blog has arguments for and against checking out ereaders along with a description of the Nook lending program at the Sacramento Public Library.

When an individual consumer is deciding which device to buy for reading ebooks, it often boils down to an individual preference for Apple, Amazon or Barnes & Noble.  When a library is choosing a device to circulate, the issues tend to center around the vendor’s licensing terms and how hard it is for the library staff to manage a large number of devices.  Can you manage multiple devices with one account at the vendor?  Can you load one ebook onto multiple devices at once?  Can you remove the library’s credit card number from the device before loaning it to patrons? From this standpoint, many institutions have settled on the Nook Simple Touch as the most suitable device.

But it turns out that the Nook Simple Touch is inaccessible to persons with low or no vision, since it does not have a text-to-speech capability.  The National Federation for the Blind has brought ADA violation complaints against the Nook lending programs at the Free Library of Philadelphia in May 2012 and now the Sacramento Public Library.

Libraries are trying hard to meet patron expectations with regard to ebooks.  Faced with rapidly changing technology, limited availability, awkward implementations, device and format compatibility issues, and high prices for downloadable ebooks, some of them have navigated the maze of licensing rules and vendor account management procedures to offer a circulating ereader collection as a creative solution.  The accessibility issue and the corresponding threat of lawsuits presents yet another obstacle that may force many libraries into abandoning this method of offering ebooks to their patrons.  

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Bill Whiteside Resigns from NTLP Board of Directors

At its meeting last week, the NTLP Board of Directors accepted accepted with regret but understanding - and with appreciation of his many years of service - Bill Whiteside's resignation.

Mr. Whiteside began serving our group in the early 80s, when it was still the North Texas Library System. He witnessed the development of the nonprofit North Texas Regional Library System, Inc., and the evolution of that nonprofit as it became North Texas Library Partners and then simply NTLP

NTLP staff joins the Board in recognizing his valuable contributions to our organization and adds our grateful thanks to his wife Betty, who was Vice Chair of the transition committee in 1984-85 and have served our organization in various other capacities. Even in "retirement," they're serving our nonprofit. Their memories and experiences are already proving vital as we archive the history of the system.

Thanks, Bill and Betty!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Tips for Anyone New to Developing a Poster Session

NTLP received the following information from Janet Bickel-Burton (SMU Cox School of Business Library & TWU Health Sciences Library – Dallas), who co-presented a Poster Session at NTLP's TechNet 2012 conference last week. With her permission - and our thanks - we're passing the suggestions on for anyone who can use the information.

As a poster-making novice, I learned several things about how to create a custom-sized (“30”x48 or 60”x48”) poster in PowerPoint and best practices for visual presentations. 

Especially helpful were: 

Two additional discoveries: 
  • Having posters produced commercially is expensive. (TWU Library paid my printing fees & Lesley hand-trimmed the paper to size needed.) Arranging multiple pages (using photo paper) on the two bulletin boards was an acceptable alternative used by low/no-budget presenters. 
  • Handouts are worth the effort as poster viewers and presenters were rushed for time. Tip: Enlarge and print the poster in the PPT notes page view as a quick handout.

Friday, August 03, 2012

NTLP Wins 2 TSLAC Grants

It's confirmed! At today's meeting, the Texas Library & Archives Commission approved all TSLAC grant applications which had been recommended, by the grant review committee, for funding. NTLP was awarded two grants.

A TSLAC Cooperation Grant will provide funding for development of an eBook platform. As the project reaches test status, interested libraries will provide Beta testing. To learn more about this, attend TechNet 2012 where NTLP staff will provide an overview.

Building on what NTLP staff has learned through the Information Literacy component of its Libraries for Literacy program, NTLP staff applied for and won funding to equip each of 9 libraries with a collection of eReaders and tablets. The grant also will fund, for designated staff at those 9 libraries, training to prepare them for providing the petting zoo / presentations at their own libraries, thereby enabling those libraries to continue offering petting zoo / presentations even after the project ends. Details about becoming one of the 9 library sites will be broadcast as soon as they become available.

