All posts by Mirela Roncevic

The State of Reading Recommendation Services in Libraries [new white paper]

Newly launched Demco, Inc. division publishes whitepaper about trends around popular library service

Madison, WI (Tuesday, April 25, 2017) – Demco Software today announced the publication of “Going the Extra Service Mile: The State of Reading Recommendation Services in Libraries,” the whitepaper that explores findings from their early 2017 survey of librarians across the globe. The newly launched division of Demco, Inc., which offers mobile apps, programming resources and management tools to 21st-century libraries, has made the paper available for free download here.

Built with input from public, academic, school and special librarians, the survey collected data from over 330 librarians about the state of reading recommendations in libraries. Among the key findings were:

  • 70% of libraries offer reading recommendations, but 91% have no formal system in place for tracking user satisfaction.
  • Overall, reading recommendations are seen as a key service by library decision makers (90%), staff (94%) and library users (41%) alike.
  • Goals for the service vary, but an overwhelming majority see them as a way to foster greater community engagement (80%) and drive discovery of resources (77%).

“Much of the data confirmed librarians’ desires to use reading recommendations to form deeper connections with their communities,” shared Mary Casey, Director of Marketing at Demco Software. “It’s clear that libraries are looking for additional ways to prove return on investment in this service. We’re excited to take this data to our development team and see what innovations they come up with to provide the assessment opportunities that librarians seek.”

The Approval Plan: A Sorting Hat That Discovers the Right Books for the Right Libraries

At a time when academic libraries are investing more time and resources experimenting with models that place user demands at the center of library acquisitions (via such models as DDA), there seems to be confusion and misunderstanding about which methods compete and why. Publishers and libraries spent a significant amount of time pitting the print book against the ebook in the early years of digital reading—at the time very few were pointing out that there was no real competition between the two formats to begin with, at least not to the extent that one should cancel out the other. Similarly, librarians have been tempted to decipher the maze of book and ebook buying models as a zero-sum game, i.e., that some models must clearly stand in opposition to others.

While it could be argued that some ebook models do, indeed, encourage ownership while others encourage access (making it easy to distinguish between purchasing and subscribing to provide access), or that some models encourage purchase of a whole book while others ask for micro-transaction payments based on use, such arguments become problematic when applied to methods of discovering and acquiring content that were intentionally designed to adapt to the changing needs of libraries over time rather than to compete with new models. Nowhere is this confusion more evident than in the case of the Approval Plan—the many decades-old method that thousands of academic libraries around the world use to discover and acquire scholarly books.

Has the Approval Plan stood the test of time, many now ask, as some libraries move away from buying to own to embrace the access-based services. Does the complex process of profiling (books and libraries), which stands at the core of Approval Plans, still make sense in the age of advanced technologies that track user activities in order to provide proof of what is needed without guess-work or prediction? Does the emphasis on thoughtful curation rather than on the immediate—and perhaps momentary—demand of the user put libraries at risk of developing collections that won’t be used? Not only has the Approval Plan stood the test of time as a highly effective book buying tool—especially with the integration of ebooks—it has evolved with libraries consistently and to the point where it may not even be appropriate anymore to consider it a ‘traditional’ method. In fact, there are more Approval Plans running in academic libraries today than ever before. How is it possible, one wonders, that a method used to support buying scholarly books for over half a century continues to adapt so well to new technologies and not appear outdated? Continue reading The Approval Plan: A Sorting Hat That Discovers the Right Books for the Right Libraries

What books are becoming [and what we may not be seeing]

This is Article 2 (following What readers want) in the “Lessons from Croatia Reads” series of articles on NSR, which aims to describe the experience of turning the country of Croatia into a Free Reading Zone in December 2016. The series is not meant to be a standard case study of all that various numbers and figures prove and don’t prove about the future of books and reading in digital format. It is an attempt to highlight the perspective that I think is missing in the publishing and library industries. The Croatia Reads project was/is meant to give all who work with books a glimpse of a future that holds so much promise for the written word. In this future things look radically different than they do today, but the possibilities are greater than they are today.


