Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing, and Publishing ~

Tag Archives: library

In Praise of #Libraries


I’ll start with a praise of libraries from Columnist and Author, Caitlin Moran in her article, Libraries: Cathedrals of Our Souls:

“A library in the middle of a community is a cross between an emergency exit, a life raft and a festival. They are cathedrals of the mind; hospitals of the soul; theme parks of the imagination.”

If you have the time, do go read her full article…

Now, a rather ironic offering from the site, No Shelf Required, What’s the Best Way to Get Indies into Libraries?

Just a few excerpts:

“…ever asked why your library had a Kindle bestseller title in print but not as an ebook?”

“…while libraries focus their acquisitions efforts on books from the Big Five, there is a parallel universe of publishing that generates bestsellers and sells them to the public. Some of these bestsellers get into library collections, but not all.”

“When an indie author is ready to publish a book, there are several options for creating and then distributing the ebook edition to major retailers and library sales channels.”

“There is no reason libraries can’t provide their patrons with ebook editions of most popular indie authors.”

Now, I’ll link to just a few of the many past posts about libraries on this blog:

E-books, Libraries, and the False Notion of Digital Scarcity…

Little Free Libraries All over the World

Even Small Town Libraries Can Afford to Self-Publish

Readers & Libraries

To read more about libraries, scroll down a bit in the left side-bar and click on “Libraries” in the Top Tags widget :-)
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E-books, Libraries, and the False Notion of Digital Scarcity…


My recent experience with libraries depends on two things, both not optimum for gaining comprehensive knowledge:

— I haven’t used a library seriously for many years…

— I have a friend who’s a librarian in a prison, which is a totally different world…

Also, there is much floating around that is positively confusing about e-books…

Luckily, I found the site No Shelf Required.

Their self-statement:

“Portal on all aspects of ebooks and digital content and for all creating, reading, publishing, managing, curating, and distributing the written word and other content in digital format, including publishers, writers, editors, content developers, distributors, educators, librarians and information science professionals. With contributions from book and library professionals and thought leaders in the United States and around the world.”

So, to find information and explanations about e-books in libraries, this would seem a good Space; especially with Mirela Roncevic on the staff…

Just a bit about her:

“…Mirela launched the Free Reading initiative, which brings developers, publishers, and sponsors together to turn public and private spaces into zones where people have free and uninterrupted access to books…”

“Previously Mirela was Senior Editor at Library Journal, co-editor of ALA’s online journal, eContent Quarterly, instructor of ALA’s popular Understanding Ebooks class…Managing Editor of Salem Press’ acclaimed Critical Insights book series, and Director of Content for a number of content platforms, which she helped build and maintain.”

In Mirela’s article, Great to See Major Publishers Embrace Alternative Ebook Models in Public Libraries, but Let’s Give Credit Where Credit Is Due, there’s a wealth of information.

At one point, she says:

“I’ve had the privilege of working with vendors that cater to all types of libraries and have seen first-hand how difficult it is to crack the public library market in particular. My experience has shown that the vast majority of libraries are simply not ready or are not willing to work with new (unfamiliar) companies providing high-quality services (and models that are actually revolutionizing access to books)…”

One of the troublesome factors some e-book publishers inject into the library environment is the one-book-one-patron fiasco.

Physical books are naturally one-book-one-patron—if there are three copies of a book, three patrons can have it out at the same time, the fourth person must wait…

Certain large publishers have demanded the same for e-books, along with charging exorbitant amounts for each e-book “copy”…

After discussing various factors surrounding this issue, Mirela says:

“When a library director gives a newcomer a chance and adds a new platform to its ebook offering, even without the presence of the Big Five bestsellers,  he/she has the power to introduce a mighty new player into the market. It only takes one library innovator to break the ice. Librarians’ actions, therefore, are more impactful than they may realize. Does this mean they sometimes must learn from  mistakes and the shortfalls of each new model? Certainly.”

For a broader view of different e-book licensing models, try this Publishing Perspectives article
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If you don’t see a way to comment (or, “reply”) after this post, try up there at the top right…
Read Some Strange Fantasies
Grab A Free Novel…
Visit The Story Bazaar

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Google Author Page
For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

“Knowledge Sets Us Free, Art Sets Us Free. A Great Library Is Freedom.”


That quote in the title of this post is from Ursula K. Le Guin and is the lead idea in the essay, How Libraries Save Lives, on BrainPickings.

These two quotes follow the first:

“If librarians were honest, they would say, No one spends time here without being changed.”

~ Joseph Mills

“You never know what troubled little girl needs a book.”

~ Nikki Giovanni

Then comes a statement from the author of the essay:

“A beautiful testament to that emancipating, transformative power of public libraries comes from one such troubled little girl named Storm Reyes, who grew up in an impoverished Native American community, had her life profoundly changed, perhaps even saved, by a library bookmobile, and went on to become a librarian herself.”