By the way ... if you're wondering what your library can do to minimize the confusion of downloading eBooks and enable library guests to find out what they think about reading eBooks, consider registering for TechNet 2012 and attending the poster session described below. (But hurry! The conference is August 9 - just days away!)

Lending eReaders at the Burleson Public Library A pilot program was developed in 2011 to lend pre-loaded eReaders to adult patrons of BPL. The program was started to increase awareness of new technology in libraries and to give patrons a chance to try out an eReader without having to purchase one themselves. Ten eReaders were loaded with content separated by genre (general fiction, non-fiction, mystery, science fiction, horror / thrillers, fantasy, romance, Christian fiction, and historical fiction / western). The eReaders were then added to the library’s OPAC, and procedures were created to check out the devices to library patrons for three-week periods. Sara Miller, Public Services Librarian Supervisor (Burleson Public Library)

Saturday, July 14, 2012

For ALL Library Personnel Who Work with Youth

It's awesome when things just happen to mesh well - like this example.

Library personnel who work with youth at any type of library might want to consider this line-up of session choices for TechNet 2012. You'll get to choose your own 4th session, but check this out:

Session I: Internet Safety (Gary Price)

Session II: Arlington Public Library's Tech Centers (Erin Spicer & Jenny Ethington)

Session III: Poster Sessions (The one described below seems to be a perfect follow-up for folks who would like to implement Arlington's concepts.)

Ready, Set, Animate! Let your imagination come to life with the next generation of Web 2.0 products. Learn how to make informative and entertaining instruction sessions using free animation software! This poster session will compare and contrast Go!Animate and Xtranormal functions and features. Become an animator and learn how to create your own animated videos for instruction sessions, marketing, storytime, and event announcements. With a quick set up time and short learning curve, you can select settings, characters, graphics, and text then with a click, drag, and drop your video is complete. Animation is a creative alternative to screencasting to put a fresh spin on your library blog or website. Janet Bickel-Burton (SMU Cox School of Business Library & TWU Health Sciences Library – Dallas) & Lesley Tsuchiya (SMU Cox School of Business Library)

Friday, July 13, 2012

Electra Public Library Digitizes Electra Newspapers 1907-2011

Take a look at Electra's recently posted local newspapers, dated 1907 - 2011, which have been digitzed and are now accessible via Electra Public Library's website. That library started the digitization project in April and finished it this week. "This has been a fun and exciting project, and our community is so happy," says Library Director Terry Holbert, adding " 'specially our genealogy group!"

Terry says that it was an affordable project and that she's willing to talk with anyone who may be interested in digitizing their community's microflim. Of course, those interested will need to call her before July 23rd. After that, she will be retired (and missed!).

Monday, July 09, 2012

Where It All Started for NTLP

As NTRLS, formerly NTLS, rides into our nonprofit's history, it's interesting to note when NTLP, originally NTRLS, Inc., started, and which libraries were involved.

The date is April 1, 1985. The Texas State Library and Archives Commission sends a letter to the North Texas Library System stating that the State agency has "received 35 affirmative resolutions from governing authorities to organize NTLS into a nonprofit corporation. The resolutions authorize the NTLS Advisory Council to incorporate the NTLS."

Those libraries voting yes were the public libraries located in the following cities: Azle, Bedford, Burkburnett, Burleson, Cleburne, Electra, Euless, Fort Worth, Glen Rose, Graham, Granbury, Grapevine, Henrietta, Hurst, Jacksboro, Keller, Lake Worth, Lewisville, Mansfield, Mineral Wells, North Richland Hills, Olney, Paducah, Pilot Point, Richland Hills, River Oaks, Saginaw, Seymour, Springtown, Stephenville, The Colony, Vernon, Watagua, Weatherford and Wichita Falls.

So ... any ideas on how NTLP should celebrate its 30th birthday April 1, 2015?

