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21.07.2014
According to a 2010 Perceptions of Libraries study from OCLC, books remain the brand of the public library.1 Simply put, when people surveyed for the study think of the public library, they think book. This broadening of the definition of book complicates one of the primary functions of the public library, which is connecting people to information, education, and enrichment (mostly in the form of books) at no direct cost to the seeker as a taxfunded public good. What happens when this primary function undergoes a dramatic shift, especially when it’s not driven by the library, but by the marketplace?
A physical book is mostly one thing––a near-perfect technology to deliver the printed word. To the consumer or library patron, an e-reader is a cool, handy device to access and read books. The shift to digital is sometimes accompanied by talk about the relevance (or perceived lack thereof) of the public library in the modern age.
As libraries, we wring our hands every time someone who should know better questions the relevance or purpose of the library. Publiclibrariesonline.org is the companion website to the bi-monthly print publication “Public Libraries,” the official magazine of the Public Library Association. PL and PLonline are the only industry publications focused entirely on public libraries and public librarians. Leave only one space after periods or other punctuation marks (unless otherwise instructed by your instructor). In the upper left-hand corner of the first page, list your name, your instructor’s name, the course, and the date. 6.    Period are placed after the parenthetical citation, however question marks, commas, and exclamation points are placed within the quotation marks followed by a period after the parenthetical citation. When a source has no known author, use a shortened title of the work instead of an author name. You can use an online citation maker, but remember that it will only work if you type the correct information in the correct places, and that you capitalize correctly.
The comparison and contrast––and ultimately the paradox––is reminiscent of a Zen koan (or saying) which is sometimes used to find a truth by juxtaposing two confounding statements. When information was mostly print, libraries developed the  methods and practices to find the good stuff and organize it in ways that makes efficient use of space and makes that good stuff easy to find.
It’s helpful to remember that when a book is an e-book, the physical form and the function become two separate things, despite the appearance that they are one. To read (access might be a better term), you need electricity, a piece of hardware (like an e-reader), an operating system, power, and connectivity. Despite the fact that a single device can hold many licensed e-books, the devices can be costly compared to physical books. To the vendor (including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple, and others) an e-reader is primarily a personal, mobile storefront for their wares (just try configuring your new e-reader without setting up an account and sharing your billing information––you won’t get far).
Libraries are reporting astronomical increases in e-book checkouts (reflecting the commercial marketplace, patrons are showing love for library e-books), but when we look closer the numbers appear to be much like an increasingly growing fish in a tiny pond.
The attack isn’t?necessarily new, but if books (including ebooks) are our brand, and if we can’t get books in the same manner as we can now, for the first time ever the critics have some credible fuel for their fire.
When OverDrive announced future support for Amazon’s Kindle e-reader in spring of 2011, CNET Senior Technology Editor Brian Cooley seemed surprised that libraries were needed at all.3 In fall 2011, comedian and political commentator Bill Maher (in an interchange with Penn Jillette) said “We have the Internet.