And, just before I show you a video about Storm Reyes, I must lead you back to a post I did In October last year, Everyone’s Story Matters, about StoryCorps

On with the StoryCorps video about Storm:


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If you don’t see a way to comment (or, “reply”) after this post, try up there at the top right…
Read Some Strange Fantasies
Grab A Free Novel…
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For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

#Libraries & #Learning: a #Survey


Surveys can be extremely misleading—those having skewed methods to produce biased results.

The survey featured today seems, to me, to have been conducted correctly—here’s their methodology page

And here’s a statement from the organization behind the survey:

Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping America and the world. We conduct public opinion polling, demographic research, content analysis and other data-driven social science research. We do not take policy positions.”

The fact that the survey is about Americans and their libraries might be considered valuable by the majority of readers of this blog; but, minorities can be extremely important—so, I hope folks in countries other than the USA will share information in the comments

I’ll share some of the major findings and leave it to those needing more detailed information to visit this link —> Libraries and Learning:

“Library users think of themselves as lifelong learners”

“Library usage continues to evolve”

“The number of those visiting library buildings is trending down, while the number of library website users has leveled off”

“Those who use libraries and their digital materials are more likely to be parents of minors, women, under age 50, and better educated”

“Library users self-identify as lifelong learners and as people interested in new information”

“Library users are major technology adopters”

“Library users stand out as ‘personal learners’”

“Recent library users are more likely to cite benefits from personal learning than others”

“Those who use library websites are more likely to be professional learners in many contexts”

“Those who use libraries feel relatively satisfied with their performance in learning situations, particularly women, blacks, Hispanics, those in lower-income households and those ages 30 and older”

“Notable shares of Americans do not know that libraries offer learning-related programs and materials”

* To find more information about libraries, click on the word in the Top Tags widget, further down in the left side-bar (this post may be at the top of the archive {since I’ve tagged it with “libraries”})…
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If you don’t see a way to comment (or, “reply”) after this post, try up there at the top right…
Read Some Strange Fantasies
Grab A Free Novel…
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* Google Author Page
For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

Even Small Town Libraries Can Afford to Self-Publish


Las Cruces, New Mexico, USA—population just over 100,000.

Self-publish at the Library

Image Courtesy of Sara Haj-Hassan ~ http://www.freeimages.com/photographer/hhsara-57694

According to a recent newspaper story, the library in Las Cruces will soon be offering self-publishing services:

“We chose FastPencil for Libraries because it’s easy to use and the end result can be published and sold as a printed book or distributed onto OneClickdigital and be made available to thousands of libraries around the world,” said Renée Payne Frankel, library administrator.”

So, a small town library in the USA is offering print and e-book self-publishing services

I also found a United Kingdom site offering the same services

One more excerpt from the Las Cruces story:

“FastPencil for Libraries is a self-publishing platform for new or established authors to develop and edit works, along with the tools needed to publish.

“Authors can share progress with and get feedback from the FastPencil for Libraries community, friends and relatives.”

Regular readers of this blog may remember that I’ve published two books using FastPencil

In fact, I wrote a post back in 2012 called Publisher Helps Local Libraries Become Community Publishers !

I’ll excerpt myself:

“It’s one thing to walk into a library with your book on a flash-drive and be able to walk out with a printed edition. {author’s note: this is with the Espresso Book Machine}

“It’s something else again to use the library to Design, Publish, and Distribute that book!

“In Print and Digital Format!!

“‘Auto-Graphics has partnered with FastPencil to let local libraries offer these services to You:

  • Connect: Collaborate easily and securely within the content management system and directly connect to publishing and retail industry leaders as well as social networking platforms.
  • Write: Write, edit and manage projects on the web or from any device. Track revisions and version history and work with multiple editors and contributors.
  • Convert: Using the Publishing Setup wizard, convert files into multiple formats for both print books and e-books to prepare for distribution into a variety of channels.
  • Publish: Through the publishing module, directly upload files as a new project or write, convert and publish directly through the content management system. This module provides a unique ISBN number and distributes to hundreds of book retailers.
  • Sell: Access an independent e-commerce and order fulfillment system through FastPencil’s Marketplace. Custom URLs and BookBuy widgets are automatically generated upon publishing to assist with marketing campaigns. Royalty reporting is captured and displayed on a dashboard.’

“Nifty, eh?

“The only thing that could be better is if it weren’t, for now, restricted to the U.S.A.”

But, that U.K. link seems to mean this self-publishing-at-your-local-library is leaking out to the rest of the world :-)
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If you don’t see a way to comment (or, “reply”) after this post, try up there at the top right…
Read Some Strange Fantasies
Grab A Free Novel…
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com