Friday, July 06, 2012

TechNet 2012: Tracing the Threads of Technology

The simultaneously invasive and pervasive nature of technology seems virtually impossible to evade in today's world. While we all enjoy instant access to facts, figures and other information, we seem to embrace it so quickly that we fail to ask just what the true cost of that access is. Are individuals - or, for that matter, libraries themselves - paying for increased access with the loss of privacy, the diminishing of our principals and codes of ethics, the lowering of our standards and the tarnishing of our image? 

Need time to ponder the question? You have until August 9, 2012. 

Need additional points to consider before you even begin to ponder? You can get them at TechNet 2012.

TechNet 2012, NTLP's 5th Annual Conference on Library Technology, is scheduled for Thursday August 9 at the University of Dallas (which happens to be in Irving). Gary Price, producer of infoDocket for Library Journal, will be the keynote speaker. As a librarian, writer, consultant and frequent conference speaker, he has raised the question often, both for his own contemplation and as a point for his audiences to consider.

The focus of most of the day's sessions won't be on tracing the threads of technology, but don't be surprised if something about Gary's keynote presentation has you tracing those threads in each session you attend.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Closing Libraries - This Problem Has Been Around for Awhile.........

I happened across an older sitcom called "Heart's Afire" on  The episode is titled: The Outsider and it is about someone coming into a community and speaking up for the library.  It is a bit dated for sure, but I was encouraged to see the entire episode dedicated to public library survival!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

What's happening at NTLP this week? At the request of NTLP's Board of Directors, there will be a joint meeting of NTLP Development Committee and the NTLP Partners Advisory Committee Thursday May 17 at the Benbrook Public Library. Members of both committees have been asked to provide input for the Board's June meeting which will focus on the direction and action plan for NTLP.

Members of the two committees will review feedback from NTLP's 14 Focus Group meetings, which took place in November and December of 2011; work together to determine the priorities of those requested services and identified needs; discuss funding options for FY 2013; and help develop NTLP's goals for FY 2013.

Both committees are made up of representatives from NTLP Partner libraries. Anyone interested in serving on either committee should contact NTLP staff.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Survival Guide for First-Time Attendees at the TLA Conference

Thanks to a three-year grant from the Priddy Charitable Trust (now incorporated with the Priddy Foundation), NTLP has been privileged to award a number of stipends for librarians from non-urban libraries serving small communities to attend the annual Texas Library Association Conference. For many of the stipend recipients, this has been their first opportunity to attend a large professional conference. From their feedback, and from our own experiences, NTLP staff have assembled a collection of tips for first-time attendees at the TLA Conference. That TLA Survival Guide is available as a pdf and also on the NTLP website.

In that document you’ll find tips on Schedule Planning, Packing, Food and Drink, and Transportation. We provided some tips which might apply to any professional conference and others which are specific to the sessions, events and activities at Texas Library Association conferences. The article ends with advice for when you get back home as well as for considering future conferences.

Naturally, details about the convention venue vary from year to year, and everybody's experience is different. Please use the comments to add your own suggestions. NTLP plans to update the Survival Guide as we collect more input.

Monday, April 09, 2012

NTLP and Priddy Trust Award 15 Travel Stipends for 2012 TLA Conference

Thanks to a grant from the Priddy Charitable Trust, NTLP has been able to award 15 stipends of $1500 each to enable library staff and volunteers to attend the 2012 TLA Conference in Houston.  The stipend can be used for conference registration, travel expenses, and temporary staff if necessary to cover the recipient's absence at the library.

The stipends were offered to staff and volunteers directly involved in the operations of the library, at non-urban libraries serving a population of 25,000 or less.  This is the third year of the program. In past years awards were limited to staff from libraries in the NTRLS area, but this year NTLP was able to offer the awards to the BCLS and NETLS areas as well.

Recipients of the stipends will be paired with mentors to help them get the most from their time at the conference, and will be required to complete a report on the conference experience afterwards.