I start by responding to what I have heard publishers, librarians, and authors say for many years (especially in recent months), and what I no longer relate to as a publishing professional, passionate writer, life-long learner, and restless reader. This idea—this insistence—that books and knowledge must be protected. That there is a lot of logic behind how books are written, how they are published and distributed, and how they are curated and ‘saved’ for future generations. But is there? What if there used to be a lot more logic behind it all but that sam logic no longer applies today?

Books, I see now, do not want to be guarded or protected. They do not care to belong to any entity (human or artificial) and, in fact, do not want to belong even to those who create them (authors), claim them (publishers), and collect them (librarians). Books don’t want to be recommended and they don’t want to be judged. Like traveling souls yearning to meet a curious companion on their journey, they want to be free to reach the reader on their own terms. They want a relationship with the reader that is genuine and organic and does not involve outside forces.  And it is clear: they can only accomplish all this in digital format. Continue reading What books are becoming [and what we may not be seeing]

Not all libraries are created equal. What would the world be if they were?

According to an article I recently read in the New York Times, Merryl H. Tisch, the former chancellor of the New York State Board of Regents, and her husband, James S. Tisch, the president and chief executive of Lowes Corporation (who sits on the New York Public Library’s board of directors) will give  20 million dollars to the New York Public Library (NYPL) to “expand and strengthen its education programming, from early literacy classes to technology training.”

The article goes on to explain that owing to this gift, a new position for a director of education will be created and Tisch added that she hoped the money would help the library create more job training courses and other programs to help expose students to the library’s rich collection of resources. Christopher Platt, the chief branch library officer, is also quoted saying that, to his knowledge, “this is the first educational gift to public libraries of this scale in the country.”

Giving money—especially large amounts of money that can make a lasting impact—to support any organization and institution on a mission to promote literacy, education, and access to knowledge is admirable on every level, yet this article (and story) has left me with unsettling thoughts that I wish to share here, in hopes they are not misunderstood or taken out of context. And these are pervasive thoughts, similar to those I have often expressed on NSR in my effort to draw attention to unequal access to knowledge and books permeating our society. Continue reading Not all libraries are created equal. What would the world be if they were?

Demand-Driven Acquisitions: Do Library Patrons Get What They Need?

In the years and decades leading up to the digital revolution, academic librarians often questioned how much of the content they acquired in print really got used. Did the books they purchased in advance via approval plans and other methods get used enough to justify the cost of the library’s largely speculative buying? Were those books they bought really what library patrons needed in the first place? Then the universe of content exploded online and overnight, it seemed, an ocean of digital books became available—some for purchase, some via subscriptions, some free (e.g., Project Gutenberg). New ways of building library collections content emerged—ways that would allow librarians to gain valuable insight into patron activities and answer the decades-old question at the heart of collection development: Are libraries acquiring what patrons need?

The last few years have seen a steady proliferation of business models used for selling and acquiring ebooks by libraries, each with a unique set of benefits and challenges, but no other model has held as much promise to give patrons what they needed—at the moment they needed it—as Demand-Driven Acquisitions (DDA), also known as Patron-Driven Acquisitions (PDA). This is because at its core, DDA places the user (the patron), not the librarian or the publisher, in the driver seat. For the first time in the history of institutional book buying, patrons decide, for a portion of titles, what the library collects, leaving publishers and vendors without the predictability they enjoyed for many decades before ebooks came around.

