Libraries, bookshops and makerspaces

The bookshop that bans mobile phones and tablets

London bookshop Libreria has declared itself a “digital detox zone”, banning customers from using mobile phones and tablets within the store. It is attempting to “immerse the visitor in the visceral joys of reading and the pleasure of physical books, as well as to reawaken the art of real-life conversation, debates and talks, a sense of conviviality and a taste of the unexpected”. Visitors can take photos, but if they are caught texting, phoning, using the internet or social media, they are politely requested to stop. Most people are happy to oblige. Libreria’s founders believe “we have reached a ‘cultural tipping point’ with book lovers rebelling against the ‘digital deluge’.” Other London bookshops are following suit. Libreria groups books according to loose themes rather than genre eg. the sea and the sky. Guest curators have also made selections eg. Jeanette Winterson.


Why the internet hasn’t killed the library (yet) – Donald Barclay, Deputy University Librarian, Uni of California, Merced.

Most reference questions in US academic libraries are now via email or web chat. Over 400 academic libraries provide 24/7 reference services as members of OCLC’s 24/7 Reference Cooperative. Circulation and in-person reference transaction numbers have decreased markedly, but there has been a steady increase in the number of people setting foot in academic libraries. These libraries have been reinventing themselves and converting printed book space to space for students to study, collaborate, learn and even socialise! Libraries offer consultation services and spaces for research, writing, analysing data, graphic design, presentation practice, digital media preparation, makerspaces, music practice, funding opportunities etc Some spaces are open 24/7 and many have relaxed food and drink rules (!)


Create knowledge and other stuff at your library!

The availability of makerspaces in many US public libraries has had many benefits. Libraries are now “places where people can not only consume knowledge, but create new knowledge” (Miguel Figueroa, ALA). 3D printers have allowed many people to create prototypes, models and parts far more cheaply at their library than through commercial manufacturing.

The Harold Washington Library Center in Chicago set up their Maker Lab to support 21st century learning, as a trial in 2013. It was very popular and current sessions are usually fully booked in advance. 68% of participants are women; 55% are 26-45 year olds; 70% visited the lab to try something new. Pop-up labs visit some neighbourhoods. 3D printing, the Laser Cutter and the Vinyl Cutter are all popular. Non-digital craft programs are also offered.

Long but interesting: Will makerspaces last? Do they help their members earn a real living or to learn more than a smattering of skills?:


Tablets out, imagination in: the schools that shun technology

In Silicon Valley, California, the Waldorf School of the Peninsula does not use technology in the classroom but employees of the tech giants still send their children there. Innovative thinking skills and creativity are emphasised. At the London Acorn school, the internet is banned for everyone under 16 years – at home and at school. Computers are used only with those over 14 years. “The problem with instant information is that the ease with which you can get from A to B and find the answers doesn’t reflect real life” (Sarah Thorne, principal)


Kansas City Library, Missouri

How awesome…the façade of the parking garage of the Central Library is made of 8 metre tall book spines – the “Community Bookshelf”. The community voted on the 22 titles to be displayed, including Lord of the rings, Fahrenheit 451, Catch-22, A tale of two cities, Charlotte’s web, To kill a mockingbird, The invisible man, Romeo and Juliet….

National Library now collecting everything

National Library makes digital history

On 17 Feb Thomas Keneally’s latest novel Napoleon’s last island became the first ebook to be collected by the NLA under Australia’s new legal deposit legislation. The novel tells the story of Napoleon’s exile on St Helena through the eyes of 13 year old Betsy.

New amendments to the Copyright Act allow the NLA to collect everything – ebooks, blogs, websites, social media etc The digital record will be protected in the same way as print. Publishers and authors can now upload ebooks, journals, magazines and newsletters through the NLA’s website. The collection of digital publications will be available later this year.


National Library Digital Classroom

Important cultural items from the Treasures Gallery are brought into the classroom, with teacher resources aligned to the Australian Curriculum. Through an inquiry approach, students analyse sources, develop historical skills and draw their own conclusions. Currently resources are available for Years 3 to 6 – more will be added. Resources include: Edward Koiki Mabo, First peoples, Communication, Designing the Sydney Opera House, A national identity.



From 1 Feb – 4 Feb libraries and museums around the world joined the adult colouring book craze and made available online free colouring books containing artwork from their collections. You could then tag your work on social media – a great way to engage with rare books and promote them.

If you like colouring in, here’s a great list – The NY Public Library; The Bodleian Library; The Smithsonian Libraries; The Folger Library; Europeana….

State Library of Victoria:

Museum of Victoria:


ColorOurCollections could tie in nicely with Library Lovers’ Day/Week at our schools, starting 14 Feb. Students could colour illustrations from books in our collections, promoting titles to potential readers.

Happy Book Week 22-28 August!

Theme: Books Light Up Our World

Book Week winners (includes Older Readers category):

Shortlist and notables:

Here at Dickson College Library we are celebrating with trivia questions each day with prizes for the first correct answers – literature, films, quotes, science, geography, history, music etc. To tie in with the theme Books light up our world, students can also identify literature quotes from books and write the titles of their favourite and least favourite books – the “light” and “dark” side of reading.


