Thursday, May 29, 2008

Audiobooks are popular sez LJ, what's your experience?

A recent article in Library Journal:

AUDIO FIXATION. (cover story) By: Kaye, Alan L.. Library Journal, 5/15/2008, Vol. 133 Issue 9, p34-37, 4p, 2c;
Full text available to Alaskans at

Notes that the national demand for audio books is growing, although formats are shifting:

A 2007 sales survey provided by the Audio Publisher's Association (APA) highlights the increasing market hunger for aural entertainment and information. In 2006, audiobook sales rose six percent to a record $923 million. Seventy-seven percent of sales was for CDs, a far cry from 45 percent in 2003. Fourteen percent was in downloads, up from nine percent in 2005. Seven percent of sales remains in cassettes, less than half of its 2005 figure, and one percent was in MP3-CDs. Adults account for 87 percent of direct sales. Sales to libraries are growing and are slightly ahead of retail sales, representing 32 percent of sales ($295 million) versus retail's 30 percent. Unabridged audiobooks represent 71 percent of total sales, and fiction represents 69 percent. Sales data for 2007 is being gathered for the 2008 report, and APA plans to do sales surveys annually.

The article reports that library acquisition of audiobooks are driven by patrons. And they seem to be using them. In 2006, the APA found that 50% of people who listened to an audiobook borrowed the audiobook from a library.

What's your experience? Does your library offer audiobooks? If so, what formats do you offer? How are patrons receiving them?

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Looking to Lead? Check out PLN

If you're looking for leadership tips or library trends, check out the offerings at the PALINET Leadership Network, PLN. According to their website, the purpose of PLN is "designed to help library leaders (and those who will become leaders) communicate, coordinate, find resources and share information."

According to their website, some recent features have included:

Positioning the library for 2020 - the May 2008 PLN Challenge follows up on the April topic Leader's Digest--weekly items on leadership from outside the library field
Wikis and libraries and Transparency and MediaWiki - what you need to know PLN highlights--posts about PLN
Directors, leaders and work-life balance - now including public and academic library perspectives

It looks interesting and the PLN Director, Walt Crawford, will be familiar to attendees of the 2003 AkLA Conference in Juneau. Walt gave our keynote address back then.

If you do check out the site, or if you're already a PLN member, please let us know what you think about the site by leaving a comment.

Labels: ,

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Two Virtual Worlds Items

As an ALA member, I get the weekly e-mail newsletter AL Direct. Since not all of us are ALA members, I wanted to highlight a couple of items I saw in a recent issue:

1) The Blue Book: A Consumer Guide to Virtual Worlds - This guide from the Association of Virtual Worlds documents over 250 virtual environments. These run the gambit from Second Life to the odd sounding "Disney Fairies Pixie Hollow." I can count the number of virtual worlds I'm aware on one hand, so it's interesting to see that the concept appears to be growing by leaps and bounds.

2) Time's May 12, 2008 issue has an article titled How Second Life Affects Real Life that "suggests that the qualities you acquire online — whether it's confidence or insecurity — can spill over and change your conduct in the real world, often without your awareness. " Some interesting and somewhat unsettling research here. If you read this article, let me know what you think. Perhaps we should try to find a confidence-building reality before hitting the ref desk. Or avoid ones that convince us the online world is filled with Orcs.

My personal opinion is that currently most of Alaska lacks the bandwidth to make AK library presences in Second Life and other 3-D virtual worlds worthwhile. What do you think? Should there be an AkLA pavilion on InfoIsland?

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

CE Tip: Webcasts from OCLC

Wonder what keeps OCLC people up at night? Want to spend some time learning about ideas to link physical libraries with the online world? Check out OCLC PARcasts at These podcasts/webcasts will soon be available in iTunes.


Monday, May 19, 2008

Sealaska Heritage Institute Collection Upgrades

The SHI Archivist announced that the Sealaska Heritage Institute Special Collections in Juneau were receiving some welcome upgrades:

For patrons this new facility will host a more accommodating research area or Reading Room, which consists of a room for patrons to come in and sit down at a workspace, obtain computer access, and conduct research by using our materials. We plan to use the Reading Room to host other small educational events as well. The move to the new facility is especially great for Special Collections because we are getting more storage space for our growing collection holdings.

Congratulations to SHI Special Collections on this new development. I look forward to their educational events.

