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.