CharacTOUR: find characters you love

Launched 4 August, this fun online database is devoted to fictional characters from movies, TV shows, books and video games. CharacTOUR helps people make reading and viewing choices based on characters, rather than just titles and genres. Each character gets their own profile page – currently there are 4 500 spoiler-free profiles about characters’ origins, interests, skills and journeys. Viewers can take personalised match quizzes; create character mash-ups; browse by genre, plot, era, quotes etc;  find similar characters (If you like ….you may like ….) and vote for favourites. Interesting for classes – more for high school. The content is well written and informative but there is space for user comments….and we all know how that can end up.


Dymocks Top 101 2015

As voted by readers. 1. The book thief 2. Pride and prejudice 3. To kill a mockingbird 4. Magician 5. Lord of the rings 6. The fault in our stars 7. The hobbit 8. Jane Eyre 9. Alice’s adventures in Wonderland 10. Harry Potter series. Lots of other good reading suggestions.


Little Free Library

“Take a book. Leave a book”. Free books housed in small containers in local communities – over 15 000 worldwide in 40 countries. Also known as pop-up libraries and community book exchanges.

In Canberra:


Books on screen

An interesting list of over 100 titles…and the book is always better than the movie J

These books would make great movies:


50 literary quotes

“Not all those who wander are lost” – Tolkien. “It matters not what someone is born, but what they grow up to be” – J.K.Rowling.


50 most inspiring quotes about books and reading

“A book is a dream that you hold in your hand” – Neil Gaiman. “There comes a time when you have to choose between turning the page and closing the book” – Josh Jameson.


50 coolest book covers


“Weapons of Mass Instruction”

Argentinian artist Raul Lemesoff drives around cities and rural areas in a car/tank armed with 900 books, giving away free books to liberate people from illiteracy.


Why are children reading books?

Sales of children’s books are increasing – printed books are special.

ebooks, printed books and libraries

Print books outsold ebooks in first half of 2014 in the US

Nielsen Books and Consumer survey – paperbacks 42% of sales; hardcovers 25%; ebooks 23%. Will paper books and ebooks coexist peacefully in the future? “A healthy, diverse marketplace with multiple format, price point, and channel choices for the consumer is generally a positive for readers, authors, and publishers overall” (Steinberger; Perseus Books). Stephen King: print books have a bright future – “books are going to be here for a long, long time”.


Yes we still love print!

The 2 second-hand bookfairs held by Lifeline in the ACT during 2014 were the most successful ever (and the biggest in Australia). It’s a great way for the community to recycle their books and support a great cause!


Nieuwe Bibliotheek (New Library) in Almere, Netherlands

Faced with declining visitors, traditional methods of library organisation were discarded in 2010 and a retail model was followed. Books are now grouped by area of interest with fiction and non fiction combined and many face-out displays. The library is a Seats2meet (S2M) location where people connect with each other in exchange for a free workspace. It also has a gaming facility, a reading garden and a large events program. And of course it has a café! It is now considered one of the most innovative libraries in the world and is the most successful cultural organisation in Almere – showing that “a physical public library has a right to exist in the future and will not disappear by increasing digitization and the internet” (Roy Paes).


Ebook readers on the way out

Forrester Research World eReader Adoption Forecast 2014-2019 predicts the death of the eReader as its functions are absorbed by other devices such as smartphones and tablets. Global sales peaked in 2011 but will decline steadily through 2019. Why carry another device? Ebook spending will continue to grow. Kindles have great battery life, but even Amazon will invest in newer devices like wearables, 3D printers and drones.


Kindle Unlimited

Amazon has launched its Kindle Unlimited ebook & audiobook subscription service, following its US debut in July. It will have an emphasis on bestsellers with unlimited access to more than 650 000 ebooks and 2000 audiobooks for eight pounds per month. Authors will be paid each time someone reads more than 10% of one of their books (roughly $2 per unit).


“The fate of our literary culture is sealed” – Will Self

Deep, serious reading and writing is under threat from the digital revolution – it is clear, however, that digital media and the web will lead to new forms of learning, memory, understanding and even consciousness. The majority of the text currently read in the technologically advanced world is already digitised – the book is in “desperate, riffling retreat” and half of today’s revenue from British book sales goes to Amazon. We no longer have to rely on our memories to analyse or find new information – we have outsourced our mental operations to algorithms owned by money-making companies such as Google et al.

Happy Book Week 16-22 August

Here are some interesting sites celebrating books and reading (college/high school focus):

The Children’s Book of the Year Awards

Australian Independent Bookseller – good books and bestsellers in Australia.

Top 100 books – all good reads.

LibraryReads – the top 10 adult books published each month as voted by library staff in the US.

The greatest books – generated from over 50 other “best of” lists; favourite books of each decade; links to many other book lists and award sites.

100 best first lines from novels

Favourite opening lines from books

Famous book quotes

50 literary quotes to start your day

Popular science books

100 all-time greatest popular science books

FableCroft – tune into Tehani Wessely’s publishing website for some great speculative fiction and the Cranky Ladies of History upcoming book.

Genrefluent – helping readers find the books they will love.

