Archive for the ‘Professional News’ Category

3 Irish Authors short listed for the
2011 International IMPAC DUBLIN Literary Award.

The short list will be confirmed by
the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Gerry Breen at 11.00am on 12th April 2011 in the Mansion House, Dublin

10 novels have been shortlisted for the International IMPAC DUBLIN Literary Award, from a total of 162 novels nominated by 166 public library systems in 126 cities worldwide. For the first time, the shortlist includes novels by three Irish authors; Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann, Brooklyn by Colm Toibín and Love and Summer by William Trevor. The International IMPAC DUBLIN Literary Award is worth €100,000 and is the world’s most prestigious literary prize nominated by public libraries world-wide. 
The Lord Mayor of Dublin Gerry Breen, Patron of the Award, officially confirmed the titles on this year’s shortlist, nominated by public libraries in Australia, Barbados, Belgium, Canada, England, Germany, Greece, Ireland, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Scotland, South Africa, Switzerland, and the USA.

The short listed titles are:

  1. Galore by Michael Crummey (Canadian). Doubleday Canada
  2. The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver (American). Faber & Faber, HarperCollins, USA
  3. The Vagrants by Yiyn Li  (Chinese / American) Random House, USA
  4. Ransom by David Malouf  (Australian) Random House Australia
  5. Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann (Irish) Bloomsbury, UK, Random House, USA
  6. Little Bird of Heaven by Joyce Carol Oates  (American) Ecco Press, USA
  7. Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey  (Australian) Allen & Unwin
  8. Brooklyn by Colm Toibín (Irish) Viking UK, Scribner, USA
  9. Love and Summer by William Trevor (Irish) Viking, UK
  10. After the Fire, a Still, Small Voice by Evie Wyld (Australian) Pantheon Books, USA

More about the shortlist

From this list, all I’ve read is Evie Wyld’s After the Fire, a Still, Small Voice. I’d be ecstatic if it won, but then again I have no others to compare it with, which makes that a trifle biased. Not that that’s ever stopped me.

I have a copy of Galore for review, haven’t heard of  The Vagrants, Jasper Jones or Love and Summer, though of course I know of William Trevor. The others I know of but have never read.

So, once again, I’m faced with having no idea  on earth who will win, only that I’ll hope it’s Evie Wyld since her book was positively brilliant.

What’s that you say? Did I hear, “Lisa, why don’t you read the shortlist, then make an informed guess?!”

Are  you trying to kill me, people?!  Yes, it’s a prize generated via the opinions of public librarians, and yes, I’m a public librarian. And, if you offer to fly me to Ireland for the awards ceremony I wouldn’t hesitate to read these novels while standing on my head. (Okay, maybe not standing on my head.)

The award date isn’t until June 15, but I’m already reviewing for two sites, plus for NetGalley at my own pace, and I have half a mind to apply to Kirkus, too. Oh, and the Orange Prize Longlist. I’ve been too eager to wait for the short, plus for whatever completely insane reason thought I should also guess the short…

Oh, hell. Maybe. But keep in mind a ticket to Ireland would positively seal the deal. Ireland in June? Yes, please!


National Drop Everything and Read Day

What is National D.E.A.R. Day?
D.E.A.R. stands for Drop Everything and Read. National D.E.A.R. Day is a special reading celebration to remind and encourage families to make reading together on a daily basis a family priority.

Can I celebrate D.E.A.R. Day on another date?
Yes, of course. Every day is a great day to Drop Everything and Read! The goal is to make reading a regular part of your routine. So, go ahead and read today, tomorrow, and every day!

Who is leading the National D.E.A.R. Day Celebration? The National Education Association (NEA); Parent Teacher Association (PTA); the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association; Reading Rockets; The General Federation of Women’s Clubs (GFWC); the Newspaper Association of America Foundation (NAA); First Book; HarperCollins Children’s Books; Read Kiddo Read; Walden Media and Ramona Quimby.

More about the partners

When is National D.E.A.R. Day?
The birthday of beloved author Beverly Cleary is the official event date, April 12th. Ramona Quimby, the program’s official spokesperson, is responsible for spreading the word and the love of reading.

