Joseph Janes

What I Learned

September 11, 2015

Ah yes, running for president. That was, to say the least, quite the ride. I got to meet and talk with lots of great people and share my vision for the profession with many of you, so I have to say I enjoyed most of it. Right up until the end. Losing … was hard, … Continue reading What I Learned


Joseph Janes

RIP, IPL

November 13, 2014

And now, word has reached me that the Internet Public Library (IPL), which I wrote about in the last issue, will no longer be supported at the end of this year. The news means that IPL will just miss making its 20th birthday next March 17 (the happy coincidence of my Irish heritage and a … Continue reading RIP, IPL


Amazon Calls Baloney

July 10, 2014

Maybe it’s because I’ve been rereading classic Daniel Pinkwater novels (namely, The Snarkout Boys and the Avocado of Death and The Snarkout Boys and the Baconburg Horror) but Amazon’s latest stunner of a response to stalled negotiations with Hachette reads like a young-adult comedy. Here’s the setup. Amazon was pushing Hachette to cut prices on … Continue reading Amazon Calls Baloney



Smashwords and OverDrive

June 10, 2014

Librarians need to take sharp notice of the sudden and disruptive trebling of intellectual content: mainstream (which we’ve always focused on), small and independent publishing (which has ramped up its annual title count by four or five times over as many years), and self-published (now more new annual titles than the other two combined). Three … Continue reading Smashwords and OverDrive


Digital Preservation

May 30, 2014

Libraries—both public and academic—are in the business of gathering, organizing, and presenting to the public the intellectual content of our culture. To some extent, we’re also responsible for the preservation of that content. Generally speaking, academic libraries take the lead on this longer-term collection management; public libraries focus more on the popular and perhaps ephemeral … Continue reading Digital Preservation


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Fired Up for Retirement

April 21, 2014

Above all, every library director with a standard seven-member board of trustees knows one fact of life: the rule of four. It takes only four votes to get you fired. If you’re unlucky, your board has only five members. Things can get very dicey when it takes only three votes to get you fired. So … Continue reading Fired Up for Retirement


Sony to Kobo to …?

April 1, 2014

Back in 2009 I received a Sony ebook reader for Christmas. The PRS-600 (such poetry in the name!) worked, kind of. But it has sat at my bedside untouched for years, replaced by the iPad and a Nexus 7, both of which are considerably easier to use and read. And this may explain why, as … Continue reading Sony to Kobo to …?


Library: The Most Beautiful Word?

March 24, 2014

You might have missed it, but a passage in author Christopher Hitchens’s 2010 memoir, Hitch-22, triggered a happy buzz among library bloggers at the time, and it can still judder the heart of library lovers. These days any good word about libraries is cheering, and Hitchens exalted the word library itself. He wrote, “The lexicographer … Continue reading Library: The Most Beautiful Word?


Emerging Leaders Poised for Action

March 3, 2014

What’s it like to be selected an Emerging Leader? Find out about this year’s class of 56 up-and-coming librarians in our cover story. Once again this year we’re featuring each Emerging Leader on trading cards, which will be available at the 2014 ALA Annual Conference and Exhibition in Las Vegas. Not only are these leaders … Continue reading Emerging Leaders Poised for Action


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Treasure or Trash Heap?

February 18, 2014

A couple of years ago I was giving a keynote presentation at a state library conference in the Upper Midwest when a librarian came up to me with a copy of my first book, Snowballs in the Bookdrop, published in 1982. She wanted me to autograph it with a personal greeting, but I hesitated when I … Continue reading Treasure or Trash Heap?