This year's recipients represent the following libraries:
  • Allen Memorial Public Library in Hawkins
  • Aubrey Area Library in Aubrey
  • Bowie Public Library in Bowie (2 recipients)
  • Carnegie Library in Ballinger
  • Chico Public Library in Chico
  • Crowley Public Library in Crowley
  • Decatur Public Library in Decatur
  • Gordon Community Library in Gordon
  • Kimble County Library in Junction
  • Nocona Public Library in Nocona
  • Bicentennial City-County Library in Paducah
  • Richland Hills Public Library in Richland Hills
  • Roanoke Public Library in Roanoke
  • Weatherford Public Library in Weatherford

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Ebook reading and purchasing patterns

The Pew Research Center just released a new report on the rise of e-reading. Commentary on the report has noted connections with the digital divide and the ever-present dominance of Amazon in the ebook market.

You can see highlights of the recent study at and (Librarian by Day Bobbi Newman was on the advisory board for the research.)  Previous reports focussed on ownership of ereader devices; this report was on reading habits.

One in five Americans (21%) have read an ebook in the last year.  But even more (22%) had not read any books in the previous year or did not answer the question.  Of those that had read ebooks, only 14% said that their most recently read ebook came from the library.

In a a response, the ALA noted the recent rise in ownership of ereader devices and ebook circulation in libraries, but also expressed concern about the gap in education and income levels between people who read ebooks and those who don't -- or those who don't read books at all. College graduates and people with household incomes greater than $75,000 were far more likely to have read an ebook in the last year than non-college graduates or those with lower income. In the growing popularity of ebooks there is a growing digital divide.

Another reaction, at, examines Amazon's share of the ebook market and the large percentage of ebooks that are only available for the Kindle. Thad McIlroy checked a representative large public library for the top 13 Amazon best-selling ebook titles and found that only 2 of them were available in any format, and none of them were available as ebooks.  (McIlroy criticizes Overdrive, but the publishers probably play a role here as well.) To read these best-sellers, you have to buy them; and to read them as ebooks you have to buy them from Amazon on a Kindle.

I'd like to bring out another point that hasn't been mentioned often: when people purchase print books, they share them with friends and family members, but when they purchase ebooks, friends and family members are more likely to have to purchase separate copies for themselves.  This happened in my own household last week.  I discovered that my husband had purchased the Hunger Games books for the Kindle app on his iPad. I had been waiting for those books to be available from the library. If he had bought them in print I could have easily borrowed his copies, but borrowing his iPad strikes me the same as borrowing a toothbrush; it's a personal device.  I'm still debating whether to break down and buy the series in another format.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Are Privatized Public Libraries So Bad?

Are Privatized Public Libraries So Bad?

Interesting article about privatizing libraries...........and what libraries should be preparing for in the coming months and years.

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Neuroscience of Your Brain on Fiction.....

Your Brain on Fiction

The brain, it seems, does not make much of a distinction between reading about an experience and encountering it in real life; in each case, the same neurological regions are stimulated. Keith Oatley, an emeritus professor of cognitive psychology at the University of Toronto (and a published novelist), has proposed that reading produces a vivid simulation of reality, one that “runs on minds of readers just as computer simulations run on computers.” Fiction — with its redolent details, imaginative metaphors and attentive descriptions of people and their actions — offers an especially rich replica. Indeed, in one respect novels go beyond simulating reality to give readers an experience unavailable off the page: the opportunity to enter fully into other people’s thoughts and feelings.
The novel, of course, is an unequaled medium for the exploration of human social and emotional life. And there is evidence that just as the brain responds to depictions of smells and textures and movements as if they were the real thing, so it treats the interactions among fictional characters as something like real-life social encounters.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

