Rediscover: Minnesota History

January 6, 2013

…AND 6 months later I update my *almost* forgotten blog…

My New Year Resolution for 2013 is…

Rediscover Minnesota History

Last year I challenged myself to read the digital format of a book instead of the print version. I am happy to say that I did do this, but it was difficult. I struggled to be on the waiting list at the library when I had the print copy sitting on the shelf of the library where I work. I also struggled not to BUY the eBook version if it wasn’t available through the library eMedia catalog. In 2012 I read 125 books. Here’s the breakdown:

  • 18  eBooks
  • 19 audiobooks
  • 17 comix (comics, graphic novels, illustrated novels, etc.)
  • 71 books in print


So, how am I going to rediscover Minnesota History this year? I say ‘rediscover’ because I took an entire year of Minnesota History in 6th grade (which was a long time ago).
Here are some of my ideas: Read the rest of this entry »


Update #2: eBook Challenge

June 5, 2012

Another quick update of my personal challenge to read books using the eBook format instead of the print format. Here’s the original challenge and the first update. I’ve read 57 books this year.

14 ebooks
13 audiobooks (either on CD or downloaded from the eMedia collection)
30 print books

You can find a list of the titles of books I’ve read on my Goodreads profile.

I’ve observed something interesting while reading using my Kindle in public. Instead of being asked if I like the book I’m reading or what the book is about (like when I’m reading in print), I get asked about the act of using my Kindle.

Do you like reading on that? What is it? Does it have games? Don’t you miss reading paper books? Which eReader should I get?

I am never asked about what I’m reading while I’m reading using my Kindle. I miss having those sorts of conversations, but I think we lose the conversation-starter of the cover of a book when we use eReaders. I know some people don’t like to talk about what they’re reading, but I love to! I’m not sure how we’ll move that conversation to eReaders because we live in such a visually-focused society.

In another attempt to be eReader-friendly at the library, I’ve eliminated the Summer Reading Program requirement to mark your minutes on a bookmark. We are using a different reading record instead. My hopes are that we’ll not only save paper at the library, but we aren’t limiting our readers by format by giving them a bookmark. We encourage them to read/listen to audiobooks, use their eReaders and also pick up newspapers and magazines.

Update #1: eBook Challenge

April 11, 2012

As promised, here’s a quick update on my reading during the past 3 months. I’ve read 27 books so far this year:

6 ebooks
7 audiobooks (either on CD or downloaded from the eMedia collection)
14 print books

You can find a list of the titles of books I’ve read on my Goodreads profile.

I honestly cannot make any excuses for my reading of 14 print books  so far this year. When I work in a library packed with print books each and every day, it is difficult for me not to pick something up and bring it home. It seems natural. I love browsing and finding a treasure. Because I don’t have my face stuck to a computer screen all day, I don’t find myself browsing the e-Media catalog as often as I did when I was taking classes. With that being said, I searched for ALL (except for one) of the print book titles I’ve read in the e-Media catalog and didn’t find them.

Next week I’m going on vacation to Texas and I promised myself (and my husband) that I’d only bring my Kindle. I purchased 4 ebooks I need to read for the annual Battle of the Books competition for teens this summer. I also received a notice that The Help is FINALLY (honestly I’ve been on hold since December 2011) available for me through the e-Media catalog.

I’ll have plenty to keep me eBusy next week!

A librarian’s answer: Which ereader should I buy? #libday7

July 28, 2011

Yesterday I spent a good portion of my day talking to several people about ereaders and ebooks. I had people call the library to ask, text message me, catch me in the library and also outside of the library. Ereaders are a hot topic in Winnebago!

The biggest question: Which ereader should I buy?

My answer: I’m a librarian. I can’t tell you which one to buy, but I can tell you what I know about different ereaders, and then I can answer your questions by finding out more information. And I’m ever-so-excited to hear your interest in ebooks at the library!

And here’s what I told them: It really depends on how you’re going to use it. If you already buy books from Amazon or Barnes and Noble, you might want their ereaders. If you want to check out books from the library, you’d love the iPad’s Overdrive for Libraries app which allows you to download ebooks from the library wirelessly. If you are concerned about tired eyes, dry eyes, glare, etc. from reading off of a screen, you might want to look at e-ink technology and the e-ink-friendly-ereaders (Kindle, NOOK original and new, some knockoffs).

I have an Apple iPod touch and have downloaded the NOOK and Kindle apps to my device to just try them out. I received emails from both Barnes and Noble and Amazon yesterday that said Apple had removed the ability to purchase books from the apps. While I think this is absolutely absurd and somewhat misleading on Apple’s part, I also understand why they made this decision. They want to make money.

Just like the NOOK and Kindle will never have “check out from a library” options because the companies want you to buy their books, Apple wants you to buy ebooks from their store – iBooks.

What it comes down is money. Apple, Amazon and Barnes and Noble want to make money. While I can’t tell my patrons which company to give their money to, I can tell them how much I value something I’ll USE rather than something that’s COOL. That’s why it’s important to be informed about the different options of ereaders – and that’s what I’m going to advocate for at the library.

