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Libraries

OverDrive Plans to Distribute DRM-Free Audiobooks

overdrive304Digital book distribution company OverDrive will discontinue the sale of audiobooks to libraries in the WMA format, and will only sell MP3 files.

This is a big deal because OverDrive is the largest audiobook distributor in the U.S. and it essentially means that most audiobooks in libraries going forward will be in a DRM-free format.

Here is more from the OverDrive blog: “This is in response to user preferences, widespread compatibility of MP3 across all listening devices and the fact that the vast majority of our extensive audiobook collection is already in MP3 format. This includes the audiobook collections from Hachette, Penguin Group, Random House (Books on Tape and Listening Library), HarperCollins, AudioGo, Blackstone, Tantor Media and dozens of others. Our publisher relations team is working closely with the very few remaining publishers who require WMA to seek permission to sell their titles in MP3 for library and school lending.” (Via BoingBoing).

Simon & Schuster eBooks Now Available in Select Libraries

simonSimon & Schuster has partnered with digital book distribution company OverDrive to create a pilot program in which the publisher is making its eBook catalog available to select public libraries in the United States.

Simon & Schuster’s entire eBook catalog is available through this program. Participating libraries can purchase these titles to lend them to patrons. Just as with a print title, library patrons can check out these eBooks one copy at a time an unlimited number of times for a period of 12 months. There will even be an option for library patrons to purchase the eBook titles themselves through their library’s website with the new Library BIN (Buy It Now) option.

At launch there are 31 libraries participating. Titles include: Dr. Sleep by Stephen King;  Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson; The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald; The Bully Pulpit by Doris Kearns Goodwin; and The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman, among others. As new eBooks come out this year, they too will be available to the program.

Library & School Digital Book Checkouts Hit 102M in 2013: OverDrive

overdrive304eBook checkouts reached 102 million in 2013, up 44 percent from 2012, according to a new report released by OverDrive the digital content distribution company that facilitates checkouts for libraries and schools.

To put this in perspective, it took 10 years to reach the first 100 million digital checkouts from 2003-2012, and the next 100 million took place within a year.

OverDrive also revealed a 46 percent increase in eBook checkouts in 2013, reaching 79 million checkouts. In addition, readers checked out 22.9 million audiobooks in 2013, up 37 percent over 2012. Mobile checkouts went up 147 percent over 2012 in mobile checkouts reaching 49.5 million. OverDrive also registered 4.3 billion page views across the websites that it powers. In fact, mobile platform checks now make up almost half of the company’s checkouts and represents 2/3 of site traffic.

Earn a High School Diploma at the Los Angeles Public Library

laplThe Los Angeles Public Library has formed a partnership with a private digital learning company. Together, they will launch a program to help residents, who are secondary school dropouts, earn accredited high school diplomas.

For this inaugural year, the organizers aims to aid 150 adults obtain their high school diploma. They project that this endeavor will cost $150,000.

Here’s more from The Huffington Post: “It’s the latest step in the transformation of public libraries in the digital age as they move to establish themselves beyond just being a repository of books to a full educational institution, said the library’s director, John Szabo…Szabo believes this is the first time a public library will be offering an accredited high school diploma to adult students, who will take courses online but will meet at the library for assistance and to interact with fellow adult learners.” What do you think?

Morgan Library to Open ‘The Little Prince: A New York Story’ Exhibit

424373_372116869474802_157819423_nThe Morgan Library has organized an exhibit called “The Little Prince: A New York Story.” This special art show explores Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s time in New York writing and publishing his beloved children’s book.

The items that will be on view include manuscript pages, early drawings, rare printed editions, photos, and letters. It will open on January 24th and run through April 27th.

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New Public Library in Texas Has No Print Books

bexarlibraryBexar County, Texas has opened a new library that has no books inside. Instead the library is outfitted with iPad stations and iMacs loaded with digital books available to check out, making it the first digital library in the country.

The library is called the BiblioTech. Patrons can check out eBooks, audiobooks, and software training databases, as well as eReaders. The library also hosts computer classes and patrons can use laptops, tablets, and desktops at the branch.

The Associated Press points out that the library looks like an Apple Store but is located in a part of town which wouldn’t appeal to the tech company. “BiblioTech is on the city’s economically depressed South Side and shares an old strip mall with a Bexar County government building,” explains the AP.

Library in Lebanon Burned Down

books304The Al-Saeh library in Tripoli, Lebanon was burned down, and most of the library’s collection was lost. The fire was an act of arson spurred by allegations of anti-Islamic sentiments at the library.

According to reports, there are varying viewpoints on why the fire was started. One theory is that the arsonist started the fire after finding an anti-Islam pamphlet in the library. Another expert suggests that the library’s owner could have written and published a criticism of Islam online.

RT.com has more: “Firefighters struggled to subdue the flames as the decades-old Al-Saeh library went up in smoke on Friday in the Serail neighborhood of Tripoli. Despite firefighters’ best efforts, little of the trove of historic books and manuscripts was recovered from the wreckage. ‘Two thirds of some 80,000 books and manuscripts housed there,’ a security source told Agence France Press, referring to the items destroyed. The source added that the blaze was started after a manuscript insulting the Prophet Mohammed was found hidden in the pages of one of the library books.

 

Six Libraries Exceed a Million Digital Checkouts This Year: OverDrive

overdrive304Six libraries in North America marked more than 1 million digital checkouts this year, according to digital book distribution company OverDrive. This includes eBooks, audiobooks, music and video files.

The libraries to make OverDrive’s ”Million Digital Checkouts Club” this year include: King County Library System in Washington, which recorded 1.6 million downloads up 25% over 2012; Toronto Public Library, which had 1.5 million digital downloads this year, up 68% over last year; New York Public Library which had 1.2 million digital downloads up 16% from 2012;  Hennepin County Library in Minnesota had 1 million digital downloads in 2013, a 41% increase from 2012; Cleveland Public Library in Ohio, which marked 1 million digital downloads this year,  a 32% increase over 2012; and the  Seattle Public Library which had a million downloads, representing a 22% increase over 2012.

 

 

‘Edgar Allan Poe: Terror of the Soul’ On View at The Morgan Library

1459211_10152077816191183_2052034360_nThe Morgan Library has organized an exhibit called “Edgar Allan Poe: Terror of the Soul.” The organizers collected almost one hundred items for this display. Visitors will see manuscripts, letters, and literary criticism articles.

In addition to Poe’s own works, this exhibit also explores Poe’s role as an inspiration to other writers including Charles Dickens, Stéphane Mallarmé, and Vladimir Nabokov. A closing date has been set for January 26, 2014. Follow this link to download free eBooks by Poe.

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First Edition of ‘A Christmas Carol’ Discovered in Ohio Library

christmascarolLibrarians at a library in Ohio got a Christmas treat this year: They discovered that a copy of Charles Dickens‘ classic novel A Christmas Carol at their branch is a first edition.

The Cleveland Scene has the scoop: “CPL staffers aren’t exactly sure when the 170-year-old book was donated or by whom, but they do know they’ve unearthed a real holiday treasure. Only 6,000 other copies, originally printed in 1843 Britain, are in existence.”

The book was originally published by Chapman & Hall in 1843.

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