I blame the e-book

The ebook debate rages on  (a story on NPR this morning pitted a librarian against a professor on whether interactive book apps were actually books…the example was Dr. Seuss).  But they’re pretty standard in various forms in libraries and homes and universities and everywhere else and are obviously here to stay.  Better people than I have discussed them in the medlib world: the Krafty Librarian talks about usage, David Rothman helped catch me up on the Overdrive/Harper Collins battle, and Eric Rumsey provides the latest tips and tricks.

But I have my own bone to pick with ebooks.  You see, I blame them for the current state of my little library.

Am's Resource Center Library

Do you see any bookshelves?  Me, neither.  There’s actually a lack of furniture in general.  And you know why?  Because the vendor that outfits the libraries in our system has gone bankrupt.  Lack of demand.  Before you feel too sorry for me, I should reveal that supposedly they will be able to finish our (custom) project, but there’s a delay while they figure out the paperwork and get the bank to release the money to pay the installers.  But just in case, I’m taking suggestions.  A fireplace was brought up by one intrepid patron who stopped by (today was opening day!).

But in all seriousness, this does seem to be one little sign of the times.  And one I hadn’t really thought of, higher up in the food chain.  And not a bookseller.  But what interests me more is what this means for the hospital library space.  I’m all for the embedded librarian and I’m not particularly attached to any ideas of what a physical space should be, but I also think that the “library as place” concept has some worth.  It’s not a waiting room.  It’s not the computer kiosk in the hall environmental services has to stand up to check their e-mail.  It’s a little bit of an escape, and a headquarters for providing services, even when I’m out and about.  And so it becomes something of a physical representation of those services.  I’d like to think I could do my job without it, but I’m really glad I have it, and that the plans for it include a “professional corner” as well as a separate area that’s a little warmer and more inviting.  It kind of embodies me.  🙂

But first that furniture has  get here.  I’d be cool with a fireplace, though.

And to be completely fair, I should probably blame e-journals more than e-books.  Let’s have a moment of silence for the binderies.


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