Royal Reprints: Margaret Campbell Barnes

Royal Reprints: Margaret Campbell Barnes

~ Elisa Babel, MLS

Elizabeth of York

A young English princess tries on her wedding gown with excitement only for her betrothal to the French Dauphin to be broken shortly afterwards.  So begins the first chapter of The Tudor Rose, a novel about Elizabeth of York, wife of Henry VII and mother of Henry VIII.  I knew who she was but what was she like?  This wonderful novel by the late English novelist Margaret Campbell Barnes provided an answer for me.

Margaret Campbell Barnes (1891-1962) began her career by writing for various leading British literary publications before turning to historical fiction.  Her agents at Curtis Brown Ltd. encourage her to write historical novels.  She wrote ten novels between 1944-62.  In 1944 her son Michael’s death in World War II combat operation devasted her and her husband Peter.  Her love for her son shines in her writing.  (A fuller biography may be found in any of her reissued novels)

I first discovered Margaret Campbell Barnes in high school.  The copy of The Tudor Rose  in my high school library wasn’t very distinctive on the shelf: it was a hardback rebound with the title engraved on the spine.  (I don’t remember if any of Barnes’s novels were there)  I went on to read other historical fiction novels but I didn’t forget this novel. Years would pass before I saw it again…

Tudor Rose

What I enjoy about Barnes’s novels is her writing style and how she brings her subject and the time period to life. As I read, I feel I’m watching what’s happening: the battles, political upheaval, murder, vying for the throne, feasts and royal pageantry, and domestic life. The individual people in her novels, both well-known and lesser known, come alive on the pages.  Because it’s actual history, there are no surprises about the ending. The way Barnes tells the story will have you wanting to know. Barnes follows the historical records about her subjects accurately, and she includes an acknowledgement about her research in her novels.  As an undergrad history major, I appreciate that.

If you enjoyed reading Margaret Campbell Barnes when you were younger, you’ll be delighted her novels have been reissued with beautiful covers after being out of print for many years. I’ve bought four of the reissues including The Tudor Rose. Three of them were new to me so I was in for a treat. (My second favorite is My Lady of Cleves)  Below is a list of Barnes’s reissued novels in chronological order in English history and their original publication dates:

The Passionate Brood (1944)

Within the Hollow Crown (1947)

The Tudor Rose (1953)

Brief Gaudy Hour (1949)

King’s Fool (1959)

My Lady of Cleves (1946)

Mary of Carisbrooke (1956)

This is the first in a three part series about my favorite historical fiction novelists.  Next installment: Margaret Irwin.

 

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Kindles and Android and Nooks (oh my!)

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Update May 19, 2011:   Amazon announced that they are now selling more Kindle books than print books – 5%  more – after dropping the price on the Kindle with advertising to $114.   

Update April 20, 2011:   Amazon announced they will be introducing a Kindle Program for Libraries later this year.     This is significant news for the Library market and quite a game-changer. How will this affect the Overdrive market and the future purchase of hand-held e-book readers by libraries?

According to MediaPost.com  Kindles represent 59% of e-readers shipped.  So, if Overdrive is able to deliver as represented, this would mean 59% more potential e-reader patrons for Libraries that have e-book collections.  Is making the most popular e-reader compatible with 11,000 library collections a positive thing for Libraries?  Is making the devices interactive with the books positive for patrons?  I think it is.
 
It is also potentially *great* for Kindle sales, Kindle book sales, Kindle book authors/publishers (70% royalities in US/UK)  and Overdrive.  The marketplace responded very positively to Amazon’s April 20th news release: http://www.google.com/finance?client=ob&q=NASDAQ:AMZN

Since Overdrive, Inc. is not publicly traded, it is hard to tell what immediate impact this has on the value of their company. But, given Amazon’s extraordinary success in customer satisfaction and their huge IT infrastructure, it stands to reason that the partnership would serve to enhance Library customer satisfaction with Overdrive too.

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Scary new road for Librarians

Many of the  Publib and Web4Lib conversations in 2010 centered on the effects of handheld media devices and applications in the world of libraries.  The mainstream use of handheld media and the proliferation of machines that effectively recreate the reading experience of traditional books struck home for many librarians.

