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System Director’s Report:

November 2007

You may have heard about the release last week of the Amazon Kindle, the newest e-book reading device  that is just in time for your Holiday shopping. It has many features in common with the Sony Reader :

  • it is light and portable;
  • it can hold a lot of books; and
  • the font size can be changed to make any text large print.  

But the big difference from previous e-books is that the Kindle operates totally independent of a computer. It uses a system based on broadband services offered by cell phone carriers, so buying, downloading and installing a book is a one-step process. Is this the “Next big thing?” Will it replace the book? The reviews have been tepid, but who knows how it may develop in five or ten years? We have ordered one to play around with and we will tell you and our libraries what we learn.

Libraries have always needed to incorporate new formats into their collections, especially in the audio/visual areas. However, downloadable content raises a number of new questions that libraries will need to address as they plan for the future. In lieu of a lot of words from me this month, I hope you will take the time to read the attached report that Stef prepared, along with Kathy Markwiese from Milwaukee Public Library, for LITAC. It is a thoughtful and comprehensive look at downloadable content and the issues it raises for libraries.

In the here and now, we see no decrease in the circulation of physical items —in fact, it keeps growing. The volume of materials handled by Delivery on the Saturday following Thanksgiving may have set new records. Nearly half of the LINK libraries were open on the day after Thanksgiving and were, by all accounts, very busy. The sorting crew worked well together, and it was able to handle the load. (I understand they are looking forward to December 26th with great anticipation.)

Please come early in December and join us for the traditional SCLS staff and board holiday luncheon. We’ll see you on the 10th.