7 ways to repurpose college libraries once books are obsolete

In the coming weeks, tens of thousands of college students will load their families’ minivans, and experience the sweltering chaos of Move-In Day, reports the Huffington Post. Upperclassmen in matching T-shirts will volunteer their brawn and brio, as they lug assorted trunks into teeming freshmen dorms. But this year, besides the shot glass collections, the contraband panini makers, and the bulk supplies of Vitamin Water, some of the heavy lifting will be eliminated – thanks to fewer books…

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U-Va. program celebrates the embattled book

Here is a book about handwriting by Palatino, a 16th-century calligrapher for whom a font is named. And here, a folio of Shakespeare’s plays that sold for one English pound in 1632. And here, an exquisitely illustrated, calfskin-bound Horace collection that bankrupted its publisher in 1733. Welcome to Rare Book School, summer camp for bibliophiles, reports the Washington Post. Tucked in the basement of the cavernous main library at the University of Virginia, the school is an annual five-week homage to the printed page. Or is it an elegy?

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Self-destructing eBooks rile librarians

A publisher's new policy forces libraries to repurchase eBooks after 26 check-outs.

A move by publisher HarperCollins, which would cap eBook loans from public libraries at 26 check-outs before requiring the library to repurchase the eBook, has school and public librarians worried about how such a policy will affect strained library budgets.

The new policy comes after HarperCollins, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., said it has “serious concerns that our previous eBook policy, selling eBooks to libraries in perpetuity, if left unchanged, would undermine the emerging eBook ecosystem, hurt the growing eBook channel, place additional pressure on physical bookstores, and in the end lead to a decrease in book sales and royalties paid to authors.”

Libraries can lend out an eBook from the publisher 26 times—“a year of availability for titles with the highest demand, and much longer for other titles and core backlist,” according to a statement from HarperCollins—before the eBook will expire and vanish.…Read More

Could Google Books ruling affect college textbook market?

Three in four college students prefer printed textbooks.

Advocates for Google’s massive digital library say the online repository is inevitable, despite recent setbacks, and could present an entirely new option for college textbooks.

U.S. Circuit Judge Denny Chin on March 22 rejected a deal between Google and the book industry that would have put millions of volumes online, citing antitrust concerns and the need for Congressional action on the issue.

Chin, in his decision, said an online book repository would be beneficial for researchers, libraries, and schools, echoing advocacy from prominent campuses in recent years, including Stanford University and Cornell University.…Read More

Campus libraries use tech to streamline student searches, staff work

Library technology will save one campus "five figures" annually, an official said.

A smart-phone application has ended the days of database searches at Boston College libraries, and staff members at Eastern Illinois University’s library can take inventory in two hours instead of two days, thanks to emerging technologies that are gaining traction as higher-education budgets are slashed.

Developing and maintaining these services comes with a price tag, campus library officials said, but the cost savings have been worth the investment as library operating budgets dwindle, along with those of most departments at colleges and universities struggling through the country’s economic downturn.

Some institutions have struggled through these budget cuts – California State University East Bay students protested a proposed 10-percent library cut last spring, for example – while others have searched for ways to maintain student and faculty services using popular technologies.…Read More

JFK library opens first online presidential archive

Kennedy himself broached the idea of making his records available to the masses in 1961.

In a move that will make primary-source documents more accessible for students, Caroline Kennedy unveiled the nation’s first online presidential archive on Jan. 13, a $10 million project to digitize the most important papers, photographs, and recordings of President John F. Kennedy’s days in office.

Users can browse through the drafts of Kennedy’s “Ask not what your country can do for you” speech and see how he tinkered with the words of that most famous line from his inauguration. Or, they can listen to his personal phone calls and read his letters.

In advance of the 50th anniversary of Kennedy’s inauguration Jan. 20, Caroline Kennedy visited the National Archives, saying it reminded her the nation was built on words and ideas—and that her father’s call to service was more relevant than ever.…Read More

Anger as a private company takes over libraries

A private company in Maryland has taken over public libraries in ailing cities in California, Oregon, Tennessee, and Texas, growing into the country’s fifth-largest library system. Now the company has been hired for the first time to run a system in a relatively healthy city, setting off an intense and often acrimonious debate about the role of outsourcing in a ravaged economy, reports the New York Times. A $4 million deal to run the three libraries in Santa Clarita, Calif., is a chance for the company, Library Systems & Services, to demonstrate that a dose of private management can be good for communities, whatever their financial situation. But in an era when outsourcing is most often an act of budget desperation, the contract in Santa Clarita has touched a deep nerve and begun a round of second-guessing. Can a municipal service like a library hold so central a place that it should be entrusted to a profit-driven contractor only as a last resort—and maybe not even then? “There’s this American flag, apple pie thing about libraries,” said Frank A. Pezzanite, the outsourcing company’s chief executive. He has pledged to save $1 million a year in Santa Clarita, mainly by cutting overhead and replacing unionized employees. “Somehow they have been put in the category of a sacred organization.” The company, known as LSSI, runs 14 library systems operating 63 locations. Its basic pitch to cities is that it fixes broken libraries—more often than not by cleaning house. Library employees are furious about the contract, but the reaction has been mostly led by patrons who say they cannot imagine Santa Clarita with libraries run for profit. “A library is the heart of the community,” said one opponent, Jane Hanson. “I’m in favor of private enterprise, but I can’t feel comfortable with what the city is doing here…”

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University libraries not hurrying to the mobile web

UC San Diego's mobile library site is among the relatively few in higher education.
UC San Diego's mobile library site is among the relatively few in higher education.

The University of California, San Diego, has joined a small list of schools with library web sites accessible through any smart phone as campus technology leaders try to meet student demand for anytime, anywhere access to library databases.

UC San Diego officials announced the new web site—designed for iPhones, Droids, and other popular smart phones—Sept. 23, highlighting the “Ask a Librarian” feature that lets students chat, text message, or call library staff using the mobile site.

Students also will have easy access to library hours, directions to the building, and a library catalog where they can look for books and other resources and request items to pick up.…Read More

Why the library should affect students’ college choice

If you talk to a college admissions officer or a high school guidance counselor about things prospective students should do when visiting a college campus, one of the first things they say is to visit the libraries on campus, says U.S. News & World Report. “The library is the backbone of a college or university’s academic environment,” says Kelly Alice Robinson, career information services manager at the Career Center Library at Boston College. Not only is the library one of the main spots where college students go to get work done (and socialize), it’s also the hub for a wide range of information and services—as well as digital capabilities. U.S. News spoke to a handful of experienced librarians from colleges to find out what prospective students—and their parents—should look for when they check out a school’s library, and the publication put together a list of four key questions to consider: What is the staff like? How much does the library system interact with faculty? What’s the atmosphere like? And, what digital resources are available for students? Because many libraries close at a certain hour, it’s vital to see what they offer online when students are working on that term paper at 4 a.m…

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