The codex certainly has many iterations, but after 500 years it did become standardized.  With the exception of oversized and miniature books, most are close in size and operate essentially the same way. Librarians are comfortable with and comforted by collections of nice squared chunks of paper, cloth and leather neatly arranged on metal and wooden shelves.   We were comfortable with card catalogs and eventually became comfortable with online catalogs.  The online catalogs certainly did not have the same feel, the same look, the same smell as the old catalogs, but eventually they took hold as  standard library features. Yet, unlike most traditional library catalogs, the intellectual authority over catalog software was outsourced to vendors.  Librarians essentially gave up ownership of their catalogs, while providing broader access to more collections for their patrons through shared resources, databases and inter-library loan.

Slowly, a new path of accessibility began to blend in with the online catalogs. Digital books and digital audio became popular. Massive digitization and storage of public domain works projects were undertaken.  Computer memory, speed, and storage increased while size, cost and energy needs decreased.   Smart-phones and wireless networking became common. 3G and 4G networks proliferated. The convergence of networks, digitization, and hardware improvements meant book contents requiring hundreds of metal and wooden shelves are now available on devices weighing under a pound. And, those same devices have access to enormous digitized collections at far greater speed than even the most efficient traditional library services. 

The youthful progression of 18-20 somethings forced  Academic Librarians to become early adopters of hand-held media technology. Academic in-house computing power and talent lent themselves to solving problems of accommodating information delivery in the manner prefered by their gen x and gen y patrons .  Public Librarians trended towards becoming late adopters.  Many had no budget for electronic book collection development.  Others, inhibited by vendor controlled delivery and electronic book access looked for ways around what appeared to be a system without standards.  Some of the better funded public libraries have been able to develop electronic book collections, purchase electronic readers, and effectively respond to the demand by their patrons for this new information medium. 

 

Rise of the Machines

2010 Christmas season sales in the US accompanied a big price break and increase in quality for hand-held electronic book readers.  Nook, from Barnes & Noble, dropped its price to $149 and started offering a color screen.  Kindle  , from Amazon dropped in price to $139 and the Kindle became their top-selling item.  The Sony ebook Reader was more affordable at $129. The marketplace moved from early adopters willing to pay several hundreds of dollars to the mass market with prices under $200 for advanced electronic book readers.  Many librarians saw the trend and adapted to increased demand for e-books by their patrons.   Many other librarians worked on denying the viability of e-books and holding on to the comfortable idea that the codex was simply better.  But with massive profits driving the suppliers, each complaint about the viability of e-books is being addressed with solutions.  And, the suppliers of e-readers attempt to make their devices behave as well or better than the traditional book:

Librarians and readers complained that reading from a computer screen was not as enjoyable as reading a book. Nook now advertises its “just-like-paper screen” and Kindle and Sony employ the same electronic technology from E-Ink .  The electronic paper screens do not have the flicker of CRTs and glare of LCD panels.  They are not back-lit such as LCD / LED screens – so text does not disappear in direct sunlight.  Some reports link use of LCD and LED screens to insomnia , but the same effect is not apparent with the E-Ink electronic paper available from new electronic book readers.

Librarians and readers complained that sharing of downloaded materials was not possible because the license was for one device, one reader Nook and Kindle have begun to address sharing and are now offering options. Market demand and profit will determine future sharing options. With such an insignificant production / advertising / distribution cost compared to traditional books – electronic books potentially have more leeway in terms of maintaining profitability for publishers and authors.

Nook offers social media options and two million titles. Kindle offers text to speech, advanced pdf reader, and Whispersync links your personal library and the progress of your reading with other devices you might own.  Sony offers Readerstore, Googlebooks, and excellent cross-platform compatibility. Each device is moving towards becoming more and more multifunctional.

Librarians complained about the lack of standardization, instructions and cross-platform compatibility. Most of those problems were derived from vendors who had failed to create adequate instructions and quickly address the needs of libraries as fluid and dynamic information marketplaces.  Conversely, with each complaint about electronic book readers, the focus of the manufacturers and suppliers is to improve.  The complaints are heard as an  opportunity to improve and move a step ahead of their competition.  Are libraries competing?

As if Kindle and Nook and Sony did not create a big enough impact, Google’s Android operating system along with Apple’s iPad  / iPhone and PC applications paved the way for multi-use handheld devices.  3G access became widespread and smartphones are able to use Nook,  Sony and Kindle applications to increase personal library access.   Android equipped devices can quickly download a Kindle or Nook application. Every smartphone can now become an electronic book reader and a mobile library.

