Partying = Library Community

Since I’ve been banned from Facebook because someone marked me as spam for sending out too many invitations to library parties. I’m going to defend myself a little bit here.

I’ve been thinking more and more about partying as a professional activity so the next few posts that I do are going to be about how partying Makes It Happen. This post is going to be about communities of Librarians.

We desperately need a more closely knit library community. One of the best things I’ve learned from JP, Allen, and the ALA Think Tank is that if you want to build a community, you have to party. Partying builds social connections, strengthens our relationships, allows us to get to know each other without a Robert’s Rules Agenda, and because partying is a positive activity, it allows us to come together in a way that meetings about budget cuts or trainings just can’t.

So, here are all the reasons we need to party to build our local communities of librarians.

The world works on Social Connections
As I get older and watch the world around me I’ve come to the realization that the only reason that some people get ahead and others don’t is because of their social connections. If you look at people who are considered great and take a step back from the person, you’ll quickly see all the people around them that help them to make it happen. Nearly everyone, from politicians, to business owners, to movie stars got their start because of the people around them. If we want to get our start and get ahead as a profession, we need connections. No man is an island, Entire of itself.

Mentorship
I’ve been involved in a bunch of mentorship organizations for libraries and usually it’s extremely difficult to be a mentor when we live hundreds or thousands of miles apart and never met. If you want to be a mentor or if you want a mentor, getting involved in a community is a great way to do that. In fact, all of my mentors have been people that I’ve partied with at conferences, gotten to know, and been a part of my community of professionals.

Advocacy
Did you know that other, more successful, professional groups who are vying for tax money have very organized local communities? The police, for example, when general fund money is being discussed, have a large group of people that they can call on locally to go to city council meetings, run from a script, and help advocate for the money. We are much more powerful in large numbers and we desperately need those numbers.

Celebrate your Profession
While this is more about the party than the community, I want to point out that having a large group of local professionals that you are friends with, that you can text or email or call when you’re feeling down about what’s going on in our profession, is so extremely helpful! I have a quite a few librarians that I can get a hold of at anytime if I want someone to help me celebrate all the amazing things we do for our citizens.

Inspiration
Have you ever run out of ideas? Don’t feel bad, that happens. But how do you get new ideas? Well, if you have a community of professionals around you, it’s easy to find out what they’re doing and get some inspiration. We are all surrounded by so many great librarians and we hardly ever get the opportunity to see what the people working in the library down the street are doing. Having a community of professionals around you that are part of other organizations really helps!

Organizational Blues
Sometimes we get stuck in a rut and we look at our own organizations through the lens of the employee who has been there for so long that we forget about the excitement. Getting out with a community of people who work in other organizations might get you to find ways to energize your own library, or it might make you realize that yours isn’t so bad after all. Either way, that’s a win!

Collaboration
One of my biggest frustrations in our profession is that we don’t collaborate enough across our organizations. For example, Cheryl Lee is a fantastic librarian who does some amazing work at a library about 2 miles away and I really want to work with her to do something awesome (I don’t know what yet). The only reason that I know that she does awesome stuff is because she is part of our small but growing local library community. If we had a better and closer community, we could potentially do more together, share costs, and just generally be more awesome.

Don’t be a Hater (a how-to guide to being happy)

So after my post about haters I promised to write a blog post about how I got off the cycle of negativity. The problem is that it took me a long time and a lot of hard work to do it (both the blog post and ending the cycle of negativity). Consequently, the blog post kept getting longer and longer and longer.

First of all though, let me tell you that I used to be a super negative person. I was easily irritated or angry and hated on a lot of folks. If you had met me about 4-5 years ago you might have noticed that it wasn’t pretty and I was fairly unhappy. So, one day I realized how I felt and I decided to do something about it. The first thing I did was read all those goofy stupid self-help books about being a better me, or finding my path to enlightenment, meditation for dummies, seven secrets for happier people, etc… and even those irritated me. But really, one day I just decided to take a more serious role in changing my perspective on everything. After I made that decision it all became easy.

If you want to know what worked for me, this is my list. Feel free to create your own.

