It has been a pleasure and an honor to write about various free ebook collections for the No Shelf Required community. I believe we share a number of commonalities about reading and ways to make it more accessible apart from historical models based on a buyer-customer relationship. The nine free e-collections I profiled thusfar have various models by which they operate, but all wish to disseminate information outside of traditional methods. And, to go a step further, I would be safe to assume that those of us who read NSR, share Mirela Roncevic’s passion to bypass the corporatized process by which print or electronic books are made available worldwide. From our perspective, Mirela’s efforts to show that a country in its entirety can be a “Free Reading Zone” were not merely experimental, but could well be the leading edge of a future norm. Thus it is, dear readers, that, in my tenth post, I want to present you with not another collection, but rather an idea. Continue reading Library for All — not another ebook collection, but rather an idea
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?
EveryLibrary—a nonprofit social welfare organization chartered to work on local library ballot initiatives and the only national organization dedicated to political action at a local level to create and protect public funding for libraries—has just put out a statement to all who support its mission to fight for the future of libraries to join its efforts by pledging support.
As part of its efforts, EveryLibrary is working to roll-out a coalition strategy in 2017 that looks to expand, not shrink, library budgets, even in the current political climate. As part of its coalition strategy, EveryLibrary signed on to the One America Coalition to focus on a core part of libraries: services to immigrants and new Americans. In addition, EveryLibrary has been part of a coalition protecting Net Neutrality for over two years and next month it will announce an expansion of its voter registration and ballot access mission.
This is a good opportunity for publishers and vendors working with libraries—public, school, and academic—to consider making a donation to support EveryLibrary’s mission. Efforts like these should serve as a reminder to publishers and vendors that sell to libraries—and whose businesses thrive from their relationship with libraries—that libraries continue to face serious challenges with funding and their livelihood depends on the continued support from the public.
Individual contributions are always welcome and make a difference, but organizational contributions have the potential to make the deepest impact. Hence this post.
More information on EveryLibrary’s 2017 agenda is available here.
Major publishers contribute thousands of titles to benefit students in need
February 24, 2016 – Open eBooks, a new initiative and e-reader app that will make thousands of popular, top-selling eBooks available to children in need for free, is launching today. First Lady Michelle Obama is releasing a video today raising awareness of the new opportunity for children. The initiative is designed to address the challenge of providing digital reading materials to children living in low-income households, and offers unprecedented access to quality digital content, including a catalog of eBooks valued at more than $250 million.
President Obama announced a nongovernmental eBooks effort in support of the ConnectED Initiative at the April 30 Kids Town Hall held by the White House at the Anacostia Branch of the District of Columbia Public Library. ConnectED is multi-pronged effort designed to provide all youth with access to high-quality digital learning tools. Since it launched, over 20 million more students have been connected to high-speed broadband in their schools and libraries and millions more are taking advantage of its free private sector resources. Open eBooks complements the new digital infrastructure to provide an opportunity for kids in need to have a world-class eLibrary in their homes. Continue reading Open eBooks Opens World of Digital Reading to Children for Free
ALA and the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) renewed their opposition to a petition filed by the Coalition of E-book Manufacturers seeking a waiver from complying with disability legislation and regulation (specifically Sections 716 and 717 of the Communications Act as Enacted by the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010). Amazon, Kobo, and Sony are the members of the coalition, and they argue that they do not have to make their e-readersâ€™ Advanced Communications Services (ACS) accessible to people with print disabilities.
The full press release from ALA.
FCC filing from ALA and ARL
CHICAGOÂ â€”Â The American Library Association (ALA) decries confirmed reader data breaches by Adobe and calls for immediate corrective action to encrypt and protect reader information. The plain text transmission of reader data over the Internet that was first reported Oct. 7 presumably stretches back as far as the release of Adobe Digital Editions (ADE) 4.0 in early September. The ADE e-book reader application is used by thousands of libraries and many tens of thousands of e-book readers around the globe. Continue reading ALA press release regarding Adobe data breach, action expected next week
Douglas County Libraries (DCL) and partner the Colorado Library Consortium (CLiC) were awarded a Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant of $209,460 for their project proposal, â€œeVoke 2.0: Colorado Statewide eBook Pilot Projectâ€ in October 2013.
The project team, consisting of staff from DCL and CLiC, felt that the ever-increasing use of e-books and e-readers demands that libraries become strong players in digital content delivery to remain vital and relevant to the communities they serve. Continue reading Douglas County Libraries and CLic move forward with statewide ebook pilot project
Take a look at this new publication from the ReadersFirst Coalition.Â If you aren’t familiar with ReadersFirst, here is a bit more about them:
Libraries have a responsibility to fight for the public and ensure that users have the same open, easy and free access to e-books that they have come to rely on with physical books. They face two major challenges. The first is that, unlike print books, publishers are not required to sell e-books to libraries — and many do not. This is a complex and evolving issue. The second, addressed here, is that the products currently offered by e-content distributors, the middlemen from whom libraries buy e-books, create a fragmented, disjointed and cumbersome user experience.Â more on the website.
