Who would do this to ordinary consumers? And what consumers would tolerate it? Ugh.
Traugher’s decision, part of a two-hour hearing, came after a legal challenge filed by the city arguing that the library cards met the criteria under a revised state voter law. As of Jan. 1, a photo ID card issued by a state or federal institution is required as proof of identity before a ballot can be cast – a driver’s license being the most likely option. Attorneys for the state told Traugher the city lacked legal authority to issue valid picture IDs for voters, according to media reports.
A lawsuit had been expected almost from the first day – July 5 – the new library card initiative was rolled out in Memphis. The city’s library system, Memphis Mayor A.C. Wharton, Jr. said, is the very embodiment of a state institution. So there was no doubt the cards fit the requirements set down in the state law.
Bob Warburton, “Judge: Library Memphis Cards Aren’t Photo ID”, Library Journal.
This seems utterly ridiculous - not everyone has a driver’s license, and this could be the only form of state-issued photo ID that they have (because, yes! Public libraries are, in fact, a government institution). This is denying public libraries their place in government. When people sign up for a library card, they have to bring proof of who they are, so why shouldn’t a photo ID library card be proof of who they are as well? This ruling seems to invalidate not just library users, but libraries themselves.
The massive budget cuts of the last five years have forced school, academic, and public libraries to learn to function with fewer and fewer MLS holders, and library users don’t seem to notice the difference. Can they tell that there are fewer new books to choose from? Absolutely. Do they realize that there are longer and longer waits for popular ebooks? Absolutely. Do they notice when main library hours are slashed and branches are closed? Absolutely. Do they know when a professional librarian has been replaced with a paraprofessional or even a clerical person? Rarely, if ever. To the average American, a librarian is a person who works in a library.
Don’t be shocked that school boards, university administrators, city councils, city managers, library boards, and even library directors are taking close notice of this lack of perception. Yes, people still want libraries. That’s not the issue at all. No, I take that back. That is precisely the issue. People want libraries so desperately that they are quite willing to sacrifice the cost of professional staff to get full hours and robust book budgets restored.
So when a professional librarian resigns or retires, what should a library director do? The temptation is great to downgrade the professional position and put the resultant savings into books and hours. If the last five years have taught us anything, it’s that difficult choices have to be made. Administrators and trustees are under the gun to deliver the goods, and that basically means three things: computers, books, and hours.
My only surprise is that the library profession is slow to admit this reality and even slower to brainstorm new ways to train people to work in libraries.
Will Manley, “The Matter of the Master’s”, American Libraries, May/June 2012.
While the Forbes article is correct that recent MLS/MLIS graduates face a low growth and pay rank, it doesn’t really dissect why. Will Manley tackles this in his latest commentary on Will’s World.
Despite the mistakes of the largest publishers, I don’t want them to go away. I want them to thrive by becoming more responsive to their customers and authors.
Unfortunately, the self-inflicted wounds of large publishers have already begun to render their businesses less relevant to the future of publishing. Authors are beginning to turn their backs on traditional publishers in favor of self-publishing. Authors are now hiring their own editors, cover designers and marketing consultants. By assuming responsibility for the roles once played by publishers, authors are earning up to 70% of the list price as their e-book royalty versus the 17.5% paid by traditional publishers. They’re publishing low-cost e-books that are hitting all the bestseller lists. The all-important access to distribution — once exclusively controlled by publishers — is now available to all self-publishing authors.
The next time you see an overpriced e-book, blame the publisher but not the agency pricing model. A dark day for the future of books - CNN.com (via infoneer-pulse)