Annoyed Librarian
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Inside Annoyed Librarian

The Ebook Bait and Switch

A kind reader commented on my last post comparing library ebook selection to small town diner lattes that although I have previously argued that popular ebooks libraries didn’t matter, I was now complaining about the lack of selection. Or, as the comment asked, “Now you’re complaining about the lack of selection?” Why yes, yes I am. Another commenter helpfully pointed out all the reasons why popular ebooks collections at libraries are so small. I know about those pesky publishers and the grief they’re causing libraries these days. They’re terribly frightened of libraries, which is amusing when you think about how harmless libraries and librarians are. You have to be a wee, timrous, cowering beastie indeed to be afraid of libraries. I also know there’s been a lot of publicity pointing out how publishers are either avoiding selling ebooks to libraries or making the deals so bad that it’s not worth it, so that library patrons can’t get any of the books they might ...

Library Ebooks and Small Town Lattes

Getting a library ebook you actually want to read is a lot like getting a latte from a small town diner. You end up with something that from the outside might seem passable, but is far from the real thing. I had experience with both recently and was very disappointed. After ALA was over, I wanted a vacation, so I took a little road trip to spend a weekend with a friend at a bed & breakfast. Since I wanted to take a break from any reading that might be considered professional or necessary, I decided to try to find some ebooks to read from my local public library. There are lots of popular print books at my academic library, but we don’t have a lot of ebooks, and I was trying to travel lightly. I managed to make it to the library website and find the ebook collection easily enough. Then again, I’m a trained librarian. The navigation was simple enough, and I could browse genres, do some searching, etc. So far, so good. And then, depression set in. There ...

Library Battle in Seattle

There’s quite a controversy going on in Seattle about a $123 million levy to help fund the public library system for seven years. The Seattle Times has editorialized against the levy. Nancy Pearl has editorialized for it, but then again she’d have to. It’s an odd debate, because some of the people most in favor of supporting libraries are opposed to the levy, and they have a point. The levy is to increase operating expenditures over 7 years, but that’s all. It’s not for some special one-time project, like building a new library building or something. It’s just to temporarily add to the operating budget of the library system instead of using general funds to support the library. The argument against doing that is that by removing the burden of providing for the library temporarily from the general budget and freeing up general funds for something else, it risks permanently removing the burden, thus making periodic levies necessary to keep the libraries running. Thus, ...

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