What’s Going On at the Library?

“Know your customers” is an old adage in marketing. Yet, how much do you know about librarians or library markets? Do you still think libraries are just building filled with nothing but dusty books, magazines and newspapers? Well, here’s some news for you. This year’s 29th Computers in Libraries Conference, will be held April 7-9, 2014 at the Washington Hilton in Washington, DC. The theme of this year’s conference is “Hack the Library”. You might never think librarians would be wannabe hackers. But from wearing tight black leather skirts to body piercings and tattoos and long hair on men, librarians have always had a bit of an unconventional side. It shouldn’t be a surprise that there is a site by and for library students called “Hack Library School”. The mission of these students begins thusly, “This is an invitation to participate in the redefinitions of library school using the web as a collaborative space outside of any specific university or organization.” Hack Library School was based on a 2011 presentation on HackLibSchool, given virtually by Micah Vandegrift to the New York Metropolitan Library Council.  You can see his video here. Workshops about hacking Computers in Libraries workshops on hacking caught my eye immediately: “Hacking Google: Learn about the new and little-known search features that enable you to out-Google anyone…even your clients.” Other sessions include “Hacking the Deep Web [also called the ‘invisible’ web],” and “Hacking the Social Web“. Lastly, as the library school students at Hack Library School hoped, librarians are leaving the library space altogether in a concerted move to get online for what one workshop at the conference calls a “Slam-a-thon! Slam the Boards”. “Slam the Boards” is a concerted effort among reference desk librarians  – “to provide answers on popular ‘Answer Board’ sites like Yahoo Answers, WikiAnswers, AskVille, etc. We also make it clear that the questions have been answered by librarians. This gives us the opportunity to demonstrate our question-answering skills to users who may not realize that librarians provide reference services”. Librarians also have a playful side. Fun library workshops On Sunday evening, the conference features a free welcome and networking event,  “Games, Gadgets and Makerspaces”. OK, I didn’t know what a makerspace was either… “…makerspaces are community centers with tools. Makerspaces combine manufacturing equipment, community, and education for the purposes of enabling community members to design, prototype and create manufactured works that wouldn’t be possible...
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Delivery of Library Books to Library Patrons

Source: New York University I can still vividly recall the bookmobile arriving every week.  I was in second grade at a small country school. That county library system bookmobile made me the bibliophile I am today! But are American libraries missing the boat for sticking with the bookmobile for delivery of books to their patrons? The Speedy Bookbag service A Bookstore in China called Kuaishubao (“speedy bookbag”) is now competing with Amazon.com. It does this by delivering books right to houses and offices in selected cities. The bookstore delivers the goods within an hour of receiving an order! Can you imagine ordering a book to be delivered in time for your lunch break? Or in time to finish a paper you left until the last minute? Readers who need a book fast in China use Sina Weibo, China’s leading microblog, to order their books from Kuaishubao. Sina Weibo has features that work better than Twitter (which is banned in China) for this kind of business use. Sina allows users to post photos and videos, for example. Advertisers love Sina Weibo, and those who use it for ordering books don’t seem to mind the ads, not when they get their book in an hour! With the popularity of eReaders growing, it makes sense for bookstores to deliver print books as fast as they can. Is there any reason libraries shouldn’t do the same? Or how about a library partnering with a local bookstore to make book delivery easier and faster for library patrons? Why should readers continue to have come into the library if they are short on time or it is far away? Many of the people who use public libraries in the US have mobility issues. Home delivery would be a blessing. Others need library books quickly. On campuses, a 24/7 book delivery service might be very popular. US libraries already serve five times more customers than Amazon.com. Give an American library a speedy bookbag service, and who knows? That number might be even greater! Source “China’s Weibo posts lesson to Twitter in making social media pay” Financial Times 5/11/11...
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The Digital Public Library of America

The Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) is asking developers to submit demos, code, and design ideas to help advance toward “the realization of a large-scale digital public library that will make the cultural and scientific record available to all.” The digital library movement This is newest and most ambitious of many attempts to build a public digital library on the Internet. The steering committee of the DPLA contains leaders of several existing ebook projects. These include “the Internet Archive, Public.Resource.Org, the Hathi Trust, American Memory, and others, as well as the Europeana project and the national digital libraries in the Netherlands, Norway, and South Korea.” The ebook distributor, OverDrive, provides libraries with global digital distribution of ebooks, audiobooks and more. In addition, The Open Library Project, offers 1,000,000 “World’s classic literature,” ebooks to readers. for free DPLA’s press release just announced that “The DPLA represents the broadest coalition of stakeholders ever assembled who are dedicated to free and universal access to knowledge for all, and the Beta Sprint will help us kick off an 18-month program to construct, brick by digital brick, this beautiful new edifice.” In case you’re taken aback by the promise of “free and universal access to knowledge” in the above paragraph, this has always been the dominant goal of libraries, even with regard to print books. It is the main reason public libraries exist. It is the reason why public libraries manage to reach 5 times as many customers (called “patrons”) as Amazon.com. What DPLA’s mission means for you DPLA’s new initiative means libraries (public and academic) intend to continue to compete with Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple, and Google to be readers’ one-stop shopping place for ebooks and audiobooks. Why should you care? Because online library catalogs offer readers the best way to quickly identify books they want to read. No other provider of ebooks offers authors a comparable subject and keyword system to make their books so readily and easily available to readers. As an author, the library market will be the best market for your book. It is where more readers will be able to find your book and recommend it to others. That’s the best kind of marketing for your book that money can’t buy! Want to know more? My book Marketing Your Book to Libraries: An Insiders Guide for Authors is now finished. It will be offered for sale...
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