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City shuffles library sites to deal with construction

Original post made on Dec 2, 2010

The Palo Alto Art Center auditorium could soon house about 10,000 books and other library items as part of the city's dizzying four-year game of "musical chairs" -- a process made necessary by the city's massive library renovation project.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, December 2, 2010, 4:40 PM

Comments (20)

Posted by PAPD-Critic, a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 2, 2010 at 5:30 pm

Book scanning should have been considered. Web Link


Posted by So-Much-Money-Down-The-Rabbit-Hole, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 2, 2010 at 6:37 pm

One can only wonder who in the library is actually keeping track of the exploding world of e-books, and on-line distribution?

Here are today's announcements ..

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Web Link

Will Google Editions kill the ereader?

December 2, 2010 — 11:04am ET | By Jason Ankeny


Amazon.com's Kindle ereader remains the online retail giant's bestselling, most gifted and most wished for product, but Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPad tablet is coming on fast. According to a new survey conducted by research network ChangeWave, the Kindle currently accounts for 47 percent of the ereader market, down from 62 percent in August 2010--the iPad grew from 16 percent in August to 32 percent in November, essentially leaving the Sony Reader (5 percent) and the Barnes & Noble Nook (4 percent) in the dust. In regards to user satisfaction, iPad has already overtaken Kindle: 75 percent of iPad owners tell ChangeWave they are "very satisfied" with their purchase, compared to 54 percent of Kindle owners. Consumer behaviors also differ between platforms: 93 percent of Kindle owners read books on their device, in relation to 76 percent of iPad owners, but the latter demographic is almost five times more likely to read newspapers and magazines than their Kindle counterparts
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Web Link

Rejoice: BBC to Put iPlayer on U.S. iPads
By Liz Shannon Miller Dec. 2, 2010, 1:00pm PDT No Comments

For those outside Britain who've longed for a taste of the BBC's iPlayer VOD service and can't afford a plane ticket, this is a most excellent day. The Financial Times reports that the BBC is developing an iPad edition of iPlayer for users outside the UK, with the U.S. likely to be the first test market.

When the app will be released, what it might cost and what content might be available haven't been announced yet, but the iPad app would be available on a subscription basis similar to Hulu Plus (though BBC programming runs ad-free). BBC.com Managing Director Luke Bradley-Jones is quoted as saying the reason for the iPad-exclusive launch is that "It provides such potential to develop a truly interactive video-on-demand service, and also maps pretty nicely on to our core target audience for the service."
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Web Link

TABLETS December 2, 2010, 9:00AM EST
Media Dinosaurs Adapt to the iPad Age
Wary publishers are striking partnerships with app maker Flipboard

By Brad Stone

In July a tiny Palo Alto (Calif.) startup called Flipboard stirred up the tech world with an application for Apple's (AAPL) iPad that promised to change the way Internet users discover and read online news. The app, which is free to download, asks users to enter their Facebook or Twitter account information and favorite publications. Then it pulls in all the relevant links to news articles, blog items, and photographs streaming through those social-networking feeds and displays the content in a visually appealing, easy-to-navigate format evocative of a traditional magazine.

iPad owners and the Internet cognoscenti immediately turned the innovative little program into one of the top-rated free news apps for the iPad. The startup's servers were overloaded for much of its first week.
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DISH Network announces iPad app for view TV programming
December 2nd 2010

Dish Network Wednesday announced the DISH Remote Access app for the iPad. When coupled with the Sling device, such as the $99 Sling Adapter, the app delivers live and recorded TV programming. Users can view the programming over their own network or on the Internet, provided they have a sufficient home broadband connection. Users will also need to be running DISH's ViP 722 or 722K HD DVRs boxes.
------

Web Link

Branson launches glossy iPad magazine, 'Project'

AFP – British tycoon Richard Branson holds a press conference to unveil a digital magazine called "Project"

by Charlotte Raab – Tue Nov 30, 5:02 pm ET
NEW YORK (AFP) – British tycoon Richard Branson launched a glossy magazine for the iPad on Tuesday, getting the jump on News Corp.'s Rupert Murdoch in the race to develop publications for the hot Apple device.

"Project," a monthly style and culture magazine developed by Branson's Virgin Group and the British publisher Seven Squared, will cost 2.99 dollars (1.79 pounds) an issue and be sold through Apple's online App Store.
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This whole library project is such a massive waste of money. There is no way to predict what the iPad/Tablet/Wireless world will look like in only five years, but it will be wonderful! Palo Alto will have spent upwards of $150M on these white elephants, and all it will have is a bunch of empty buildings.



