Hello again. This evening I shadowed Leah, the Fayetteville Free Library’s web services librarian and curator of the music and periodicals collections, on the reference desk. I asked about her collections and she told me about some new ideas for displaying the music collection. Right now the cds are kept in clear plastic sleeves like this that tear easily and she is interested in some new flexible plastic jewel cases that, unlike jewel cases, don’t break the first time you open them. As the librarian in charge of the music collection, she is also in charge of the library’s online music database Freegal. She also talked about a new service called Rdio. For a flat monthly fee, users have access to the Rdio music library where they can stream and download as much music as they want. As a library, the funding gets a little tricky. Because Rdio is available to anybody and not just libraries, the libraries actually end up paying for the subscriptions. Say 50 patrons decide to try Rdio, then the library has to pay for fifty subscriptions every month. That’s a lot.
We also talked about the periodicals collection. On the circulating iPad and iPod Touchs at the library, we have an app called Zinio installed. It’s kinda like the iBooks or Kindle apps in that its a mobile reading app, but Zinio specializes in periodicals. Leah told me they’re going to be coming out with a new service soon which is accessible through a web browser. We’re not sure if that means it’s still aimed at tablet computers or if this is something that will work on laptop and desktop computers as well.
And then, because we were talking about cool digital stuff, we also talked about some ebook sharing websites. I learned about Open Library. The goal of Open Library is to have a digital copy of every book ever published. They have over 20 million records so far and more keep coming in. It kinda reminds me of Project Gutenberg. But there are two major differences, Open Library has new books and instead of downloading books you borrow them. In fact, they have an inter-library lending service. To become a member library, you just have to contribute one book to the catalog (that was published pre 2000). Then, any patrons with a valid library card in your area have access to the entire Open Library lending library.
You may be wondering how they’re able to take books that are not in the public domain, make them available in ebook format, and freely lend them to the general public without being called out for copyright violations. Open Library uses the First Sale Doctrine, which basically states that once you purchase a book you are free to do whatever you’d like with it (aside from make an entire copy and sell it) as a defense. They are also trying to work directly with publishers to get the rights for the ebooks they hold, but because ebooks are still so new, the publishers don’t really know what to do. Personally I think the First Sale doctrine should apply equally to ebooks as well as print books. If a library purchases an ebook and lends it out using the same policies that are in place for print books, I don’t see what the problem is. Anyways, I think Open Library is very cool. Leah also said it’s useful as a reference tool when you’re trying to help a patron find an out of print book.
Other than learning about the cool music, periodical, and ebook stuff, Leah explained a little about how she makes the library website. Out library uses Joomla. It’s a free content management system that lets you build websites piece by piece. The way Leah explained it, each page is made of modules. There’s a header module, a footer module, there are menu modules, and basically any kind of content you want to include on your website, there’s a module for it. It sounds as easy to use as WordPress, but much more customizable.
I also helped a little kid with a computer problem (sorta) and observed while Leah helped a patron who was looking for a book club book on a specific topic.
Wow, I did all that in two hours?
(reference internship hours completed: 14 of 75)