The electronic book is here and expanding and evolving without librarians a gatekeepers.  However, there is encouraging news from many public libraries showing patron excitement over electronic book collections.  Some are offering to purchase copies for libraries.  Multiple holds for electronic books demonstrate that sharing is still one of the most effective tool of libraries.   But, if libraries are going to rely solely of vendors for delivery,  vendors must improve and address libraries as valued and dynamic information markets. One of the most promising tools available to librarians who wish to take the intellectual leap of not being entirely vendor dependent is Calibre ebook management.    This “free and open source e-book library management application” offers many features of value to librarians and their patrons.

Librarians must address competition in the information market in order to remain viable. With massive budget cuts to all public services looming, the road ahead for libraries is unknown.  However, it looks like the Tin Man will be traveling with us.

Rise of the Machines

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What about nonfiction?

Familiar with doing readers advisory for fiction but not for nonfiction?  Why should fiction get all the attention?  Nonfiction books can be just as fun to read too.  For doing readers advisory for nonfiction, here’s a valuable reference tool: The Readers’ Advisory Guide to Nonfiction by Neal Wyatt, published by ALA Editions.

Why I bought it:  I wanted to learn about how it’s possible to do readers advisory for nonfiction.

My take:  This was an informative and interesting book.  In the first two chapters Wyatt discusses how to do readers advisory for nonfiction, the four elements of nonfiction, and how to offer the service to the patron.  Popular subjects such as food and cooking, science, sports, memoirs, travel, and history are covered.  The remainder of nonfiction subjects receives its own chapter.  (How-to and reference books are excluded)  I liked how the topical areas within a subject are broken out and explained. Well-known titles are presented at the end of the chapters.  (Additionally Appendix B presents those well-known books in a list format by subject)  Wyatt ends with a chapter of  suggestions about how to learn and promote your nonfiction collection and the kinds of aids you can use for patrons to explore more about their favorite subject.  (For example, you can present nonfiction books with a novel based on the subjects covered in the story)    Just as you would for fiction, read nonfiction widely too!  Bridge the Dewey divide, Wyatt writes. 

Bottom line:  Worth reading!  I learned a lot from reading this book.  Great for those new to public librarianship or have been practicing in the field.

Editors note: ($47.70 from Amazon with free shipping – $53.00 from ALA and $47.70 from ALA  *if you are a member *. . . hmmm)

To blog readers: On a personal note, I changed divisions within my library.  After two years of working in fiction, I transferred to the History & Biography section of our Social Sciences Division in early summer.  I had been there before working in our fiction division.  My undergrad degree is in history so its my area.  Because I’m in a specific subject area, it’ll give me an opportunity to relearn the collection and explore what we’ve got on our shelves.

Elisa Babel, MLS

Best of PubLib 03.28.10

Best of Publib Current Topics and Archives

Provocative video suitable for all audiences coming soon

This edition of  Best of Publib covers  March 15th through March 28th 2010. This PubLib review and analysis includes questions about naming library rooms, thought-provoking discussions about new media archives , library materials security,  and our new poll on R-rated movie access. Some of the topics we will be reviewing include: 

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Best of PubLib 03.14.10

Best of Publib Current Topics and Archives

Video coming soon

This edition of  Best of Publib covers the weeks of March 1st  through March 14th 2010. This edition includes questions about collection development, thought-provoking discussions about  known inaccuracies in ‘non-fiction’ works , circulation manager duties ,  humorous anecdotes regarding blondes ,  and the impact of closing public school libraries: 

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Best of PubLib 02.28.10

Best of Publib Current Topics and Archives

Best of PubLib TVComing Soon!

weekly updateThis edition of Best of Publib covers the week of February 22nd through February 28th 2010. This week included questions about advertising and accountability, use and implementation of ebook readers,  and our new poll on charging library fees to support other government departments. Some of the topics we will be reviewing include: 

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Best of PubLib 02.21.10

Best of Publib Current Topics and Archives

Best of PubLib TVComing Soon!

This week  in  Best of Publib covers February 15th through February 21st 2010. This week includes PubLib questions about collection development, the value of on-line tutorials and databases , organization of gaming tournaments,  and the cause of stress in public libraries. Some of the topics we will be reviewing include: 

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Virtual Reference

Best of PubLib Feature : featured article

The PubLib listserve members recently debated the possibilities and virtues of virtual reference.  This new article and process for virtual reference on our sister site – Best of Web4Lib begins to explore virtual reference design and designing virtual librarians : 

Virtual Reference

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Best of Publib Library Humor

The following gems are courtesy of the collective mind of the PubLib Listserve January 2010 Archives