Take responsibility
I used to work in a group home and when one of the kids acted out and retaliated against another kid or said or did something mean, they would just say, “I can’t help it, that’s just way I am.” This is one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever heard. In fact, I would argue that the only thing you can control is yourself and your emotions. You can either feel good or feel bad. It’s a choice. If you’re feeling mad or upset or anything, simply choose to feel good. It sounds stupidly easy but it’s hard at first. Keep practicing, soon you’ll get it.

Change your Inner Monologue
I think this was the hardest thing to change. It’s just so easy to hear that kid screaming in the restaurant, or have that horribly bad driver in front of you, or read that guy’s stupid comment on your blog post, and think terrible thoughts about them in a split second. It happens without even thinking. But, you can take a couple of seconds or minutes after that thought and try to realize that maybe there are other things going on in their lives, that they’re not happy, or just take a deep breath, smile and move on.

Take a Deep Breath
That leads me to taking a deep breath. This was the most valuable lesson I ever learned. I taught martial arts for about 6 years and I worked for a guy who made us all take a deep breath as we walked through the door to work. As we exhaled that breath we visualized letting go of everything that happened to us up until that point in time. As we got better at it, we learned to separate what happens at home with what happens at work. Eventually, we started doing it when we went home so we didn’t take work with us. You could basically do this anytime you go anywhere so nothing that bothers you follows you anywhere.

Wear a Reminder
I’ve always had something on my wrist. It’s usually a band of some kind and it has been a variety of things from wristbands to watches to pieces of string or a hemp bracelet. Whatever it is it’s meant to be completely symbolic. It’s just a reminder to be the person I want to be, which is a happier person. I’ve been thinking about getting it as a tattoo.

Love People
I don’t think I need to explain this. But fall in love. Fall in love a hundred times a day.

Change your Routine
My routine was really getting me down once. There were a bunch of things I did that got me irritated throughout the day. I would watch TV and the commercials would irritate me but every night I watched TV anyway. I would read the news online and the comments would irritate me, but I would read the comments anyway. It goes on and on. Anyway, stop doing the crap that makes you mad.

Make a routine
How about a new routine? I started reading things that made me happier, watching movies instead of TV, finding websites that had funnier comments, etc… This is real easy. Things like the interwebs or television or books or whatever are either super funny or they’re super irritating. The good thing is that you can choose which experience you want to have.

Morning Dance Party
Every morning, just dance. I highly recommend the Jackson 5 channel on Pandora. It’s pretty epic.

Music
In the movie Empire Records, Lucas said to Warren (I know his name isn’t Warren) “You know, someone like you needs to diminish their criminal impulses, not magnify them. Maybe some jazz or some classical.” The same holds true for everyone. If you want to diminish your negative impulses, check your music selection. Even Rob in High Fidelity asked the eternal question – “Did I listen to pop music because I was miserable? Or was I miserable because I listened to pop music?” Either way, play whatever makes you happy. I know JP Porcarro will tell you to party to some Skrillex but that’s nto for everyone either. Find what makes you happy.

Negativity Begets negativity

It gets real easy to be negative if you’re around negative haters. It’s real easy to fall back into that cycle. If you know some negative folks, drop them like the bad habit they are. This is probably the hardest thing. I was easy for me because I moved, but not everyone can be that lucky but if you need to move that is always a viable option.

Give things to people
About three years ago, Julie Strange sent me a button with a guitar on it. I don’t think I’ll ever forget that. It’s strange (no pun intended) how much the little things like that can change your perspective for the whole year. It really made me feel good for no particular reason except that someone somewhere thought about me at some point. I still have that button on my boat. Ever since then, I’ve tried to make it a point to give things to random people for no reason and that makes me happy.

Write some Letters
The old fashioned way like with a pen and paper and some stamps. You could even write a love letter if you want! Writing a letter is a great way to express yourself and the act of actually physically going to put it in the mail forces you to take note of that action. Plus a hand written physical letter means a lot more to a lot of people. They can put it on their desks or walls and think about you. They may even write back and that should make you happy too. If you write me, I might write you back!

Party Hard
Find a group of people that make you happy and party with them. You don’t need drugs or alcohol or anything but a good time. If you need some inspiration for this you need to be following Andrew W.K. and JP Porcaro online. They are always a party and a good time.

