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.

Obligatory Twitter Blog Post: What Twitter has Done for Me – Thanks!

I was just thinking, as I was reading through the tweets from all you lucky librarians who are at PLA right now, that Twitter has so significantly changed my conference going, and professional experience that it deserves a little blog post tip of the hat. So while I know that there are probably a least a hundred thousand blog posts about Twitter going around the web right now, I hope that I can at least share my experience and what benefits it has brought for me.

Good times
First and foremost, I tweet therefore I have a good time. While at the first couple of ALAs, CLAs, and various other LAs in my pre-twitter life, I found that I had no idea where the fun and exciting people were. I didn’t know what was going on where, who I should be hanging out with and of course I had no idea where to go for all the after conference fun. So, I got an iPhone, started to tweet to find other librarians, built up a network of folks who seemed to be having a good time at the conferences and then I basically stalked them and followed them (in real life) to where the good times were being had. Every conference that I have been to since then has been amazingly fun and exciting and I’m surrounded by good people who are excited about the profession and having a good time.

Running for ALA council
At ALA midwinter this year I was following the council twitterers and on a break decided to peak into the Council Sessions to see what was going on. I had never seen a council session and embarrassingly had no idea what council was responsible for or what they did. It turns out… They’re responsible for lots of really interesting things that are directly responsible for what I am passionate about in librarianship. These people were basically deciding what my professional experience was going to be like. I don’t like other people telling me this and at the unmerciless hands of @awd, @infowidget and @tadawes I was gently encouraged to run for ALA councilor-at-large. So vote for me.

Beer and burgers with John Berry
I cannot even begin to describe this experience here. But have to say that it was all because of fellow twitterers @natenatenate
@phromberg, @hadro,
and @gcaserotti.

You can read about that whole night at this blog post .

Right places
As I mentioned earlier, following the twitter feed has allowed me to continuously be at the right places at the right times at conferences. By seeing what sessions that the most interesting tweets are coming from, I can make adjustments in my schedule. I even found that before a good session begins there is a flurry of posts in excitement. I haven’t had to sit in a dull or boring session since.

Besides the sessions, I have been to amazing pre-conferences, un-conferences, and conference socials as well as the amazingly fun Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and after dinner tweet-ups. This has been a cornucopia of meeting new librarians who I have become friends with and who I am excited to work with. I have met so many amazing librarians that I can’t list them here, but I’ll give you a start-
@jaimebc ,

You should check out who I’m following and you can find them all!

My career
One of the great things about this profession is how much we are all willing to help each other. I have found out about jobs that others have wanted and sent them on, and I have had people send some to me via Twitter. I have gotten all kinds of managerial tips from twitterers like @ pat2pattern and from many others.

I think this might be my favorite aspect of the twit-o-sphere. It seems like whenever someone has a good idea, they put it out to the rest of us and we can discuss, debate, and sometimes argue over various points that we might disagree or agree on. For example, we discussed police and library funding and it spurred @amandamcneil to write a great blog post response. And I think that’s the way it’s supposed to work sometimes when 140 characters just isn’t enough. So it’s become a great whiteboard where people write their ideas to share and can disagree and then take the debate off twitter to their blogs.

Hey someone reads my blog posts now! That’s a pretty nice feeling. But I also get an announcement whenever other people write their blog posts or when someone new starts blogging who I didn’t know about before and it’s always nice to read a new blogger.

For the future
I won’t say what’s coming for the ALA Annual in 2010 but you should be checking out in the coming months for details and other awesomeness. I absolutely acknowledge @justinlibrarian and @librarianjp for their great efforts in making ALA Annual something to really look forward to.

So what should you do? I would suggest that you get in on the dialogue and make your twitter account. It might take a while to make it fun, and the first couple of tweets while be boring and pointless but the effort is absolutely worth it and it pays off in the end. So, please join your potentially new friends in making Librarianship even more awesome and don’t forget to let me know when you join us so I can follow you!