From the Front-line Circulation Desks : featured article

♦   Message: I cannot come in today to return a DVD. I tried to renew the DVD and the system will not allow me to because someone has put in a request for this DVD. It seems to me if I am allowed renewals on DVDs, this person should be expected to wait until I am done. I should not be penalized, with no warning, that I am suddenly not allowed to renew my movie. I should not be expected to pay any fine or even show this on my library record. :roll:

♦  … my favorite, although it was a telephone call, was the lady who called me about the overdue notice she had gotten on the book & CD set she had checked out. We were wrong, it couldn’t be overdue, because she had only had it for four weeks and the title said, “Learn Spanish in Three Months.” :D

♦  Our Circ clerk just shared with me at lunch today that she had strong words from a patron who was also upset about renewals: we’ve had quite a bit of snow this week (with more to come tonight) and the patron cannot get out of his house and all the way in to town to drop off his books. He is very upset that he is going to be charged 15 cents when it isn’t his fault it snowed . . . He tried to convince our new circ clerk that we have a no-late-fees-when-there’s-snow-on-the-ground policy. :)

♦  I’ve witnessed a patron trying to tell a Circ clerk that she shouldn’t have to pay that late fee because she wasn’t going to *drive* to the library to return materials that were due on Earth Day. One supposes the energy demands caused by using the phone or web that day were simply too much for her to consider utilizing those methods, either. :)

♦  My favorite excuse for not paying late fees, is when the patron says I didn’t even read/watch/listen to it. :)

♦  We recently had a patron come to the door before we opened. He didn’t trythe door, just started banging, kicking, and swearing. He repeated “Open the d at mn door” a few times and then left.

The next evening he returned and of course he had received a bill for the book since he’d had it since September. He complained that he can’t get to the library when we are open. I refrained from pointing out that he managed to get to the library to check the book out.

I politely stated that he was welcome to use the book drop if we were closed. “Oh, where is that?” ‘It’s to the right of the door you came in this evening.’ He looked startled and paid his fine saying thank-you to all the staff for their help as he left. :)

♦  I had a patron insist she returned the books she had checked out for six months. She remembered that the library was wide open and no one was there. (Tiny library inside a college, no book drop.) She said she left the books on the desk and walked out. She said it was a Saturday. The library was not open on Saturday and only a couple of people had the key. :)

♦  Northern Nevada usually has very little snow that sticks around, but this year has had significant snow: a patron called to say that she couldn’t get to the library to turn in her books, so they went to California instead. Huh? :?

From the Reference and Information Trenches :

♦  Diarrhea of a Wimpy Kid – I was told by a second grader that he read that long book……I tried so hard not to laugh. :)

♦  My manager once was asked:

Little Boy: “Do you have a book on Third-Grade Marshall?”

Manager/Librarian: “Do you mean Thurgood Marshall?” :D

♦  True story: A lady approaches the reference desk. I am sitting behind the desk (under a big sign that says Reference/Information), with my county ID on.

Lady: What’s your job?

Me: I’m a reference librarian.

Lady: Here?   :)

♦  When I worked at a bookstore, someone came in and asked me “Do you make keys here?”   :)

♦  I was once asked if we had any books on “Hanukkah and other foreign Christmas holidays.”   :)

♦  “Did George Washington sign the Declaration of Independence after he wrote it?”   ;)

♦  I like, ” can you get me the book I checked in last week? It had a green cover”.   :)

♦  Once a patron asked “Why would they put two short novels in one book?” She thought the novellas had been mashed together into one. I could not make her understand that they were still separate. Even saying, there’s the first novella, then the second one starts independently. She just kept saying, “Why would they do that? It doesn’t make any sense.” I said, “You’re right, it doesn’t.” And walked away. :)

♦  My best question was “Do you have books?” asked about 10 years ago. It was difficult keeping a straight face. :)

♦  “How much does it cost to rent books here?” :)

♦  How about “Do you have the book with all the answers?” I was about to suggest the Bible when I remembered I was interning in an academic library and they were looking for the answer book that their professor had left for them there. :idea:

♦  I work in a small, almost rural, library. One day a woman called up and asked the director, “How did Mr. [Smith’s] prostate surgery go?”

The director was a little confused as we didn’t have anyone on staff with that name and said, “I’m sorry, but there isn’t any Mr. Smith here.”

The woman said, “Oh, no! He isn’t *there*; he lives down on Main St. I’m just calling you to find out how his prostate surgery went.”

The director thought that maybe the woman had her confused with one of the other staff members who perhaps COULD give her that piece of information and she said, “I don’t have that information. Are you sure you meant to speak to *me* about this?”