Why is National D.E.A.R. Day celebrated on Beverly Cleary’s birthday?
Beverly Cleary receives thousands of letters a year from young readers, many who have participated in D.E.A.R. at school. Their interest in and enthusiasm for this special reading activity inspired Mrs. Cleary to give the same experience to Ramona Quimby, who gets to enjoy D.E.A.R. time with the rest of her class in Ramona Quimby, Age 8.

How can I participate?
Schools, libraries, bookstores and other organizations are being asked to host Drop Everything and Read events on April 12th. You can attend an event in your community or participate right in your own home by reading for 30 minutes!


Could an online booksharing scheme spell the end for the traditional library?

A scheme where residents post their own books online to swap, then meet to complete the transaction has worried some library campaigners

Sutton Bookshare scheme

Testing out Sutton council’s new online bookshare scheme. Photograph: Sarah Lee for the Guardian

With more people using the internet, an online booksharing scheme might appear to be the perfect solution for people unable to visit their local library. But the idea has caused dismay among some library campaigners. The London borough of Sutton last Monday launched its online booksharing scheme where residents post their own books to swap, then meet in person to complete the transaction.

Registered users upload details of books they want to share using open source data. Once they tap in the ISBN, a small picture of the publication appears with a few explanatory notes and the owner’s details. Borrowers can then get in touch to agree loan terms and where to meet.

Read more…

For the past decade Library Journal has been honoring librarians who’ve gone above and beyond the call of duty, singling them out via the “Movers and Shakers Award” for their innovation, service and ways they’ve otherwise raised the profile of quality library service.

This post is the first in a series of interviews I conducted with the 2011 Mover & Shaker winners. Here’s to the librarians who’ve brought so much innovation to the field!


Name:  Anthony Molaro

Library name:  Messenger Public Library, Aurora, IL

Library type (public, academic, etc.):  Public

Address:  113 Oak Street, North Aurora, IL 60542


Why he was chosen for this honor:

Information Activist

Anthony Molaro is a true “information activist.” Whether he’s blogging as the Information Activist Librarian, engaged as a public speaker, or gathering like-minded people to support a worthy cause, he is driven by “the poor understanding of the role of libraries in a democratic society.” As a regular contributor to the Libraries and Transliteracy blog, Molaro is part of a team that is committed to removing barriers between people and information. They recognize the importance of library support for communicating across a range of platforms, from reading and hand writing to signing and social networking. But Molaro does more than write. He cofounded Chicago Deskset, a local offshoot of the New York City—based group of librarians, bibliophiles, and information professionals who “thrive through social events and give something back to our community.” A supporter of libraries in their essential form, he believes that attacks on libraries, intellectual freedom, and human rights can be countered with “the very stories contained within our walls.” Those stories illustrate a critical service in action. “There is no greater reward in the world than knowing that our profession saves lives,” he says. “Whether it is a lonely senior or a kid trying to find [his] way in this world, their sanctuary is the public library.”

1).        Do you hold an MLS degree? From which school?

            MBA Elmhurst College

            MLIS Dominican University

            PhD Anticipated Dominican University

2).        If you hold an MLS, what was your undergraduate field of study? Have you applied that degree in your library career?

            BA History.  History, like LIS, is an all encompassing field.  Much of what I have learned pursuing that degree has been relevant in my current position.

3).        Is there anything unique about the history and/or architecture of your library?

            My library is known for its porches and fireplace.

4).        What stands out about your library? What special features or services does it offer?

            Messenger Public Library stands out because of the level of service it offers.  Since I started, we have been the first in the area to lend out eReaders, create a video game collection, lend out comic books, dump RFID, and create a Blu-ray collection.  We are on the cutting edge but have managed to avoid the bleeding edge.

5).        How many patrons does your library serve?

            Our geographic boundary is 15,848.  However we are often the library of use for many patrons in both Aurora (who does not have a branch anywhere near so many of their patrons) and Sugar Grove (the library is closed on Sunday and Monday and only open half days for Friday and Saturday).

6).        What is the demographic in your area?

            About 80% white, 10% Latino, 5% African-American

7).        What are your favorite reading genres? Any favorite books or authors you’ve read recently?

