Thursday, January 24, 2013

Libraries in the digital age study

The importance of libraries in the digital age has been a hotly debated topic in recent years.  Many people think that with all the digital technology available, libraries are not needed as much as they used to be.  My husband, a computer programmer, always tells me that Google is going to replace librarians. As a librarian, I totally disagree with this, and I think that libraries are more important than ever.  A new study from PewInternet (study found from this article from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation) found the following:

  • 80% of Americans say borrowing books is a “very important” service libraries provide.
  • 80% say reference librarians are a “very important” service of libraries.
  • 77% say free access to computers and the internet is a “very important” service of libraries.
  • 91% of Americans ages 16 and older say public libraries are important to their communities.
I am not at all surprised by those statistics, but some people (including my husband) might be.    Is there any other public service that 91% of Americans can agree on?  I certainly can't think of anything.  I am also not surprised by these stats:
  • 22% say that they know all or most of the services their libraries offer now. 
  • 46% say they know some of what their libraries offer 
  • 31% said they know not much or nothing at all of what their libraries offer.
Today's libraries, especially larger city library systems, offer so many different programs and services.  The study has some other good suggestions on how to improve library services and things that they can implement.  The first step is to make the community known what their library can do for them.  Despite the fact that Americans think the library is important, the study found that only 53% visited a library in the past year.  I think part of this has to do with library anxiety.  As the stats above state, people don't know what libraries can offer them, and they are afraid to go ask if they need help.  Even as a librarian, I have experienced some library anxiety.  I need to print out my resume, but I don't have a printer at home.  I know I can go to the library and do it, but I haven't because I don't know how the system works to get on the computers and print something.  My local library is the central branch of a large city system, and it can be overwhelming because it is so large.  

Overall, I think this study shows that libraries are still relevant, and more importantly, are still important to the community.  What we as librarians need to keep doing is to figure out how to get more people in the library and to let them know what services we can offer them.


Thursday, January 17, 2013

Massive Open Online Courses

The University of Washington has recently joined several other universities in offering Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs).  Here is an article that talks about them.  The classes they are offering are available through Coursera, but there are several other such sites that offer classes from universities such as Harvard and MIT.    The above linked article talks about the benefits and disadvantages of MOOCs.  They do cost the university money, and though UW has offered the same classes for credit, not many people are taking advantage of it (and paying the fees).  Thus, the university loses money by giving the MOOCs for free.  This could become a problem if the university continues to offer several classes and do not get many people to pay for them.  I do think MOOCs are a good idea, and they allow people to learn new skills they otherwise would not have been able to.  I have been thinking lately about taking an MOOC to learn computer programming or other skills.  I have been looking for work for about 6 months, since I graduated with my MLIS, and I figured learning some of these skills may help me in my search.  I am currently enrolled in a beginner computer programming class through MIT on edX.  It starts on February 4, and I will review the class once I have started it.

What do you think of MOOCs?  Do you think they are sustainable for universities, or how could they become so?  Have you ever taken one?

Monday, January 14, 2013

Bookless public library to open in Texas

A county in Texas is opening the first bookless public library.
           I think this is kind of a ridiculous idea.  Can it really be called a library if there are no books?  Sure it will have digital books, but you can get those anywhere.  You can tell that it isn't a librarian that thought up this idea. The person who thought up the idea probably thinks that libraries are obsolete and is trying too hard to make them remain relevant.  Librarians and the millions of patrons who visit libraries know that libraries are not obsolete.  As many commenters point out, why is there a need for a special building reserved just for computers?  The article does not say if they plan on loaning out e-readers, but that is one of the only ways I could see that this "library" would actually work out.  If there are no e-readers, it is essentially a glorified internet cafe.  Sure, people who do own e-readers could go and use the computers to download ebooks, but they could also do that at home.  Though I do own a few e-readers and use them quite often, I still prefer real books, and would probably never go to an all digital library.  There is just something about wandering through the aisles of books and picking up whatever catches your eye.  You can't really do that with e-books.  Also, an all digital library would probably be more expensive in the long run that a regular library.  When you buy a hard copy of a book, it can be lent out multiple times, but with an ebook it is different.  Depending on the publisher, an ebook can only be lent a handful of times before the library has to purchase another one.  I think there is a reason why projects like this in the past have failed to even open.

What do you think about this?  Would you visit an all digital library?

