Monday, 26 November 2012

Greenwich Leisure Ltd and Wandsworth Libraries

Diane Edmonds, heading up Greenwich Leisure Ltd, continues on the decided path.

Next, Wandsworth London Libraries. She says:

"We are delighted to have been selected as preferred bidder by Wandsworth Council."

Where is all this leading towards, one might well ask?

Well, it all goes in line with what I predicted 10 years ago - the commercialisation and privatisation of our public libraries. But one gives up hope of trying to stop it all; whatever is the point?

At this stage, perhaps it is more useful to try to envisage where we think we are likely to be in 10 years time. Better than keep bemoaning what we have lost and what we might be losing in the shorter term.

Well, my prediction is that in 10 years time we will still have a public library service - but only just. That for many areas there will just be one main library (rather than several smaller libraries)  and that this is also likely to include other Community Information services. This library will mainly be self-service. And it won't be costing much.

Once all of that is in place, and if they think they can get away with it, the statutory obligation to provide a public library service can then be removed. And then what? Well, leave it to your imagination, but largely, I'd say - don't be looking towards a public library for anything much.

Oh well - might as well go to to Amazon, or a charity shop, or a second-hand bookshop or Waterstones or some other bookshop for many of ones books; or re-read the books that one already has on the shelf. Can't keep flogging a dead horse.

Need to think differently; need to do different (as the UEA motto says).

Monday, 12 November 2012

Cuddling up to a Kindle?

It seems that I need to address something.

I have just received a copy of a review of my book, Digitisation Perspectives (Sense Publishing, 2011) which appeared in the journal Alexandria (22, 2/3, 2011). This was largely a summary/overview of the different sections and chapters in the book, but in the last paragraph the reviewer Beccy Shipman, has this to say:

"At one point the editor argues that e-books will never replace the experience of reading a printed book, especially as you cannot take an e-book to bed, but this is already possible."

As this has been mentioned elsewhere, I thought I had better now address the issue.

What I meant was that one cannot cuddle up to and snuggle up to an e-book in bed - one cannot cuddle up with a kindle; stroke it lovingly; put it under the bedclothes; flick through it tenderly; look glowingly at the cover and the pictures. Basically, it cannot connect with ones sensations and emotions in a way that a hard copy book can. Dear oh dear! I didn't think it would be necessary to spell this out. I thought it was all rather intimate really, but there you go, and there it is... If the kindle can do all that for you, then good luck to you - but it certainly can't do all that for me!

Still, the reviewer ends on a positive note, saying:

"If you are interested in a wide-ranging discussion of digital content and the impact of recent technologies with much thought-provoking commentary, this may be the book for you."

Happy reading (in bed or otherwise) and all that.