Turns out most engaged library users are also biggest tech users | I Love Libraries

Turns out most engaged library users are also biggest tech users | I Love Libraries.

I found this little news item about a recent Pew Center report to be quite enlightening and encouraging. And, based on my very limited experience, I would have to say that I have found the same to be true – those who are already book-lovers and readers are also those who use all the modern means available to access more reading material and read even more.

I certainly would apply this to myself, and I don’t think I am such a “rare bird” :) . I often find that looking for a certain title for the Seminary library or browsing a Thrift store for books drives me to look for the digital version too (If it’s free or cheaper – that’s the Dutchman in me!). And the opposite is also true: browsing through lists of digital titles drives me to look for the print version, if the title is valuable and the library doesn’t have it. And that’s just one example of how the relationship works in my life.

What would you say about these findings? What’s true in your own life? Using modern technology to read more and use libraries less? Or using today’s digital tools to use and appreciate even more your library and its resources? I hope the latter :)

It wouldn’t be a leap to theorize that the expanding role technology plays in American lives would lead to the demise of public libraries. After all, so many other industries, including the one that’s bringing you this article, continue to struggle in the digital age.

When it comes to libraries, though, that theory would be wrong. A new study from the Pew Research Center found that more than two-thirds of Americans are actively engag

ed with public libraries. The report examines the relationship Americans have with their libraries and technology. Dusty, worn books versus sleek new computers, tablets or smartphones may seem like unlikely companions, but it’s really all about information.

“A key theme in these survey findings is that many people see acquiring information as a highly social process in which trusted helpers matter,” Lee Rainie, director of the Pew Research Center’s Internet Project and a main author of the report said. “One of the main resources that people tap when they have questions is the networks of expertise. Even some of the most self-sufficient information consumers in our sample find that libraries and librarians can be part of their networks when they have problems to solve or decisions to make.”

The study also found that Americans who are more engaged in their communities are also more engaged at their libraries. But what was surprising, according to the researchers, is that the most highly engaged library users tended to be the biggest technology users.

The Future of Books Looks a Lot Like Netflix – Wired.com

The Future of Books Looks a Lot Like Netflix | Wired Business | Wired.com.

ereading-tabletI am rather skeptical about this concept being “the future of books”, and I rather doubt the widespread use and success of this idea, but it is always interesting to see what ideas are being tossed about in the book industry. According to Wired.com this idea of books paid for and delivered to your tablet like subscription magazines carries promise. We shall see.

I have also seen notice that the popularity of tablets and e-reading is easing already, which tells me the traditional print book is far from over. But, let the dreamers dream and the startups continue to start up different book ventures. As long as you are publishing something worth reading, people will buy it, no matter what the form may be.

Below is part of the “Wired” news item; find the rest at the link above.

Struggling against plunging prices and a shrinking audience, book publishers think they’ve found a compelling vision for the future: magazines.

Today, the San Francisco-based literary startup Plympton launched an online fiction service called Rooster. It’s sold by subscription. It’s priced by the month. And it automatically delivers regular content to your iPhone or iPad. In other words, it’s a book service that looks a lot like a magazine service. And it’s just the latest example of how books are being packaged like magazines.

With Rooster, readers pay $5 per month in exchange for a stream of bite-sized chunks of fiction. Each chunk takes just 15 minutes or so to read, and over the course of a month, they add up to two books. The service builds on the success of Plympton’s Daily Lit, which emails you classic literature in five-minute installments.

Published in: on March 20, 2014 at 6:16 AM  Comments (2)  
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Real books should be preserved like papyrus scrolls – The Guardian

Real books should be preserved like papyrus scrolls | Books | theguardian.com.

papyrus scroll-1A little over a week ago Rick Gekoski wrote this important piece in the British magazine, The Guardian (posted Jan.27, 2014). In it he sounds the alarm about the overuse of digitalization (e-versions of books, magazines, etc.) and points to the important place which libraries have had and must continue to have in preserving printed materials. Perhaps, as he says, libraries in the future will only be repositories of rare books.

