It’s National Novel Writer’s Month!  For those so inclined, try to write a novel this month.  The website has a competition of sorts that provides support and forums and lots of other great stuff for anyone trying to write in November.  The challenge at the website is to write 50,000 during the month of November.  It’s not about the quality, just the quantity.  It’s just about the practice of writing.  So join me! Write a novel in November!


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20 Heroic Librarians (from fiction)

Great list!  But they forgot the owl from Avatar: the Last Airbender.


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Book Piracy on a Massive Scale!

The Telegraph is saying what many people have already been thinking, that publishers are screwed.  eBooks are extremely easy to find online and there is little deterrent for pirates.  Now, publishers could go the unpopular RIAA route and sue people to ensure their inflated prices can remain, or they could lower eBook prices to reflect the real demand curve.  I hope publishers do the latter.

Remember, the marginal cost of ebooks is 0.  There is only the initial capital invested in the author that should be factored into the ebook price.  People know this.  That’s why we think it’s insane that an ebook should cost the same as a hardcover.  Publishers need to realize this.

[The Telegraph]

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On digitization

Treehugger has a good post today about digitization.  I’ve had to read and write a lot about this topic throughout school but it’s interesting to see the issue from a different perspective.  Treehugger is, obviously, and environmentally centered site so their perspective on digitization is different from the library point of view.

The one new wrinkle that Treehugger has that has never entered my mind is that information hoarding is a time suck.  In the library profession, information hoarding could be seen as part of the job, but it really does cost more time and energy than we may realize.

Of course, the final takeaway from the site is that digitization may not be all that green.  Servers require energy to run.  They require resources to be manufactured and shipped.  It requires energy for us to access servers to read our news or access our articles.  These are important things to note as we try to become more responsible caretakers of our planet.


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My Experience at ILA

ILA was really fun this year.  It was also my first year, so I don’t really have a frame of reference.  I enjoyed it more than ALA though.  It was more intimate, and I feel that a lot of the sessions I went to at ILA had programs that I could put on tomorrow if I had the resources.

In a state that is struggling as much as Illinois is, it was great to see the efforts of librarians with little cash, but a lot of heart, luck, and creativity.  The Battle of the Bands at Rockford Public Library was excellent.  The animals and autism at Des Plaines was heartwarming.  StoryTubes is extremely intriguing and cool.  And StoryTubes can be done with minimal financial investment.  All you need is a computer, a camera, and enthusiastic children.

My biggest takeaway from ILA was that Illinois librarians are really doing everything they can to serve the populous.  I hope to do the same when I get out of school (and find a job).

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I was at the Illinois Library Association conference today, and I will be attending for the next two days as well.  If you’re in town, stop by.  It’s a good conference with lots of great people.

I went to a lot of interesting sessions.  The keynote about the Googlization of everything was great.  The marketing session in the morning was cool.  But I want to specifically highlight two sessions I attended.  The first was about a program at the Des Plaines Public Library.  They have been teaming up with a group called  Rainbow Animal Assisted Therapy to bring therapy dogs to the library to serve autistic children.  As the brother of an autistic individual, it’s always great for me to see people reaching out to this population.  These dogs help autistic children learn how to engage in meaningful social interaction in ways that they could not otherwise do.   I applaud the Des Plaines Public Library for reaching out.

The other session I want to highlight talked about digital media initiatives from the Skokie Public Library and the Blue Island Public Library.  Full disclosure: I am currently an intern at the Skokie Public Library.  These are great resources for a new generation of media-loving, media-savvy, creative people that are growing up.  Skokie has 4 Macs and a Macbook for digitization, video, audio, and design.  Blue Island has a larger lab focused completely on teens with support for robotics and 3D modeling as well.  Some of the work created in these labs is quite spectacular, and best of all, it’s free.

I am looking forward to whatever tomorrow brings.

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Libraries using Netflix

Well isn’t this interesting?  A couple of academic libraries are using Netflix services to deliver movies to their patrons.  While I appreciate the measured response by Netflix, this is clearly a violation of terms of service, and also probably a violation of public performance agreements.  I honestly want to know what these libraries are thinking.  While it is important to deliver materials and services to patrons and Netflix offers a reasonably priced model to accomplish this, you risk so much.  The RIAA could come down hard.  Midwest Tape and other CD/DVD purveyors to libraries could make things harder on other libraries.  Netflix could start feeling the pressure too.  For a short-term gain, you risk difficult long term circumstances.  The next license agreements for libraries to show movies are going to be absolutely awful.


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