January 14, 2014 â€“ NEW YORK– TheÂ ReadersFirstÂ coalition, representing more than 292 library systems and nearly 200 million library users, unveiled today a new guide to help library systems
make informed decisions as e-book providers to the public and to advocate for libraries having a greater role in shaping e-lending in our public institutions. TheÂ ReadersFirst Guide to Library EBook
ReadersFirst Guide to Library EBook VendorsÂ ranks seven Library e-book vendors and outlinesÂ best practices for the distribution of eBooks. Continue reading ReadersFirst Guide to Library E-book Vendors, a new publication from the ReadersFirst Coalition
Unglue.it is now testing the next phase of their program, 2.0.Â The new “Buy to Unglue” campaigns use the ebook as an instant reward for supporting a campaign. They built a free ebook lending platform for libraries so that library users can buy ebooks for their library. A blog post at Unglue.it highlights the details of the program.
Details of the program from an Unglue.it email:
To showcase the work we’ve done, we’ve launched a “buy to unglue” campaign for a public domain ebook, Edwin Abbott Abbott’s Flatland.Â You can buy an ebook and see the ungluing date change. You can join our test library, and ask to borrow a book. Once you’ve joined a library, you can buy ebooks you can share with the library. We’d love to see every ebook store work like that.
Now that we can show everyone how “buy to unglue” is going to work, we want to talk with publishers, authors, and libraries that feel ready to take the next step into the ebook future. eMail to firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested in participating.
Several blogs and news sources are reporting on a public meeting regarding the first sale doctrine as it relates to digital files.Â Teleread’s Juli Monroe posted last Thursday.Â In her post she said, “Thereâ€™s going to be a public meeting scheduled for December 12 in Washington D.C., and the U.S. Department of Commerce is seeking public comment from all interested stakeholders on the issue of first sale doctrine and digital files, including ebooks.
A notice was published in the Federal Register
Matt Enis at the The Digital Shift also reported on this topic.Â He said, “The Department of Commerce encourages librarians and other interested parties to file comments electronically by email to: CopyrightComments2013@uspto.gov before the November 13 deadline.”
I attended the 2013 ALA Annual Conference in Chicago and have several updates on eBook vendor offerings, initiatives, and activities.Â Vendors and initiatives are listed in alphabetical order.Â This information will also be presented at the ALA TechSource conference wrap-up webinar, held July 8th.Â The recording of that session is available at http://www.alatechsource.org/blog/2013/07/archive-of-the-2013-ala-annual-tech-wrapup.html. I also want to take a moment to announce the launch of eContent Quarterly, a new ALA publication edited by Sue Polanka and Mirela Roncevic (both NSR contributors).Â A free preview issue is now available for download.
This post has new content (7/8/2013 2:00 p.m.) Continue reading NSR’s eBook vendor updates from the ALA annual conference
CHICAGO â€”Today, Maureen Sullivan, president of the American Library Association (ALA), announced the launch of â€œAuthors for Library Ebooks,â€ a new initiative that asks authors to stand with libraries in their quest for equitable access to e-books. Bestselling authors Cory Doctorow, Ursula K. Le Guin and Jodi Picoult are helping kick off the campaign.
The campaign represents an extension of the ALAâ€™s advocacy strategy to ensure all people have access to the worldâ€™s knowledge and literature through our nationâ€™s librariesâ€”regardless of format. Over the past 18 months, ALA leaders have met with major publishers, distributors, authors and representative associations to seek sustainable solutions for library e-book lending.Â Continue reading ALA launches “Authors for Library E-books” campaign
The third supplement on ebooks and digital content from American Libraries examines both the big picture and the nitty-gritty of libraries and publishing, looking at how libraries are evolving in response to the digital revolution, from taking advantage of opportunities in content creation to advocating for equitable access to ebooks produced by the world’s largest book publishers.
Read it online here or pick up a copy at ALA Annual Conference in Chicago at the Office for Information Technology Policy programs and in the ALA Membership Pavilion.
- James LaRue, director of Colorado’s Douglas County Libraries system, discusses how libraries canâ€”and shouldâ€”become local community publishers
Clifford Lynch, executive director of the Coalition for Networked Information, provides an overall assessment of the library ebook situation
ALA President, Maureen Sullivan, ALA Executive Director, Keith Michael Fiels, and Alan S. Inouye, director of ALA’s Office for Information Technology Policy look at how libraries can collaborate, manage, and lead through this period of possibilities.
