Back from my Hiatus
I’ve been taking a break from posting over the past six weeks, mainly due to the never-ending stream of classes I’ve been teaching on how to download e-books to your e-reader. I’ve also been suffering, I confess, from simply being overwhelmed by the changes by various publishers and the increasing difficulty in trying to unravel the downloading differences in a way that makes sense to our staff and patrons. Frankly, if I get confused by the various scenarios in getting a book from our OverDrive site to a device, I can only imagine how much more challenging it must be for the rest of the staff to remember. I work with this technology each and every day. Other librarians and support staff don’t have that advantage. I’ve done five classes on downloading so far this month. I have another one scheduled for tomorrow. Two classes have been Kindle specific, and the handouts and hands-on demonstrations I gave to these patrons are now out of date due to the Penguin changes. My dilema is how to now get word to these misinformed users that they must now follow a different procedure. I don’t dare prepare anything more than a few days in advance for fear it will again change.
There are days when I simply want to throw in the towel and give up, but in my heart of hearts, I know that the entire e-book/e-reader technology is in its infancy and, by necessity, must go through growing pains. It frustrates me that we’re not getting clearer – and correct – information from our vendor, but they, too, must be pulling their hair out, virtually, of course. At some point, I trust that publishers will come to some sort of agreement with vendors and that libraries will be able to afford to then take their place in the world of digital books. Certainly our patrons have come to expect materials from us in a variety of formats and they are now equipped with e-readers, so they are told by Amazon and Barnes and Noble to come to us as lenders of free e-books.
In the meantime, the best advice I can give other folks in this same situation is to communicate. For staff, I send out emails whenever there is a change of any kind relating to e-books. I write articles for our web page and do instructional handouts that I also post on our web page for use by staff and the public. We continue to do regular classes on downloading for our patrons. Finally, we have an E-reader Users Group that meets on a monthly basis. It’s time consuming, but worth it when we have better informed staff and satisfied patrons. That’s why we are all in the profession!