Posted by PAPD-Critic, a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 3, 2010 at 7:45 am

To - Posted by So-Much-Money-Down-The-Rabbit-Hole, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, 12 hours ago

Your absolutely right. "So-Much-Money-Down-The-Rabbit-Hole" I'm surprised city counsel didn't earmark at least 1 million towards reinventing the abacus or the Rosette stone.

Libraries will eventually fall by the wayside. It's this non-progressive thinking and planning that is responsible for the city's current fiscal financial shape.


Posted by daniel, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Dec 3, 2010 at 7:58 am

You may want to read books on an electronic devise, but many people, including me, don't. This is anything but a massive waste of money, it's a great investment in the mind and soul of the Palo Alto population. If you want to witness a grotesquely wasteful white elephant financed by the tax payers, drive, bike or walk down Embarcadero, and take a good look at the airport.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 3, 2010 at 8:07 am

I partly blame the City itself, but I really do blame all those people who voted on the Bond. I also blame all those who tried blackmailing or guilt feeling voters into voting for it. I blame the powers that be that wrote a bond that meant that the only way to get any work done on outdated facilities was the continue the 5 library system without getting any other options.

The problem with the library fiasco is that the voters were not thinking straight for whatever reason. Unfortunately, it is the voters who are responsible.

And as for the airport, those comments have nothing to do with libraries. You aren't even comparing apples to oranges. Much more like comparing apples to tuna sandwiches - no similarities at all.


Posted by PAPD-Critic, a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 3, 2010 at 8:23 am

To Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, 1 minutes ago

Airports what was that guy thinking? Tuna fish sandwich was a great analogy. How many young people to you find reading books today Daniel?

Where is the vast majority of their time spent? In front of the TV or computer. Theirs plenty of data to support these findings. Are the voters responsible?

Yes. But if it was left up to the those 18 and under, the libraries would not have even been considered. Try a palo alto sponsored computer research center for our youth and others.

That's an investment which would surly pay handsome dividends for our youth and society.

Stick to tuna fish sandwiches Daniel. It would probably tastes better rather then an aileron of an aircraft.


Posted by So-Much-Money-Down-The-Rabbit-Hole, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 3, 2010 at 9:50 am

> You may want to read books on an electronic devise, but
> many people, including me, don't.

That's true. Books will be around for a long time, as collectibles and "legacy" items. However, the public should not be required to pay for books for people who are not willing to buy them, or to use cost-effective electronic sources of information.

There is a lot of work ahead to digitize the world's information. Spending money on digitization has an infinite payback, where as throwing money at bricks-n-mortar sites has very limited payback.

The Internet Archive (www.archive.org) claims that it costs them about $30/book to scan a book. Automated book scanning machines can bring this down to $5-$10/book. That means that scanning the Library of Congress would cost somewhere between $1-$2B. The digital images would be available to the whole world. Given that Palo Alto is spending $150M for this white elephant (construction and financing), $2B would only build 12 (or so) similar facilities. The paper books would only be available to people who lived near enough to visit the facility (or had some sort of Interlibrary Loan).

The costs to continue providing library services to a diminishing number of people who don't want to buy books, or use electronic devices, is so high that it might be considered criminal one of these days.

> airport

Right on! This is an even bigger white elephant, that is used mostly by non-residents of Palo Alto.


Posted by DennisAlan, a resident of Midtown
on Dec 3, 2010 at 11:35 am

I suggest go down to the library and see who actually is there and what benefits they derive. School kids socialize there while doing homework. People of all ages get research help from reference librarians. And many others. What the read at home from your own laptop with a Broadband connection overlook or discount is the societal value of a common meeting place for an intellectual and aesthetic activity that cannot be done in isolation at home or with a few yakkers at Starbucks. Think deeper, please.


Posted by Sylvia, a resident of Midtown
on Dec 3, 2010 at 11:51 am

I am a life-long library user. I have cards for Palo Alto, San Mateo County, and Santa Clara county libraries. I have one or two books in my car at all times in case I have time to read during lunch hour.

I can't tell you how many books I have read and enjoyed because I browsed the shelves at Mitchell Park, especially the area where they put Librarian's recommendations. I read the NY Times and SF Chronicle's book reviews and when I see a book I remember being positively reviewed in the "New Books" area while browsing the library shelves - I snatch it up

Young people don't read books? Nonsense. Most of my friends'children read real books and lots of them. Books are always on Christmas and Birthday request lists.


Posted by PAPD-Critic, a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 3, 2010 at 12:43 pm

Posted by So-Much-Money-Down-The-Rabbit-Hole, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, 2 hours ago

No one stated young people do not read books. Statistically, the vast amount of time is consumed by TV and browsing the net etc. Look, I was a technical librarian for IBM and the vast majority of info was, computer based medium.

