or, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Fear and Loathing at a Public Library Reference Desk


Chelmsford Library to get Electric Car Charging Station

   August 18th, 2011 Brian Herzog

Electric car chargerWell, the fun never stops at the Chelmsford Library - I recently read in the newspaper that we'll be getting a car charger for electric cars.

What?!?, you might exclaim - I did, anyway. I was surprised to be finding out about it from the newspaper, but also the logic of placing it at the library wasn't immediately apparent to me.

According to the article, the charging station is a result of a state grant our Town Manager applied for (Chelmsford was one of 25 towns included in the grant), and it seems this project is really being driven by the Town (rather than the library).

The Town's Facilities Manager is attending an informational meeting this week, and hopefully will have more details to share after that. Right now, it's not entirely clear where the charger will be located, and therefore what kind of impact it will have on parking. I'm not sure if we'll have to dedicate a parking spot to this, how long it takes cars to charge, or if anything will be required of library staff. We've been assured that this won't be added to our electricity usage though, so that's good.

I'm pretty happy that car chargers will start popping up around the state - especially that many of the town listed on the grant are small rural towns, and not just big cities. Chelmsford makes sense because a lot of commuters go through here, so hopefully we'll be seeing more of these as electric cars become more popular (which they probably won't until chargers are widely-available, so I don't know if that makes us the egg or the chicken).

Since this was a Town project, I understand why they're placing it at a Town building, situated in the center of town. But it still does seem like an odd fit for a library - even more of a stretch than a Redbox. However, our solar panel array was also part of a Town grant, and the library was chosen in that case to help showcase the use of renewable energy, and we also built a print collection around it. Hopefully we'll be able to do the same for electric cars.

By the way, here's a Sun-eye view of the solar panels at the Chelmsford Library:

Satellite view of solar panels on the roof of the Chelmsford Library


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CIL2011: Ebook Update and Outlook

   March 22nd, 2011 Brian Herzog

Ebook Update and OutlookMODERATOR: Dick Kaser, VP Content, Information Today, Inc.
Leslie Lees, VP of Content Development, ebrary
Ken Breen, Director, eBook Products, EBSCO Publishing
Rick Rosy, VP & General Manager, Library Services, Ingram Content
Group, Inc.

Ebook publishers talk about the ebook models available from their companies - here are a few points I took away:

NetLibrary and EBSCO

  • 1997 ebooks - came on a CD with a 100+ print user guide
  • NetLibrary brand is going away
  • Ebooks are available for preview on EBSCOhost
  • 3 Users Models - Single User, Three User (Single User with lending), Unlimited
  • Patron model will have lease model - lend books for 1, 7, 14, or 28 days at a time, with payment made for every time a lease is done
  • EBSCO continues to listen and evolve

Ebrary and ProQuest

  • Subscription model - 50,000+ backlist titles available, instant digital library, unlimited access
  • Perpetual Access Archive - purchase and own many titles, many front-list titles, source through various vendors
  • Patron-Driven Acquisition - reduce cost, save selector time, and ensure titles get used (patrons choose what library buys) - model similar to Netlibrary
  • Short Term Loans - rent titles and mediate use (model similar to Netlibrary)
  • Future holds that ILS' will eventually stop being inventory control software, and more access control to a variety of formats

MyiLibrary and Ingram

  • Nashville is a nice place
  • Use model single owner, multiple owner, and patron-driven acquisition
  • Among large academic library, 43% have an ebook copy of the physical book they also own - shows ebooks and books coexist peacefully
  • Focusing on how to keep access to information (ebooks) safe and available no matter what - especially with academic libraries

Overdrive ("and their relationship with the devil")

  • There's been a lot of controversy lately, but the future of ebooks, and the current state of things, is extremely strong
  • Overdrive sees itself as a library advocate - to fight for library rights and provide a marketplace in which all types of libraries have access to econtent
  • Continually innovating - mobile apps already available for Apple products, soon coming to Blackberry, always updating Overdrive Media Console software, always adding new content (new titles and new publishers) to the library - it's all about providing options
  • You will see more and more DRM-free books - there will be more self-publishing options
  • Most Overdrive libraries are experiencing 600% circ growth - Jan-Apr 2011 will see more circs than total circs for 2010
  • If you can, attend Digipalooza - this is the best opportunity to sit down with Overdrive and publishers and have your voice heard and your opinions known

Questions & Answers

  • What's going on with DRM and ebooks? How does that mechanism work?
    Overdrive: More DRM-free is coming. Copyright is set by the publishers, not Overdrive (OD advocates for libraries). Adobe is the main mechanism to make download, transfer, and file expiration possible

    Ebrary: some publishers are more willing than others to loosen policies in some channels - we're pushing for more consistency across the board

    Ingram: Most publishers require DRM, but some large consortium have been able to negotiate reduced-DRM or DRM-free options - this shows that money talks

  • Could you please develop a standard so ebooks download to all devices easily?
    Adobe isn't actually very good, it was just the first one. Overdrive is working on direct-download options, and Adobe is working to improve. Each ebook supplier having their own proprietary software is a problem, and difficult for libraries to get full support. Vendors usually do this because of the standards they are trying to meet. Overdrive has a front-line tech support in beta with NYPL(?), and will be available soon - hopefully by ALA.
  • Do all of you work with the same publishers?
    There is probably differences between Overdrive (which focuses on public libraries) and those vendors that focus on academic libraries
  • Do you allow more than 10 pages to download/print before new charges?
    It is growing - standard options seems to be about one page, one chapter, or any 60 pages


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