That is not enough for me. The past, present, and future ought to be preserved in printed form. To my mind, printed books and magazines -even images – will continue to have relevance to the end of the age. But I can imagine today’s generation might feel differently. Just don’t close the libraries in my lifetime. :)

I have posted a few paragraphs of Gekoski’s thoughts here, and encourage you to follow the link to the rest of his article.

You can burn books, but you cannot burn them all. But in a future electronic world, there will be a ghastly contingency about the written word, and we have to begin thinking – now! – about how this may be resisted.

The role of libraries is essential here, as secure repositories for the written word. And here I must admit a fear. In their rush to digitisation – an enthusiasm I find in most librarians I meet – there is the danger that libraries may too quickly abandon their crucial historical role. Already they have cut back, for instance, on the purchase of magazines and journals, and subscribed, instead, to their electronic versions. Think of all the shelf space that you free! How convenient not to have to arrange and rearrange, add texts as they arrive, dust and archivally preserve! But these new electronic versions may prove as fragile as the papyrus scrolls of Herculaneum and Alexandria: one moment of conflagration and they are gone.

If we can preserve and encourage the impulse to read, electronic books are a boon. They make reading available in the poorest parts of the world, where there are all too few books, which often have to survive, like their owners, in uncongenial conditions. But as Jeanette Winterson nostalgically observes, no electronic reader can accomplish the multitude of tasks that a library can, because it is a real place filled with real people. And real books, though they already feel expendable.

…As a species we are altogether neglectful with regard to our heritage and historical records. We lose, destroy, throw away, burn, delete, tear down, modernise. Things fall into disuse, then desuetude. We need to oppose this with all our energies: to resist the increasing pressure on funds and shelf space, and the deterioration of the objects themselves, to counter with strong reason the voices that will increasingly and aggressively complain: what do we need those dusty old things for anyway?

And the answer is that if once books were the providers of sacred texts, they must themselves come to be regarded as sacred objects, and be protected, preserved, studied and admired as we now value the cuneiform tablets and papyrus scrolls of our ancestors. Libraries are our repositories of paper. For 700 or 800 years paper has been how we have known ourselves and each other, recorded our events, thoughts and feelings, aspirations and memories.

Two Cartoons: Read More in 2014 and Bookaholic

Calvinistic Cartoons: Waste Not.

A great message from CC for 2014! Press on with your reading! Remember our motto: READ MORE AND READ BETTER!

Waste Not-CCreReadingAnd since it is Friday, we will also include this fun ecard my daughter Kim thought was appropriate for me. And I couldn’t agree more! :)

Book Ecard-2

 

Encouraging the Next Generation to Read (3) – Rev.B.Huizinga

YAReaders-1For the third time we reference the recent article on reading found in The Standard Bearer (Dec.15, 2013) and penned by Rev.Brian Huizinga, pastor of Hope PRC in Redlands, CA (For the previous installment, go here.). These articles are the text of an inspiring speech Rev.Huizinga gave at the annual RFPA meeting in September of 2013.

In this second installment he is discussing the twofold urgency for encouraging the next generation to read. You will find these thoughts also compelling – and we hope encouraging – toward reading, whether you are part of the next generation or the current generation!

Secondly, the necessity and even urgency of encouraging the next generation to read is the fact that the modern world is not conducive to, and even indirectly discourages, the deep thinking that reading requires.  This is a world where information is increasingly communicated through bright images; stimulating, real-life pictures; and action-packed videos.  If the message is communicated through words, the words are reduced to abbreviations so that the mind spends minimal time with the words, flitting around like a hummingbird from one image to the next.  When information is communicated this way it makes the human mind increasingly passive.  Less discipline and effort are required.  Little, if any, critical thinking, careful contemplation, reflection, and meditation are practiced.  Technology is a wonderful tool.  However, by its own admission, the modern world is not developing the smart man, but the Smart Phone.  And as the tool gets smarter, does the mind get proportionally duller?

