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  1. #1
    Gird your loins Daisy Hill's Avatar
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    Default Libraries in crisis

    battered by budget cuts, e books and lower numbers of readers, is there a future for your community library? In this down economy, many libraries are actually seeing and uptick in usage... people appreciate free books and the cheapest form of entertainment

    As someone who eagerly awaited the weekly visit of the bookmobile, the school book fair and my "weekly reader" I have to admit, that I rarely visit my public library!

    I bought a NOOK, which I swore I would never do, but after reading just one book preview on the thing, I have reserved it for magazines only.....I still like the feel, smell, look, portability, "storability" of the old fashioned BOOK

    but I worry about the future of the cornerstone of many communities..the library

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/1...html?ref=books

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  2. #2
    Forum Frontman It's Mike's Avatar
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    libraries will need to evolve and from what i've seen up here they are. Fewer books and more computer stations and more meeting rooms. Every time I'm at my local library it's pretty busy.

  3. #3
    Baluchitherium loveevhsince79's Avatar
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    I think like Daisy said, they have seen an increase in usage so the problem is not them evolving. The problem is funding. In Ohio, they keep reducing the amount of money the state gives the libraries. We had a levy on our ballots last year to help make up the difference in what the state took away and thank goodness it passed. With them struggling just to keep the doors open, there isn't anything extra for more computers and meeting rooms.
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    Atomic Punk Dave's Dreidel's Avatar
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    My local library has meeting rooms out the wahzoo, I am always meeting someone there.

    One of my clients, and they are a pretty big company, had their all hands at a library meeting room last Friday.
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    Atomic Punk lovemachine97(Version 2)'s Avatar
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    As a government entity that doesn't necessarily have to be affected in the typical ways by market forces, I don't think libraries will be gone.

    I do, however, think e-readers and tablets will dominate the market. I don't know that books will disappear like CDs, but I think books will be reduced to a niche market, perhaps like vinyl records.

    As stated above, libraries will have to, in the words of Garth, "live in the now".

  6. #6
    Baluchitherium Ted Van Halen's Avatar
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    Maybe I'm out of the loop here but isn't the purpose of libraries to provide books? Our local branch does a great job & we use it a lot because we read a lot as a family. However, if the core purpose (books) is no longer the core service provided, do we really need public libraries? Do they justify there existence by providing a meeting place/computer lab? Just asking.


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    Atomic Punk lovemachine97(Version 2)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Van Halen View Post
    Maybe I'm out of the loop here but isn't the purpose of libraries to provide books? Our local branch does a great job & we use it a lot because we read a lot as a family. However, if the core purpose (books) is no longer the core service provided, do we really need public libraries? Do they justify there existence by providing a meeting place/computer lab? Just asking.


    TVH
    I would say no, but then again I think that people shouldn't be forced to pay for libraries to be built in the first place.

  8. #8
    Forum Frontman It's Mike's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Van Halen View Post
    Maybe I'm out of the loop here but isn't the purpose of libraries to provide books? Our local branch does a great job & we use it a lot because we read a lot as a family. However, if the core purpose (books) is no longer the core service provided, do we really need public libraries? Do they justify there existence by providing a meeting place/computer lab? Just asking.


    TVH
    I think so. Libraries are much more than just books, they should be community centres as much as anything. My local library has a lot of books but also a bunch of computers and meeting rooms. They've done a good job adjusting to the 21st century.

  9. #9
    Gird your loins Daisy Hill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by loveevhsince79 View Post
    I think like Daisy said, they have seen an increase in usage so the problem is not them evolving. The problem is funding. In Ohio, they keep reducing the amount of money the state gives the libraries. We had a levy on our ballots last year to help make up the difference in what the state took away and thank goodness it passed. With them struggling just to keep the doors open, there isn't anything extra for more computers and meeting rooms.

    here in Ohio the problem is funding for sure....Ohio govt has very little use for anything in the arts.

    but I think the problem is to evolve as well. Big institutions like this have a hard time thinking one generation ahead

    Look at the post office

    when email started, they should have looked at how they could jump on that bandwagon and incorporate it into their services.

