Trustee

Winter 2012

The Trustee communicates issues affecting libraries and library services. Once a library and systems join LTA, all their trustees automatically receive this quarterly publication published by LTA. To learn more about membership in LTA, Click Here.

from the Editor's Desk

by Adria Ripka

Winter 2012 issue of Trustee

Greetings, fellow library trustees.

I did a modicum of research for my editorial and verified that, while there are more words in English that begin with the letter S, the letter E is the most commonly used letter in that language. The last 20 years have seen the letter E become even more common as a prefix. It all started with “e-mail”. Now we have e-commerce, e-learning, and in the world of libraries, the growing popularity of e-books.

Two experiences since the Fall 2011 issue of the Trustee triggered my topic of e-books. One was an editorial in my local Syracuse newspaper, the Post Standard. The topic was e-books and e-readers and how information on what you and I read may be gathered via this technology. That article really caught my attention. I think we all realize that stores collect information on customer preferences and purchases, but the fact that my privacy may be affected hadn’t really hit home until I read the article. Remember the furor caused by the Patriot Act and library patron privacy? Well, here is another venue that may have a more far reaching effect. I don’t know what that effect may be, but I have no doubt that library trustees will need to be mindful
of privacy policies, and our libraries will help educate patrons on privacy issues. A bill (A08486, A. Millman) has been introduced in the NYS Assembly to address issues of privacy that have developed with the use of new technology. It is available for review at: www.assembly.ny.gov.

My second experience was on a recent browse at Amazon.com. When I logged onto the website, the home page stated that Amazon would now offer to lend books to Kindle owners! I’m sure that is a great way to encourage people to buy their e-reader, but how will that affect libraries? As the cost of e-readers becomes more affordable, will our circulation and usage be affected?

Our library directors will be able to identify trends that will help trustees make the most responsible and prudent decisions for future policies and funding needs. There are strong proponents of e-readers and equally strong preference for the feel of a “real” book in your hand. Regardless of your choice or mine, the technology is advancing quickly. Trustees need to keep an eye on the future while we juggle the challenges we face today.


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