Life long card holder....your already obsolete. Like the commodore 64k or basic programming....No one seems to get the point so I wont waist my time further with frivolous thinking....You model "T's"..just don't get it....


Posted by futurama, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Dec 3, 2010 at 12:46 pm

I see a future where...I'll be able to visit the library 24x7...have a selection that runs to the millions...immediately see reviews/recommendations for all the books available...requested books are delivered to me as soon as they are received or returned..never again borrowing a book that is damaged or smells...never losing a book or having to deal with late fees...snuggling up by the fire for a good read and changing the print size to deal with the reduced lighting.
I see the future.


Posted by daniel, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Dec 3, 2010 at 12:55 pm

Whenever I visit the library, it is full of youngsters using it to do homework, research, or participate in group school projects. I see many young people browsing or quietly reading. My kids use the library several times a week for research and homework, as well as to checkout books. They are highly computer savvy, but would never contemplate reading a digital book. The notion that young people don't read or prefer to read digitally is nonsensical. It's a phony argument by those who despise most forms of community oriented approach. I mentioned the airport because one of the library opponents was blabbering about white elephants, and we have none greater than the airport, a gross example of a white elephant and tax payer money going down the drain.


Posted by DennisAlan, a resident of Midtown
on Dec 3, 2010 at 5:27 pm

No one disputes the "efficiency" of online access. Of COURSE, one can see almost the whole world of text and images from online access wherever you have it. The issue is larger than efficiency. (Should blind people do everything outside their homes at night? That would be more efficient.)

Far more of social value happens at the library than simply eyeballs scanning text and images. Yes, there are costs and inconveniences to borrowing books from a building. What the efficiency screamers don't see or do not seem willing to acknowledge is there are costs to the entire society of eliminating or deeply downsizing the community asset of a building where people congregate and learn...and not just what's in the books. They learn respect for others and their space. They learn to wait in line for their turn. They learn to read signs and follow directions. The learn they can ask and get a response from a live professional whose job is to help them with their learning tasks. Everything in our culture that gets transmitted via seeing, hearing, touching, and yes, smelling other people is down at the library.

Those who want to be isolated and left alone can and should be. Technology will serve them well.

Those of us who want the multiple lifelong benefits of live human contact about something other than eating or shopping should have a gathering place, too. That's what we get from a well-run, community library building.


Posted by So-Much-Money-Down-The-Rabbit-Hole, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 4, 2010 at 12:10 pm

The "institutional" world of education is always slow to "get the memo" about technology, and its potential for change, but little-by-little, the world is moving on--

Trine U Requires E-books:
Web Link

Adoption of digital textbooks has moved at a snail's pace on most college campuses. But at Trine University's School of Professional Studies, that shift is being jump-started with a new collegewide mandate to adopt e-textbooks in all courses by January.
----

> What the efficiency screamers don't see or do not seem
> willing to acknowledge is there are costs to the entire society
> of eliminating or deeply downsizing the community asset of a
> building where people congregate and learn...and not just
> what's in the books. They learn respect for others and their space.

We have heard this "stuff" for a long, long, time now, and it just isn't true. For starters, quantifying the impact of a "community asset" like a library is impossible, other than in "romantic" terms. On fellow on the Library Commission a couple years ago dredged up a "study" from the St. Louis library claiming that there was a 23x return on dollars invested in libraries to the communities. The "proof" were a number of convoluted calculations that attempted to show that by diverting dollars from the private sector (in terms of sales, rentals, etc.), that the public was "saving" money. The study did not include the impact of Google/Books (and all of the other on-line archives) that provide books (and other digital materials) to the public at no charge. The study did not acknowledge that many "residents" do not pay property taxes, so they do not directly pay for library services (although obviously some of their rent goes to paying the property owners's taxes). The "study" did not consider the hidden cost of pensions for library employees.

Either way, the "study" did not look at all of the property tax payers in St. Louis, their aggregate use of the library system, vs. the cost to run the system. Sooner or later there are "winners and losers" in any "rob Peter to pay Paul" scheme. In this case, the taxpayers ended up being the losers. (The "study" also did not look at the crime rate in St. Louis, and explain how all of this "investment" actually reduced crime [which it didn't]).

As to the social behavior of those using the library, watching the so-called "homeless" interact pretty much puts this myth to rest. And those using cell phones, talking loudly, are another nail in that coffin.

> Those of us who want the multiple lifelong benefits of live human
> contact about something other than eating or shopping should have
> a gathering place, too

> That's what we get from a well-run, community library building.

Hmm .. the city has about $20B tied up in park property, which is open for people to "congregate". There are numerous community centers, better designed for this so-called "congregation". And then there is all of that empty space in the schools--which should be used for after school "congregation", "studying" and "learning". And let's not forget all of the private space that is open to the public, such as the churches, coffee shops, and malls.