Make It Happen
The last and biggest thing that makes me happy is having a bunch of goals. I get really unhappy when I don’t have goals. I need a huge project or something to look forward to in order to keep me going. I do things like the Story Sailboat, or my Guitar Collection, getting my Captain’s License, or the Seed Library to keep me motivated. I highly recommend making some kind of list of things you want to work toward. You can even doing it socially with one of my favorite websites called bucketlist.org. It’s great! Find me there and we can share our goals.

Hating Haters who Hate and the Haters who Hate Them.

You know, I’m pretty much down for just about anything, but recently I’ve been watching some things develop which just kinda bug me. So I’m gonna hate on some folks for a second. I’m gonna hate on the haters.

We are Awesome
We work in the best damn profession in the world so get happy or get out! If its too much for you to be happy about being a librarian and enjoying all of the diverse thinking, the lovely people, the great services and programs we provide, the fine folks around us, then maybe this profession isn’t for you. I mean, I know about the budget cuts, I know about the hardships finding a job, I know about the whole eBook thing, and everything else but really… It’s still a fantastic profession so get with the program and celebrate it with me.

People will Find Out
If you’re somewhere and you’re talking shit about someone, guess what!? They will probably find out. Our profession isn’t as big as it feels sometimes. We are more connected to our fellow co-workers and all of the people around us by so many different lines of communication now that just about anyone will find out what you said about them that one time at the Elsevier Reception at ALA in 1983. If you don’t like someone or something that someone is doing then you should do what your momma taught you and not say anything at all. If you have to say something, maybe you could compliment their shoes or choice of hairstyles.

What are they saying about you?
If you’re hanging out around people who are hating on folks, please just walk away. It may offend them! But don’t worry because that’s not comparable to as much as you will be offended when you find out what they’ve been saying about you. The deal with haters is that they hate. They don’t care what they’re hating or why. While your talking to them they might be hating on that guy over there, but when they’re talking to him, can you guess who they’re hating on? Probably you. The other problem is that hating is like herpes and its contagious so don’t be around a hater without protection. Get it? Hating = Herpes and that’s bad.

Negativity begets negativity
Even if you haven’t started as a librarian yet or in the library field or your struggling to find a job, you shouldn’t let it get you down. Having interviewed way more people than I ever want to have interviewed in my life, the one thing that’s easy to spot is a hater. They’re typically someone with some negativity hanging about them. People who hate professionally are hopefully going to do badly in the profession. It’s very easy to get down on things that are going on in the profession and bring that with you wherever you go. People will be able to see this and they’ll treat you accordingly and then you’ll get to be even more of a hater because of the way people treat you and then this cycle will continue until you spiral out of control with no friends and you’ll wind up alone with thirty cats alone in your apartment at Christmas wearing the sweater you knitted for yourself while scowling at me at my presentation. Just be cool.

I’ve done it, and I’m sorry
Ok, so here is my part. I’ve been a hater about some stuff before. Especially early in my career and I regret everything I ever said that was not nice. If you know I said something, I’m sorry and you can slap me in my face next time you see me. But then I’ll buy you a beer and we’ll be friends and do awesome stuff together like picking blackberries on warm summer days under a double rainbow while riding a unicorn. (or something similar)

Luckily I figured out how to get out of that vicious cycle and I’m going to share that with you in my next blog post. But you’ll have to wait until then.

How to be Awesome at Going to Library Conferences

I’m sitting here at the New Jersey Library Conference (fist pumping) and I was thinking about how much my conference experiences have improved the last couple of years. I also saw a bunch of recent tweets about newbies going to ALA. So, I thought I would share my own experiences about what makes an awesome conference experience. This is going to be ALA heavy since it’s coming up, but everything here can be adapted to your local conferences as well. So, here they are in no particular order-

Get involved
This is probably the most important. ALA is all about involvement. The greater part of the organization is run by volunteers. There are a bunch of ways to get involved in it but if it’s your first time to ALA I would recommend going to the ALA Scheduler and taking a look at what isScheduled for New Members at the conference. They can give a bunch of good information about what kinds of things you can do to be involved. There are a bunch of committees, roundtables, interest groups, etc… that are looking for interns or people to just help them out with whatever they might need. The best thing you can ever do is ask “How can I help.”

