Manager, Selection and Order, Collection Management Services
King County Library System, Issaquah, WA
MLS, University of Washington, Seattle, 1994
Moroni’s workspace includes a variety of bright pink objects: a fuchsia book truck, a hot-pink feather boa, a neon pink bucket and hard hat, and a Sony Reader
Photo by RON WURZER/GETTY IMAGES FOR LIBRARY JOURNAL
When HarperCollins restricted the number of times a library could circulate a given ebook to 26 back in 2011, many outraged librarians called for boycotts. But as manager, selection and order, at King County Library System (KCLS), Alene Moroni knew that cutting off that access wasn’t possible, because so many of the library’s ebooks were from HarperCollins. While she, too, was troubled by the announcement, she concluded that, “26 is certainly better than nothing.”
Her measured response has since been accepted by most librarians, and she has become a valued guide. “Alene thinks of ebooks and their impact on every aspect of library service and then presents the issues to library staff and patrons in clear terms,” says Kaite Stover, director of readers services at Kansas City Public Library, MO. “In presentation after presentation, [she] explains to the lay librarian how these issues affect collection management…facilities… staffing…and patronage.”
Moroni endorses a nuanced approach. “She is an advocate for reading in any manner—print, audio, electronic—and never tells a person about a book without mentioning all the formats in which it is available…and how she will make it accessible to them wherever they are,” says Stover. While KCLS integrates ebooks, it continues to maintain a robust print collection based on in-depth research. She has an “unwavering belief,” says Stover, “that libraries are part of the ecosystem [that] needed to connect library users with reading materials.”
More recently, Moroni tackled the issue of weeding (“Weeding in a Digital Age,” LJ 9/15/12), explaining why a surplus of ebooks makes browsing difficult and outlining how to evaluate a library’s selection.
Moroni still has a long list of ebook issues she’d like to address. Digital copies can’t be truly weeded but only hidden from view, and many libraries are limited by their choice of ebook platforms, rather than aggregating content from different platforms—something Moroni wants to change.
Ultimately, it all comes back to providing the best possible experience for users, says Moroni. “Our goal is to provide access for patrons to the titles they want.”