Why were so many libraries and vendors happy to give up control at first? Hasn’t the industry invested the past two decades in the argument that quality will always trump quantity in research and that content filtered by professionals—not random users, even if they were savvy researchers—is far superior to what is freely available online? And haven’t we also argued that information literacy—the ability to find and evaluate information at hand—in and of itself needs to be taught and learned? The simple, and somewhat paradoxical, answer is: by giving up control all sides would eventually benefit. For libraries, it meant that a larger pool of titles would be immediately available for discovery—the titles they would never buy outright—and this in turn meant that the library would be able to support their patrons’ research at the point of need. For publishers, it meant incremental revenue and more revenue from the backlist that libraries either overlook or never have any intention of buying through other means. And for patrons, the ultimate beneficiaries, it meant that they would have immediate access to what they needed when they needed it, while remaining blissfully unaware that their actions were driving the buying. Continue reading Demand-Driven Acquisitions: Do Library Patrons Get What They Need?

No Shelf Required is now on Facebook

Dear NSR readers,

As our readership grows and our columnists’ views expand beyond libraries and beyond the confines of the book industry, we launched our Facebook page today to reach more readers and book professionals around the world.

As you may know, NSR has been around for almost a decade but it’s taken us a while to start a Facebook page (as if maintaining Twitter feeds over the years hasn’t been hectic enough; forgive us, there is only so much social media one can take).

Our Facebook page will include much of the content published on NSR but it will go beyond and hopefully become THE PLACE where so much insightful dialog takes place it leads us in the direction of a better future for the book — one where books and knowledge are accessible to all beyond the confines of institutions (because some of us are dreamers who believe in the power of ebooks to do that). NSR will also remain the place where we keep an eye on the present and the ever-evolving book and ebook landscape (because some of us are realists with a deep understanding of the complexities of the book and library market today).

The Facebook presence will also help us reach deeper into the communities where access to books and knowledge is limited or hardly exists. Groundbreaking initiatives that push the limits of what is possible, such as what we accomplished with Croatia Reads last year (when we turned the entire country of Croatia into an open library) remain closest to our hearts and we hope to do more of those soon.

Let’s passionately agree and respectfully disagree on the future of the book. Let’s stumble and fall. Let’s try and learn. What a privilege it is for all of us to live in such interesting times for books and the written word.

Thanks for liking us on Facebook. Thanks, especially, for following us on Twitter and subscribing to our feeds all these years. Onward and upward.

MR

De Gruyter sponsors Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB)

De Gruyter has announced that it is providing sponsorship for the Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB) to celebrate the launch of the De Gruyter Open Access Book Library on www.degruyter.com. Other sponsors include Brill, Springer, and OpenEdition. DOAB is a service of OAPEN Foundation, an international initiative dedicated to Open Access monograph publishing, based at the National Library in The Hague.

De Gruyter Open Access Book Library contains between 800 and 900 titles and is intended to draw attention to the growing number of open access books. Half of the Library contains De Gruyter’s open access books, while the other half is by publishing partners. Forty percent of the titles are in history, social sciences and philosophy, ten percent are STM books and the remaining 50 percent distributed among other humanities. Learn more about it here. Continue reading De Gruyter sponsors Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB)

Book of the Week: No Place for a Lady (Thea Rosenbaum)

In an effort to draw attention to quality self-published literature and in agreement with BlueInk Review, NSR highlights reviews published on BIR’s site each week. Books highlighted include a wide variety of fiction and nonfiction. This week’s pick:

No Place for a Lady

About Author

Thea Rosenbaum was born during World War II in Berlin, Germany. She began her career as a stockbroker for one of the most reputable global investment management firms. She left that job to become Germany’s only female war correspondent in Vietnam, catapulting her to achieve her dream job to be a journalist and serving as senior producer for ARD German television for over two decades in the United States. She is a loving mother of two children and grandmother of four grandchildren. Thea is a proud US citizen since 2013 and lives in Florida.


About BlueInk Review

BlueInk Review was founded by Patti Thorn, former books editor of the Rocky Mountain News, and Patricia Moosbrugger, literary agent and subsidiary rights specialist. It offers serious, unbiased reviews of self-published books. Reviews are penned largely by writers drawn from major mainstream publications, such as The New York Times and Washington Post, and editors of respected traditional publishing houses. Select reviews appear in Booklist magazine.