            As a PhD Candidate, most of my reading is related to LIS theory and research theory.  On my free time I tend to read nonfiction.

8).        What are your thoughts on the eBook vs. book debate? Will books as we know them ever be completely usurped by eBooks?

Usurped is a tricky word.  If by that do you mean that eBooks will have a larger market share than print books, well yes I do think that will happen much sooner than we had thought.  For libraries, the important question is whether we will be forced out of the eBook race.  If publishers and retailers continue to create services, products and terms that leave libraries out, well then we are faced with forced obsolesces. 

9).        Have your patrons been receptive to eBooks?

            Yes, our patrons have used eBook services that we have offered, and they turn to us for recommendations on eReader advice.  Our local Barnes & Nobles pushes Overdrive and libraries pretty hard.  I’m not sure if this is universal for B&N or if it’s just the one by us, but it has been great.

10).      Finally, what concerns – if any – do you have about the future of libraries?

            I am worried that we don’t see the writing on the wall.  I believe that libraries need to shift their focus from content consumption to content creation.  YouMedia is the future of libraries.  Those that don’t see that will follow what the systems are experiencing in the state. 


As an “expert” in Technology, Technological Exploration, Technical Services, Management & Leadership Issues, Strategic Planning, Social Media, Information Activism, Social Justice, and all around coolness, I am available to speak to your library group.  You may contact me at

Upcoming Presentations:

April 8, 2011: Schaumburg, IL, “eBooks: Dreams, Realities & Nightmares”, LACONI Technology Section.

September, 2011, Chicago, IL, “Grassroots Organizing: How Librarians are Getting Stuff Done”, Illinois Library Association 2011 Annual Conference with Leah White and Adam Girard.

Chances are there’s a Borders store near you that’s either closing or will close within the next year. Fortunately, the store in my town will remain open – for now – though another location 15 minutes north of here isn’t quite so lucky.

I’ve visited the unfortunate Borders store three times since they put up the deadly yellow “Store Closing Sale!” and “Everything Must Go!” banners, and each time felt a bit like a vulture. Every time I visit I’m effectively picking the bones of the carcass that was once a bustling store. And it’s a distinctly cringe-worthy feeling I don’t like at all.

I know it’s inevitable the store must rid itself of inventory, but at the same time it’s just so sad. I’ve spent a lot of time there since it went up, though, admittedly I preferred the Barnes & Noble down the street (better selection, more comfy chairs, more neutral decor), but I still spent a lot of time at Borders, partly because I’m a member of their rewards program and received regular coupons, because I spent that much there (DID I EVER!). There’s another reason I’m shocked it’s closing, that I wasn’t able to keep them in the black with my purchases alone.

But it’s not just the local closings that’s bothersome. It’s more the fact Borders is one of the two book mega-chains, the brick and mortar biggies that were responsible for putting the independents – with few exceptions – out of business years ago. Now they’re going bankrupt, struggling to keep themselves alive by streamlining, cutting jobs and closing less profitable stores. So, without the assurance Borders will make it, everything now hinges on Barnes & Noble. And it’s having its share of problems, too.

Why? I see the reason as two-fold: first, GIANT retailer Amazon is able to undercut the prices of all brick and mortar stores, and second, the spectre of eBooks that require no manufacturing, no shipping and the convenience of instant delivery. Oh, and they’re generally cheaper than regular books.

So, what will happen to books once eBooks eventually take over? Or will they? Look at the music industry. Once there were Victrolas, then reel-to-reel and vinyl records. Along came 8-track tapes (a travesty!), cassettes, then CDs. Now, iPods and electronic downloads.

Recording artists are also having their works pirated, downloaded for absolutely free online, cutting their profits to the bone. Once books go all electronic the same will happen with them, you can bet on it. Writers who’re unable to live off writing proceeds alone will have that much less incentive to write – assuming they’re not in it for the love of the art itself. What will happen to the publishing industry? As goes music, soon will follow books.

Best case scenario, used book stores will thrive. Those of us who covet the written book will be able to get our fix buying lower-priced, pre-owned if you will, books. And there’s always print on demand, too. Not a bad option, at least if they’re priced reasonably.