Bonus Tip– I also recommend running for ALA Council for the bitching rights but that happens in Midwinter. For Annual you can sit in a Council meeting and see what happens there. I’ll be there so don’t be afraid to come up and say hi!

Meet Everyone
My favorite thing to do at ALA is meet people. The people that we work with in the profession are absolutely amazing! There are so many great people doing such fantastic things that I love to talk to as many people as I can about whatever they’re passionate about at the moment. I actually learn far more from these conversations than I do at a lot of the programs and I also have a large network of friends and mentors that I can rely on for whatever questions I might have or inspiration that I might need. The biggest problem is remembering everyone’s name (hi Veronica!) but that’s something that I’m working on.

Be social
Just as a step beyond meeting everyone, it’s very important that you practice your social skills at ALA. This was the hardest thing for me to learn because I was a pretty intense introvert for most of my life but it’s something I’ve worked to get over while at conferences especially. Remember, this is the largest gathering of people in your profession in the world and you should be taking advantage. This isn’t the time to hide in your hotel room, eat or drink alone, or otherwise have any kind of anti-social tic whatsoever. So don’t be shy. If you’re eating lunch, ask strangers to join you, if you’re in an elevator talk to the people around you, if you go to a program talk to be people sitting next to you, and if you hear about a meetup or tweetup or dance party then you should go! You can find out about many of these opportunities on Twitter or on the conference scheduler.

Find a group
This is probably the hardest part and the one thing that made ALA better for me. When you’re out and about and being social you should try to get in with a group of people that you think you might like. At my first awesome ALA experience I was running around with some great folks from Reforma (I’m not even a member). After that I started meeting more and more people and now I have a really cool groups of folks that started by renting a house together for conferences instead of a hotel by myself.

Get Free Stuff
Find a totebag, put stuff in it. You can use the hashtag #alafree if you want to let other people know about it. Besides totebags and more books than you can carry there is always a ton of free food and drinks all over the conference. There is no reason to go hungry or spend money on food or drinks. Once again, you can find out a lot about where and when this happens on Twitter and the Scheduler.

Dress Casualish

You will walk. You will walk A WHOLE LOT. Be prepared for that. I see a lot of folks wearing some pretty nice clothes that look like they would be a pain to wear. Wear something comfortable and especially wear comfortable shoes. If you want to get an idea about what to wear to ALA then you should check out the Librarian Wardrobe Tumblr and see what other folks wear to conferences. Bobbi also wrote a great blog post with some tips for packing this stuff too.

Party hard
There are so many parties and opportunities to celebrate our profession and get away from all the doom and gloom and end of time prophecies that we keep hearing. You should take advantage of them. We get to work in the best damn job in the world so this is a great opportunity to celebrate that fact. Be positive, enthusiastic, fun, excited, passionate, and everything else that comes with a good party mentality.

Make It Happen
You are responsible for your ALA experience. If you think that the conference needs a dance party then make one happen, if you think it needs an unconference then make one happen, if you think it needs a QR code hunt then make one happen. There are so many opportunities to make something happen that you want to see at ALA that it’s ridiculous. So I’m telling you, don’t complain about there not being something that you want there (I won’t listen), you can make that something happen if you really want it.

NJLA Preconference Presentation Materials

Here are my materials from the 2012 New Jersey Library Conference Pre-Conference in Atlantic City. I was going to write more about the presentation itself but then I figured you probably should have just gone to if you want it all anyway. Here is the description of the presentation from the Conference Scheduler-

“Join Patrick Sweeney of East Palo Alto California Public Library and the Great Library Roadshow as he presents some of the exciting innovations in librarianship across the country.

He’ll share ideas on topics such as non-traditional library collections, community-oriented programming, team building, and patron-driven local knowledge creation. Employing open-space technology, you’ll then have the opportunity to share your own ideas and gain knowledge from other attendees in a discussion-driven Unconference session.”

Andrew W.K. Party Hard Video.

