Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing, and Publishing ~

Tag Archives: library

“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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#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…
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For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

Find #Gifts for #Readers & Help Build #Libraries


Gone Reading It was back in October of 2011 that I interviewed Bradley S. Wirz of Gone Reading International, in the post, It’s Simple. They’re Gone Reading :-)

A few brief excerpts:

“My corporate life had taken its toll.  I’ll spare you the details, but I found myself curled up in the fetal position in a hotel room in New York City.  I called my wife and said ‘I can’t do this anymore!’

“By coincidence I had previously committed to going on a volunteer trip to Honduras in a few weeks’ time.  Our project involved helping to build a library in the middle of the Honduran jungle.  That’s what got the wheels turning in my mind.”

>>>So, Brad, how does GoneReading work?

“GoneReading is a lifestyle brand of merchandise and gifts for book lovers like you and me.  Our current offering consists of original designs, each coupled with a slogan to pique the interest of readers…Everything is available for purchase at the GoneReading Store.

“We’re donating 100% of the company profits in perpetuity to fund new libraries in the developing world.  We actually wrote that into our corporate charter.”

There are around a billion fellow humans who don’t read because they can’t get books

Folks like Brad are doing something about it and helping folks like me and you do something, too

Here are just a few of the categories of gifts for readers you can buy and have your purchase help Brad help others build libraries:

Book Holders, eReader & Tablet Stands

Book Journals for Readers

Floating Bookshelves

Literary Mugs & Drinkware

Cards & Stationery

And, there are 19 more categories of gifts at the GoneReading Store :-)

Plus, on their FAQ page, you’ll find this Mission Statement:

“We envision a world where everyone has the opportunity to better themselves through the open pursuit of the dreams and ideals of their choosing.  We envision a world where such opportunity exists for everyone, regardless of their country of origin or locale.  Our mission is to bring the world closer to this vision by helping to ensure that everyone has open access to the reading materials they want and need.  We accomplish this mission by providing new funds for reading-related charities that focus their work across the developing world.”

And, here’s a very excited Karen Blue reviewing a few things from GoneReading :-)
As you watch, don’t forget this quote from Brad:

“We’re donating 100% of the company profits in perpetuity to fund new libraries in the developing 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

Libraries at the Literary Divide ~ Print & Digital


This post will make it 34 articles I’ve written here about Libraries

As far as I know, my novel (to the left in the side-bar…) is only in three libraries, so far; but then, I self-published.

More on that in a bit

First, let’s look at some ideas from an article in The Washington PostReaders win when libraries add e-books, but preserve print, as well (this article focuses on the USA & I’m hoping a few readers in other countries can even things out in the comments…):

“As demand for e-books soars, libraries are expanding their digital footprints. Spending on e-books nationwide has expanded from 1.7 percent of public library budgets in 2010 to 7.6 percent last year, while money devoted to print collections has decreased.”

“Print still matters, and many libraries are experiencing as much demand as ever for old-fashioned offerings.”

“The good news is that finding a middle ground seems possible — when libraries have the money.”

“With the necessary resources, libraries can take the right steps forward into the digital age without jettisoning too much of the printed past.”

While there are certain initiatives to influence traditional publishers to lower the exorbitant prices they ask for e-books, self-published authors now have an easier path to getting their books into libraries.

C. S. Lakin’s blog has a guest post by journalist and publishing consultant Porter AndersonIntroducing Authors’ New, Free Entry into Libraries: SELF-e.

Here are a few, brief excerpts:

SELF-e is an all-new discovery platform that authors can use to get their ebooks into the American library system.”

“Here’s how it works:

  • You use a PDF or EPUB version of your ebook to upload your ebook here. It takes 10 to 15 minutes.

  • As you go through the process, you’ll be asked for your state of residence.

  • Non-US residents writing in English are welcome to submit, too: they just hit “Outside the US” at the bottom of the drop-down of state names.

  • Once your manuscript is submitted, the Library Journal editorial evaluators do their work.

  • If you’ve indicated that you’d like to be included in your state anthology of curated ebooks, your work is automatically placed there and made available to librarians in your state system.

  • If you’ve also indicated that you’d like to be considered for the special SELF-e Select curated collection to be offered to the national system, Library Journal’s evaluators will take that into consideration.”

There’s a lot more to that article and I heartily encourage those who’ve self-published (and, those who plan to do it) to read the whole thing

So, do e-books in libraries bother you?

Should publishers make it easier for libraries to share e-books?

Will print books disappear?

Or, will humanity find room for both print and digital?

Hope to hear from you in the Comments :-)
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Read Some Strange Fantasies
Grab A Free Novel…
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For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com