For the sake of disclosure, though I love books I own a Sony eReader. I even have the Kindle app on my iPhone. And, when Kindles are given away for free – which is rumored to start happening by the end of this year – I’ll take one of those, as well. I do buy eBooks. I love the portability of them, the fact I can load up on library and bookstore books, carrying a virtual library with me wherever I go.

So, have I stopped buying books? Not by a long shot! Instead I’ve been buying way too much, between eBooks and book books. Not the best financial strategy, but I’m putting the brakes on that right now. Right. Now. Or, after I’ve bought the last batch of cheap books at the doomed Borders store that’s a mere 15 minutes away.


None of us can predict what will eventually happen, but the writing is on the wall. Resist though we may, this is already in motion, such a strong tide can’t be stemmed. All well and good to try to fight it, if it makes a person feel better, but in the end logic, and economics, will prove the big publishers get their way. They’re already struggling. Tell me how the prospect of making larger profits on eBooks, which don’t have to be manufactured and shipped, won’t keep ailing publishers afloat. Or at least assure the survival of the most powerful of them. There’s no way around it.

I’ve posted a lot re: eBooks, and with a great deal of passion, but from here on I see there’s not much point in denying the inevitable. The demise of Borders is a dire event. The bell is tolling for bookstores.  Soon we’ll be left with just Amazon, which I predict will still be standing when the mega-chains are shuttered. Where Amazon goes, there goes publishing.

Keep your eye on the Amazon basket. That’s where the remaining eggs lie. But this librarian/book reviewer/manic reader predicts what will be left, when the dust settles, are eBooks and print on demand. What will happen with picture books, graphic novels, etc., is a different kettle of fish. Likewise, children’s books. Maybe specialty publishers will continue to exist for those. But this may turn out to be the exception to the rule.

Probably not what you wanted to hear, and it’s definitely not what I like to say. I’ll take no pleasure in “I told you so!” in this case. And nothing would make me happier than being proven wrong. But I don’t think that’s going to happen.

The question is when, not if. And it may be a gradual shift, as in cassettes and albums giving way to CDs. Like LPs, maybe books will enjoy a renaissance, for the novelty. But I’m afraid to say it’s not looking good for lovers of the book. Never mind I already own more books than I can read in my lifetime. In several lifetimes, I think. I’ll mourn the passing of books regardless.

Just let me be wrong. That’s what I hope.

Current list of Borders closures.

We’ve just switched our library catalog over to Bibliocommons, a much more interactive, 21st century social networking-friendly system than our previous catalog – iBistro. It was rolled out to the public around March 1, but we had time to play with it before the inevitable questions started. And dear reader, I am in love!

I’m the sort of reader who loves making lists, very often lists I never refer to again (I have a list of books to be read on a Google spreadsheet, and never refer to it/haven’t updated it in months), but any old list is a good list. Bibliocommons allows the user to make all sorts of lists, those that keep track of books read, books in progress and books to read later (of which I’ll eventually have thousands, I have no doubt). It also allows you to see what other users are reading, what they thought of it once they’ve finished, and what books are on their “to be read” lists.

In addition, like at Amazon users can create lists of suggested reading, such as “My favorite books by institutionalized authors,” or “What I read when my husband is snoring and I can’t sleep (instead of hitting him over the head with a mallet),” etc. Other users can view these lists, and if the subject is one they’re interested in then BAM! here are suggestions for books the list-maker enjoyed and the list reader may, too.

Readers can review materials, suggest audience-appropriate ages, note if there’s anything graphic so more sensitive readers can steer clear if they choose (or adventurous sorts can have a field day), and more.  Did I mention I love it? Because I do love it.

And what’s not to love? Nothing, in my opinion, aside from the ubiquitous learning curve as everyone gets used to the new system. I have heard a few complaints from users, unsurprisingly, as some grew attached to the old, more clunky system and resist the change. Anything new and unfamiliar is bound to elicit some grumbling.  Such is life.