And the woman answered brightly, “Of course I did! You’re the library. You know everything!” :oops:

♦  I had a little boy ask me once for “gay magazines” – i.e. “game magazines.” :)

♦  On a different topic, I once saw a patron go to an OPAC terminal to access his email account (which has happened several times). The screen was already set for an author search. He typed something in the search box, hit “submit,” scratched his head at the results and walked away. I walked up to the terminal and this was on the screen:

                                        “no author matches found for bigstud99 at hotmail.com; nearby matches are..”   :)

♦  When I worked as a circulation assistant at an academic library, a student asked for a “Non-fiction book” for an assignment. Just any Non-fiction book…

♦  I was just sitting at the reference desk a few minutes ago and got that exact same request, but mine was followed up by “I want something that isn’t boring.” She went off to look at some titles to try and see if she was interested in any of them. Then my shift ended. Hopefully something appealed. :)

♦  “Do you have any books with photographs of real dinosaurs?” :)

♦  My most interesting ones actually happened in a bookstore that I worked in during the early 90s: A customer asked me “Where are the red books?” After she clarified that she wanted to know where the books with red covers were, and that she didn’t have a particular one in mind, I told her that we don’t shelve by color. She said: “Why not?”

♦  Another customer asked me where the “book on the table” was (we had dozens of display tables). She couldn’t remember the author’s name, the title, what it was about, what the cover looked like, whether it was paperback or hardback, or any other detail about it. She thought that she had seen it a few weeks prior, or maybe a few months back, but at least within the last six months…maybe.

♦  Another time, a customer walked up to me and asked me where books with “pictures of dead things” were. He didn’t care if they were human or not, how they were killed, where they were killed, etc. He just kept reiterating that he wanted a book with “lots of pictures of dead things.” We tried True Crime, but the books there had “too many words.” We went to the Photography section and found a book on Vietnam that had lots of pictures of dead people, but (sadly) there was a one sentence caption at the bottom of each page. “Too many words,” he said. In the end, I sent him to “Forbidden Books,” an interesting bookstore in Dallas(now defunct) that carried the books that most bookstores wouldn’t touch. :shock:

♦  At the same bookstore, a customer walked up to me and told me a sad tale about the murder of her mother-in-law. Evidently, after visiting the customer’s family, the grandmother got on a plane, flew home, and was picked up in the airport by one of her other sons, who then gunned her down on the spot. The customer said “Where are the children’s books on that?” She didn’t want books about dealing with murder, books about the death of a relative, or general books about grief. No, she specifically wanted a book about a grandmother who is shot by her son, and nothing else would do. At that point, I fell back on my stock answer for that type of situation: I told her that it was a shame that the publishing industry had ignored that issue, and it would be great if someone wouldstep forward and write a good book about it. She said “I’ll do that!” and left happy. :sad: – Jesse Ephraim :!:

♦  Or the patron who looked at me with disbelief when I told him that fiction was organized by the authors’ last names. “Well, why don’t you put them by title?” As in, all fiction in alpha order by title. When I explained that some people want to see what else an author has written, and that many people like an author but don’t know the titles of books they’ve written, he looked at me as though I were mentally deficient. ;)

♦  A favorite of mine… I *believe* I read about this one years ago in Booklist, probably in a Will Manley article, but I’m not exactly sure. This has stuck with me all these years – namely for the tactful manner used by the librarian, if  anything.

It went like this:

Patron: “Do you have a life-sized atlas of the world available?”

Reference Librarian: [With an incredulous look upon her face] “Yes, but its in use right now.” :D

♦  Customer (Direct quote): : “I need some books on booby traps.”

Librarian: “Sure! Are you looking for hunting traps?”

Customer: “Hell no! I’m lookin’ for human booby traps, those d at mn wetbacks keep stealing my chickens!”  :evil:

Editors Note : The best resource may be ACME, but some of the products may not create the desired results. :shock:

And,  from Joe Schallan on the Beautiful NW :

♦   “I want to caution Publibbers about the “beautiful Northwest” bit, though. It’s beautiful, all right, if you like green. Heck, you’d be green, too, and with saplings sprouting from your scalp, if you had that much drizzle dumped on your head every year.

The Washington state flag is green because it is wet most of the year. Moss forms on the fabric itself. If you’re a flag maker, you can dye it green to disguise the moss, or just sell it undyed and let nature take its course.