 

Digital Literacy in the “post-truth” age

Rosen’s newest and timely offering, its Digital Literacy database, is meant to empower students to be savvy digital citizens and tell fact from fiction in the ‘post-truth’ age. It includes  Interactive Project-Based Activities that guide students (in Grades 7-12) to be citizen journalists; create podcasts, social media campaigns, and more. Free trial for school libraries is available here.

In Rosen’s words:

Maintaining the gold standard set by Rosen Digital’s inaugural product, Teen Health & Wellness: Real Life, Real Answers, Digital Literacy delivers curriculum-correlated content; promotes digital literacy and 21st-century learning skills; and offers research, report, and homework help.

Developed for teen learners with their unique learning styles and sensibilities in mind, Digital Literacy features a straightforward, easy-to-navigate interface. Teen-friendly articles make digital literacy and cyber citizenship both readily comprehensible and highly engaging. Dynamic videos and relevant photos enhance and extend learning. Interactive activities prompt students to use real-world Web sites and software to create unique user-generated content including: podcasts, public service announcements, multimedia presentations, digital business plans, and dynamic articles.

Digital Literacy informs and inspires learners about key digital literacy and cyber citizenship topics including entrepreneurship and careers; communication, cyberbullying, and safety; privacy and ethics; research skills and tools for the digital age; social networking; and gaming.

Digital Literacy includes resources to support and reinforce classroom instruction. Curriculum-correlated content supports Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts (ELA), AASL Standards for the 21st-Century Learner, 2016 ISTE Standards for Students (ISTE-S), and state standards for technology. Educators will also appreciate lesson plans, assessment, extension and enrichment activities, as well as the text-to-speech feature, printable research sheets, and article-specific glossaries.

NSR is pleased to announce the upcoming “Understanding Ebooks” Workshop, in partnership with ALA

Understanding E-books: A Guide to Current Challenges and Future Possibilities Workshop

A 90-minute workshop

Thursday, May 25, 2017, 2:30 p.m. Eastern/1:30 p.m. Central/12:30 p.m. Mountain/11:30 a.m. Pacific

 

The popularity of e-books exploded with the emergence of tablets and e-readers like the Kindle and has risen steadily ever since. For librarians, this growth has meant the development of a new area of service and content delivery. For the librarian who is new to e-books and e-readers, this can be intimidating. Where do you start? How can you learn what you need to know to provide the services that your patrons expect?

In this new workshop, Mirela Roncevic, director of No Shelf Required, a well-known site on e-books and e-content in libraries and beyond, will help you get started. Roncevic will cover e-books from every angle, giving a practical overview of the e-book landscape that’s easy to follow no matter your experience working with e-books or e-book vendors. Continue reading NSR is pleased to announce the upcoming “Understanding Ebooks” Workshop, in partnership with ALA

Dear librarians, please don’t move away from enabling reading

Before I tell librarians what not to do, I begin with the basic (and necessary) background on the author of this article. I am not a librarian, but I have spent two decades of my career as an editor and writer working with librarians and serving their needs—as book review editor at Library Journal, as consultant to ebook vendors serving libraries, as editor of an ALA journal on econtent in libraries, as editor of a book series on information science, as instructor of ebooks courses for librarians via ALA, and as an ardent supporter of initiatives that have to do with books, reading, learning, and libraries, particularly those that free books for reading beyond the confines of physical institutions.

Next, I want to let you know, dear reader, who may be a librarian, that in this post I will not be naming names of organizations or individuals, embedding links, citing sources, pointing to speeches, or digging up case studies to prove my point. My goal is only this: to express a thought that’s been on my mind for a long time—a thought based on both experience and observation; a thought that, at its very core, celebrates you and your potential. Here goes that thought: Continue reading Dear librarians, please don’t move away from enabling reading

A librarian’s response to “Dear librarians, please don’t move away from enabling reading”

A librarian responded to NSR Director’s Dear librarians op-ed  with such thoughtfulness, the comment itself deserves to be published as a stand-alone post. Thank you, F Goldsmith, for taking the time to offer a perspective that deepens everyone’s understanding, especially my own. And for writing it so coherently. And for caring enough to take the time to write it so coherently. May the dialog continue. And the learning.


