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Digital Libraries

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Tyler Lutz (tylerlutz) | 233 comments http://www.mysanantonio.com/default/a...

This article was just written stating that San Antonio might soon be getting a bookless digital library. I'm assuming some cities might already have them. As an avid bibliophile, this makes me slightly apprehensive, but the sci-fi fan in me is rather intrigued...

Has anyone experienced these? For/against?

The future is NOW!


Kristina | 335 comments We have an ebook library in Ohio. I use it quite a bit and for the most part really love it. The only annoyance is that since it serves so many Ohio libraries-you almost must finish a book in the two weeks or you have to rejoin the waiting list to get it back, since there is almost always someone else in line for that book. Most of the time it's not an issue-but for some of the longer books(Songs of Ice and Fire, Wheel of Time, etc.) 2 weeks is just not enough :P


Rob (robzak) | 2353 comments Maryland has Overdrive for ebooks and digital audio books. It's convenient, but also sad. I think we'll lose something if/when everything is digital.

Our wait list/checkout works like Ohio apparently.


Jenny (Reading Envy) (readingenvy) | 1758 comments It depends, is it instead of or as a supplement? I'd be favor of eBook collections but considering how publishers have been pulling content out of overdrive and not allowing a lot of flexibility (and try to find a new book on Overdrive, ugh)... We aren't ready for digital replacement libraries. It also caters to the middle and upper class who can afford the tech, and public libraries are supposed to be for everyone.


David Newhall | 24 comments Our digital circulation has gone from the equivalent to that of a small community branch to surpassing all but a few of our busiest regional branches in only two years. Large print titles are no longer available from publishers due to the superiority of ereaders for those with impaired vision. And we are hearing from our collection development people that they expect some new titles will be offered only in digital format in the near future. I am a circulation manager, not a librarian. My staff and I do nothing but get dead tree reading material and audiobook CDs into patrons' hands and keep it all organized. I see no possible future for libraries where my department still exists. My system has already created a hybrid circulation/information position. We are already reinventing ourself.


Geohueb | 1 comments King County in Washington uses Overdrive and I really enjoy using it. It is very rare that I pick up a paper book. That being said there are always loads of kids reading books. That will be a loss


Tyler Lutz (tylerlutz) | 233 comments Jenny wrote: "It depends, is it instead of or as a supplement? I'd be favor of eBook collections but considering how publishers have been pulling content out of overdrive and not allowing a lot of flexibility (a..."

This would be a County funded operation and have nothing to do with our city's library system, which I don't understand. We have overdrive and offer ebooks and eaudio books, as well as ereader clinics which are wildly popular. I feel like we are already doing a great job at balancing the digital with the physical, but I'm sensing some sort of nasty politics are going to get in the way of this new digital lirbary and our city library system cohabitating the same districts.


Dawn (DawnV) | 92 comments It is tough to imagine a vitural library but Library of Congress is steadily moving in that direction so I guess it is possible.

Like Rob said we have overdrive in MD and I agree the wait time sucks but because it is an addition too I really like it. For the most part what you get as an ebook you can also get in paper but I think the audiobook selection is larger than the one in the library


message 9: by Ruth (last edited Jan 14, 2013 02:12AM) (new)

Ruth (till-tab) | 1020 comments Jenny wrote: "We aren't ready for digital replacement libraries. It also caters to the middle and upper class who can afford the tech, and public libraries are supposed to be for everyone."

I completely agree with you Jenny. I'm lucky enough to live in an area (I live in the north of England) where I have my pick of local libraries to browse (and my library card entitles me to use any library in the area). I was musing about how we are so lucky in this way given that you hear so much these days about libraries closing and my mum pointed out that this is likely to be because of the high level of unemployment, and the fact that the bulk of the jobs that are available here are low paid and part time. I feel glad that at least in this more deprived area, libraries are thriving.

That said, these days it is becoming more and more unusual for even those with little money to be without some sort of computing device, since such things are all but essential to our daily lives. A lot of jobs, for example, are only advertised online, leaving jobseekers without easy access to the internet at a great disadvantage. Every library I've been into has computers available to fill this need for the most deprived of us, and my local libraries have been building a good collection of digital media as well as physical books, dvd's, cd's etc. I think this combination is wonderful, and that, so far, they are striking the perfect balance. I hope it lasts.


Joe Informatico (joeinformatico) | 656 comments I also have to agree with Jenny. As long as the publishers either deny ebooks to libraries or place such restrictive conditions on their purchase as to make them economically unfeasible, we're a long, long way off from the bookless public library.