Of course, if a patron asks me which ereader I would buy, I’d gladly tell them I want the new NOOK and then explain my reasoning:
(1) e-ink technology
(2) battery life
(3) I was able to try it out at the store
(4) library-lending-friendly (as much as it can be)
(5) touchscreen!! (albeit a bit slower reactions than my brain is used to…)

I honestly believe there’s nothing wrong with sharing my opinion, but I do want to give the patron the opportunity to get as much unbiased information from me as they can before my gadget-envy-techno-lust-librarian-side shows too strongly.


eBooks at Muir Library

May 31, 2011

This past week has been interesting for me for a couple of reasons:

  1. A book I have wanted to read for several months appeared on my desk: No Shelf Required: E-Books in Libraries by Sue Polanka and friends.I’ve been interested in ebooks for years and a few months ago bought a NOOKcolor and love(d) it and then learned how to borrow books from Seattle Public Library and read/listen to them. It was heaven. It really was. When this book crossed my desk at work in February, I wanted to pick it up and read it. I wanted to know what other “librarians” were thinking about ebooks. We see a lot of what publishers say and what patrons say, but librarians (with the exception of the HarperCollins fiasco) have been relatively quiet and shy when asked about ebooks.

    So, I’ve been reading the book and finding that (of course)it  is an interesting, frustrating and an overall thoughtful read. And here’s why:

  2. This week, Muir Library (where I am the library director) went live with our Overdrive collection. The contract with Overdrive happened before I had the job, so I still don’t have all the specifics, but from what I understand, the library system (Traverse des Sioux) got a grant that will pay for the system to have a contract with Overdrive for the first year and then the individual libraries will have to pay annually.There were a couple of training sessions (before I was hired) for using ebooks and we have also been told we will receive ereaders to train our employees, but we are live with the program as of now. This means many staff people are going to be learning as the patrons learn and unfortunately that means that some of those younger, digital natives are going to catch on quicker than the digital immigrants who work at the library. No – I take that back – that is not unfortunate – that is an opportunity to recruit help from the younger people (like myself). I will say that I am QUITE impressed that Traverse des Sioux is up to the challenge of ebooks and that they’re jumping ahead and learning as they go. There are going to be challenges, but there will also be great rewards for the staff and patrons in this area.

In the introduction of No Shelf Required, it talks about how libraries have been interacting with ebooks for years and how it is expected that libraries have ebook content for patrons. I highly doubt this was the case when the book was written. Not only do many of the rural library patrons not know about ebooks (or, frankly, care about them), but they also don’t know how to use a computer and cannot fathom the idea of using one to read a book. I feel like there were some severe generalizations made in the book and while it covers different realms of libraries (school, public, academic, etc.), it doesn’t recognize the differences in the ways of accessible technology in different libraries.

I appreciate the way the “acquiring ebooks” chapter is written for different points of view. This is helpful when explaining the ins and outs of ebooks and purchasing to someone who hasn’t done it before. But, on the other hand, I think this can/will/already is changing quickly and because this book is static, it will soon be out of date. It’s an absolutely great start to guiding someone along the way of learning about ebooks in the library – in fact, I think I may suggest that my staff read it as we start this busy time of troubleshooting ebooks at Muir Library.

I’ll write more when I finish the book, but that’s what I have right now!

Oh – and – I sincerely think it is SILLY to have bookmarks with the directions for how to download ebooks to your ereader. DUH – people aren’t using paper bookmarks if they’re reading ebooks! *sigh*

Goodreads App – now available!

May 27, 2011

I discovered last week that Goodreads has an app for Android AND NOOKcolor! YAHOO!

So excited. I love using Goodreads and it’s so much easier to update and mark my to-read books when I have access to it constantly (on my phone or nook). Great step for Goodreads and for those of us who are reading ebooks now!

In other news… have you seen the new NOOK?! I’m having gadget envy again. I love my NOOKcolor, but I definitely think this new NOOK is a good step for Barnes and Noble because (1) it has the e-ink feature which people appreciate because it’s easy on eyes (2) it is touchscreen and (3) it’s connected – meaning the reader will be able to connect to other readers via apps (Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, NOOK friends).

Amazon’s Kindle is getting a library card

April 20, 2011

So it’s all over the news — Amazon is partnering with OverDrive to bring the library lending feature to the Kindle and its users. FINALLY. Hello!!! I know that Amazon is trying to SELL the Kindle and SELL books, but it shouldn’t have taken this long to make library lending an option… (says the librarian).

I AM interested in the feature of having bookmarks and making notes in a library book and then getting those back when/if you buy the book. This is a marketing – selling tool for Amazon because they’re doing something others haven’t done – and they’re pushing for people to read the book and then buy it if they want to read it again.

A couple of questions:
1. Will people who already have a Kindle get this feature or will it just be for the newest Kindles?
2. Will a person be able to download the same book on multiple reading devices (their Kindle and their phone) at the same time?

In any event, this is wonderful news. The Muir Library will be ebook friendly in about a month and I’m delighted to tell our patrons who are interested that the Kindle is now supporting library lending.

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