Thursday, July 22, 2010

Meets and Greets...

If you love writing, and you have a wad of dough burning a hole in your pocket, head over to the Berkshire WordFest this weekend. They have an AMAZING slate of authors who will be speaking, reading, signing and being interviewed. It's at Edith Wharton's home, the Mount, in Lenox, MA.

Looking ahead to another great festival, now in its 9th year, the Brattleboro (VT) Literary Festival will be held on October 1-3. New and established writers are featured; plus it's mostly free, from what I can tell; plus it's in Vermont, in October, so it'll be gawgeous.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

In Remembrance

It is with great sorrow that we mourn the loss of Jayne Sullivan, a charter member of the Brunswick Community Library, a Friend of the Library, a library volunteer.

I met Jayne in 2005, when the Board of Trustees held an open house to welcome my tenure as the new director. She was wearing a knitted vest, very smart, and I asked if she had knitted it herself--she had, and we immediately bonded around our love of knitting. It was one of her many talents.

Through the years I also came to know Jayne as an avid reader--I think she checked out almost every  large print book we had, as soon as it came in. I loved hearing her stories about her travels, she had been to all fifty states, and much of the world. A few years ago she cruised on a small boat down the Amazon river.

On the last day of her life, Jayne drove her car to the library, from her apartment, and enjoyed a lunch of coq au vin with the Book and Movie group, as they discussed "Julie and Julia". She was 87 years old.

Virginia Woolf  had this to say about readers, on their way to heaven:

When the Day of Judgement dawns and the great conquerors and lawyers and statesmen come to receive their rewards—their crowns, their laurels, their names carved indelibly upon imperishable marble—the Almighty will turn to Peter and will say, not without a certain envy when he sees us coming with our books under our arms, "Look, these need no reward. We have nothing to give them here. They have loved reading." 

Jayne, we were lucky to know you.  You are missed.


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The E Book Reader--You Know You Want One

I have been watching the eBook Reader saga since the RocketBook days (late 90's). I have friends who love their Kindles/iPod Touch, etc., and couldn't live without them. I have friends who received them as gifts and haven't become fans yet.

Both the Kindle and the Sony eReader have popped up on sale, refurbished, for around $100. (They sell out fast.) The question is not whether you will ever own an eBook reader, but when. If you feel ready to make the plunge now, Wiley, a publishing house, has a handy comparison tool to help you select the right one for your needs. Find it here.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

You Would Think....

Do you use a phonebook anymore? No, it's much easier to look up the number of your local pizza shop online. But let's say you did a search for the name of your library. Let's say the name of your town is in the name of your library. Let's say that the name of your town is shared by many other towns, in other states.....

You would think that the area code would give you a clue to which library you are calling. You would think that a library user would look at the websites for these libraries to make sure that the library being called was the one in the right city, the right state. You would think that, wouldn't you?

And know what? You would be wrong.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Fun with Statistics

The Institute of Museum and Library Sciences, a federal agency, released a report yesterday based on the Public Library Survey of 2008. The survey showed that "Public library visits and circulations per capita increased almost 20 percent between FY1999 and FY2008, while the number of public librarians per 25,000 people has remained virtually the same during that same period..." Read more about it here.

This is no surprise to librarians. We've been doing more with less for a long time, and it's only gotten worse in this recession. I realize others have it worse--hello, auto/manufacturing workers...but this is where I live.

The bright side is, hey, we're doing something right. More people are checking out library materials, more people are using computers at libraries, more people are attending programs at libraries. Yay! In some ways the Google, the Amazon, and the Netflix help people get the information, books and entertainment they are looking for without leaving home. But it's not everything that people want, it's not within every budget, and sometimes you just want to look at the cover before you hit the button to request or buy it. And, in case you didn't know, we've got downloadable audio and video available through the UHLS system website. Plus, it's just a fun, clean, well-lit place. This morning one of the knitters at the group that meets every Thursday said, "this hour and a half go by so quickly every week." If you don't believe me, check this out.