Ignacio Albarracin, digital services coordinator at San Antonio Public Library (SAPL), knew the library’s digital resources were woefully underused. Albarracin wanted to change that. “We decided…to target potential users in a strategic setting where we could get [their] full attention—San Antonio International Airport,” he says.
I don’t feel comfortable without a book nearby (a print book, that is). And the older I get, the more books I read at the same time; I’m usually in the midst of two or three. This is no boast, because I’ve religiously avoided reading serious literature ever since the course that required me to read Nausea and The Death of Ivan Illyich in the same week. Now I read mostly mysteries, which I could argue are, in fact, serious literature, but I don’t because then I wouldn’t want to read them anymore. I get a lot of paperbacks from Amazon, especially since I recently discovered how cheaply I can get used paperbacks there (I also get lots of used paperbacks from the Harvard Bookstore in the interest of supporting brick and mortar bookstores). Then one of my favorite mystery writers released a novella only in a Kindle version available through Amazon. I broke down, downloaded the Kindle app to my laptop, bought the novella, and read it online.
Last summer Tor.com, which has been publishing original short fiction on its site, announced a new imprint “dedicated to publishing the best novellas and short novels from emerging writers as well as established authors.” On February 12, it released its initial list of titles.
Ninety-five percent of public libraries currently offer ebooks to patrons, up from 72 percent in 2010, and 89 percent in both 2012 and 2013. However, money remains the biggest impediment for libraries looking to add ebooks or expand collections, according to Library Journal’s fifth annual Ebook Usage in U.S. Public Libraries report, sponsored by Freading.
OverDrive is currently processing 350 million API server calls per month, and has supported 1.3 million checkouts via APIs to date in 2014, according to internal data given to LJ. API use has also risen steadily each quarter, with almost 233,000 checkouts during the first three months of the year, more than 529,000 in Q2, an estimated 692,000 in Q3, and a projection of at least 1 million during the final three months of the year.
When superstorm Sandy hit the east coast in October 2012, the Queens Library (QL) in New York was among many northeastern library systems affected. QL persevered, continuing to offer crucial services in storm-ravaged communities while rebuilding damaged branches. The system also managed to turn a generous corporate donation into an innovative new platform for tablet computers, enabling a tech lending program that has since continued to grow.
The Massachusetts State Ebook Project (MA EBook Project), conceived by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioner’s (MBLC) Statewide Resource Sharing Committee and the Massachusetts Library System (MLS), with funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), this summer concluded a pilot program, offering many insights into the challenges and promises that statewide consortial ebook lending programs may offer.
Fresh off of its second year of partnerships with six northeastern colleges and universities, Boston College’s Instructional Design + eTeaching Services (IDeS) department is beginning to look at ways to expand access to its proprietary MediaKron digital humanities platform to other institutions, according to Tim Lindgren, senior instructional designer for IDeS.