July 25, 2014

Feedback | Letters to LJ, October 15, 2011

Bookstores and libraries

I totally agree with Francine Fialkoff about the essential nature of print-on-paper books and the bookstore (“Publisher-Librarian Dialog,” Editorial, LJ 8/11, p. 8). The bookstore is a very special kind of experience. You can’t sample the offerings of a good bookstore on a screen. You can’t wander from shelf to shelf perusing history, literature, philosophy, whatever your interests are. And there is a logical connection between the bookstore and the library. You go to the bookstore, wander along the shelves, buy a book or two, and then head for the library to get the ones you don’t buy. Downtown San Francisco is not the same without Stacey’s, Borders, Cody’s, Rizzoli, the huge secondhand store on 3d whose name I no longer remember, and many others.

—Peter Wiley, Chairman of the Board, John Wiley & Sons, Hoboken, NJ

A premium for print

It seems many librarians are missing the point regarding the future of books and ebooks in the library (Francine Fialkoff, “Publisher-Librarian Dialog,” Editorial, LJ 8/11, p. 8). It is not about a format war but rather about economics. Publishers’ economic realities will impact what libraries’ choices are regarding format. If it becomes cheaper for the publisher and distributor (once they have retooled and redesigned their internal processes) to supply ebooks to libraries and more expensive to provide traditional paper print, their pricing will reflect this. At some point, publishers may have to make some hard choices regarding providing paper print, and libraries need to understand that. We can prefer paper print, demand paper print, but, in the future, if publishers continue to provide paper print, libraries may have to pay a premium and that will be our economic reality check.

—Loretta Gharst, Calcasieu Parish P.L., Lake Charles, LA

Librarians educate

I’m a working librarian and have been for over 50 years. I loved Leah White’s “To Be or Not To Be…Opinionated” (BackTalk, LJ 9/1/11, p. 42). She said everything I’ve been thinking. I’d like to add disrespect for library directors and supervisors that go along with teaching the public the reading gadgets on the market. Librarians educate the public, and the public library is the greatest of all institutions. I’ve been a subscriber to LJ ever since entering library school in 1956. I subscribed on the advice of my public library advisor and have never regretted it. Thank you for letting me add my 2¢ worth.

—Name withheld upon request

Technical glitches

I can understand how a cursory reading of “The Last Perk of Librarianship” (ow.ly/6tcs8) by the so-called Annoyed Librarian (AL) would bother those simply looking for something to get “riled up” about. Those people have it all wrong and should be reminded of the real message of AL and LJ. Those who found the blogger’s general comments about Alabama and the University of Alabama Libraries to be insensitive should be reminded that the post wasn’t about Alabama, it was about tenure. The comments about Alabama and the…deadly hurricanes were merely tools for what LJ calls AL’s “brand of satire.”…

Yet others were offended by those who were offended, citing issues of free speech…. Those folks should realize that the confusion stems from the appearance that some user comments had been deleted by the blogger. Those calling for the end of the blog itself were merely confused by this historical ­precedent.

Myself? I take offense that the blog was down for nearly 24 hours at the height of the debate, robbing the discussion of its full potential. It was just getting “good.” Yet “technical glitch(es)” happen all the time, even the kind that see the entirety of the rest of LJ up and running during those hours on August 25, including all the other blogs, and there was nothing but a week of silence from LJ regarding the “glitch.”

Regardless of where one stands on the Annoyed Librarian…we must all remember the words of the Editor: “AL isn’t LJ, and LJ isn’t AL.” Add to that, “LJ isn’t librarianship, and librarianship isn’t LJ.”

—Name withheld upon request

Learn from each other

Pat Losinski is one of the foremost thought leaders in public libraries today (“Lessons from Ohio,” LJ 9/15/11, p. 26–29). His prescriptions for library success in this uncertain fiscal and economic terrain are far-reaching. We have to learn from one another if we are to maintain the superior quality of our leading public library systems nationwide.

—Ron J. Stefanski, VP, Cengage Learning, Farmington Hills, MI

I am woman

I love Cynthia Orr’s article “Secrets of Ebook Success”(LJ 9/15/11, p. 34-36) and appreciate that you included my comments, but I wanted to clarify that I am a woman, not a man as the article implies. Unfortunately, the way my name is spelled is often a source of gender confusion. I probably should have sent you a head shot.

—Noel Rutherford, Collection Development & Acquisitions Mgr., Nashville P.L.

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