…Now consider the activity of reading the Bible and all spiritually-edifying literature.  Reading demands active participation.  The moment the mind enters the passive mode we are no longer reading but blankly staring at words on a page.  Often we work our way to the end of a page we never actually read.   Reading demands mental activity, discipline, effort, careful contemplation, meditation, and reflection.  Sometimes you have to go back and read the same sentence over again in order to understand the concepts and their relationships to each other, and the relationship of the sentence to its preceding context.  Reading demands deep thinking.

It is no surprise that reading, or any other spiritually edifying activity of the Christian life requires deep thinking, and the exercise of the mind.  For, Romans 12:2 says, “And be not conformed to this world:  but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind….”  By the renewing of your mind!  The mind is not like the cottage on the lake, which has to be renovated and updated every twenty or fifty years or so.  The mind has to be renovated every single day lest it decay and corrode.  Every day renew your mind!  Do not be conformed to this world, which conformity can be accelerated by the decaying of the mind, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  I Peter 1:13:  “Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober….”  Gird up the loins of your mind.  Think of a man in Israel with a long robe.  If he had to move quickly, he would pull up the bottom of his robe and tuck it in his girdle, lest it get caught in his sandals or in his legs.  And now the apostle Peter says, “Gird up the loins of your mind.”  We have to be sharp and active and diligent with our mind.  Gird it up, so it is ready to go.  The Christian life in general and reading in particular demand a sharp, regenerated mind.

It is always necessary to encourage the next generation to read, but it is especially urgent now because the modern world in which we live is not conducive to and even indirectly discourages the deep thinking of the mind that spiritually-edifying reading requires.

We must encourage the next generation to read.

Facebook, the Church, and Real Friendships – C.Trueman

trueman-fools.inddFrom chapter 19, “No Text, Please, I’m British!”, of Carl R. Trueman’s Fools Rush In Where Monkeys Fear to Tread: Taking Aim at Everyone (P&R, 2012), where he  comments on the church’s response to Facebook and other forms of social media:

For myself I rejoice that I grew up before the web and the video game supplanted the real world of friendships, real discussions, real lives. I did not spend my youth growing obese and developing Vitamin D deficiency in front of an illuminated screen, living my life through the medium of pixels. However she does it, the church should show this generation of text and web addicts where real friendship and community lie, not with some bunch of self-created avatars on Facebook but with the person next-door, with the person they can see, hear, touch, and , of course, to whom they can talk, and who is created not in webworld but by the mighty Creator. And never, ever allow your church to go virtual so that people think that logging on to a service or downloading a sermon is really being part of the body of Christ. …Use these web doohickeys if you must; just don’t mistake them for real life, or the relationships that only exist there for real friendships (pp.165-66).

The Reading Brain in the Digital Age: Paper versus Screens

The Reading Brain in the Digital Age: The Science of Paper versus Screens: Scientific American.

KindlePicAs studies continue on the difference that digital reading on a screen makes for our reading skills, this article (posted April 11, 2013) helps put things in perspective and offers preliminary insights. As it turns out, reading physical books may be better for us in the long run, though e-reading continues to rise. Read the entire article at the Scientific American link above. Here is part of it to show you what studies are showing.

Nevertheless, the video brings into focus an important question: How exactly does the technology we use to read change the way we read? How reading on screens differs from reading on paper is relevant not just to the youngest among us, but to just about everyone who reads—to anyone who routinely switches between working long hours in front of a computer at the office and leisurely reading paper magazines and books at home; to people who have embraced e-readers for their convenience and portability, but admit that for some reason they still prefer reading on paper; and to those who have already vowed to forgo tree pulp entirely. As digital texts and technologies become more prevalent, we gain new and more mobile ways of reading—but are we still reading as attentively and thoroughly? How do our brains respond differently to onscreen text than to words on paper? Should we be worried about dividing our attention between pixels and ink or is the validity of such concerns paper-thin?

