“Highly regarded Japanese novelist Ryu Murakami isn’t releasing his next novel on hardcover or paperback. He’s releasing it exclusively on iPad, and including all the multimedia goodies that the platform allows.
Murakami’s novel, A Singing Whale, will feature video elements as well as orchestration by composer Ryuichi Sakamoto—an Academy Award winner for his work on The Last Emperor. So maybe not bells and whistles, per se, but definitely at least one flutist. The novel will cost $17, according to Nikkei, and is ready for download as soon Apple approves it.
It won’t be the first time a prominent author has gone exclusive for an ebook reader—Stephen King’s Kindle arrangement is probably the most notable example—but those deals often had planned hardcover versions coming out eventually, and didn’t include the multimedia aspects that A Singing Whale will. But as ebook readers become more sophisticated, it’s not unimaginable that more authors will prefer their versatility over a stack of dead trees.”
When I think of music, filesharing, and copyright, sheet music is not the first thing that comes to mind. This piece offers a little insight into a couple sides of the issue. (via Library Stuff and LISNews)
The American Library Association doesn’t have a comprehensive list of how many libraries are in malls or shopping centers but has an informal tally of around two dozen such branches. One of those opened as far back as the 1960s, but the idea seemingly has grown in popularity in the last decade.
Some locations are arranged like traditional libraries, while others resemble a bookstore. There’s also a handful of libraries with arts centers, museums and even apartment buildings. (via Library Stuff and LISNews)
I thought it was interesting to see this article pop up now, because I’m familiar with one mall location that had been open for at least 15-20 years.
I think there’s a lot more to this than what is touched on in the AP article, though. It goes much deeper than user convenience. In many areas, the traditional shopping malls aren’t bringing in revenue like they used to, and property owners have to look elsewhere to fill the space. City governments and local universities are just two examples of organizations that can move in.
In Cedar Rapids, the main public library building downtown was flooded in 2008. The library system had had a branch at a shopping mall in the past, and they moved main operations into the same building to provide service during the disaster and recovery.
At ALA, I had a somewhat tense conversation with a librarian from one of the states in huge financial trouble who was complaining about state funding being cut by some large percentage. Part of my duties as an alert spectator of all things library is keeping up with state budgets, and I knew for a fact this state is in terrible financial straits.
So I asked about that. What did she think should be cut? Nothing, and certainly not libraries.
Her solution was to raise taxes on “the wealthy.” I hate to be the bringer of bad news – no, sorry, that actually doesn’t bother me at all – but “the wealthy” have paid all the taxes they’re going to pay. Increased taxes don’t hit “the wealthy,” they hit the middle and lower middle classes.
Increased taxes supposedly on “the wealthy” often backfire. Years ago there was an increased “luxury tax” on yachts. What happened? “The wealthy” bought fewer yachts, which put the working class yacht manufacturers out of work. “The wealthy” know how to protect their money from taxes; that’s how they stay wealthy.
In the handful of states with the worst budget situations especially, there aren’t any more taxes to wring out of people. We don’t live in some totalitarian communist state that can put up walls to prevent interstate travel. If taxes get exorbitantly higher than those of surrounding states, everyone who can move moves, and it makes the situation even worse.
I would expect librarians, who are supposedly capable of critical thought and evaluating information, to understand all this.
For further reading, see the discussion here at Will Unwound about one commenter’s rather inventive suggestion to solve the funding issue: legalize marijuana and prostitution, and use the tax revenue to fund libraries.
With a borrowed projector from the university and a window shade as a makeshift screen, [Sage Holben] shows a few movies almost every weekend. The films, though, are a mere backdrop for a richer tableau involving more than a dozen kids from a half-dozen ethnic backgrounds.