I took photos of everyone’s notes from the session and made this video from the collective notes for anyone who wasn’t there. I think this is a cool way to farm the collective knowledge and takeaways of the session from the community of participants.

Two Awesome Internet Things that Libraries Should be a Part of

Last week I took a good look at two different websites that I think could help libraries out quite a bit. Take a look and tell me how you feel about it.

LoudSauce
Is a crowdfunded media buying platform that lets people spread the word about things that they think matter. They’re vision is “to transform the medium of advertising from one that primarily drives consumption to one of civic participation. What if we had more power to shape which messages were promoted on our streets? What if our billboards inspired us toward a future we actually wanted?”

Basically, this is just like the Kickstarter website that I’ve written about except for advertising through various multi-media things billboards, radio commercials, televison ads, etc… Since, I know that libraries spend almost nothing on advertising everything awesome that we provide, this could be an amazing way to promote our stuff! All you have to do is put together a campaign, let your friends know about it, and hopefully get them to give a couple bucks to make it happen. My big complaint here is that there is no way to search the campaigns that are going on now. I wanted to search for library campaigns but I couldn’t find any. Its a brand new website so maybe that’s coming.

LiquidSpace
“ Book last minute or plan ahead. Browse, reserve, and check in to space immediately at hip coworking venues, high-end business centers, or handy hotel lobbies or libraries. With LiquidSpace, choose a better space for what you need to do now.”

In the Silicon Valley there is a huge movement towards these kinds communally available workspaces for local start-ups and business meetings. In fact, there are some businesses that cropped up that ONLY provide a comfortable workspace and what’s worse is that people are actually paying for what libraries already offer!

Almost all libraries have rooms and workspaces available to the public for free but don’t have an efficient way to manage them. This would solve that problem since this also works as a great online room reservation system. There is a mobile app and a web version. I set it up for my libraries and it only took a couple of minutes. All you have to do is put your library or its meeting rooms on the website and people can reserve the meeting rooms, or they can find out about your library as a workspace in the community.

This Facebook Ad Campaign Might Save Your School Library

John Chrastka is a BOSS! This is a guest post from him about his campaign to get signatures on the White House Petition on School Libraries

On Wednesday, January 25th, a call went out for donations to help support a targeted advertisement via Facebook in support of the White House Petition on School Libraries. Quick creative, keywords, and copy were built about the petition and fielded to an initial audience of 3.8 million people. By 10pm that evening, 34 individual donors pledged $1,250 in support of this outreach. The initial ad targeted Facebook users people who have keywords on their profiles indicating that they were supporters of libraries, reading, and books, or were professionally involved in the library field. From 2pm CST on 1/25 through 2pm CST on 1/27, the ad was seen at least once by 255,000 people.

It quickly became apparent that the funding could be used for more targeted advertising to a wider audience. Within the first 24 hours, ALA’s Office for Library Advocacy created a special post on the I Love Libraries Facebook page to support this project. By Friday at Noon CST, five new ads with extensive, targeted keywords were fielded to the following groups out among the public: Libraries, Books and Writing, Education, Parents, and Friends of I Love Libraries Fans. A 6th group, ‘Civic Minded’, is ready to roll in case we need it. This phase of the campaign has a potential audience of 44 million people and will direct them to the special ILL page. The keywords and creative for this phase are attached and available to you open-source for future use in local, statewide and regional campaigns.

As the campaign wraps up after February 4th, a full set of statistics about the efficacy of these keywords will be available for you to benchmark your own projects.

This ad campaign is not the only thing helping this petition along nor is it the only driver. We could have $10k to spend but with our run way we need word of mouth and friends and family to help us deliver as well. We have 7 days (through Feb 4) to make it happen across the library ecosystem as we use our networks to get the word out. Help light a fire yourself by posting and sharing the petition and the I Love Libraries FAQ.

Thanks to Jaimie Hammond for her social media skills and creativity, Marci Merola at ALA OLA for her leadership on ESEA reauthorization and school libraries, and the ALATT crew for stepping up when it is needed.

Thanks to PC Sweeney for the guest post. (no John, Thank you!)