You can read this supplement in the easy-to-use Zmag web browser format, or download it as a PDF for offline reading. Click here to get started.
Great news for libraries, the last of the big 6 (big 5 now I guess) has begun a pilot project to license content to several libraries in New York.Â Below are links to several articles and blog posts.Â Thanks to Molly Raphael for posting these links on the ALA Council listserv.
American Libraries Magazine, eContent blog: http://www.americanlibrariesmagazine.org/e-content/ala-president-commends-simon-schuster-s-entry-library-ebook-market
Library Journal’s Digital Shift: http://www.thedigitalshift.com/2013/04/ebooks/nypl-queens-libraries-comment-on-simon-schuster-lending-deal/
Picked this up from the ALA Council listserv:
IFLA is pleased to launch a new set of resources relating to eBooks and libraries. Providing access to eBooks is one of the most pressing issues facing libraries right now. Public libraries, in particular, are dealing with implications of rapidly changing business and access models. IFLA has previously issued a background paper on eLending during 2012, and is now building on this paper to launch a new official policy document ‘IFLA Principles for Library eLending‘ which was endorsed by the Governing Board in February 2013. Continue reading IFLA launches principles, research and advice for eLending in Libraries
American Library Association video, with a special message from ALA President, Maureen Sullivan – E-books and Digital Content
From an ALA Press Release on November 27, 2012
Â As several large book publishers continue to deny libraries access to their e-books, and others make e-books available under difficult terms, libraries find themselves unable to provide the reading and educational materials demanded by their patrons. As a result, many librarians are asking, â€œWhat can I do to advocate for fair e-book lending practices?â€
To assist libraries in informing the public about e-book lending practices, the American Library Association (ALA) released today the â€œALA E-book Media & Communications Toolkit,â€ a set of materials that will support librarians in taking action in their communities.
Developed by the ALAâ€™s Digital Content and Libraries Working Group (DCWG), the toolkit includes op-ed and press release templates for library supporters interested in informing the public of the role that libraries play in building literate and knowledgeable communities. Additionally, the toolkit provides guidance on ways to use the media templates, as well as ALA talking points, e-book data, and public service announcement scripts.
The e-content blog at American Libraries has a nice summary about the ALA/publisher meetings in New York. Not only does it summarize the meetings, but provides links to many other valuable resources concerning eBooks, public libraries, and pricing.
An open letter to Americaâ€™s publishers from ALA President Maureen Sullivan
September 24, 2012, CHICAGO â€” The following open letter was released by American Library Association (ALA) President Maureen Sullivan regarding Simon & Schuster, Macmillan, and Penguin refusal to provide access to their e-books in U.S. libraries.
The open letter states:
Itâ€™s a rare thing in a free market when a customer is refused the ability to buy a companyâ€™s product and is told its money is â€œno good here.â€ Surprisingly, after centuries of enthusiastically supporting publishersâ€™ products, libraries find themselves in just that position with purchasing e-books from three of the largest publishers in the world. Simon & Schuster, Macmillan, and Penguin have been denying access to their e-books for our nationâ€™s 112,000 libraries and roughly 169 million public library users.
Letâ€™s be clear on what this means: If our librariesâ€™ digital bookshelves mirrored the New York Times fiction best-seller list, we would be missing half of our collection any given week due to these publishersâ€™ policies. The popular â€œBared to Youâ€ and â€œThe Glass Castleâ€ are not available in libraries because libraries cannot purchase them at any price. Todayâ€™s teens also will not find the digital copy of Judy Blumeâ€™s seminal â€œForever,â€ nor todayâ€™s blockbuster â€œHunger Gamesâ€ series. Continue reading An open letter to Americaâ€™s publishers from ALA President Maureen Sullivan
Andrew Richard Albanese from Publisher’s Weekly wrote a very nice article about life with eBooks in public libraries.Â I have clipped a couple of paragraphs below.Â The fulltext is available on the Publisher’s Weekly site.
Discussions between libraries and the big six publishers over e-book lending have grabbed headlines in 2012, but despite cordial statements from each side about the benefits of communication, a report released this month from the American Library Association suggests the two sides remain far from a breakthrough.
â€œMixedâ€ is how Robert Wolven, associate university librarian at Columbia University, and co-chair of the ALAâ€™s Digital Content Working Group, describes the state of affairs between libraries and publishers. â€œI think the discussions weâ€™ve had demonstrate that weâ€™re not at an impasse,â€ Wolven tells PW. â€œThere are potential paths for exploration and for improving things. But thereâ€™s still a lot of work to be done.â€ Continue reading Life with E-Books