Tuesday, June 7, 2011

City council ponders libraries and eBooks

Court Rosen and Ray Ferris

Use your iPad, iPhone, DROID, Kindle, NOOK and go to the library from your couch. On Monday director of libraries Sheila Umberger counted down to the opening of Roanoke City Public Libraries eBook website.

As of 10:00 a.m. June 6, 1500 eBooks were ready for checkout. Roanoke library cardholders can search and download (check out) a library book to their favorite eReader. Umberger explained that they started looking at the project in 2008 but it was a new concept then at a prohibitive cost for implementation of at least $25,000.

By working with Salem, Botetourt and Roanoke Counties they were able to reduce the cost to a $3000 lease with a $7000 credit toward eBooks. The consortium bought eBooks and established policies.

Besides variable device specific formats there are audio books available. They can be burned to disc in Windows Media Audio and MP3 formats. There is no limit to the number of checkouts for audio books.

Lending time can be 7 to 14 days. They can’t be returned early because they disappear off the eReader at the end of the lending time. The eBook can be renewed if it is available.

An email alert will go out when a book is available for checkout. Three eBooks can be checked out at a time. There are 33,000 out of copyright eBooks available with no limit.

On Thursday, June 9 classes will begin at the “eBook Expo” at the main library from 6 – 8:00 p.m. Special guest Sharyn McCrumb will be there and a NOOK Color eReader will be given away.

Sharyn McCrumb is an award-winning Southern writer, best known for her Appalachian “Ballad” novels, set in the North Carolina/Tennessee mountains, including the New York Times Best Sellers She Walks These Hills and The Rosewood Casket.

Hands on training will be available at all libraries beginning in mid-June. Go to www.rvl.info.

“The challenge for libraries will be to offer that traditional grandmother’s library. People still do want that,” said Umberger. “Our goal is to create community spaces and refurbish areas. I don’t think we need smaller [libraries] only design model alterations,” she said.

Councilman Court Rosen compared traditional libraries to telephone landline disconnects that began with the proliferation of the cell phone. Assistant city manager Brian Townsend said that any additions to the current libraries had all been done with the new concept in mind. “No additional shelf space was added,” said Townsend.

“At what point will they just use their eBook,” said Rosen. Land for the “super library” was purchased on Peters Creek Road for $175,000 a few years ago. Will there be value in building a super library? City Manager Chris Morrill thinks so – he pointed out it is the number one place people go for job searches. “We will have to rethink where we really add value … that physical access we can’t lose sight of,” said Morrill.

Other council business:

Waste Management: City code will restrict parking “big blue” trash cans on porches or adjacent to porches. To avoid a $25 fine they must be parked beside the house or in the rear of the house. Exceptions are made for the disabled. Typography challenges are addressed on a case by case basis. Skip Decker manager of Waste Management worked with Roanoke Neighborhood Advocates over a period of months to accommodate the neighborhood complaints.

Human Services Advisory Report: Jane Colin manager of Human Services presented a list of agencies that received funding totaling $430,582. Not every agency received funding. Agencies self report on the residency of those served. Morrill hoped to reduce any duplication of services with improved technology and better sharing of information.

Arts Commission Funding: Susan Jennings listed the organizations that received funding totaling $280,437. The criteria required that they are a 501©3, they have been in business for three years, that administrative support does not exceed 20 percent and that they do not receive more than 50 percent of their budget from city funds. Funding rankings were based on meeting community needs, board attendance, business plans and requests not exceeding $25,000.

Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Finance, Politics, Roanoke City Politics

Tags: , , ,

Comments (2)


June 7th, 2011 at 1:25 PM    

If I ever get fined for a illegally placed garbage can,Im going to shove the payment up a council members butt.They really need to work on more important things like I dunno..jobs!


June 7th, 2011 at 2:28 PM    

Steve, you’re language and capacity for decency are astounding.

Comments are not moderated. Notify any abuse at info@roanokefreepress.com put ABUSE in the subject and the offensive post.

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