30. August 2013 · Comments Off on Online Resource to Save Miami Dade Libraries · Categories: Uncategorized

I just got a comment regarding the article I posted yesterday pertaining to the library budget cutting situation in Miami-Dade and was made aware of an online resource that can be used to assist the Miami-Dade library system. Feel free to take a look at

“Save the Miami-Dade Public Libraries” FB page


This should be a helpful resource for those who want to advocate for the Miami Dade public library system.

I am not sure if everyone has been following the huge budget battle that has put the Miami Dade County Public Library system on the cutting board. There was a great article by Gary Price (August 24) that is up on the Library Journal’s website. See http://www.infodocket.com/2013/08/24/miami-dade-county-will-no-longer-close-any-public-libraries-but-169-librarian-jobs-will-be-cut/ for the article.  The upside to all this is that the library system will be able to keep all its library branches in operation. The downside of this is that 169 librarians could lose their jobs and the library branches will only be open for three quarters of the time that they would normally be open. The library community will have to keep an eye on this. Price asserts that the library community has not been effective in advocating for its vital missions. Below I am placing the text that Price wrote.

“Is a public or school library really a public or school library without professionals building collections (print and ebooks for adults and children), selecting electronic services (from research databases to 3D scanners), training library users (e.g. digital literacy, web search), etc.?


As we pointed out a few weeks ago on infoDOCKET, the library community has done a poor job of explaining what librarians do (both in and out of the library facility) and why they are more valuable today than ever before.

We must do a better job marketing ourselves and promoting our skills and abilities and demonstrating (this is key) why they are important. If we don’t do this no one else will. This needs to be done in a community wide-effort (regardless of library type) but also by each one of us, individually, with those we come in contact with including both friends and family.”

Sadly Price also points to the cutting of school librarian positions in Harrisburg and New York City as signs of what comes when no successful advocacy takes place.

08. August 2013 · Comments Off on NY Times article on Libraries and Hotels · Categories: Uncategorized

I recently saw a great article in the New York Times about how the hotel industry is creating libraries within their hotels as a way to attract/retain guests and to increase overall sales. The article by Amy Zipkin entitled, “Hotels Add Libraries as Amenity to Keep Guests Inside” is from the July 29, 2013 B4 edition of the New York Times. See http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/30/business/hotels-add-libraries-as-amenity-to-keep-guests-inside.html?emc=eta1&_r=0 for details.

For me the article is a wonderful response to those that question the value of libraries in our digital age. One of the interesting partnerships that is developing is the business relationship between bookstores and the hotel chains. As noted in the article, “The Strand bookstore in New York, for example, sells books to the Library Hotel and the Study at Yale, as well as to hotels in Dallas, Houston, New Orleans, and Philadelphia, among others. Jenny McKibben, who coordinates the store’s corporate accounts, estimates that 60 percent of corporate business stems from hotels or design firms working for hotels. Before the recession, she said, 15 to 20 hotels a year would call to order books. Now, with increased guest interest and newer technology that allows hotels to review pictures and title lists, the number of hotels ordering has increased to about 40 annually. “It’s a new luxury item,” she said of books.”

The reason the hotel industry is creating these libraries is because the hotel library encourages guests to be comfortable with staying in the hotel as opposed to traveling outside the hotel. By staying within the hotel, the odds increase that the guest is likely to purchase items directly from the hotel instead of going outside the hotel to make these purchases. The obvious purchases that come to mind are food and beverages. As the article indicates hotel restaurants and bars stand to benefit by being located close to the hotel library. One example that Zipkin highlights, is the June 2013 renovation of the Hyatt Magnificent Mile in Chicago that includes a bar stocked with books and magazines and a small number of computers. Other examples of hotels that have created libraries include, the “Renaissance Washington, D.C., Downtown Hotel which has books about presidents and sports; the Newport Regency Beach Hyatt; and the Boston Marriott Long Wharf, where books about the Boston Celtics, fishing and baseball are popular.”

It will be interesting to see how this concept evolves over time. Should we anticipate the hotels hiring library acquisition staff to help select books for the collection? Should we see a definitive rise in sales within hotel restaurants and bars? We will have to see.

07. August 2013 · Comments Off on Fortune Article about Amazon vs. Your Public Library · Categories: Uncategorized

I am not sure if you saw the great article in Fortune entitled, “Amazon vs. your public library” written by Verne Kopytoff on July 22, 2013. See http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/2013/07/22/amazon-9/ for more information.

The article highlights the fact that the public library may be a worthy competitor of Amazon in the digital book arena as people can borrow e books for free instead of paying for them. The public library would be joining Google and Apple to challenge Amazon’s digital book dominance.

The article stresses a key point in that libraries have coexisted just fine with print booksellers for many years.  Would not the library be able to function well in the digital era, coexisting with e book vendors? I believe so. The reason is that the library has shown itself to be adaptable to technological innovations and has learned how to handle the demand for e books. This trend should continue into the future with librarians continually learning new technologies in order to serve their patrons.

The real question of course is whether the same private company that created the new technology (or became the dominant distributor of the new technology) will continually create new technological innovations or oversee their distribution. One example that comes to mind is Blockbuster. Many of will recall that the company was the dominant player in the VHS tape rental business (and later the DVD rental business) during the 1990s and early 2000s. For years it seemed as if the place to go to rent a movie was Blockbuster. During this same time the public library was also facilitating the borrowing of VHS/DVDs. Eventually Blockbuster was forced to compete with a different business model created by Netflix, whereby viewers could choose their movie online from a wider selection and then mail back the movie when they were finished. The days of Blockbuster have come and gone. As we shall see the models of information provision, established by private businesses, are subject to change and competition. While private companies come and go, the library has always been able to adapt to these changes and to stand its ground.

In regards to e-books, the article notes that, “Just over three-quarters of libraries lend e-books, according to a survey last fall by the American Library Association. Even people who do not own an e-reader can often check them out from their local branch. Nearly 40% of libraries let patrons borrow Kindles, Nooks, or other similar devices, the survey found.”

Christopher Platt, director of the joint technology team for the New York and Brooklyn public libraries, stated that “Digital is not a boutique service. It’s part of the future of the library.”

Of course, as the article has mentioned, libraries have been limited by publishers in their efforts to lend e-books. Until earlier this year several major publishers refused to sell to libraries at all. The current situation is a slight improvement. As stated in the article, “Some major publishers jack up the price libraries pay for e-books compared to what they charge the public. Others make only a small number of titles available, delay their availability until weeks after the general release, or require libraries to buy another copy after lending it 26 times.”