June 22, 2012
The E-book Elephant in the Room session discussed different approaches libraries (both academic and public) are taking in response to the changes e-books are bringing to libraries. The presenters were
Anne Silvers Lee, Free Library of Philadelphia; Arlene Moroni, King County Public Library, Heather A. McCormack; Linda Di Biase, Collection Development Librarian, University of Washington Libraries, Seattle; and Sue Polanka, Wright State University. This session began with a challenge to librarians. Is the goal of your e-book collection to build a comprehensive collection, or to provide the most access to the most people? Most libraries are now moving to a hybrid model. King County’s experience has been the high demand has led to an increase in ebook purchases. They have been able to accommodate this increase by decreasing their database budget by 50%. They were able to weed out those e-resources not being used, and to help their patron’s transition to what was available by creating scripts. The University of Washington has been piloting different was of purchasing ebooks over the past several years. The researchers were able to access the materials online. After so many activities, the ebook would be purchased. Working in an academic consortia environment, the current pilot provides 10 short-term loans after which five virtual copies are purchased which may be used by members of the consortia. Ms. Silver Lee from the Philadelphia Free Library made a very interesting point- that their print book budget was roughly divided with 60% to adult materials and 40% to juvenile. When they reviewed their ebook spending, 88% went to adult fiction and nonfiction, and only 12% to juvenile and YA materials. She also discussed ebooks and the digital divide implications. In Philadelphia, 40% of the households do not have internet access, however, more and more low income people are purchasing smart phones, causing the library to make sure their eresources address mobile access.