From the Director
Library news and happenings.
Last week’s blog was about e-reading vs print reading. I wrote that e-book choices through libraries are limited because many publishers do not allow libraries to purchase or license digital copies to loan to cardholders. This limit has become a freedom to read concern for libraries.
E-books are here to stay; it is possible that in the future new books may be published only in digital format. When that happens, an e-reader, a credit card, and disposable income will be necessary to read a book unless all major publishers are willing to sell or license a title to public libraries.
Currently several major publishers refuse to sell or license e-books to public libraries. Others make them available at a very high price or impose heavy restrictions on their use. Consequently the selection of e-books available for loan is limited.
Librarians and library organizations are pressing publishers to change their practices. Some pilot programs are underway as publishers and libraries strive to develop mutually acceptable models.
We need the help of readers to voice their concern about preserving the freedom to read. You can support this effort by contacting state and federal elected officials. Make them aware of the e-book lending challenges and encourage them to press publishers to work with libraries.
Preserving the freedom to read is worth fighting for.
E-books for Libraries: Freedom to Read
A recently released Pew Research Center study reports 23% of Americans, ages 16 and older, have read an e-book in the past year, up from 16% the year before. Those who read a print book dropped from 72% to 67%. Overall book readers, no matter the format, remained about the same at about 75% of the population.
Not surprisingly, there has also been an increase in ownership of e-book reading devices; 25% of those 16 and older own a tablet computer, 19% an e-book reading device.
Also not surprisingly, e-book borrowing from public libraries has increased too….from 3% last year to 5% this year.
Here at KPL we have had a whooping increase in e-book circulation: 3,593 in 2010 / 11 to 17,369 in 2011/12. That’s an increase of 383%!
The titles available to download through our website have increased substantially too. We purchase copies of popular titles just for KPL cardholders in addition to those available through the Midwest Collaborative for Library Services. Nevertheless, the choices are limited because many publishers do not allow libraries to purchase digital copies to loan to cardholders.
The American Library Association is challenging publishers to include libraries in their service model. So far, most publishers are not willing to do so.
We are getting ready to offer several new services in 2013.
Details are yet to be worked out, but we will add Freegal Music to our services within the next month or two. With a KPL card, library users will have access to millions of songs from 10,000+ labels, including all Sony Music labels. From an easy-to-use website, users will be able to download mp3 files that can be played on any device, including iPods. Watch for an announcement soon.
We will also be adding Rocket Languages, an online language learning program. If your new year’s resolutions include learning a new language, this is for you! Spanish, Portuguese, Korean, Japanese, Italian, Hindi, German, French, Chinese, Arabic, and American Sign Language are here for the learning. Again, details will be announced soon.
And we are thrilled to have been awarded a grant to become a Family Place Library, a national model and designation that builds on the knowledge that good health, early learning, parental involvement, and supportive communities play a critical role in young children’s growth and development. Several of us will attend a training institute in the spring with the expectation we will launch this new initiative later in 2013.
We’re looking forward to the new year with these new services. Details to follow over the next few months.
Best wishes for the new year.
Most every day, week, and month has some designation, many of them somehow related to libraries, books, or reading. This week, October 21 – 27 is “National Friends of Libraries Week.”
The Friends of KPL are members of United for Libraries, a division of the American Library Association for trustees, friends, and advocates of libraries. Their mission is to support citizens who govern, promote, advocate, and fundraise for all types of libraries.
As I have often written here, KPL is fortunate to have very good friends. They contribute $50,000 - $60,000 per year to the library, all from the proceeds from their bookstore. A lot of used books pass through their hands.
Their contribution funds our summer reading games for all ages and provides support for many ongoing programs including Global Reading Challenge, Reading Together, and our recent 140th birthday celebration.
One of their goals for the year is to increase their membership. Please consider joining at modest fees that range from $5 for students and $15 for a family, to $100 for a benefactor.
Happy “National Friends of Libraries Week” to our good friends, the Friends of KPL.
Friends of Kalamazoo Public Library
It’s TEEN READ WEEK! This week, October 14 – 20, libraries, schools, and bookstores will celebrate Teen Read Week, with events and programs aimed at encouraging teens to read for pleasure and to look to the library for free reading materials. Many studies have shown that teens who are regular readers and library users achieve more in school.
The spokesperson this year is John Green, author of many teen books, most recently The Fault in Our Stars. John visited here several years ago and we feel a special bond with him; I imagine every library he has visited and every teen he has talked to feels likewise….he’s that kind of guy!