Even I had my share of difficulties at first, and I was trained. Twice, actually! Still, it’s hard picturing in my mind what people are talking about when they call and ask questions. If they’re at the library it’s easier. Then I can perch on their shoulder and see first-hand the nature of the problem. But over the phone it’s challenging, especially if the patron’s terminology/perception is different from what I’m seeing on the screen.

So far all the questions I’ve had have been about the sign-in procedure, which I’ll admit is a little wonky. It took me several attempts to get that settled, myself, because it kept rejecting me (SOB!). So I can identify with that. But once you’re in I found it very intuitive, and a much more  user-friendly system.

A lot of libraries seem to be making the switch to Bibliocommons, at least in the Chicagoland area. And all the local libraries’ patron information is included in our system. That is, when you enter data here it’s visible to all the libraries in the area, so lists can be exchanged between thousands and thousands of library patrons, making it even more fun and useful. Unless you choose otherwise, of course, and make your information private. You can do that, too. But of course I don’t. I shout all my book thoughts from the top of the roof, social network them to death, and spend my life on Amazon.

Is that wrong?

Anyway, welcome, Bibliocommons! If I didn’t say it before, I love you!

And, if anyone wants to find me just search for Algonquin_Lisa and you can peruse my bookish ravings thoughts to your heart’s content. Leave me a message, too, if you’d like. Especially if you have praise to share.

Please keep this in mind when purchasing books. HarperCollins publishers plans to put the screws to libraries regarding use of the publisher’s eBooks. They propose to allow each title only 26 circulations, then charge the library all over again for use of this title. Granted, the second charge will be less, allowing for the paperback issue of the book, but it is a charge nonetheless.

Libraries are already over-burdened, with many closures and lay-offs. HarperCollins doesn’t require libraries to purchase regular books again after so many circulations, and there’s an actual cost of manufacture involved. With eBooks it’s almost pure profit for the publisher. Two words: Cha. Ching.

Just keep this in mind the next time you purchase a book, consider how this company proposes to add to the burden of already strapped libraries. Then, consider checking the book out of the library rather than buying. Because, for now, they’re okay with that.

Make up your own mind, but here’s the letter they’ve released to libraries:

HarperCollins letter:

March 1, 2010

Open Letter to Librarians:

Over the last few days we at HarperCollins have been listening to the discussion about changes to our e-book policy. HarperCollins is committed to libraries and recognizes that they are a crucial part of our local communities. We count on librarians reading our books and spreading the word about our authors’ good works. Our goal is to continue to sell e-books to libraries, while balancing the challenges and opportunities that the growth of e-books presents to all who are actively engaged in buying, selling, lending, promoting, writing and publishing books.

We are striving to find the best model for all parties. Guiding our decisions is our goal to make sure that all of our sales channels, in both print and digital formats, remain viable, not just today but in the future. Ensuring broad distribution through booksellers and libraries provides the greatest choice for readers and the greatest opportunity for authors’ books to be discovered.

Our prior e-book policy for libraries dates back almost 10 years to a time when the number of e-readers was too small to measure. It is projected that the installed base of e-reading devices domestically will reach nearly 40 million this year. We have serious concerns that our previous e-book policy, selling e-books to libraries in perpetuity, if left unchanged, would undermine the emerging e-book eco-system, hurt the growing e-book channel, place additional pressure on physical bookstores, and in the end lead to a decrease in book sales and royalties paid to authors. We are looking to balance the mission and needs of libraries and their patrons with those of authors and booksellers, so that the library channel can thrive alongside the growing e-book retail channel.

We spent many months examining the issues before making this change. We talked to agents and distributors, had discussions with librarians, and participated in the Library Journal e-book Summit and other conferences. Twenty-six circulations can provide a year of availability for titles with the highest demand, and much longer for other titles and core backlist. If a library decides to repurchase an e-book later in the book’s life, the price will be significantly lower as it will be pegged to a paperback price point. Our hope is to make the cost per circulation for e-books less than that of the corresponding physical book. In fact, the digital list price is generally 20% lower than the print version, and sold to distributors at a discount.

We invite libraries and library distributors to partner with us as we move forward with these new policies. We look forward to ongoing discussions about changes in this space and will continue to look to collaborate on mutually beneficial opportunities.

To continue the discussion please email


Josh Marwell
President of Sales