John Chrastka | jchrastka@associadirect.com | facebook.com/chrastka

The ALA Think Tank’s Partyhard Guide to #alamw12

Alright team, here it is in all its glory! The ALA Think Tank’s Party Hard Guide to ALA Midwinter 2012. Each of these links to an event in Facebook because they are not all on the official conference scheduler and they are not all Official Conference events. Some of these are just meetups and good times put together by folks who want to meet and network. The events that don’t have a link are only in the conference scheduler and for some reason the links don’t work in the scheduler. But if you want to try, here is a link to take you to all the Official Social Events at ALA.

I have a strong belief that these social events are becoming more and more important. We trade ideas, talk, celebrate our profession, network and meet people, and freely brainstorm amazing new ideas. I can’t tell you how many things have come to my career by simply talking and interacting with librarians in these social events. I have so many stories about some of the things that have happened through these events that I won’t share the details of them here, but know that most of the things I talk about on this blog were helped in some great way by the people I’ve met. So I’m not asking you, I’m telling you (especially newcomers to the field) take the time to socialize and meet everyone you can! With that in mind, here is my current list of networking and meeting opportunities at ALA Midwinter 2012.

Thursday
Pre-ALA EL & Friends Meetup
8:30pm-?
Iron Cactus Mexican Grill And Bar

Friday
Lita Happy Hour
5pm-8pm
City Tavern 1402 Main Street, Dallas, Texas

YA Lit Trivia Night FUNdraiser
8pm-10pm
Omni Hotel, Dallas Room B

Emerging Leaders Meetup
8pm-10pm
City Tavern 1402 Main Street, Dallas, Texas

Saturday
Yalsa Happy Hour
5:30-7pm
Iron Cactus

NMRT Social,
5:30pm-7:30pm
The City Tavern, in Dallas, TX

The 5th ALA MW Newbie & Veteran Librarian Tweet-up
7:30pm-10pm
Anvil Pub, 638 Elm St, dallas TX

ALA MW ’12 After-Hours Social
10pm-2am (or they kick us out)
LaGrange 2704 Elm Street, Dallas, Texas

Sunday
Hacklibschool / Library Boing Boing Meetup
7:00pm-9:00pm
Adairs Saloon 2624 Commerce St. dallas TX

Social (GLBT RT)
6:00pm-8:00pm
Dallas Public Library, J. Erik Jonsson Central Branch, 1515 Young Street, 4th Floor Gallery.

Elsevier Desert Reception
7:00pm-11:00pm
Eddie Deen’s Ranch, 944 S. Lamar St., Dallas TX

The Amazing Erica Findley even made a map! Check it out.

I’m sure there are far more being put together that I don’t know about. If you know of one, feel free to leave a comment below, email me, reach me on twitter, or Facebook, and let me know! I’ll add them to the master list.

Nooks and the Print Disabled (the elephant in the room)

I’ve been thinking about the issue of providing access to materials for the hard of sight while balancing those needs with those of the Library and the community. This stemmed from a bunch of comments on the ALA Council Listerv, some in person, and one or two on my blog. The issue is pretty serious, especially since the National Society for the Blind is threatening to sue any library that starts a Nook lending library. I have a couple of thoughts on this whole problem and of course I have some solutions that I’d love to hear your thoughts on.

First of all, let me make this one clear – On many forums I have read that libraries should offer Kindles instead of Nooks. This argument is brought up because some of the Kindle Content and the device itself at least has some features to help the sight impaired. However, this is NOT going to happen. I have a lot of issues with both Kindles and Amazon and some of their practices. They also will not work with libraries in any kind of meaningful way. They continuously change their terms of agreement and if you get one representative to give you the go ahead, you still run the risk of another saying no AFTER you buy all the Kindles. Of course Buffy Hamilton lays it all out here too. I have read way too many horrible library stories against both Amazon and Kindle to use those.

Updated – *I am having people comment that Kindles are NOT print disabled friendly, my paragraph above was in response to messages that people have sent me that said that they were and that therefore we should provide Kindles instead of Nooks. Either way, it’s not a viable solution*

There was a comment on my blog that we force Barnes and Noble to make the device navigable for the blind. I would love this to happen, however I have a doubt that it’s going to happen anytime soon, or soon enough, but I would love people to keep the pressure up so please keep that fight going!