…Even so, evidence from laboratory experiments, polls and consumer reports indicates that modern screens and e-readers fail to adequately recreate certain tactile experiences of reading on paper that many people miss and, more importantly, prevent people from navigating long texts in an intuitive and satisfying way. In turn, such navigational difficulties may subtly inhibit reading comprehension. Compared with paper, screens may also drain more of our mental resources while we are reading and make it a little harder to remember what we read when we are done. A parallel line of research focuses on people’s attitudes toward different kinds of media. Whether they realize it or not, many people approach computers and tablets with a state of mind less conducive to learning than the one they bring to paper.

litclassics“There is physicality in reading,” says developmental psychologist and cognitive scientist Maryanne Wolf of Tufts University, “maybe even more than we want to think about as we lurch into digital reading—as we move forward perhaps with too little reflection. I would like to preserve the absolute best of older forms, but know when to use the new.”

The World Wide Web Became Free 20 Years Ago Today!

The World Wide Web Became Free 20 Years Ago Today | Observations, Scientific American Blog Network.

WorldWideWebpicNot much time to post today, but can’t pass up this notice from Scientific American. Happy birthday WWW! Think of how far this technology has developed in those 20 years! Astounding! The WWW is an integral part of our lives now, including libraries. Ponder for a moment all the free information – and now free ebooks, emags, etc! – available to us via the Web! Obviously it has been a powerful tool for good in our lives; but it has also been a powerful tool for evil. May God give us wisdom to discern the difference and to use it wisely, for our good and for His glory.

Read the rest of this news item at the link above, along with some interesting links that tell the rest of the story.

You and I can access billions of Web pages, post blogs, write code for our own killer apps—in short, do anything we want on the Web—all for free! And we’ve enjoyed free reign because 20 years ago, today, Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee and his employer, the CERN physics lab in Geneva, published a statement that made the nascent “World Wide Web” technology available to every person, company and institution with no royalty or restriction.

Berners-Lee proposed the Web in 1989 and had a working version in Dec 1990. But by 1993 certain user groups were positioning themselves to try to monopolize the Web as a commercial product. Chief among them was the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois, which had developed a browser called Mosaic that would later become Netscape. So Berners-Lee and CERN decided to release the code for the Web, believing that software development by hundreds of Web enthusiasts at the time, and millions of people in the future, would always stay one step ahead of any company that tried to control the Web or force people to pay to use it. The decision came at a very tense time that could have ruined the Web’s primary goal as a ubiquitous, open communications platform.

“Honoring Christ Online”: An Interview with Tim Challies

Honoring Christ Online: An Interview with Tim Challies by Tim Challies | Reformed Theology Articles at Ligonier.org.

This month’s Tabletalk includes an interview with Christian blogger and pastor Tim Challies (challies.com – “Informing the Reforming”). This was one of the first blogs I found and started following. And still do, because it is one of the best Christian blogs on the internet. And Challies covers a lot of books, which is one of the things that initially drew me in :-)

This interview contains many interesting items, but of special interest to our readers will be Challies’ description of the value of blogging and other forms of social media by today’s Christian:

TT: How do blogs benefit the church?

TC:The church rightly has a love-hate relationship with blogs and the blogosphere. Unfortunately, though not surprisingly, blogs have been both a great benefit and a great liability to the church. When blogs are at their best, they are a source of biblical exposition, a means of spiritual encouragement, and a source of valuable news and information. On a personal level, bloggers are able to model Christian living and display thoughtful engagement with ideas and competing worldviews. The blogs I appreciate most are those that remain steady, focused, and biblical over the long run.

TT: In an age of rapid social media growth, how should Christians be encouraged or discouraged to use social media?