What's annoying here is that people who promote libraries as "places to congregate" don't seem to have the slightest idea how expensive this municipal service has become .. nor do they seem to care.


Posted by daniel, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Dec 4, 2010 at 12:58 pm

Researchers at Indiana University recently conducted an economic-impact analysis of the state's public libraries and reported a return of $2.38 to the community for each dollar of investment. A similar study in San Francisco found a $3.34 return for every dollar.

Over the past several years, many communities have attempted to measure public libraries' provision of collections, Internet access, services to job-seekers and businesses, and other means by which libraries generate demonstrable economic results. Of course, these numbers don't capture the whole picture. It is difficult to assign monetary value to the countless invaluable social goods that libraries provide, some of them provide by another poster.

We know that the vast majority of Americans use their public libraries. According to Public Agenda's survey of public perceptions of libraries, "At a time of broad concern about wasteful public spending...71 percent say that libraries spend public money well. Fifty-two percent say that if their local library needed additional funding, they would favor tax increases to generate necessary resources-significantly more than the numbers who favor charging users (32 percent) or reducing services (20 percent) as options for solving a financial shortfall."


Posted by So-Much-Money-Down-The-Rabbit-Hole, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 4, 2010 at 1:26 pm

> We know that the vast majority of Americans use their
> public libraries

These sorts of studies are specious, and generally not timely. Moreover, given the rapid emergence of electronic distribution, it's difficult to believe that this whole picture won't be turned upside down in less than five years--

Web Link

But the launch of the Apple iPad could change everything. US-based ABI Research says it could be "the real start of a new market segment for media tablets". It reckons 4m could be shipped this year, rising to about 57m a year by 2015.
--

There are about 330M people in the US, so 57M iPads a year implies very heavy penetration into the American home and workplace. It also suggests that a lot of reading will be going on iPads.

Here in Palo Alto, the several studies conducted on "the library" by various sources showed that only about 25% of those responding were "frequent" library users--about half said that they used the PA Library "once a year, or less". It's not hard to predict that this number will be going down radically in the future.

> a return of $2.38 to the community for each dollar of investment.

Interesting .. the librarians of St. Louis claim 23 ROI, and those in SF only see 2.3 ROI. If the methodologies of these librarians were remotely similar, then the ROIs would be the same, regardless of the city involved .. unless the methodologies, and premises, of these "studies" were not based on anything solid.

Bottom line .. it doesn't pay to believe anything about libraries, produced by librarians, that involves "numbers".


Posted by So-Much-Money-Down-The-Rabbit-Hole, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 4, 2010 at 1:50 pm

The idea that a "vast majority" of Americans use the public libraries is virtually impossible to prove. Privacy laws restrict the kinds of information that libraries can collect, and so, other than extrapolations of "surveys", the number of unique people who use libraries is outside the realm of knowing, as far as data collection is concerned.

If the "vast majority" of the public is using the publicly-funded libraries, this begs the question--why is there so much functional illiteracy in the US?
---
40%-50% Of US Residents Possibly Functionally Illiterate:
Web Link

Literacy education is a vital part of any society's educational needs and goals. Around the world, many people cannot read or write a single sentence making the illiteracy rate surprising to some. Typically, in most industrialized nations, the literacy rate of persons over the age of fifteen, is 90 percent or above. However, the definition of literacy can be quite misleading. It has been estimated that while 99% of persons over the age of fifteen in the United States are able to write their names, and read some words, certain studies have estimated that 40 to 50% of adults are functionally illiterate.
---

More Than One-third of Washington D.C. Residents Are Functionally Illiterate:

Web Link
---

If there is so much "learning" and "sharing" .. why are so many people "functionally illiterate"?

By the way, about 40% of the yearly circulation of the Palo Alto library is in non-book holdings (DVDs, etc.). so .. how much "reading" .. and "learning" goes on when people spend 5 minutes in a library building yanking a DVD for the evening's entertainment at home? Or is this where the numbers of library users is coming from that comprise the "vast majority"?


Posted by daniel, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Dec 4, 2010 at 4:01 pm

So many Americans are functionally illiterate because they don't read books or use the library. Instead, they watch digital displays.


Posted by news you can use, a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 4, 2010 at 8:51 pm

If you're functionally illiterate you're not going to be reading digital displays. Watching, yes; reading, no.
If it's the job of the library to promote literacy, then the current library model has been failing for a long time.


Posted by So-Much-Money-Down-The-Rabbit-Hole, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 6, 2010 at 10:39 am


Google Opens Online Bookstore:

Web Link


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