The library of the Nautilus with a picture of Captain Nemo.
Creating The Customer Driven Library Building on the Bookstore Model by Jeannette Woodward is about how to improve libraries by understanding how retail bookstores work. The central tenet of this book is that the best way to improve libraries is through better customer service. The book claims that many of the customer service practices of bookstores can be adapted by libraries. Jeanette Woodward says that libraries need to look at their bottom lines and see how statistics and qualitative surveys on what library patrons want can be used to improve service in libraries. Serving the patron and the community become the central goal of the library.
There are detailed sections on how to display materials, improve signage, and generate positive publicity. It challenges the traditional idea that the librarian knows best and claims that what the patron wants is more important. If the library patron doesn't get what they want, they go elsewhere, usually to the local bookstore. Things like how to run a cafe in a library setting, adjust hours so they meet patrons needs, and use staffing so that technology is used effectively are written about.
It claims that the library patron needs to feel safe, have fast service, feel good about their visit, and be informed about what happens in their library. This should be written into the mission of the library.
This is an excellent book that tackles many thorny issues in the public library. It is well worth reading for both librarians and booksellers.
This post is particularly about the relationship between libraries, bookstores, and publishing. One of the review links I have posted is to Bookweb, the newsletter of the American Bookselling Association. Bookweb has quite a few news articles as well as information on what the best books are for selling in the independent bookstore.
The ABA, American Booksellers Association, also sponsors, Bookexpo America, the trade show for American publishing. This show occurs every other year in New York City at the Jacob Javits center. It will be in New York in 2009. I try to go every year it is in New York city, http://www.bookexpoamerica.com/ . The price is incredibly cheap $75.00 in US dollars three days. Close to the same time as the Bookexpo, there is the Day of Dialog between librarians and publishers. You have to register several months in advance to get tickets for the Day of Dialog. http://www.libraryjournal.com/article/CA6457224.html . I easily pay for the cost of the event in the amount of free sample books which I end up sending back to where I am working, about sixty pounds of free new books.
Quite a few librarians attend the event in addition to booksellers and publishers. Most of the librarians are either collection development or reference librarians. I usually meet several different people who I have worked with at one point or another when I go there. It takes about a day and half to just walk around all the booths in the Jacob Javits Center. There is every kind of book, comic book, ebook, and book related material there.
Last time I was at this thing in 2007, I got to here a panel by publishers on science fiction in the library setting, as well as pick up a few free books like Armageddon Reef by David Weber, and the graphic novel, Invincible for myself. During the Day of Dialog, George R.R. Martin, the science fiction writer, was one of the invited speakers.
In April 2008, I will be going to the New York Comic Con, http://www.nycomiccon.com/ which offers free admission to professionals, librarians are considered professionals so I get to go free. Last time I was there, there were professional discussion panels on anime, manga, and graphic novels in the library setting. What is different about the New York Comic Con from other comic conventions is that the main purpose of the convention is to meet and talk with all the different comic book publishers like Fantagraphics, DC, Marvel, Image, Dark Horse, and others.
I am a big fan of comics lit, that is things like Maus by Art Spiegelman, the comic book adaptation of the Ring of the Nibelung by P. Craig Russell, the Cartoon History of the Universe by Larry Gonick, a biography of Kafka by R. Crumb, and many other works. I don't read a whole lot of superhero comics.
I collect what are called "ground level" comics, things that are not quite underground comics, and not quite mainstream comics. People like Vaughn Bode, P. Craig Russell, and Richard Corben. My focus in collecting is mainly science fiction, fantasy, and horror comics.
Another convention I will attend is the Museum of Comics and Cartoon Art Festival on June 7 and June 8 in the Puck Building in Manhattan. This convention once again is very affordable to attend. Once again, this convention is not like most other comic book conventions, it focuses almost entirely on independent comic book publishers. There are tables from people like Fantagraphics, Soft Skull Press, Last Gasp, Drawn and Quarterly and illustrators like Craig Thompson. Last time I was at the festival in 2005, I got to meet Sara Turner of Make Like a Tree Comics. She has a really excellent free science fiction web comic caled File 49 http://mlatcomics.com/file49_index.html . This really satisfies my fanboy urges.
I haven't had a chance to visit MOCCA-- Museum of Cartoon and Comic Art in New York, but I recently looked at their listing of comic books on the internet. http://www.librarything.com/profile/moccany . They also have a catalog. http://www.librarything.com/catalog/moccany . Maybe, on my next vacation I will get a chance to visit.
I have plenty of thoughts on the more low brow aspect of the librarians and booksellers. One of these things is the public library fundraising booksale which usually comes with cupcakes, cookies, and coffee which is done by the "Friends of the Library." At almost every such event, you will see pickers, or bookscouts who are trying to find special books to sell either on ebay, or to their local bookstore. Most are older gentlemen or ladies who have experience with this kind of thing. It is a hobby for them which brings in some extra money. For the most part they are curmudgeons with a slightly grumpy hands off my stuff attitude. They also attend church rummage sales, flea markets, used bookshops, second hand goods stores and other such venues.
Anyways, this is a piece of my post for the day.
Another link which I am posting is http://www.renewableenergyaccess.com/ this is a news aggregator for the alternative energy industry. If you are interested in alternative energy, this gives very up to the minute news.
I really haven't thought of anything new to post about improving my site statistics. I'll come up with some more later today.
Alright, I posted a few comments by myself to myself in the comments section. Right now, I am not worried about comment spam and link dropping. Please comment-- remember no porn, no truly gratuitous violence, no super hateful spews, flaming and different opinions are welcome. I like a little debate. It makes the world go around. If you want to put in a link to your blog please do. I will gladly post a comment in return on your blog. Thanks. Talking to myself. Wow.
Anyways, there is so much that is so easy to miss. I just updated my complete profile. It is so easy to miss stuff on this site.
While I was looking at Google Groups help for blogs, I found several blog review style groups in Google, Blogger Review, Blogger Help Group, and Blogger General Discussion where you are supposed to post your URL and ask for comments. I then looked for some web sites that reviewed blogs, there is Bloggeries Blog, and The Weblog Review so far.