    They could have been another yahoo, but I think they underestimated how fast it would catch on...I think they thought that there will always be people who like to write a letter and stick a stamp on it.

    Think of it...one service that provides your email, manages your bill pay, sells you postage online for the stuff you can't fax or email ( which appears to be the only thing they have jumped on)...and schedules package delivery and pickup. They could have led the pack, but now they are in competition with every email service, every bank or merchant that offers e- bill pay, and every package delivery service...just chipping away at them. Heck in Ohio if you are a business, just try to pay your tax bills by mail...they want you to use the "business gateway" and do everything electronically!


    but the Post Office are still trying to operate routes like the milk man...oh yeah, the milk man...anyone remember him?

    no wonder they lost 5 billion dollars

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  10. #10
    Atomic Punk lovemachine97(Version 2)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daisy Hill View Post
    here in Ohio the problem is funding for sure....Ohio govt has very little use for anything in the arts.

    but I think the problem is to evolve as well. Big institutions like this have a hard time thinking one generation ahead

    Look at the post office

    when email started, they should have looked at how they could jump on that bandwagon and incorporate it into their services.

    They could have been another yahoo, but I think they underestimated how fast it would catch on...I think they thought that there will always be people who like to write a letter and stick a stamp on it.

    Think of it...one service that provides your email, manages your bill pay, sells you postage online for the stuff you can't fax or email ( which appears to be the only thing they have jumped on)...and schedules package delivery and pickup. They could have led the pack, but now they are in competition with every email service, every bank or merchant that offers e- bill pay, and every package delivery service...just chipping away at them. Heck in Ohio if you are a business, just try to pay your tax bills by mail...they want you to use the "business gateway" and do everything electronically!


    but the Post Office are still trying to operate routes like the milk man...oh yeah, the milk man...anyone remember him?

    no wonder they lost 5 billion dollars
    I think that's just the inherent problem in a government monopoly that has no risk of going out of business. I don't think think they underestimated anything. I just think there was no incentive for them to change or adapt. If UPS or FedEx had access to our mailboxes, something tells me that they would have adapted with the times and would not lose tens of billions per year.

  11. #11
    Baluchitherium loveevhsince79's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daisy Hill View Post
    here in Ohio the problem is funding for sure....Ohio govt has very little use for anything in the arts.

    but I think the problem is to evolve as well. Big institutions like this have a hard time thinking one generation ahead
    I guess I'm having a hard time seeing how they are not evolving with such limited funds, at least at my local branch. They have a whole section of the library for computers to be used. They have a separate section for children's computer usage. They have electronic check out to reduce staff. They have dvds and music that can be checked out. They have tons of programs for kids to participate in such as the summer reading program. It is supported by local businesses that gives prizes at the end of summer for successfully completing so many hours of reading which is huge in my community. They have programs for adults to help with resumes. Really, the only thing left is e readers and unless the rules change, this is very much akin to music piracy. They can't loan e books. I'm not a great visionary so I'm probably of the same mind set but it would be interesting to hear some ideas. I know Mike suggested meeting rooms but our library is jam packed as it is. Unless they moved to a bigger facility which would mean bigger expenses, they can't really implement this idea. Even if they were able to create space, would this be something that is chargeable?
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  12. #12
    Gird your loins Daisy Hill's Avatar
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    I think you are very lucky to have your local branch, but most small town libraries are nowhere near what you just described....and given limited access to other resources, the small town library is critical to the community.


    in evolving, what I mean is 2 things: funding and convenience. Schools and libraries in Ohio are largely dependent upon taxes as their income. Many have fundraisers ( our local library has a book sale that really generates very little in the scheme of things) and some lucky libraries have endowments but they operate on shoestring, and are up for "execution" every few years.

    our local branch just started lending limited e books, offers summer reading, movie night, and does a lot to be a centerpiece of the community etc, but still has to justify its existence constantly.Could a business survive if every few years its very existence of its business model was on the line? How can you plan for the future in those circumstances?

