Library Column for November 13, 2019

@ Your Library

November is clipping along at a right rapid pace. Don’t forget to swing into the library and pick up your reading materials before heading out (or back out) to the shack. Grab some issues of Guns-n-Ammo or Fur-Fish-and-Game or Martha Stewart Living. We also have plenty of audiobooks for your listening pleasure. And if electricity is an issue, check out a wonderbag which is an insulated bag allowing you to bring food to a boil, place in the bag and slow cook the rest of the day, using no more power. It is incredible, I’ve used it a couple of times and love it.

Do you borrow e-books from the library? If so, you may notice an increase in the amount of time you have to wait to borrow a digital copy of books you want to read. Library users who rely on access to e-books as a ready source of reading material now face long wait times for many items. One of the largest publishers in the U.S., Macmillan, has revamped its pricing structure to libraries, effectively crippling our ability to meet patron needs.

Under the new pricing model, each library system is allowed to purchase only one copy of any new, popular title in e-book format. This is followed by an eight-week embargo on any additional copies of that title to each library system — regardless of the number of libraries in the system or the number of people served. This is despite library systems being willing to purchase more copies.

The International Falls Public Library shares access to digital e-books with the other 27 public libraries in the Arrowhead system through Overdrive and the Libby app. The change means that the library system as a whole can only buy a single copy of new popular Macmillan titles for Macmillan authors like Nora Roberts, Marissa Meyer and Rainbow Rowell.

While we can’t tell you exactly how long you will have to wait, there were more than 27,000 e-book checkouts in the last thirty days by Arrowhead Library System patrons. You could be waiting for a very long time. Whatever the wait, the policy makes it harder for us to meet community needs as those most affected are the disabled and the financially disenfranchised. The former rely on materials that can be read on devices that allow them to read, and the later rely on the library for the purchase of these materials.

The American Library Association as well as many other systems have voiced their frustration and denouncement of Macmillan’s new policy. I support this denouncement and encourage people to sign the petition launched by the American Library Association at www.eBooksForAll.org, #ebooksforall.

Storytime on Thursday, November 14th will feature stories, rhymes and more about lions. Come for the stories and stay to play following storytime with other young children. Storytime is a wonderful opportunity for young children to begin learning in a group setting and discover the marvels of language and story. Don’t miss out.

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