Dara (geekdara) | 959 comments It seems that my library has something like this. I'll have to look into it. It's a good idea to hybridize libraries. Have both an ebook library and a dead tree library too.


Kathryn Handel | 123 comments My local library also has a digital library that it shares with the rest of my county. It's called Live-brary and with it my local library and all the other libraries in Suffolk County, NY share a pretty decently sized ebook library. It doesn't seem to have a negative effect on the physical library itself and it makes it possible for me and anyone else in my county to take out ebooks online at any time of day or night. And there's a much larger selection than if my library didn't share with others.

It won't replace the feeling of walking into a library and perusing the stacks. It won't erase all those memories of spending hours in a library when I was a kid, but having an online ebook library is incredibly convenient and adds accessability.


message 13: by Paul Reed (last edited Jan 14, 2013 11:58AM) (new)

Paul Reed | 26 comments A couple of points on ebooks being mainly for those who can afford the tech. Firstly, Txtr Beagle is an ebook reader due out soon which will retail for just £8; affordable for most pockets. Secondly, some libraries (mine included) allow you to borrow an ebook reader for free. So nobody should be excluded.


Israel | 63 comments Other Paul wrote: "A couple of points on ebooks being mainly for those who can afford the tech. Firstly, Txtr Beagle is an ebook reader due out soon which will retail for just £8; affordable for most pockets. Secondl..."

Seconded. I know of at least two library systems in the Denver area that lend out eReaders. I would be surprised if there are not more as libraries have a long history of lending out equipment like VCRs and DVD players.


Jenny (Reading Envy) (readingenvy) | 1758 comments Loaning eReaders has a few different issues though. We've done that a bit in my academic library, but have to wipe them when they return, since you purchase books with APple IDs, etc. Another model would be to only put certain books on certain devices. Licensing of downloadable eBooks does not allow for widespread "distribution," so I guess it would be workable if they were only used to download eBooks from library products (Baker & Taylor, Overdrive, EBL, etc.)... but most people want to read new books and these vendors are not always including that content.

Generally, eReaders are meant for individual users, and sharing them creates a lot of work on the library end. We would probably go back in time and not provide them if we knew then what we know now, and we still never have enough for demand (but adding more would create too much work.)


Nathan (Tenebrous) | 263 comments Jenny wrote: "It also caters to the middle and upper class who can afford the tech, and public libraries are supposed to be for everyone."

The class issue is spot on.


Roxanne | 8 comments I have not experienced a digital library, but I am for them. As long as everyone has access to an e-reader they are definitely the future. I love the feel and smell of hardback books, but I understand if they go the way of records and are only sought out by collectors. It's probably much cheaper to maintain a digital collection too.


Adrian Pienaru (adi_pie) | 124 comments The new National Library over here in Bucharest has physical books and reading areas, but they also let you get ebooks on usb sticks/memory cards, as well as lend out e-readers. Then again the National Library has been digitizing books for almost 10 years now, so they have to get some use out of all that effort.
The thing that I love most about them though, is that they let you check out audiobooks.


Mapleson | 94 comments Toronto Public Library is very extensive with 100 branches, 2 bookmobiles, 6 dial-a-books (audiobooks over the phone), and 12 ebook services including OverDrive. I think libraries serve a variety of community needs that purely digitial distribution can't replicate (most specifically free internet access). That said, it does make a very nice complimentary service to on-the-ground installations.


Docxen | 19 comments I really enjoy the online library overdrive. If you need more time check the settings. Our library lets you change how long you keep material.


Larissa Ekonoja (Livaet) | 9 comments I've used Overdrive for several years but I often have problems finding books that are not already checked out. Anyone else had that issue? I can narrow the search to available books, but there are days and weeks when there just is nothing in.

Anyway, for that reason, I have been hunting for a virtual library that you can pay to join. Has anyone heard of anything of the sort? It seems to me like a brilliant idea for prolific readers like us!


Dawn (DawnV) | 92 comments I know NYC used to allow people to buy a library subscription for $100 a year but I am not sure if they still do.

I think other states like Minnesota, Hawaii, Indiana, New Orleans has similar deals but they trick with them is you have to do it in person.


Jenny (Reading Envy) (readingenvy) | 1758 comments Larissa wrote: "Anyway, for that reason, I have been hunting for a virtual library that you can pay to join. Has anyone heard of anything of the sort? It seems to me like a brilliant idea for prolific readers like us! ..."

Where I work, we would be severely limited from offering such things because of very specific contracts with vendors, who charge based on number of FTE. I think if you're interested in that kind of thing, you should just download the Kindle app on your computer or mobile device, and either buy books or sign up for Amazon Prime, where you gain access to a limited list of books every month.


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