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Books read in 2012

1. Saving June
2. These things hidden
3. Forgotten
4. The Way we fall
5. The secret holocaust diaries
6. The sweetest thing
7. The bad beginning
8. In the garden of beasts
9. Moon over manifest
10. Matched
11. The house at riverton
12. Bridge to terabithia
13. Will grayson, will grayson
14. A walk across the sun
15. The Paris Wife
16. Glow
17. Leisl and Po
18. City of falling angels
19. An uncommon reader
20. Wilderness tips
21. Shatter Me
22. When you’re engulfed in flames
23. Bossypants
24. Bright young things
25. Dearly departed
26. Eve
27. Guardian of the gate
28. The virgin of small plains
29. Double
30. Graveminder
31. Circle of fire
32. Fever
33. Life as I blow it
34. The girl who couldn’t say no
35. The Secret society
36. Someone like you
37. Julie of the wolves
38. All these things I’ve done
39. Touch of power
40. Cat’s eye
41. Your voice in my head
42. Pandemonium
43. And me among them
44. When she woke
45. The dressmaker
46. We the animals
47. City of glass
48. City of Fallen angels
49. Garden of shadows
50. Dry
51. Devoted
52. Wonderstruck
53. Look me in the eye
54. The library at night
55. Elsewhere
56. The little friend
57. Left neglected
58. The future of us
59. Red glove
60. New girl
61. Replication
62. Are you there vodka? It’s me chelsea
63. The long journey home
64. Silver sparrow
65. F my life
66. Chasing Aphrodite
67. Graceling
68. A long long sleep
69. The disreputable history of Frankie Landau-Banks
70. Secret daughter
71. Safe house
72. The fault in our stars
73. Sanctuary
74. Surfacing
75. The Kid
76. Entwined
77. The birth house
78. The girls guide to homelessness
79. Envy
80. Truth
81. The wild things
82. Insurgent
83. House of the tiger king
84. Gone
85. The everafter
86. The virgin cure
87. The scorch trials
88. Black beauty
89. Keep sweet
90. The death cure
91. Black heart
92. The case for books
93. Heist society
94. The maid and the queen
95. For one more day
96. State of wonder
97. Confessions of Nat Turner
98. Church of lies
99. Crossed
100. Fire
101. Deadlocked
102. The marriage plot
103. Secret lives of saints
104. Ready player one
105. Hunger
106. The hangman’s daughter
107. Spider bones  
108. Twenties girl  
109. Between, Georgia
110. Hitler’s willing executioners
111. The last testament
112. Nineteen minutes
113. Take a bow
114. Hourglass
115. Tuck everlasting
116. Jeneration X
117. Cage of stars
118. Discovery of witches
119. Rape girl
120. What alice forgot
121. Hanging by a thread
122. Thumped
123. The little woods
124. Slide
125. Pulp friction
126. Someone else’s life
127. The lover’s dictionary
128. Carrier of the mark
129. Information tomorrow
130. One breath away
131. Gilt
132. my life in black and white
133. Information architecture for the world wide web
134.  Timepiece
135. Fracture
136. A small town near Auschwitz
137. Vegan virgin valentine
138. The nightworld
139. Sweet valley confidential
140. Between
141. Persepolis
142. Persepolis 2
143. Stay
144. Glitch
145. 22 Brittania Road
146. The girl who was on fire
147. Cold kiss
148. Shift
149. The goddess test
150. Legacy
151. Once
152. Nick and Norah’s Infinite playlist
153. The mark
154. Size 12 is not fat
155. Girl, stolen
156. The thirteen
157. Allegiance
158. The read aloud handbook
159. Past midnight
160. Stolen innocence
161. The vision
162. The unit
161. The pledge
162. The boy in the suitcase
163. The family fang
164. Beta
165. The fox inheritance
166. Rosebush
167. Dark parties
168. Secrets and wives
169. The second empress
170. Everlost
171. Ashes, Ashes
172. Changeling
173. The darkest minds
174. 172 hours on the moon
175. The secret year
176. Ashfall
177. The time keeper
178. Evernight
179. One moment
180. The confessions of the Sullivan sisters
181. Blood zero sky
182. Mothership
183. Dark companion
184. Stargirl
185. Is everybody hanging out without me?
186. Pushing the limits
187. Still waters
188. Leviathan
189. Pushing the limits
190. Alanna The first adventure
191. 20 boy summer
192. Legacy
193. The hunt
194. Dark eden
195. The chimps of fauna sanctuary
196. Throne of glass
197. Princess diaries
198. This wicked endeavor
199. The power of reading
200. Anna and the french kiss
201. Hush, hush
202. Underworld
203. Beautiful lies
204. A touch of dead
205. The sookie stackhouse companion
206. Homer’s odyssey
207. Revived
208. Before you go
209. The last jew of treblinka
210. The flight of gemma hardy
211. It’s kind of a funny story
212. Where’d you go, Bernadette?
213. Treasure island
214. Ru
215. Something wicked this way comes
216. Cleopatra confesses
217. The forsaken
218. The waters and the wild
219. The maid
220. One hundred candles
221. Ashen winter
222. Such wicked intent
223. Legend
224. 13 little blue envelopes
225. What she left behind
226. What I didn’t say
227. Glass heart
228. Wonder
229. The lost code
230. Frozen
231. Through to you
232. The waiting sky
233. Beyond the grave
234. I hunt killers
235. The hermitage house miracle
236. Fair coin
237. The twisted window
238. Prophet’s prey
239. Unraveling
240. Close your eyes
241. Favorite wife
242. Howl’s moving castle
243. The summoning
244. A spy in the house
245. Skinny
246. The kill order
247. The first day on earth
248. The boyfriend list
249. Waterfall
250. The other life
251. Cate of the lost colony
252. City of lost souls
253. Goddess of yesterday
254. Winning by losing
255. Dash and Lily’s book of dares
256. Cleopatra Ascending
257. Making the cut
258. Master your metabolism
259. A wizard of earthsea
260. Amber house
261. Hamburgers and hotdogs
262. Grey horses
263. Second thoughts
264. Dr. Horrible and other horrible stories
265. Dearly beloved
266. The bar code tattoo
267. Fluffy
268. America Again
269. How to tell if your cat is plotting to kill you
270. Anne Frank the graphic novel
271. Aya of Yop City
272. Ten
273. Philosophy: a discovery in comics
274. The amulet of Samarkand
275. Dark eden: eve of destruction
276. Broken
277. Broken Harbor
278. Chopsticks
279. Blankets
280. Habibi
281. The alternate day diet
282. Uncommon criminals
283. The goose girl
284. A ring of endless light
285. Moms cancer
286. Eleanor and park
286. Gone girl
287. Before I go to sleep
288. Seriously... I’m kidding
289. Shadowhunters and downworlders
290. Sita’s Ramayana
291. The curious case of Benjamin Button
292. The sixsmiths
293. Soulless
294. Ex-mas
295. The hobbit graphic novel
296. Cascade
297. Chasers
298. Elemental
299. A wrinkle in time graphic novel
300. Hark, a vagrant!