TC:Social media is a fact of life in the twenty-first century. Many Christians (and non-Christians, for that matter) would make it all go away if they could. However, since that is not going to happen, Christians are being forced to adapt to this new world, and they are being forced to learn to use social media in a way that honors God. Social media itself is not for everyone, and certainly every form of social media is not for everyone.

Christian leaders are finding that if they are to have a voice to the current generation, they need to have a voice that includes at least some forms of social media. As Albert Mohler states in his book The Conviction to Lead, a refusal to take advantage of at least some forms of social media is essentially a refusal to engage an entire generation.

Of course, one of the questions that caught my eye was the one relating to the books that have influenced Challies most:

TT: Excluding the bible, what have been the five most influential books in your life and why?

TC: Though I was raised in the Reformed tradition, I drifted into the Evangelical mainstream shortly after I got married and left my parents’ home. There were several books that were instrumental in showing me that sound doctrine really does matter and that served to rekindle my love for Reformed theology. John MacArthur’s Ashamed of the Gospelexposed the church I was attending as being driven by pragmatism rather than Scripture; James Montgomery Boice’s Whatever Happened to the Gospel of Grace? showed me the beauty of sound doctrine while R.C.Sproul’s The Holiness of Godopened my eyes to the sheer wonder and majesty of God. Those three books played a pivotal role in my life; they were just the books I needed within a very particular circumstance, and I regard it as the Lord’s kindness that He exposed me to all three of them.

Since then, John Owen’s Overcoming Sin and Temptationis one I have returned to often as I’ve done battle with sin, while Jerry Bridges’ The Discipline of Gracehas taught me the value of preaching the gospel to myself and ensuring that the gospel is instrumental, not supplemental, to all of faith and practice.

You will find the rest of the interview at the Ligonier link above. And if you haven’t visited challies.com, it’s time you did.

Tim Challies is author of the blog Challies.com and lives near Toronto, Canada. He is also author of The Discipline of Spiritual Discernment and The Next Story. You can follow him on Twitter @challies.

Gadgets Versus Books | ShelfTalker

Gadgets Versus Books | ShelfTalker.

BoyinLibraryThe scene this woman describes while sitting at an airport is all too familiar these days, and one that bothers me immensely also. Gadgets have taken over people’s lives, including (maybe especially!) children’s. Yes, where are the books? I realize that people are doing more and more ereading on such devices (I do too!), but most of the activity on our gadgets is for entertainment, not education and enlightenment. Which is why I appreciated this gal’s “rebel” book reading.

And her thoughts prompt some questions for us: How are you (and am I) using  your gadgets these days? Are you limiting the time your child uses them for entertainment? Are you still reading? Are you teaching your children to read? How about a trip to the local library each week?! Some things to think about.

This article appeared on the “ShelfTalker” blog (Publisher’s World) and was posted March 29, 2013. You may read the entire brief post at the link above, but here is the gist of it:

Everywhere I looked people had their heads in their phones, their iPads and their computers, but no one had a book. Not even the littlest reader had a book. This little four-year-old had a learning device that he deftly used to keep himself amused while waiting to board his flight. Parents of toddlers had the kids huddled up close to look at the small screen while they read out loud. This was disturbing to me. Where were the books?

…I happily, almost defiantly, read my book during take-off and landing just to irritate all the people who had power down their devices. I didn’t have to leave my book just because the plane was moving and was happy for this. But as a bookstore owner I was shocked at the dearth of books. The airport bookstores, if you can call them that, since they were sadly lacking books, had clearly switched to catering to the traveling e-readers.

I clung to my book during the flight and all during my trip. I sat on the beach and overheard people complain about how hard it was to read in the sun or lament that they had just run out of power. I gleefully turned real pages and read to my heart’s content. I know the times are changing, but I would rather tote around a heavier bag than read on a screen while at the beach.

And, if you drop a book in the pool, as I did, it gets soggy, but isn’t ruined. The same can’t be said for an e-reader.

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