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?


Changes and Connections

February 4, 2014

In 2011, I was elected as president of the Interna­tional Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), the global voice of the library and information profession. With my term hav­ing ended at the World Informa­tion and Library Congress this past August, I wanted to share some thoughts on why libraries remain as relevant as ever … Continue reading Changes and Connections

Joseph Janes

A Cautionary Tale

February 3, 2014

In an alternative universe, I’m a film historian. I got hooked in college, where multiple film society screenings were shown almost nightly for a couple of bucks apiece. Heaven. And among all my genres of interest (terrible 1950s science fiction, cult stuff, noir, silents, splashy MGM musicals, and on and on), there’s a much less-recognized … Continue reading A Cautionary Tale

Penguin Random House

DCL Ebook Report for January 2014

January 8, 2014

Attached is the first price comparison for ebooks (PDF file) of the new year. A few things stand out: This was a very good fall for Random House, followed by Penguin. They dominate the New York Times bestseller list. Most of the titles are now available, thanks to the pressure applied by ALA presidents. The terms … Continue reading DCL Ebook Report for January 2014


Warming Up to End Times

December 30, 2013

There is no longer any point in debating the reality of global warming (or, if you prefer to be politically correct, climate change). The handwriting is on the wall: 2012 was the hottest year on record and the polar ice caps are melting at an alarmingly fast rate. Then there’s the new research report from … Continue reading Warming Up to End Times


2013 Year in Review

December 18, 2013

Ebooks and Publishers The breadth of ebook titles grew with Hachette opening its ebook catalog to libraries and the other Big 5 expanding the availability of pilot programs and back- and frontlists to libraries. However, more work needs to be done regarding multiple licensing and ownership options, full access to new e-titles in libraries, and … Continue reading 2013 Year in Review


Start-Up Librarian

November 11, 2013

Remember all those library jobs that were going to open up once the boomers retired? Pundits prophesied librarians being in demand everywhere, with libraries scrambling to fill empty positions. There weren’t going to be enough librarians to go around! Things haven’t turned out quite as we expected, and now the rhetoric has shifted to the … Continue reading Start-Up Librarian


Pelecanos, Locked and Loaded

October 22, 2013

I started reading George Pelecanos in 1997, when he published King Suckerman, which is, of all things, a fictional homage to the “blaxploitation” films of the 1970s. Combining the eccentric flash of Pulp Fiction, the noir soul of David Goodis, and the idiosyncratic heart of Elmore Leonard, this wildly violent novel effectively evokes the comic … Continue reading Pelecanos, Locked and Loaded


The Toxic Middle

October 7, 2013

Wasn’t it considerate of the folks in Chicago to arrange for that unexpected (and most welcome) stretch of lovely, clement weather? I was steeling myself for the typical onslaught, packing the sweater for icily over-air-conditioned meeting rooms, only to be greeted by blue skies and 70 degrees. And a couple million hockey fans. So I’m … Continue reading The Toxic Middle


Under Sequester

August 20, 2013

More than 260 librarians and almost 800 library technicians who work for the Department of Defense (DOD) are being furloughed 11 days, one day per week from July 8 to September 27, due to sequestration. While this is a personal financial hardship, we are also concerned about having to cut library services for our patrons: … Continue reading Under Sequester