Comment:

It’s good to see how cultural changes look to those who are close and yet not inside the circles where goal setting, strategic objectives, and tactics are discussed. I’m glad to see this eloquent view as it opens a way to broaden understanding.

No one, least of all you, is surprised to hear that reality is ever more complex than one perspective—and a well informed perspective—on its nuances can note without some acknowledgment of other perspectives. In the case of what truly appears to be librarians abandoning the savvy reader and experienced library user to bring services into the larger community, several factors should be noted:

Continue reading A librarian’s response to “Dear librarians, please don’t move away from enabling reading”

A time for publishers and libraries to soar above tradition and fail (if they must)

Dear reader,

As you may have noticed, the focus of No Shelf Required has been shifting in recent weeks and months. What once was a blog covering ebook news in the publishing and library market has expanded into a mission-oriented portal with the purpose of not only keeping up with the vast ebook and econtent ecosystem but also of educating, enlightening, and inspiring book professionals of all walks of life (including writers, editors, publishers, librarians, developers, etc.) to recognize the power of the written word in digital format  to transform our world into a place where access to books and knowledge is open and free to all individuals regardless of their location, affiliation, or background.

We think that it is only a matter of time before books are open to the world online the way other mediums have been ‘open’ for years (think music on youtube, news and magazine articles, etc.). But ‘open’ and ‘freely available’ does not mean that there are no financial benefits for content producers and all others in the ecosystem. It means that knowledge flows to the user with minimal or no restriction, while rewarding those making it possible. And how could that ever be possible, you ask. To that we say: have we made honest efforts to make it possible before claiming it is not? Have we pushed ourselves in the direction of innovation and disruption enough to fail and learn from our failures?

NSR is here to draw attention to not only what is happening with ebooks today but, just as important, what is clearly on the horizon for our industry tomorrow, and what’s on the horizon looks a lot like what is already happening on the Internet every day: free consumption of content. This is not to say that we don’t recognize that there is a vast and growing industry of publishers and other companies (successfully) selling books and content to libraries and individual consumers. We do, of course. In many ways, every one of us who works with books belongs to that ecosystem. But we also recognize that a shift is taking place that will soon propel us to a new way of thinking about what ebooks can do for the book industry and the society in general. Continue reading A time for publishers and libraries to soar above tradition and fail (if they must)

The Best of NSR: Reading by Ear [Why audiobook listening expands, rather than derails, our access to literature]

The Best of NSRThis opinion piece introduced a series of articles [by librarian Francisca Goldsmith], discussing audiobooks as a medium through which contemporary readers are invited to explore literary culture, performance arts, and multimodal literacy capacity building. In Reading by Ear Francisca addresses why audiobook listening expands, rather than derails, our access to literature. Read full article here. See also the follow-up to this article, Just Listen, in which Francisca takes on the issue of prescribing audiobooks as a ‘print reading’ support versus listening to audiobooks as a way to build information and aesthetic experiences and critical thinking about auditory experiences in their own right.


If you are a book, library or information professional interested in contributing to NSR, please contact the Editorial Director at mirelaroncevic@gmail.com. Please include a writing sample and a brief description of the topic you wish to explore. For more on NSR’s vision, visit our About and Mission pages. To browse our opinion pieces for inspiration, visit our Ideas page.

The flawed (and outdated) art of categorizing books and knowledge

books-401896During my years as a Library Journal book review editor, I spent countless hours each week sorting through books (then physical objects only) to figure out what goes where. When I started my editorial career (in the late 1990s), book categories made a lot more sense than they did when I left the book review job in 2010. I can’t count the times I went back and forth with my Library Journal colleagues about whether a newly arrived print galley belonged in my or someone else’s “pile,” to be assigned for review.