KPL will celebrate with a Teen Read-a-Thon on Saturday, October 20. Teen will be gathering pledges of food items for Kalamazoo Area Loaves and Fishes as they read up to six hours at the central library.
If you want to sponsor a teen reader, contact our teen service desk at 553-7807. It will be a win-win event….teens reading leisure materials to benefit our local food bank.
Teen Read Week
KPL will join libraries, schools, and bookstores across the country in celebrating the freedom to read during “Banned Books Week,” September 30 – October 6.
Bill and Judith Moyers are this year’s honorary chairs. In this video essay, Bill Moyers talks about how libraries provided his first opportunity to indulge his love of reading and learning and shares his dismay over efforts to remove books from schools and libraries.
This week is an opportunity to remind us all that the ability to read, speak, think, and express ourselves freely is a right, not a privilege. Libraries often lead the efforts to speak out for the right to read; without the help of outspoken supporters, books are still being removed in some communities.
KPL and the American Civil Liberties Union will celebrate our right to decide for ourselves what to read, listen to, and view with a “Readout” on Thursday evening. Local literacy celebrities will read from frequently challenged books.
Join us at this event; celebrate and appreciate your freedom to read, listen, and view.
Bill Moyers on Banned Books Week from BillMoyers.com on Vimeo.
Banned Books Readout
September is “Library Card Sign-up Month.” 2012 marks the 25th anniversary of this monthly designation during which libraries across the country remind parents that a library card is the most important school supply of all.
The honorary chair this year is two-time Super Bowl champion Troy Polamalu of the Pittsburgh Steelers. You can see him on our website holding a KPL card!
Once again, we will be issuing library cards to all 1st graders in Kalamazoo Public Schools (KPS) who do not already have one. All 1,100+ first graders will visit a KPL location twice this fall. We will have library cards ready for them; they will select a book to take home and check it out on their library card. A few weeks later they will come again to return the book and check out another. We hope this will establish a routine for regular family visits.
If you know a KPS 1st grader, later this month ask them about their library visit and ask to see their library card. Even better ask any student you know to show you their card and if they don’t have one, encourage them to visit any of our locations to register for a card as the first step in becoming a regular library user.
Library Card Sign-Up Month
Much to our surprise, we recently learned Kalamazoo Public Library was selected one of five “exemplary public library websites” for our Support the Library section.
In a recent issue of Public Libraries, a publication of the Public Library Association, “The Website Clinic” author examined the fifty-five websites listed on the “Library Website Hall of Fame.” Of those, he selected five to propose as models for fundraising through library websites.
We’re thrilled to be third in his list of five public libraries, which includes Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Enoch Pratt Free Library of Baltimore, New York Public Library, and High Plains Library District in Colorado, as model websites, “worthy of emulation.”
The author proclaims the information on our Support the Library pages to be “valuable and intelligently presented. Nice work.” As he noted, you can easily donate to KPL using the Donate button, just one click away from KPL’s homepage.
Public Libraries: Bringing in the Money
I like lists, especially lists of books. The Library of Congress recently selected a list of 88 books they judge to have shaped America. All the titles are by American authors; Benjamin Franklin is the only author with multiple titles on the list…..he has three.
The list includes a wide variety of titles and has generated some interesting online comments: thin on books from the 60s; what, no John Updike or Maya Angelou; few writers of color.
The books are on display at the Library of Congress through September. They also have an online survey on their website.
What do you think of the list? What’s missing or shouldn’t be included?
Books that Shaped America
It has been widely reported in the media, that science fiction writer Ray Bradbury passed away earlier this month. Most of the articles included that he was an ardent library fan, that he had done much of his writing in libraries, and that he was very outspoken about the proposed closing of the Long Beach (CA) main library to help balance the city’s budget.
I’m quite sure many libraries feel a connection to him; KPL does.
His often banned book, Fahrenheit 451, was our first Reading Together title. When we launched our version of the “community reads” model in 2003, we were looking for more than a good book. We were looking for a title that would engage the community in a meaningful dialogue. With that goal, we chose his book at the height of the national discussion over the US Patriot Act. It was a good choice, good timing.
Mr. Bradbury did not travel much by then and he did not come to KPL. He did, however, “appear” by phone and we had a good two-way discussion with him. That was before the days of Skype and this phone conversation was a well-attended program that year. His book and this phone conversation was the start of a successful, still going strong, Reading Together program for KPL. Since then, most of the authors have come to Kalamazoo.
Farewell, Mr. Bradbury. Thank you for your support of libraries, your many books that have become favorites of readers, your visit by phone to KPL.