Librarians, Tell Amazon to Piss Off And Go Buy Nooks!

Libraries need to get away from Amazon and Kindles and jump on board with Nooks. I’m not saying this for any reason except that Barnes and Noble is a much better company for libraries to partner with. If you want to see reasons why you shouldn’t bother with Kindles, then you should watch this video from Sarah Houghton But I’m not going to make that argument myself. I’ve had enough with all that. Instead I’m going to tell you all the reasons that I loved working with Barnes and Noble to get our eReader lending program going with a collection of Nooks. I’m not even going to defend the collection itself (I’ll do that in another post)

First of all, this whole thing started because someone just called my library one day and offered us $4,000 from a Cable Co-Op grant for no good reason at all. They just wanted us to use the money for some kind of technology. I offered the idea of eReaders and they went for it. Not only did they go for it, but so did my administration (since they didn’t have to pay for it anyway).

Click here for Sacramento PL's Guide to Nook Lending
So, I spent about 6-7 months procrastinating and watching the eReader environment play out for a while and it didn’t look like it was going well. The Kindles/Overdrive/Amazon/Publishers debacle was killing my enthusiasm for the project. I researched what I thought was everyone’s experience with Amazon and Kindle because using those was my original intention. Buffy Hamilton told me about her experience with Amazon and so did a bunch of other librarians. They had everything from really positive experiences to really bad ones. Soon, I realized that the very bad stories started to outweigh the positive few and I was getting worried. I started to HATE this project and put it off even longer.

Finally, I found out about Sacramento Public’s Nook Lending collection at the California Library Association Conference and I spent some time watching their presentations and talking to the Barnes and Noble reps that were there. They were enthusiastic to work with libraries and librarians to put these collections together. They had ideas and wanted to share them. They spoke candidly and told me all of their concerns with the pressure from publishers and what I should expect in the future.

A couple of weeks later I called my local Barnes and Noble and I got exactly the same treatment! I couldn’t believe it! I was guided to the closest Barnes and Noble with a Community Relations Manager (CRM – Key word to me being “Community”) who then guided me through the whole process of ordering the maximum number of Nooks I could order, while balancing with gift cards for the purchasing of eBooks from the website. They are even coming to our library to give my staff a hands-on training on how to use the Nooks. They even went so far as to offer to teach classes to the public about how to use the Nooks! To say I was impressed was an unimaginable understatement. I know they’re just trying to sell more Nooks, but they won me over! Also, they bought me and the employee that I brought with me a coffee. Nothing buys a librarian’s love like free coffee.

If you want to start a Nook collection, call your local Barnes and Noble and ask to speak to a CRM (Community Relations Manager). If your experience is half of what mine was, this would make them the best vendor on the planet.

A Video Tour of the EPA Seed Library.

This is an updated video of the EPA Seed library. In this version, Nicole Wires gives a tour of the library and explains how to use it. This video also includes interviews with the builder of the library case, a seed library patron, and Kris Jenson the executive director of Collective Roots. Collective Roots is the local gardening organization that the EPA library collaborated with to create this library.

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Libraries Will Save the World (if we let them)

When I attended the Eureka! Institute we gave a presentation at the end about innovative ideas in libraries. Our group had a whole bunch of them and I presented them. The response was “it seems like your trying to save the world.” I kept my mouth shut, but what I thought was “Well… Yeah, we are!” I mean, I am obviously biased, but the intense amount of good that a library does is why I got into librarianship in the first place. Anyway, the reason I’m writing this is that I have once again found that libraries are one of the only institutions that can save the world.

I was watching a Ted presentation by Tim Jackson called Tim Jackson’s Economic Reality Check. While I totally agree with so much of what he says and am so excited to throw away my stuff and move aboard my boat for a couple months (Henry David Thoreau) I am more impressed with his statements at the end of his presentation. These statements make it perfectly clear that libraries, once again, are going to be the savior of humanity. But only if librarians allow them to be.

Basically, it comes down to people’s ability to achieve a new kind of fulfillment beyond material goods. We need to begin to not only provide the information to allow people to fulfill the needs in their life, but we also need to provide the materials they need. After all, what good is a book if you don’t have the resources to learn from them? I’m suggesting that these materials are our collections beyond books. Things like seeds, guitars, tools, video games, and maybe even augmented reality. But, as a great man once said, “You don’t have to take my word for it.”

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