A New Start

It's been a long time (almost a year) since I have posted here.  I stopped initially because I got burned out on blogging for a while.  After a few months, I got super busy and distracted.  The last year has been a big year of change for me.  In May I graduated from graduated school with my master's in library science.  In July, my husband got an amazing job and we moved to Seattle.  At the end of July I decided I was unhealthy and unhappy with the way I looked, so I started exercising and eating better.  I have also started running and become addicted.  In December I finished my first 5k race, and I have registered for a 15k in March.  My goal right now is to finish the Disneyland 1/2 Marathon at the end of August.

Anyway, the point of this post is to say that I'm coming back to blogging.    Going forward this blog will focus on books I read (mostly YA) and my thoughts on library issues and news.  I will probably throw in some workout/healthy eating stuff from time to time.  I'm excited to start a new chapter on my blog and I hope you will join me!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Review: The Sweetest Thing

Title: The Sweetest Thing
Author: Christina Mandelski
Source: Netgalley
Rating: 4 stars

Synopsis from Netgalley:
 In the world of Sheridan Wells, life is perfect when she's decorating a cake. Unfortunately, everything else is a complete mess: her mom ran off years ago, her dad is more interested in his restaurant, and the idea of a boyfriend is laughable.
But Sheridan is convinced finding her mom will solve all her problems-only her dad's about to get a cooking show in New York, which means her dream of a perfect family will be dashed.
Using just the right amount of romance, family drama, and cute boys, The Sweetest Thing will entice fans with its perfect mixture of girl-friendly ingredients.

My review:
I really enjoyed this book.  It was a light and fluffy, fast read.  It was well written, the characters were well formed and likable, and it wasn't too serious.  Parts of it were predictable, but overall, it was very good.

I received an electronic copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Friday, February 10, 2012

Review: Enter, Night

Title: Enter, Night
Author: Michael Rowe
Source: Netgalley

Synopsis from Amazon:
The year is 1972. Widowed Christina Parr, her daughter Morgan, and her brother-in-law Jeremy have returned to the remote northern Ontario mining town of Parr''s Landing, the place from which Christina fled before Morgan was born, seeking refuge. Dr. Billy Lightning has also returned in search of answers to the mystery of his father's brutal murder. All will find some part of what they seek-and more. Built on the site of a decimated 17th-century Jesuit mission to the Ojibwa, Parr''s Landing is a town with secrets of its own buried in the caves around Bradley Lake. A three-hundred-year-old horror slumbers there, calling out to the insane and the murderous for centuries, begging for release-an invitation that has finally been answered. One man is following that voice, cutting a swath of violence across the country, bent on a terrible resurrection of the ancient evil, plunging the town and all its people into an endless night. "Enter, Night is so rich and assured it''s hard to believe it''s Michael Rowe''s first novel. In its propulsive depictions of deeply sympathetic characters converging on a small town in the grip of gathering horrors, it skillfully brings to mind the classic works of Stephen King and Robert McCammon. But the novel''s breathtaking, wholly unexpected and surprisingly moving conclusion heralds the arrival of a major new talent. Michael Rowe is now on my must-read list.

My review:
I am not a fan of scary stories at all.  I thought this book sounded really good and interesting, so I requested it.  It did not disappoint.  It was not scary really, more just kind of creepy.  However, I did avoid reading it at night.  The book was well written.  I had a little bit of trouble following the storyline when it changed narrators and the year, but it was fine after you got to know the characters.  I wish the author had went a little bit more in depth about the "before" story and those characters.  I definitely recommend this book, even if you don't like scary or "creepy" books.