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Old 10-11-2011, 02:53 PM   #1
faithbw
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Digital Underclass 2: The future of books and libraries

http://www.zdnet.com/blog/perlow/dig...12?tag=nl.e539

This article is getting a lot of attention at my library school. To be honest, I think some of it is a bit doom and gloom. Plus, I think the author puts way too blame on Amazon for different trends that were happening long before Amazon got into the library lending game (I can't believe I'm defending Amazon). There's also a podcast that I am listening to now. What are your thoughts on the article and/or podcast?

Some concerns are legitimate such as the consolidation of libraries and budget cuts but that's not Amazon's fault. There might even be a digital underclass being created but again, I'm not sure this necessarily Amazon's fault.

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Old 10-11-2011, 03:32 PM   #2
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There were some rather glaring inaccuracies, and the writer doesn't seem to be too familiar with how library lending via Overdrive works. I tried to explain in a comment, but so did someone else and it didn't get through that time, so who knows? The author seems to think (or wants to imply) that Amazon is tied into this whole thing, and they really aren't.
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Old 10-11-2011, 04:13 PM   #3
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I don't believe libraries are dying.

I've been in my library more times and borrowed more paper books since I've gotten an e-reader (about four months ago) then in the last five years. I'm unsure of what the correlations are, but my increased joy in reading has made me search out books in all formats.

I also know that even a $30 price tag or an e-reader is out of reach for many familites. Libraries will still need to exist for them or we will add to the already ugly truth of poverty breeding poverty.

We've also still got a long way to go in digitizing the paper collection. Add in that some formats don't translate well onto e-book readers. Whil libraries do need to keep on top of the changes coming, I believe that they will still have an important role in my life and my community for a few more decades.
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Old 10-11-2011, 04:21 PM   #4
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Quote:
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Some concerns are legitimate such as the consolidation of libraries...
I don't see that as a concern. I see it as a plus, since libraries are headed for the cloud.
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Old 10-11-2011, 04:24 PM   #5
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I've been in my library more times and borrowed more paper books since I've gotten an e-reader (about four months ago) then in the last five years. I'm unsure of what the correlations are, but my increased joy in reading has made me search out books in all formats.
To me, an ereader means never having to set foot in a library again
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Old 10-11-2011, 04:36 PM   #6
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^You're missing out. Our library had an awesome art exhibit on as well, as well as a place for my son to play while I pick out some books for him.

What about books that don't even exist in electronic format yet. Now what? Add in that the weather here will kill an e-reader in the winter and I'm definitely at least a seasonal patron of my library and paper books.
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Old 10-11-2011, 04:54 PM   #7
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I go to the library every few weeks for books. I also use the website for e-books. I don't think libraries are dying, the one in my city is always busy and they are actually building a second branch.
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Old 10-11-2011, 05:08 PM   #8
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^You're missing out. Our library had an awesome art exhibit on as well, as well as a place for my son to play while I pick out some books for him.

What about books that don't even exist in electronic format yet. Now what? Add in that the weather here will kill an e-reader in the winter and I'm definitely at least a seasonal patron of my library and paper books.
I hate art

As to books not available in e-format; no big deal, because there are more than enough that are to satisfy my needs. I haven't browsed a library's collection in years and don't plan to do so ever again.

I love my library in the cloud.
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Old 10-11-2011, 05:15 PM   #9
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^You are missing out.

I love my e-reader too, but it just doesn't serve all my purposes.
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Old 10-11-2011, 05:19 PM   #10
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My idea of art

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Old 10-11-2011, 05:41 PM   #11
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I haven't been to a library in a long time. The small county branch library has terrible selection, and I don't really like the idea of inter-library loan because I'll have forgotten I requested it by the time it gets here.

As for the city library... funny thing, because I don't live within the city limits, I can't get a library card. Caused a lot of embarrassment when I was in elementary school. So... yeah. Don't go there very often, and when I do I always have to photocopy what I need because I can't check out the books.

Neither one really has any good art on display. I get better art from church rummage sales and resale shops.
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Old 10-11-2011, 05:47 PM   #12
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Our library hosts talks by authors, bookclubs (including one I lead), film series, children's story hours, homework help for students,reference assistance, literacy classes, and so much more. I believe that libraries truly are the great equalizers, assuring that everyone in the community has access to our culture(s). Digital reading only threatens that if the price of admission (a reader of some sort) is too high and physical media actually does disappear. Our library--like many in Canada, is starting to loan readers to people, WiFi is almost ubiquitous, and, of course, the price of readers is dropping.
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Old 10-11-2011, 05:48 PM   #13
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My library e-mails me when my book is in, or if you don't have e-mail they will phone you.

The best thing to happen to my library was consolidation. My library was pretty good before, but now I have the collection of a province (a small one) at my fingertips intead of a small city now. One of the books I want to read is currently in Leoville, SK. Population: 343.
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Old 10-12-2011, 06:11 AM   #14
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I don't think libraries are dying, but I do think they must transform themselves just as the book industry must. They must embrace the internet and digital technologies and provide both in-person and on-line access to information. Libraries can actually play a very important part in this transformation of society just as they have in the past. They provide a central storage and access space for information that the "(digital) underclass" would not be able to access without the public library. This has always been the function of libraries and it will continue provided they are willing to embrace the technology and provide it to the public.
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Old 10-12-2011, 08:09 AM   #15
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Some of the answer lies in how quickly the libraries are willing and financially able to adjust to changing markets. I live in a smallish town of around 10,000 and the library is a growing, changing service. They supply a dozen computers for internet access for those who are unable to afford a computer, they loan (rent) e-Readers, they host children's reading groups, they display exhibits ranging from civil war artifacts to author signings, they host book discussion groups. Some of this may go the way of the dinosaur, but in a community where many have no jobs and/or cannot afford to buy a $100 eReader or pay a $30/month online connection fee or purchase a $1000 computer or $500 tablet every few years, it is an oasis.
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