“It’s about people accepting each other. They treat each other with respect on our porch,” said Holben, 64, who rents the second floor of the Victorian house, which has three other tenants. “Having the movie night is as much about conversation as it is about the movie. The development of trust in the neighborhood has been really awesome.” (via LISNews)
This article isn’t strictly library-centric, although Holben is a librarian herself. Still, the community spirit demonstrated by these movie events is something that I’m sure most librarians strive for in their libraries. It is, as Andy from LISNews said, “a pretty inspiring story.”
This don’t pretend to be “Literature.” This is just a tale for red-blooded folks who want a story and not just a lot of “psychological” stuff or “analysis.” Boy, you’ll love it! Read it here, see it in the movies, play it on the phonograph, run it through the sewing-machine.
A WILD THING
It was night in the mountains of Kentucky. Wild hills rose on all sides. Swift mountain streams flowed rapidly up and down the mountains.
Jemina Tantrum was down at the stream, brewing whiskey at the family still.
She was a typical mountain girl.
- F. Scott Fitzgerald, ‘Jemina, The Mountain Girl’ from Tales from the Jazz Age (1922) [full text]
Pollyanna had not hung up three of the pendants in the sunlit window before she saw a little of what was going to happen. She was so excited then she could scarcely control her shaking fingers enough to hang up the rest. But at last her task was finished, and she stepped back with a low cry of delight.
It had become a fairyland—that sumptuous, but dreary bedroom. Everywhere were bits of dancing red and green, violet and orange, gold and blue. The wall, the floor, and the furniture, even to the bed itself, were aflame with shimmering bits of color.
“Oh, oh, oh, how lovely!” breathed Pollyanna; then she laughed suddenly.
Our desire to avoid confrontation and our inability to understand the user get in the way of providing the highest level of service. Bad signs exist in all types of libraries, victimizing users without bias and leading to some unwelcome encounters. It makes me wonder if a bad sign is truly better than nothing or just making things worse. (via Tame the Web)
As part of my Organizational Management course, I read several post-occupancy reports, and signage was an almost constant issue with new buildings. Why do librarians have such a hard time with signs?
“‘The Clark Library is the greatest unknown literary treasure in Los Angeles,’ said Kathleen Thompson, who with her husband owns Michael R. Thompson Booksellers, a rare bookshop that works closely with the institution. ‘The minute we saw it 40 years ago we fell in love with it, and our love has only grown.’” (via LISNews and Library Stuff)
“The Los Angeles City Council abandoned a plan Tuesday for putting a tax on the Nov. 2 ballot to raise money for city libraries, but left the door open for a similar proposal to go on the municipal ballot in March.
The decision came roughly two weeks after the council moved ahead with the layoffs of 98 library employees.
Proponents of the levy said it would provide money to restore those positions and have six days of library service per week, instead of the five that were put in place on July 6. But several council members said the city could not afford to risk spending the $4.2 million that county elections officials would charge to put the measure on the ballot, only to see it fail.” (via Library Stuff)
“On one particular day I received both an overdue notice and an item arrival message. As I looked at them together, conceptually, there was very little difference. Both read like form letters and offered very little personality. Obviously that’s exactly what they are: form letters generated automatically. But if we’re talking seriously about user experience design then these notes need to be considered as a communications channel. These are functional interaction points that can reveal a lot about our organization.”
Though the ALA likes to call everything “information” and every desire for “information” a “need,” the sensible among us know the truth. Most people use libraries to get free entertainment. (And yes, we all know it isn’t really “free,” so spare us your ranting comment.)
They go their to get DVDs and CDs and genre fiction and to surf for porn and sports scores on the Internet. The desires of “heavy readers” of romance novels or science fiction do not constitute “information needs,” and certainly not ones that call for public funding from broke governments.
Most people can satisfy their information needs and their entertainment desires on their own.
Describing a desire for entertainment using traditional LIS terminology is admittedly problematic. I encountered this myself when attempting to research music discovery habits in relation to libraries. Does one ever really need music? Does one need movies, or fiction? I still like the sentiment behind the sign that annoyed the Annoyed Librarian, but this part of the article did get my attention.