Aurealis Awards – Australian awards for sc-fi, fantasy & horror fiction.

Australian Women Writers – supporting and promoting books by Australian women


Indie Book Awards

Interesting to see the winners announced on 26 March, chosen by the independent booksellers of Australia (200 shops nationally)…

Indie Book Awards

The narrow road to the deep north by Richard Flanagan was voted as the booksellers’ favourite Australian book from last year and the winner of The Indie Book of the Year Award 2014.    

Category winners:


The narrow road to the deep north by Richard Flanagan (Random House Australia)


Girt by David Hunt (Black Inc)


Burial rites by Hannah Kent (Pan Macmillan Australia)


Kissed by the moon by Alison Lester (Penguin Australia)


Current Indie Top 10 bestsellers include Burial rites, The fault in our stars, The blazing world, I quit sugar for life (!), The Rosie project, Beams falling….


Interesting/cute article in the Sunday paper last week (does anyone buy them anymore?) – iPad dad who won’t let his (2 and a half year old) son read books…and the mum who smuggles them in:

The article included a comment by Sophie Higgins from Dymocks, who said the market for children’s books has felt no impact from tablets like the iPad. “Sales of children’s books last Christmas were up 11.4% in value, that’s huge growth, and that growth was consistent all year.”

Other interesting info in the article: 376 public libraries in NSW; 3.2 million members and 35 million visits in 2012. Yay for libraries!



ebooks at the National Library

Some info about finding ebooks available freely online through the National Library….

The National Library has a wide range of ebooks. For most of these you will need an NLA library card (apply online). A search for ebooks in eResources shows resources such as Ebsco ebooks; OECD iLibrary; Oxford Reference; Early English Books Online and titles in Gale Virtual Reference Library.

Many titles are also accessible in the NLA catalogue.

Ebooks: a guide to finding ebooks at the NLA:

When you do a NLA catalogue search and hit enter, look for the Narrow Search option on the far right of the screen and choose E-resources. Choose All Online to get resources with online links, such as ebooks. Click on a title and login with your NLA library card. You can also find books digitised by the NLA in the catalogue by adding the delimiter “NLA digitised material” to your initial search. The catalogue also has links to titles that can be found in Google Books – what an excellent resource this is for accessing full text chapters of books to read online.


Currently there are 897 non fiction Ebsco ebooks in the NLA catalogue (search for ebscohost to see the complete list). Ebsco ebooks can be downloaded to your device and accessed for 5 days. Only one person at a time can view the Ebsco ebook.

Guide to using Ebsco ebooks:

Moving from Print to Digtial

There is a lot of talk around this topic and many schools are at various stages of the move. An article on the Education Week website puts forward some interesting thoughts on this issue. The material is US based but the concept of going digital is the same for us all.

Report: Schools Should Move from Print to Digital Content by 2017

“The textbook was the best technology we had… 50 plus years ago,” said Doug Levin, the executive director of SETDA, during a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington. Levin was joined by SETDA officials and representatives from states like Utah and Virginia, which are put forth as case studies for digital content policy in the report, titled “Out of Print.” Levin went on to list the trends changing how instructional materials are designed and delivered, like the Common Core State Standards, budget pressures and student demographic changes, among others.

Buying books online

We always have a look at Booko first to find the best price and usually find Book Depository is the cheapest, also AbeBooks & Fishpond. Amazon bought out Book Depository last year. With reduced budgets we have to make our money go further and look for online savings. Sad but necessary.


Interesting to read the article by author & editor Duncan Lay (“Death of the bookshop?” (Sunday Telegraph 5/8/12 – not available freely online anymore). He has seen many bookstores close down and recommends that we buy any eReader except the Kindle! Don’t give Amazon the monopoly on ebooks.


In the same article, Jon Page (great name – president of the Australian Bookseller Assoc and bookshop owner) stated that Amazon is the biggest threat to bookstores. They sell books at a loss to grab market share and to avoid paying sales tax; they also charge for including books on their recommended lists and “customers who bought this…” lists. If publishers don’t pay Amazon then their books are not easily discoverable. He said Australian authors are never on Amazon’s front page. Page believes ebooks are not the threat but Amazon & Kindle are.


To compete more with online sales, Australian publishers dropped the recommended retail price of books last year by around 7%.


Dymocks managing director Steven Cox said the company had benefited from the Borders/A & R collapse – they opened 8 new stores in 2011 with several more this year. He is less concerned with Amazon and believes bookstores offer service and expertise, but he believes that import laws must change in order to compete with online retailers. The lack of parallel imports inhibits the ability to deliver books on time and at a good price.


In June 2012, the Speed to Market Initiative was introduced (agreed to by Aust. Society of Authors, Printing Industries Assoc, Aust. Literary Agents Assoc, Aust. Publishers Assoc & Aust. Booksellers Assoc). Publishers, in exchange for the government’s  blocking of parallel imports, will ensure local versions of overseas titles are brought out within 14 days.


And self-published ebooks? Out of an average 400 new ebooks available on Amazon each month, more than half are free or less than $2. Authors have the chance to write and sell, but if the quality isn’t there then few people will buy.