Is it Military History or Politics? But couldn’t it also be Law & Crime? Is it Literature because it’s literary or Self-help because it’s about a writer’s spiritual journey? Is it Philosophy or Religion? And what if it’s always at least three categories combined? Questions like these were part of our daily dialog. In retrospect, my colleagues and I made educated guesses every day when assigning books for review and I have no doubt that we didn’t always make the right ones. The way we printed book reviews in the magazine corresponded to the way books were categorized in libraries. Since we were the ones instructing librarians what to buy (by category), we were essentially driving the way books would be made available to patrons in libraries. Quite a responsibility. Continue reading The flawed (and outdated) art of categorizing books and knowledge

Croatia Reads was not about Croatia [but about free access to books for all mankind]

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This is Article 3 (following What readers want and What books want) in the “Lessons from Croatia Reads” series of articles on NSR, which aims to describe the experience of turning the country of Croatia into a Free Reading Zone in December 2016.


So what exactly  happened with ebooks in Croatia in December of 2016? The first two articles in the “Lessons from Croatia Reads” series, which focused on why the project was immensely beneficial for readers and books (and the future of books), left some questions unanswered, owing largely to my affinity for describing life’s experiences (not just this one) not in a linear fashion but instead in the way in which they get stored in my memory. This often has little to do with chronology and more to do with how various lessons from the experience present themselves to  me after the fact.

The Croatia Reads project, which I founded and managed, was many things to many people who are, in one way or another, affected by books either because they write them, read them, sell them, distribute them, or manage them. In retrospect, and perhaps more than anything, Croatia Reads was an attempt to present the library of the future in all its invisible glory. And this library is able to (finally) fully democratize the written word by virtue of becoming completely invisible, thus accessible to all people, all at once. This, as I’ve written in various other posts, is the vision I have both for the industry I love and have devoted two decades of my life to and for the world, which I’ve had the privilege of experiencing through life on three continents.

The idea came to me about a year ago in the midst of a meeting I was having with my (at the time) colleagues at Total Boox, the company behind the pay-as-you-read ebook model for libraries and direct consumers. Continue reading Croatia Reads was not about Croatia [but about free access to books for all mankind]

ProQuest launches free access to its databases for researchers affected by travel ban

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Kudos to ProQuest for this.

From a ProQuest press release:

No-charge access to ProQuest databases helps individuals continue their research and learning

ProQuest has launched a program to provide no-cost access to its databases for students and researchers who have been separated from their universities and libraries because of travel bans or other immigration changes. The company has an email hotline ContinueMyResearch@proquest.com where these displaced researchers can arrange for access to the materials they need to continue their work.

“ProQuest is an open and inclusive organization that takes its role in supporting research and learning very seriously,” said Kurt Sanford, ProQuest CEO. “We’re doing whatever we can to mitigate the interruptions facing our community of students and scholars around the world.” Continue reading ProQuest launches free access to its databases for researchers affected by travel ban

Internet Archive, a nonprofit offering an overwhelming amount of free content (and triggering some copyright debates)

 

internet archive

This week’s Free Content Alert column considers the Internet Archive, and it’s a bit complex. Not that I want it to be, but it typifies DRM issues. If you bear with me, I believe you’ll find the result worthwhile.