With access to e-books, music, spoken word, movies, television shows, specialized (and educational) apps, the Internet, and more, I had a terrible, horrible thought.
When Cooley and Maher question libraries, the part of me not getting miffed begins to really understand how they might feel that way.
In practice, in our rapidly changing world, our purpose must transcend any format that information comes in. Books are our current brand, but in a world that is shifting to electronic forms, and to fulfill our public good role, our brand needs to change.
Al Franken to Introduce Net Neutrality Bill,” YouTube video, 1:54, posted on Save the Internet, accessed Jan. Indent the first line of a paragraph one half-inch (five spaces or press tab once) from the left margin.
Don’t underline your title or put it in quotation marks; write the title in Title Case, not in all capital letters. Remember to put quotation marks around the sentence(s) to remind you later that it is a direct quotation. Start the quotation on a new line, with the entire quote indented one inch from the left margin; maintain double-spacing.
Place the title in quotation marks if it’s a short work, or italicize it if it’s a longer work. Use italics instead of underlining for titles of larger works (books, journals, newspapers, whole websites, movies, album titles). In order to post comments, please make sure JavaScript and Cookies are enabled, and reload the page. In 2010, 75 percent of Americans associated libraries with books, up from 69 percent in 2005.2 The study also points out that e-books are books. And like a koan, exploring the paradox can be helpful in determining the truth about e-books, and the public library’s new role in this rapidly shifting world of content where, for the sake of profit, form and function appear intermingled but are really separate things. Working with the simplicity of a single physical format, libraries created a fairly complex and effective structure to select, collect, curate, and distribute physical materials. Since they are designed with a single user in mind they can be troublesome to configure in a multi-user environment.
It’s in this way that the physical form (e-reader) and content (e-book) can appear as a single thing––but the relationship between the two is created to help a company prosper in the market.
E-books are really nothing like physical books, and the tools we have are not adequate to deal with them.
Sales of e-books from vendors such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble are beginning to outstrip the sales of physical books. Libraries literally have less than a handful of viable options to lease, buy, or facilitate e-books for patrons.
Bless you OverDrive, 3M, Net Library, and libraries like Douglas County (Colo.) Libraries and others who have waded through the murky licensing waters to make it possible––at all––for libraries to obtain e-books to lend to patrons. I could pat myself on the back for taking an enlightened approach to the conflict, but it really doesn’t make me feel any better. For a moment, consider the (terrible, horrible) possibility that libraries are not able to get physical books like we have in the past, and that the majority of adult titles shift to digital.


I would love our brand to be “access to the resources and tools in an ever-changing world.” That means access to e-everything, including the tools and training needed for content creation, and in physical spaces.
Our organized efforts, from adhoc groups to professional associations, are feeling the strain. If you copy and paste phrases from an article, you should put quotation marks around what you copied to remind yourself that it’s a direct quote.
Only indent the first line of the quotation by a half inch if you are citing multiple paragraphs. The book remains unchanged for its entire lifecycle, which for many libraries is a fairly long time. The content pretty much stays the same, but the hardware (with its ongoing obsolescence cycle) runs in and out of our lives at a brisk pace. Add to it that only certain titles are available on certain platforms, circulating e-readers in a public library starts becoming complex quickly. At the same time, librarians and techs know that current e-book solutions are mostly difficult for patrons to use. What if we still only have less than a handful of imperfect choices to lease and loan to patrons. By the time the membership understands the nature of the problem, the problem itself has sometimes changed. I think the conversations can be two separate ones: How awesome are the in-person interactions we can offer that Amazon can’t? While the creative process to make a good book will always require a substantial investment of blood, sweat, and tears, the storage and distribution of e-books takes relatively tiny resources in comparison to physical materials. In stark contrast to physical materials, it’s often easier to purchase an e-book than it is to borrow one from the library.
I also know that there is a unique value in how the library removes commerce from the equation –– no direct dollars change hands for the information. Al Franken, in his campaign against net-neutrality legislation, spoke to a group of techs at the annual South by Southwest Interactive conference and urged them to use the Internet to save the Internet.5 In that same manner, I believe we can save libraries with libraries––but only if we know where we’ve been, what’s  happening now, and how to retool libraries to take them where we want them to go. If your quote is more than 4 lines long, you must indent the entire quote three times.  The quote is still double spaced. For example:Jenkins discusses the advantages to of fine arts in schools as a “method to teach children to thing critically and creatively”(qtd. This is about how market forces could, perhaps unknowingly and without malice, wipe out the public good served by libraries. Further, libraries buy (and own) physical materials and loan them to people, with few restrictions.
The writing has been on the wall for some time, but now it’s in indelible ink: Electronic publishing is here to stay. I recently had my own mini-crisis considering the relevance of the library, thanks to a bright shiny technology object with a black apple on the back of the case.



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