VLACRL Spring 2011: Building an eReaders Collection at Duke University Libraries

They started lending ereaders because they wanted to provide a way for users to interact with new and emerging technologies.

Speaker: Nancy Gibbs

They started lending ereaders because they wanted to provide a way for users to interact with new and emerging technologies. The collection focus is on high circulation popular reading titles, and they do add patron requests. Recently, they added all of the Duke University Press titles, per the request of the university press. (Incidentally, not all of the Duke UP titles are available in Kindle format because Amazon won’t allow them to sell a book in Kindle format until it has sold 50 print copies.)

They marketed their ereader program through word of mouth, the library website, the student paper, and the communications office. The communications press release was picked up by the local newspaper. They also created a YouTube video explaining how to reserve/check-out the ereaders, and gave presentations to the teaching & learning technologists and faculty.

For the sake of consistency and availability of titles, they purchase one copy of a title for every pod of six Kindle ereaders. Amazon allows you to load and view a Kindle book on up to six devices, which is how they arrived at that number. For the Nooks, they can have a book loaded on apparently an unlimited number of devices, so they purchase only one copy of a title from Barnes & Noble. They try to have the same titles on both the Kindles and the Nooks, but not every title available for purchase on the Kindle is also available on the Nook. Each of the books purchased is cataloged individually, with the location as the device it is on, and they will appear to be checked out when the device is checked out.

When they first purchased the devices and were figuring out the local workflow of purchasing and loading the content, the tech services department (acquisitions, cataloging, etc.) were given the devices to experiment with them. In part, this was to sort out any kinks in workflow that they may discover, but also it was because these folks don’t often get the chance to play with new technology in the library as their public service counterparts do. Gibbs recommends that libraries purchase insurance options for the devices, because things can happen.

One of the frustrations with commercial ereader options like the Kindle and Nook is that they are geared towards individual users and not library use. So, unlike other ebook providers and platforms, they do not give the library any usage data regarding the books used, which can make collection development in these areas somewhat challenging. However, given that their scope is popular reading material and that they take patron requests, this is not as much of an issue as it could be.

Side note: Gibbs pointed out that ebook readers are still not yet greener than print books, mostly because of the toxicity of the materials and the amount of resources that go into producing them. EcoLibris has a great resource page with more information about this.

#3

I picked up the graphic novel Star Trek: The Next Generation: The Space Between because I’m a fan of the series and because my favorite character, Tasha Yar, is on the cover. (Side note: For Christmas, some good friends of mine gave me a signed photo of Denise Crosby as Tasha Yar. It’s addressed to me and is probably the most thoughtful and unique gift I received this holiday season.) Also, I remembered reading something on Wil Wheaton’s blog about a script he wrote for Star Trek: The Manga, which is totally different, but when I was wandering Barnes & Noble, it seemed like a good idea to pick up this book.

This is a completely different animal from the Japanese manga, and is published by IDW. It’s a collection of good stories and beautiful drawings, but the finale that would tie everything together seems contrived and inconclusive. Will there be a follow-up? I don’t see any indication of that, which is disappointing.

the pen

Music for the literate masses.

John McCutcheon - Mightier Than the SwordBefore I listened to Mightier Than the Sword, my experience with John McCutcheon’s music consisted of one track from his 1987 Step by Step, which featured the hammer dulcimer. The song is “Babylon is Fallen,” which is an old Sacred Harp tune, and one of my favorites to sing. When I bought that CD some years ago, I was singing with a shape note group in Kentucky. Now I’m in Washington, surprised to discover that this hammer dulcimer player is also a guitar-playing contemporary singer/songwriter of repute.

Mightier Than the Sword first attracted my attention because of its theme. McCutcheon has been a voracious reader for most of his life, and the themes from the books he read found their ways into his songs. For this recording, he took that a step further and collaborated with willing authors to write a collection of songs inspired by a particular book or poem of each author. I haven’t read any of the works that inspired this recording, but after having listened to it, I feel like I know the essences of them.

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KY to WA – day four

I woke up feeling somewhat depressed and ready for this trip to be over.

I woke up feeling somewhat depressed and ready for this trip to be over. Part of my depression was in knowing that we would not be in Ellensburg that night, having decided to get a motel room in Yakima instead (all of the rooms in the Super 8 in Ellensburg were booked, and I didn’t know of any other motels that would allow a cat). The other part was that this was the morning of yet another long day of driving.

We stopped at a bagel bakery for breakfast, and then a quick visit to the next door Barnes & Noble cafe for a picture with the Starbucks travel bug and my mocha frappucino. Then it was on to the scenic overlook on the edge of town. It was breathtaking and surreal. I took many pictures.

The landscape of Idaho and Oregon and Washington was stunning, of course, but most of the rest of the day the miles flew by without my hardly noticing the world around me. I was numb to the beauty of the earth, and there is only so much stunning and beautiful landscape one can see before the brain stops assimilating it.

Around two in the afternoon, we stopped in Baker City to find some lunch. We ended up in the downtown area purely by accident, but it was a fortunate accident. The historic downtown is a vibrant commercial area; a throwback to twenty or thirty years ago. We had several lunch options and settled on the historic Geyser Grand Hotel. The food was quite good and inexpensive. The decor was as grand as the name implied. I felt a bit like a character in an Agatha Christie novel, staying at a 1930’s hotel on holiday.

On our way down a mountain near Pendleton, we pulled over for a scenic overlook. It was a little hazy, so we couldn’t see much, but what we could see was quite beautiful. Again, I took several pictures. I wish I had taken more pictures in the early part of the trip. Not too long after that we crossed over into Washington.

Yakima was probably the dullest stop on the journey. The motel was definitely the dingiest, and the food options weren’t particularly enticing. We were both so exhausted we could hardly move enough to explore the town, but we did stop at a Starbucks for another picture with the travel bug. The barristas gave us the sympathy we craved after we told them how far and how long we had been traveling.

e-books

I’m going to be getting a Palm Pilot for my birthday, and one reason why I wanted it (beyond all of the obvious function and use for work) is because of an article I read about someone using it to read their e-book while on a camping trip (they had left their print book at home by accident). The idea of that intrigued me so much that I wanted to try it out myself. I haven’t been a big fan of the e-book craze, and buying an expensive piece of technology just to read a book never appealed to me, but if I can read it on my PDA, then why not? Unfortunately, it looks like e-books might have a bit of a setback. Barnes & Noble has announced that it is no longer going to sell them, and if the other major online book sellers decide not to fuss with e-books anymore, then the publishers may decide to drop the format altogether.

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