One of my most basic (and least favorite) solutions is that most libraries offer access to the same content through a multitude of other systems that work for the sight impaired. Some of the ones that I can think of are, CD audio books, Playaways, and downloadable audio books on computers and other MP3 devices. If the same content is made available in audio version, would this be a way to ensure that we are properly serving the needs of the Hard of Sight Community? This question admittedly comes out of ignorance, and I’d love to hear people’s thoughts on this specifically.

In California we also have an amazing library that we can get a wide range of materials from for our patrons. The California State Library loans braille, cassette and digital talking books, magazines and playback equipment to Californians unable to read conventional print. I know that this solution may not be the same as the Nooks, but I think people will be able to get the resources a lot faster than they would a Nook since the waitlist for most Nook devices is crazy if Sacramento Public Library is any indication of its success.

Here is my real thought for a solution though. We could offer materials via something like an Ipod Nano. They would hold a high amount of material just like a Nook, but in audio format. If I’m reading these reports right, then I think this would be a very legitimate solution. But really, I’d like to hear people’s thoughts on this before we go out and buy them.

The library (and me), love serving all people in our community and we really strive to do just that. We are navigating a new environment and I would love to hear people’s legitimate solutions before we start running around suing each other. We are here to help each other learn and grow and we can do that together by crowdsourcing some solutions. Help me come up with some solutions team.

Libraries – Arguments for the Check-Out of eReaders.

Great post by Bobbi Newman (eReader circ would solve these issues too)
This is the post where I defend our library’s decision to Loan Nooks and make the argument that we should drop eBook circulation altogether. I know there are a bunch of reasons why people are going to argue that we shouldn’t check out eReaders and not to Drop Overdrive so I’m going to handle each of the ones that I have encountered here. (Later I’m going to argue for all the reasons why this solves all of our problems with eBooks)

We didn’t check out VCR’s why should we check out Nooks?
First, I would make the argument that maybe we should have. Then I’m going to ignore that statement, not defend it, and move on to my real argument. We check out books. The thing that we are checking though really, is not the book itself. We aren’t in the business of giving people access to cardboard and paper, that’s just the container for the information inside and it’s a container filled with information that we are checking out to our patrons. In the same way, the Nook is the container for the information in the digital age. Pre-Loaded Nooks are just a book with plastic and metal as the container instead of paper and cardboard. In contrast, a DVD Player, VCR, TV, Game Console, have no content within the devices. A pre-loaded eReader does though.

I hate eReaders, make them check out a book!
Strangely, I’ve heard this the most. We need to realize that information comes in many forms, some we love, some we hate. Personally I’m not a fan of eReaders either. But that’s not really my job. I’m not here to force people to have the same warm fuzzy experiences I had when I was child, I’m here to provide a service to my community. Specifically, I’m here to allow people to have access to information to help them become the people that they have the power to become. If they want to do it with information contained in an eReader format, that’s what I’m gonna give’em.

Nooks require a computer to upload books from Overdrive
Temporary access to digital books through a clunky program is a bad, horrible model of librarianship and luckily it’s only our first try. We can do better, and we can provide digital content through the circulation of eReaders instead of providing access through a horrible circulation model governed by publishers and a shaky (at best) product. We won’t even need Overdrive and our patron’s won’t need a computer if we just circulate pre-loaded eReaders.

People won’t come to the Library to get eReaderss
Well… I think they will. If they can check out every book on Lizards in the entire library system for their science project with one check-out, or every mystery novel written in the last ten years, or ALL of the current New York Times bestsellers with one trip to the library, then I think they will do it. Also, it solved a problem that the publishers recently whined about on a recent New York Times Article – “Ms. Hirschhorn says the reason publishers didn’t worry about lost sales from library lending of print books is that buying a book is easier — no return trip is needed to the bookstore.” Problem solved.

Anyway, those are the big four arguments that I have heard against circulating eReaders at a library. But I am 93.4% convinced that this is the model that we need to follow in the digital age. If you want hard statistical evidence of its success rate, get on the waitlist for a Nook at Sacramento Public Library. The wait for those is as long as my… Well, It’s long.