NTLP's 2012 Library Supporters Conference

"I told you you should have planned to be here," is the way an attendee of NTLP's 2011 Library Supporters Conference told us s/he would describe the event to her colleagues. And now ...
It's BACK by POPULAR DEMAND from Library Supporters and staff who work with them ... thanks to the Center for Community Cooperation & Texas Book Consignments: The 4th annual NTLP Conference for Library Supporters!!!
Bittersweet Challenges, New Opportunities & Half-Full Glasses is set for Saturday, May 5, 2012 (Cinco de Mayo!) at the Center for Community Cooperation (2900 Live Oak Street, Dallas 75204). Sign-in and refreshments open at 9:30 a.m., and the conference runs from 10 a.m. to 3:45 p.m.
Registration fees vary from $50 to $125 per person, with discounts for NTLP Partner libraries as well as advance registration. Training sessions, time for networking with peers, lunch and refreshments are all included.
The event is designed for all library supporters: board members (governing as well as advisory), Friends, foundation members, volunteers, "simply" passionate library users, and library staff who work with supporters. For more information, visit the conference website.
Here are some of the other responses NTLP received from 2011 conference participants:
  • This was my first such conference and I found all of it very informative and helpful.
  • Absolutely another great event!!!
  • I brought back many ideas to present to my friends group with the thought that we can do a few of them.
  • Again, wonderful conference - well worth my time!
  • I thought it was a well organized, informative and entertaining conference. This was my first time to attend the conference so I was quite pleased.
  • Our group learned and enjoyed the day very much. We would attend another meeting of the same kind.
  • Absolutely awesome experience. Benefitted from information/knowledge received as well as having a really great time. Always nice to see and share with library constituents.
  • Very worthwhile conference. Great information. Knowledgeable speakers.
  • This was my first experience. I feel certain that I will return. Enjoyed the day.
  • I thought the conference was well organized.
  • Please have this as often as possible.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

eBook Prices to Libraries - Recent News and Reflections

The Random House ebook price hike to libraries last week created a storm of commentary.  Here's a good round-up of the story by Bobbi Newman at The post is still being updated with new links. 

Now that the fireworks have died down a little, the library world is generating some good,reflective analyses of the ebook dilemma. Here are a couple that you shouldn't miss: 

   -   Random House's eBook Price Hikes are GOOD for Libraries IF ...   The big "IF" consists of a list of requirements for ebooks that libraries should insist on, in exchange for high prices. 

   -  $2 Billion for $1 Billion of Books: The Arithmetic of Library e-book Lending   Michael Porter has a good infographic showing the relative prices of print and digital books for consumers and libraries and remarks on the odd inefficiency of the digital product. 

NTLP is embarking on a project to make ebook content available to libraries at more reasonable licensing terms. Read our proposal, comment, and express your concerns or interest at the NTLP blog or website.  Look for more on this in coming weeks. 

Friday, March 02, 2012

eBook Pricing: Like that of Pop Audiobooks without Ownership of the Purchased Item

Wondering how much Random House pricing increased for Overdrive content, NTLP Digital Media Collection Development Coordinator Marci Chen made a duplicate cart of the big RH order she just placed for North Texas Libraries on the Go (NTLP-area Overdrive consortium). She found that a 200% increase was the norm, with the increase for some titles as high as 300% or more. We have no idea regarding what portion of each increase came from RH vs how much reflects Overdrive's markup. Our concern is the suddenness of the increase, the related challenge of budgeting for constant, unknown and completely unpredictable price increases, the total amount of the increase, and the impacts on library personnel and on the library's image within its community when we are unable to meet expectations.

eBook pricing is becoming something like that of pop audiobooks - without the result of library ownership of the purchased item. The average eBook price from our recent order is $39.77 per title. Most titles are in the $25-45 range butsome popular titles are $75-$135 . For our consortium, the Overdrive price of No Higher Honor - Condoleezza Rice - is $105, up from $35 after this latest round of price increases through Overdrive. To provide some context to that comparison: Amazon Kindle's current retail price for individual consumers to purchase the eBook is $15.99. As of the 3/01/12 holds report, North Texas Libraries on the Go is at 80% of the budget allotted for holds for March."

