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.