By: Sarah Bellora, Librarian, Port Jervis High School
I will admit that we covered quite a bit about e-books but we diverged from the topic to include the frustration with costs, the demands of publishing companies, and purchasing access to music and video digital content providers. I love un-conferences and the flow of conversation but that might mean some of the notes don’t exactly relate to our topic. The information was so great though I want to share.
Libraries are investigating using multiple vendors to broaden the scope of e-books but consideration is also being given to services that provide MARC records so that e-books can be integrated into the library’s catalog. This also brought up the issue of keeping users on the library’s site instead of relying on third party sites which pull users away from our other content and materials.
We discussed if in the future we would be allocating resources to less books and to more e-books. The conclusion was really dependent on the population served by the library but there were some definite no’s by a few. Costs drive choice right now for libraries. This led to a debate on how to determine usage and it would be helpful to compare paper book usage versus digital version for individual items. May be a great direction for companies to consider when providing data to libraries. This led to a discussion on hardware vs. software purchases – do we purchase e-readers or more e-books. It can be difficult to determine if something is a fad and it might be better to invest in services to devices versus the actual devices.
Marketing: One librarian sat a table right before the holidays and after with every type of device for patrons to ask questions and get help. The goal was awareness of the e-book collection. Another idea was to use shelf talkers to show patrons which books are also offered in e format.
We also considered how technology has changed the discussion from getting kids reading to acquiring the latest bells and whistles. We need to consider our mission and beliefs as an organization to determine purchases and maintain our goals.
Zineo – downloadable magazine database. Hoopla – free digital music, audiobooks, and video with a library card. This is not integrated with your catalog so there are questions about whether it is worth offering this service.