"I'm worried that, between the lack of content available and the new pricing structures, we won't be able to meet the demand for popular materials," says Marci. "The thing that frustrates me the most is that all of this is happening at a time when libraries are hit hard in the budget gut. I'm ready for new and innovative solutions for our patrons."

A couple of related items which have caught our attention today are from Digital Shift, from Agnostic, Maybe - the neverending reference interview of life and from Publishers Marketplace.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

NTLP Proposal for Distributing EBook Content

NTLP proposes a new protocol for the distribution of writing, music, speech, and video in electronic form through libraries.
NTLP recognizes that publishers imbue the elements of our culture with a level of quality that would be otherwise unattainable -- quality that makes cultural preservation and democratization by libraries worth while. In this time of rapid evolution in how the elements of our culture -- our writing, music, speech, and video -- are distributed to the public, we do not wish either publishers or libraries to be left out of the equation. In this changing environment publishers and libraries alike must learn new ways to continue what we do best: create and preserve our culture.
To this end, NTLP proposes a new protocol for the distribution of writing, music, speech, and video in electronic form through libraries. In short, NTLP requests from publishers the right to distribute electronic content by selling and leasing it to libraries for use by the library users, with appropriate royalty payments to the publisher.
The proposed protocol is outlined in our Statement of Common Understanding for Library Use of Electronic Content and portrayed in our Example of How a Library Would Use Electronic Content. Both documents are open to public comment and will be revised responsively. Our intent in this proposal is to meet both the revenue needs of publishers and the content needs of libraries. Please identify any concerns with the details in the documents themselves and contact Paul Waak directly with any broad concerns.
Anyone with an interest in this project should please express it by March 5, 2012. NTLP will take what it has and move forward on March 31, 2012, so please contact Paul Waak before then if you would like to be part of the initial offering.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Ebook News and Guide to Publishers

There has been so much on the web recently about libraries and ebooks, I was thinking NTLP should provide a weekly summary. Michael Porter, who many of you saw at the TechNet 2011 conference, beat me to it. His blog at now has a series of posts proviiding a weekly wrap-up of web articles related to libraries and e-content. Last Friday's post has links to insightful articles on the complex relationship between libraries and publishers; the equally complex relationship between publishers and Amazon; and the world of ebooks, access, and libraries. Be sure to read the comments, where he encourages readers to post additional links to articles he might have missed.

Another good blog to watch for ebook news is, from Library Journal and School Library Journal. Last week they published A Guide to Publishers in the Library Ebook Market, listing the current status of many of the top publishers relative to their ebook offerings for libraries.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Universal Access News

We've seen a flurry of universal access messages in the past few days and want to share them with you.

According to a Feb. 3 article in The Cornell Daily Sun, Cornell is working to implement a computer-based program to support students with hearing disabilities in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields in an effort to improve graduation rates of students with hearing disabilities. The first students will enter the program in fall 2013.

Mandolin Gardens Park, Houston, UT Dallas Student Services Building, Richardson, and the Historic Downtown River Walk, San Antonio, have all won the 2011 Accessibility Awards sponsored by the Texas Governor's Committee on People with Disabilities (GCPD) and the Accessibility Professionals Association (APA). The awards recognize businesses and organizations which go significantly above and beyond the legal requirements of both physical and service accessibility for people with disabilities. The winners will be honored at a ceremony Friday, January 27, 2012, at 12:15pm at the Austin Marriott Hotel North, 2600 La Frontera Blvd, Round Rock, as part of the APA Annual Conference. The awards presentation after lunch is free and open to the public.

According to WorldBakers, UK shortbread manufacturer Paterson Arran Limited has introduced braille to its best-selling shortbread range as part of its ongoing commitment to meeting the needs of consumers.

Global Accessibility News is available free from The Global Alliance on Accessible Technologies and Environments (GAATES).