Labels: , ,

Sunday, May 18, 2008

New(ish) Roundtable Blog - Information Homestead

If you're wanting to keep up with government information with an Alaskan perspective, please check out Information Homestead, the blog of the AkLA Government Documents Roundtable. The blog may be found at and has been added to our Alaska library blogroll on the left side of this page.

If you are a member of an AkLA chapter, Roundtable or Committee that has a blog that you think the rest of the association should know about, please let Daniel or Freya know (or respond in comments) and we'll get your unit's blog added to our list. Same goes for any library in Alaska that doesn't see their blog featured in our blogs list.

Labels: ,

Friday, May 16, 2008

CE Tip From BlogJunction

The folks from OCLC WebJunction recently highlighted their webinar archive in a post at One of the categories of webinars they highlighted was for small and rural libraries. Archived webinars can be viewed at any time. Check to see if your computer and internet connection can handle WebJunction webinars by visiting


Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Relief for Gas Prices (Information)

With gasoline at or above $4.00/gal in many Alaskan communities, there is growing interest in the forces and news behind rising gas patrons. While a library can't cut the price of unleaded, the University of Michigan has posted a new resource on gas prices at It can answer questions like:

How much does crude oil contribute to the cost of a gallon of gas?
How much taxes are paid on gasoline?
Where does gasoline come from anyway?
What are people across the nation paying for gas?

So stop in and fill 'er up with gas facts.

What sorts of subjects are your patrons asking you about? If you're having trouble finding resources in a given area, let me know and maybe I can find enough to do a post about it.

Labels: ,

Monday, May 12, 2008

Quick Tour of Web 2.0 via Library Journal

The May 1st issue of Library Journal carries an article worth reading by anyone who needs to brush up on so-called web 2.0 technologies like Facebook, Flickr, Second Life, iPods, etc. The citation for the article is:

Authors: Eisenberg, Mike
Source:Library Journal; 5/1/2008, Vol. 133 Issue 8, p22-25, 4p, 1c

It is available thanks to the Digital Pipeline and you're reading this in Alaska, you should be able to read the article at

Each type of technology is briefly analyzed according to Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. I especially like this article for its balance. It is neither a manifesto to adopt every shiny new toy nor a call to return to 1965.

Labels: ,

Friday, May 09, 2008

Seldovia PL Cited at Canadian Library Conference

Amanda over at Blog without a Library shared a presentation she's giving at the Atlantic Provinces Library Association conference in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. The presentation is on social software and she cited Alaska's Seldovia Public Library for it's good usage of the social bookmarking site

Labels: , ,

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Tougher in Alaska premiers on the History Channel

As mentioned on our list, this series on Alaska might be of interest to some of you and your patrons. For more information, see I'll miss the premiere tonight, since I don't get the History Channel and I have a Juneau Chapter meeting to attend (with a tour of the new Auke Bay Labs NOAA facility!), so I'll be interested to hear what others have to say about it.

Please share in a comment to this post, or in your own!

Labels: , ,

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Give your patrons some preventive maintenance!

If your community has veterans of the Korean War era or later, chances are good that they've read at least one issue of PS Magazine, the Army's preventive maintenance journal. Consider telling them about older back issues that have been digitized by Virginia Commonwealth Universities libraries.

Why would they, you, or anyone else care about back issues of maintenance journals? Because they are also comic books:

Each issue of PS Magazine consisted of a color comic book style cover, often designed and drawn by Eisner; eight full pages of four color comic continuity story in the middle; and the rest was filled with technical, safety, and policy information printed in two color to save money. The continuity story starred his earlier character and was called "Joe's Dope Sheet." Each episode offers the same cautionary tale: a soldier who ignores preventive maintenance learns of its importance in the end. Eisner commanded a high level of freedom to create the continuity section and he used his colorful comic style to draw the reader in.

So this could be a fun memory. Check them out, and remember:


Friday, May 02, 2008

Free postage coming for recycling?

According to a post last week at Resource Shelf, the USPS has started a pilot program with a private company to provide free shipping for recycling small electronics.
Postage is paid for by Clover Technologies Group, a nationally recognized company that recycles, remanufactures and remarkets inkjet cartridges, laser cartridges and small electronics. If the electronic item or cartridges cannot be refurbished and resold, its component parts are reused to refurbish other items, or the parts are broken down further and the materials are recycled.
Although currently only available in 10 major cities (all Outside, of course), the USPS anticipates that the program could go national in the fall. The devil is in the details, as they say, but what a great idea!

Labels: , ,