First, the straightforward part: Internet Archive (IA)  is a true nonprofit, founded in 1996, and headquartered in San Francisco. According to a lengthy wiki on IA, its size was 15 petabytes. (A petabyte is 10 to the fifteenth power in bytes, or a million gigs.) Its stated mission is to provide “universal access to all knowledge.” The basic stats are staggering. Wiki continues,

It provides free public access to collections of digitized materials, including websites, software applications/games, music, movies/videos, moving images, and nearly three million public-domain books…In addition to its archiving function, the         Archive  is an activist organization, advocating for a free and open Internet. The Internet Archive allows the public to upload and download digital material to its data cluster, but the bulk of its data is collected automatically by its web crawlers, which work to preserve as much of the public web as possible. Its web archive, the Wayback Machine, contains over 150 billion web captures. The Archive also oversees one of the world’s largest book digitization projects. Continue reading Internet Archive, a nonprofit offering an overwhelming amount of free content (and triggering some copyright debates)

Knowledge Unlatched announces plans for 2017

 

Knowledge UnlatchedNSR (supporter of all initiatives bringing open and free access to books and knowledge), is always glad to hear from the folks at Knowledge Unlatched. They shared some news in an email yesterday. Here is an excerpt from the email and the news article on their site:

Knowledge Unlatched’s Plans for 2017

The year is already off to an exciting start as we see pledges come in from libraries all over the world who wish to support KU Select 2016; our HSS e-book collection featuring books from 54 publishers on 5 continents, curated by 40 acquisitions and collections librarians in 12 countries. The outcome of the library pledging period will be published in February.

Knowledge Unlatched is very active in developing Open Access. Our goal is clear: we want to make KU a platform for different Open Access initiatives to allow them to focus on developing their models whilst broadening the funding structure.

1. With JSTOR, KU is testing an experiment on usage. All KU Pilot and Round 2 titles will be hosted and fully available as Open Access on JSTOR, without cost to users.

2. We will soon be ready to add geolocational usage data to the COUNTER-compliant stats libraries are already receiving for unlatched books.

3. In summer we will help OAPEN, one of our hosting partners since the beginning of KU, to distribute their institutional repository version to libraries. This will be an important step to also help “green” OA to advance within institutions.

4. Together with Language Science Press, we are exploring opportunities to gather funding for Open Access from a larger variety of organisations. So far we’ve sought support exclusively from libraries. Now we will be testing a new multi-stakeholder model, including other funders in support of OA.

5. We recently announced that we will be adding journals to KU. We are already receiving very promising submissions from publishers, and a number of esteemed presses are participating in this effort to flip existing subscriptions into OA.

6. We’ve also been working on a project which we are currently calling ‘KU by Request’, with a library consortium and a few publishers in Germany. If all parties agree, we will be offering German-language titles selected by libraries in a particular discipline.

7. Finally, we are working on an idea with title ‘KU Club’. This model would allow smaller libraries to benefit from both networking and information resources as well as governance opportunities.

What readers want (and what we are not giving them)

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[Article 1 in the “Lessons from Croatia Reads” series]

This is Article 1 in the “Lessons from Croatia Reads” series, which aims to describe the experience of turning the country of Croatia into a Free Reading Zone in December 2016. The series is not meant to be a standard academic case study of all that various numbers and figures prove and don’t prove about the future of books and reading. It is an attempt to draw from the experience in a way that highlights all that is missing but within our reach. Croatia Reads was/is meant to give us a glimpse of a future that holds so much promise for the written word. In this future things look radically different than they do today, but the possibilities (and opportunities) for all who work with books are endless.

* * *

For the past many months, I’ve had the privilege of stepping outside the confines of the publishing and library industries (as well as the borders of the United States) to engage in non-profit projects and initiatives that bring books and knowledge to people. There comes a point in every person’s career when we crave to turn our professional jobs into missions, and it simply isn’t enough to earn a paycheck, even amidst the most challenging circumstances. We take a leap of faith and jump.

And jump I did, from New York all the way to Croatia, where I would (not immediately upon arrival but soon thereafter) embark on the project of my life and turn an entire country into an open virtual library (available to all its people without a card and access code and regardless of status, geography, background, citizenship, etc). In early December 2016, Croatia (the country of my birth) became the world’s first Free Reading Zone for one entire month. Continue reading What readers want (and what we are not giving them)