Hello patrons, and greetings from the frostlands!
There is no shortage of news from the library world, so I will waste no time before diving in.
Apple‘s newly announced iPad is being touted as a great new e-reader, though there is still a lot to be learned. Most of the major publishers are on board for the new iBook store, though Random House and Scholastic remain unsigned as of press time. Publishers are hopeful that the new store and product will counteract the sharp drop in prices of books for Amazon‘s Kindle. So far, publishers have had little say in the price charged for electronic books. Breaking Amazon’s near-monopoly ought to help.
It seems to me that the hip thing to do this year is die. The most notable loss, in a way, for the literate crowd is the passing of JD Salinger. It has long been rumored, thanks to comments made by the recluse himself, as well as by former romantic partners, that Salinger had been continued writing long after he stopped publishing. So of course the big question is, will we see any more of his work. Obviously one can’t help but hope, yet at the same time I think it may be more appropriate to leave his legacy as is.
The patrons at my little library, meanwhile, have been more upset about the death of mystery author Robert B. Parker. While certainly having far less literary impact than Salinger, Parker was a writer beloved by many, and his passing leaves a hole in the lives of a great number of my patrons.
One of the aspects of the recent tragedy in Haiti that has been largely overlooked is the loss of many of the country’s libraries. The American Library Association (ALA) has set up a method of donating directly to the Haiti Library Relief Fund. To those of us who consider the destruction of the Library of Alexandria to be among the greatest tragedies in human history, this effort comes as a relief.
While we’re on that topic, there are many other groups that are working to preserve or create libraries around the world. A good example is Libraries Without Borders.
Meanwhile, San Francisco Public Library has hired a social worker to assist with the growing homelessness and unemployment issues that have arisen due to America’s current economic condition.
On a more amusing note, I have recently come across the highly enjoyable blog Awful Library Books, which details the amazing and terrible books that have been weeded out of library collections. A couple choice picks: “Johnny’s Such a Bright Boy, What a Shame He’s Retarded,” and, even better, Don’t Make Me Go Back, Mommy: A Child’s Book About Satanic Ritual Abuse. I can’t help but wonder if Contrarian contributor Undead Molly has that last one.
As I don’t have an amusing picture of Not Me this week, here’s the cover of that last title: