Good news for those who like not to read their books, but to listen to them.
According to Entertainment Weekly, the streaming subscription service Scribd is adding thousands of audiobooks to its catalog — 30,000, to be exact. The new books will include old and new releases from some of the more well-known publishers and authors, including Scholastic and HarperCollins and Haruki Murakami and Suzanne Collins.
Before the addition, Scribd’s catalog included more than half a million titles.
But according to The Verge, that catalog was only made up of e-books, not audiobooks. The hope is that the company will be able to compete now with Audible.
Well, one thing’s for sure. Lotte Fields certainly loves the library — so much so that she left $6 million to the New York Public Library in her will.
According to The New York Times, the 89-year-old woman died last year, but had been an avid reader and frequenter of the New York Public Library. Fields inherited her wealth from her husband’s family, which had a long history of wool merchants.
Her executor said she spent most of her weekends reading with her husband. The library president said she donated to the library over the years, so this final — and massive — donation came as quite a surprise … but a good one.
The donation will be evenly divided between he branch library system and the main building, the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building on 42nd Street.
Not too long ago, it seemed more and more libraries were reducing hours or closing altogether. But thanks to Governor Jerry Brown, that is changing — at least in California.
According to Los Angeles Times, the Los Angeles Central Library and seven others have restored Sunday hours. In 2010, a $22 million budget cut forced all branches of the Los Angeles Library system to cut Sunday and Monday hours and eliminate 328 full-time positions.
In 2011, Monday hours were restored, and now Sunday hours are back. People were critical when the system initially cut Sunday hours because Sunday is one of the library’s busiest days of the week. And there’s even more good news for libraries in California — Gov. Brown proposed $3.3 million for library funding in this year’s budget. The money will be put toward connecting public libraries to the state broadband network.
Yet again, another sad story about libraries losing funding — and this time, it’s regarding one of the most well-known libraries worldwide, the New York Public Library.
According to The Screwy Decimal, a blog written by a public librarian from Brooklyn, New York City’s preliminary budget is proposing a 35% cut in library funding, the largest funding cut that NYC libraries have ever faced. The $106.7 million library budget could result in slashing library hours in half, eliminating almost 1500 jobs, and closing more than 60 libraries.
This comes just after news broke that the Brooklyn Public Library (which is included in the New York City Library System) would be selling its two libraries — one in Brooklyn Heights and one in Boerum Hill. According to NYC real estate site The Real Deal, the library in Brooklyn Heights will be sold, with the lower floor remaining a library and the upper floors being converted into apartments. The library in Boerum Hill will be relocated to an as-yet unnamed space, set to open in 2016. It will remain open in its current location until the new space is ready.
With all the moves, cuts, and closures, it’s obvious that libraries aren’t able to offer what they once did simply because of financial restraints. And it’s a shame because with the economy the way it is, and with libraries advancing in a technological capacity, library usage is on the rise. If my library closed or cut hours, I would be devastated. Thoughts?
As bookstores continue to flounder, libraries are now making it a point to take advantage of the moment and roll with the times.
According to The New York Times, libraries are realizing that print is coming in second to digital. As a result, libraries are now offering more e-books and technology options (like more space for computers within the library walls). But libraries are also making more of the big bestsellers available, and then selling them for a reduced price when the library starts to carry the books in excess. Karen Ann Cullotta explains.
At the bustling public library in Arlington Heights, Ill., requests by three patrons to place any title on hold prompt a savvy computer tracking system to order an additional copy of the coveted item. That policy was intended to eliminate the frustration of long waits to check out best sellers and other popular books. But it has had some unintended consequences, too: the library’s shelves are now stocked with 36 copies of “Fifty Shades of Grey.”
Of course, librarians acknowledge that when patrons’ passion for the sexy series lacking in literary merit cools in a year or two, the majority of volumes in the “Fifty Shades” trilogy will probably be plucked from the shelves and sold at the Friends of the Library’s used-book sales, alongside other poorly circulated, donated and out-of-date materials.
With less waiting and larger scale sales down the road, libraries are becoming more and more like bookstores. And in a post-recession age when people are willing to do most anything to save a buck, why not? Why pay for a book when there’s a magical little place in your hometown that will allow you to take it home for free?
These are moves that libraries hope will increase foot traffic and users. Do you think they will?
Would you be more inclined to go to your local library if it offered pole dancing classes? Well, apparently people in Scotland are!
According to The Huffington Post, one local library is offering the class on “Love Your Library Day” and are calling it “pole fitness.” Why? Well, the library officials hope it will attract more customers. That’s one way of doing it!
But it does seem to be part of a trend of libraries offering very un-library-like things just to get people to walk through the doors. Some have opened bookstores within the libraries. Others are offering bookless libraries. In other words, they’re more like media centers that act as supplements to libraries.
I understand that libraries need to keep up with the times and continue to serve the people, especially if they want to keep receiving funding from the government. But on some level, I’ve got to wonder — can’t we just let libraries be libraries?
What do you guys think? Would YOU sign up for a pole dancing class at your local library?
If it turns out that lies were hidden behind many of Lance Armstrong’s successes, does that mean the nonfiction books published about him now become re-classified as fiction? No, not according to one library in Sydney, Australia or the National Library, for that matter.
According to Huffington Post, someone posted a prank note at Sydney’s Manly Library that said “All Non-Fiction Lance Armstrong Books, including ‘Lance Armstrong – Images of a Champion’, ‘The Lance Armstrong Performance Program and ‘Lance Armstrong: World’s Greatest Champion,’ will soon be moved to the fiction section.”
Photos of the note quickly went viral, and librarians at Manly insist the note is just a prank. Apparently, no one can re-classify a book’s genre without changing the ISBN number issued by the National Library.
Alas, Lance Armstrong’s book will remain in the nonfiction section. But will it always? And how much does it really mean when readers know the book consists of untruths? Either way, it’s a pretty hilarious prank if you ask me. Thoughts?