February 16, 2018

Feedback: Letters to LJ, November 1, 2016 Issue

“If everyone would just focus on their work, even by just 70 percent, and not play politics, productivity will jump immediately”

Political skills

Thanks for the timely article (Steven Bell, Library Leaders Ignore Organizational Politics at Their Own Risk). Perhaps this will set the beginning of a new skill set that each library leader needs to embrace in future. I had lunch with a friend who retired from the civil service, and he shared the opinion that if everyone would just focus on their work, even by just 70 percent, and not play politics, productivity will jump immediately and the world will be a much better place. But we know this is not going to happen because the world has changed and is still changing. I can only hope that whatever it is, leaders can change for the better so that others can benefit from a better society.

—Sung Kuan, Senior Mgr., National Lib. Board, Singapore

Most want books

The library world is “over” books and wants to evolve to be something else more cool and hip, with fewer books (Aaron Schmidt, Usability and Desirability). However, the Pew Internet study on library use still finds that the vast majority of people who show up in a library come to get a book to read.

Before I was a librarian, I never went to a single library program other than story time when I had a small child. Ever. I judged a public library solely and entirely on whether it had the book I wanted or some other book equally desirable. I didn’t even care all that much about whether checkout was seamless and user-friendly or whether the librarian said boo to me (my preference: no).

I wanted to go get my book and get outta there and retreat to the safe space of my home, where I would devour it. No library program on earth was as interesting as getting home to read in peace.

So as we evolve into exciting community centers, we have to hope that we have practically no patrons like me. I would be spooked by lots of noise and excitement in the library and want to scoot even faster.

—Name withheld

Book deserts

I also support new initiatives like that at [Enoch Pratt Free Library] in Baltimore addressing the problem of communities that are “food deserts” by bringing healthy foods within the grasp of the residents. Just as long as the library also acknowledges that those same communities are “book deserts,” where many families’ only access to books is the free public library.

—Name withheld

At LIU again!

Interesting that this is happening yet again at [Long Island University] (Lisa Peet, LIU Librarians, Faculty Return After 12-Day Lockout). I got my MLS there in 2004 and had similar problems due to a faculty strike in my last semester. One must ask why this particular university has such acrimonious relations with its faculty unions and is so unwilling to negotiate that strikes are commonplace and now the administration has resorted to a lockout. Perhaps it is time for the New York State Department of Labor to look into it? Certainly [accreditor] Middle States should ­unapprove.

—Nicola Palumbo, Head of Reference Svcs., Molloy Coll., Rockville Centre, NY

Easy checkout

Checking out a Kindle Book using OverDrive is not as complicated as it sounds (Matt Enis, Kobo Launches Ereader Integrated with OverDrive). I actually prefer it, because I can check out the book from work using my work computer and, when I get to the Amazon website, choose “Deliver to my iPad.” When I get home, the ebook is waiting for me on my iPad. You don’t have to plug a device in to a computer and “side load” it unless it is a device without Wi-Fi, as far as I know. There is also no need for an Adobe ID when you are using the Kindle app. If a library user already has an Amazon account, then the Kindle option is really pretty simple….

It does sound like Kobo has upped its game, though, and this tablet may be a good option for new users. I’m glad that it thought about simplifying the checkout experience for library users.

—Jimi Rider, Supervising Libn., New Hanover Cty. PL, Wilmington, NC


SF/Fantasy’s horror anthology Nightmares: A New Decade of Modern Horror (starred review, LJ 10/15/16, p. 65), compiled by Ellen Datlow, offers a retrospective of the last ten years and contains no original stories. In the same issue, in Fiction, publisher Crooked Lane, not Kensington Books, released Barbara ­Early’s Death of a Toy Soldier: A Vintage Toyshop Mystery (“Killer Holidays,” p. 74), and in “eReviews: Career Resources” (Reference, p. 112; ow.ly/CQN7304UQCU), the review of the ­EBSCO database Job & Career Accelerator was inadvertently omitted and will be published in an upcoming issue. EBSCO Information Services, a division of EBSCO Industries, Inc., is responsible for producing the e-resources Associates Programs Source Plus and Vocational Studies Complete. LJ apologizes for the errors.

This article was published in Library Journal's November 1, 2016 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.