How much drizzle? Would you believe 452 inches per annum? (Whatcom County actually has its own rainfull measurement standard, the Smoot, used to more compactly express such vast amounts of moisture, and based on the height of a well-known local bathroom-cleaning-products salesman, Oliver Smoot, who was five foot nine: “We got six-and-a-half Smoots last year.” “Yep, thank God, a little under average.”)

Which is not to suggest that there is no variability in the weather. It runs the gamut from drizzle to rain and back again to drizzle   more … :D

Best of PubLib ALA Midwinter Exhibit Hall Review

Best of PubLib at the ALA Midwinter Meeting Exhibit Hall Review

This week,  Best of Publib covered the ALA Exhibit Hall at the Boston Convention Center.   The HD video below includes hundreds of vendor displays.  We hope it will help you imagine the experience if you were not able to attend, or help refresh and reinforce what you learned.  

 
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Boston Convention and Exhibition Center

The Boston Convention Center was an excellent venue for ALA. The train brought us to South Station - just a few minutes away from the hotels and convention amenities.   There are many local publishers and library suppliers within a short distance, so start-ups and unique product suppliers could present affordably.  And, Boston rocks!  The Freedom Trail, Duck Tours , along with world-class museums and libraries are within short distances of the convention center.  

The organizational effort by ALA and attention to detail by the library vendors was outstanding. It was easy to lose track of time on the exhibit hall floor amidst the panorama and noise.  It took on a casino / carnival atmosphere with prizes to win and vendors pitching their games. High above, you could use the Food Court sign as a directional beacon.  

Of all the hundreds of vendors represented, we chose to review five.  

The first is : I-Concepts which defines itself as Innovative Concepts for Nonprofit Organizations.  We could imagine many libraries outside of Boston benefiting from this service, along with fostering a general appreciation of local history archives.  If you are looking for a way to both encourage collection use and raise funds – i-concepts may be the answer. The Amelia Earhart print was fascinating.  

LibraryThing.com/forLibraries

The second  is : LibraryThing. Tim Spalding along with his gregarious black-shirted  horde truly represented the best of Open Source, Library 2.0 and viral marketing. They were eager to engage and highly entertaining.  

The third vendor is : LE@D-Lifelong Education @ Desktop from the University of North Texas   This group was absolutely charming and demonstrated infectious enthusiasm for their services. They dressed in some of the most colorful attire at the exhibit.  Le@D  provides highly affording library training. According to Director – Kevin Haney (in the middle with the green shirt) – costs are as low as $15 for a course! Enthusiastic library training –  Deep in the heart of Texas!  

New York Times

The fourth vendor is: The New York Times offering 50% off Home Delivery Service
 Marketing was conducted by On the Avenue Marketing Group with this excellent salesperson hawking half-price subscriptions. She may have been the hardest working individual in the exhibit hall. Yet, it was somehow troubling that this was the limit of representation of the New York Times publishing empire.  

III

The fifth vendor is: III – Innovative Interfaces Incorporated. III is one of the heavy hitters in the Library industry. Many libraries are dependent on their products and they have  a loyal base. I worked on two transitions to III – the first at Brown University from CLSI and the second at CLAN libraries from Horizon. I have used III for over twenty years and find it offers outstanding service. However, what I observed in the exhibit hall was troubling.  

The III booth was very well-appointed and designed with several interactive product displays. It supported a large group of associates to answer questions. Yet, few were actually engaged in discussions with anyone but their co-workers. A librarian approached two of the representatives to thank III for providing a pass to the exhibit hall. One of the representatives took a look at the librarian’s badge and said something to the effect of :

 “Well ______ must have been giving away those passes all along the east coast, we had another librarian from ____ stop by earlier “.

Then the rep rattled off a few names of people they considered important from that same institution and basically dismissed the librarian. There was no sales pitch. No offer to demo. Merely, a dismissal. 

Library Service, especially in the public library sector, ideally levels the playing field. Service is equal. In contrast, some vendor representatives have obviously been instructed to find out the station of the exhibit hall attendee, determine if they were of the buyer / influencer class and dismiss the others. Yet, the nature of libraries and librarians as technology consumers requires generating interest throughout an organization and getting everyone to buy in. If you have six vendor representatives at an exhibit and you don’t have a crowd around your people, then you should generate interest by engaging everyone.  All of the library vendors were start-ups at one point.   

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The exhibit hall may be the most effective way to get hands on experience with some of the newest and most exciting products in the library world.  The meager twenty-five dollar entrance fee – or having an inside vendor representative hook you up for free makes the experience well worth the visit.  

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