    but the thing is, the library has limited weekend hours, and a lot of young people (and tech savvy older people) look to the internet for most of their research needs. I know of no library where you can go online, look up and order a book, check it out on your card and either have it delivered as an e book, thru a delivery service or even ready for pickup at the desk or a drive thru


    we are a drive thru and online society and the library is a stationary establishment

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  13. #13
    Forum Frontman It's Mike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by loveevhsince79 View Post
    I guess I'm having a hard time seeing how they are not evolving with such limited funds, at least at my local branch. They have a whole section of the library for computers to be used. They have a separate section for children's computer usage. They have electronic check out to reduce staff. They have dvds and music that can be checked out. They have tons of programs for kids to participate in such as the summer reading program. It is supported by local businesses that gives prizes at the end of summer for successfully completing so many hours of reading which is huge in my community. They have programs for adults to help with resumes. Really, the only thing left is e readers and unless the rules change, this is very much akin to music piracy. They can't loan e books. I'm not a great visionary so I'm probably of the same mind set but it would be interesting to hear some ideas. I know Mike suggested meeting rooms but our library is jam packed as it is. Unless they moved to a bigger facility which would mean bigger expenses, they can't really implement this idea. Even if they were able to create space, would this be something that is chargeable?
    sounds alot like my local library. That's fantastic.

    When I speak of meeting rooms, I'm talking about larger libraries that are reducing the number of books on hand over time and would have more space available. Another library a few minutes from my house is a little larger and has a half dozen or so meeting rooms. Great for students working on projects or just people that want to study in complete silence.

  14. #14
    Baluchitherium loveevhsince79's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daisy Hill View Post
    I think you are very lucky to have your local branch, but most small town libraries are nowhere near what you just described....and given limited access to other resources, the small town library is critical to the community.


    in evolving, what I mean is 2 things: funding and convenience. Schools and libraries in Ohio are largely dependent upon taxes as their income. Many have fundraisers ( our local library has a book sale that really generates very little in the scheme of things) and some lucky libraries have endowments but they operate on shoestring, and are up for "execution" every few years.

    our local branch just started lending limited e books, offers summer reading, movie night, and does a lot to be a centerpiece of the community etc, but still has to justify its existence constantly.Could a business survive if every few years its very existence of its business model was on the line? How can you plan for the future in those circumstances?

    but the thing is, the library has limited weekend hours, and a lot of young people (and tech savvy older people) look to the internet for most of their research needs. I know of no library where you can go online, look up and order a book, check it out on your card and either have it delivered as an e book, thru a delivery service or even ready for pickup at the desk or a drive thru


    we are a drive thru and online society and the library is a stationary establishment
    You're right, we must be lucky. I thought that what we have was standard fair. And as you had mentioned, we can go to the website online ( http://www.columbuslibrary.org/ ), order a book and they send you an email when it arrives to come pick it up. They also let you know when a book is due so that you don't incur late fees and if you do, you can pay on line. It actually saves money after things are set up because it increases curriculum and reduces staff to handle these things . We have a very small number of people that work at our branch. They did reduce hours but after the levy passed, they increased them some.

    It's good to get a different perspective on things. I really did think that things were much the same all over with the exception of very small towns.
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  15. #15
    carpe damn diem billy007's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daisy Hill View Post
    but the thing is, the library has limited weekend hours, and a lot of young people (and tech savvy older people) look to the internet for most of their research needs. I know of no library where you can go online, look up and order a book, check it out on your card and either have it delivered as an e book, thru a delivery service or even ready for pickup at the desk or a drive thru


    we are a drive thru and online society and the library is a stationary establishment
    Not in Orange County (Florida, that is)! You can look online at the entire, 15 branch selection, and order books to be delivered - which may take a week, but did I mention it's delivered? Then, when you are done, you can drop that book (or video, or CD) off at any branch, regardless of which branch it originated from.

    How does the lending of e-books work?

 

 

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