CIL 2011 — EBooks and Their Growing Value for Libraries

Amy Pawlowski (Web Applications Manager, Cleveland Public);  Sue Polanka (Head of Reference, Wright State Univ.); Ellen Druda (Librarian, Half Hollow Hills Community Library); Bianca Crowley (Biodiversity Heritage Collection, Smithsonian)

Sue Polanka (publisher of the library eBook blog, “No Shelf Required” discussed the book she edited, No Shelf Required:  E-Books in Libraries. Some stats:  72% of public libraries offering eBooks;  5% of public libraries circulating preloaded eReader devices;  94% of academic libraries offer eBooks; by 2020, 80% of   expenditures will go towards eContent; 65% of academic libraries offer or plan to offer services to handheld devices.

Value of eContent for Libraries:  24/7 access anywhere;  eContent meets users where they are; Shelf/storage space; Expanding free content to our users.

Economic Impact: Collection development budget will have to shift; costs of eBooks; pricing models going to change as market grows.

How to position your library:  waiting is over; know the platforms and products and how they work;  start planning for the future now.

The future is eContent.   Understand the limitations.   Advocate for a sustainable future.   Access/discovery are key.  Brand your content because ownership has its privileges.   Be open to new ideas and experimentation,  new business models,  self-publishing and open access.  Usher in digital textbooks and open educational resources (OER).

Ellen Druda discussed using eBooks with library reading clubs.  Most of the book clubs were not interested in eBooks.  Three groups of readers:  tech-savvy eBook readers, traditional book club readers, and everyone in between.  When she started up the eBook program, there was some staff training.  She began a marketing campaign with buttons:  “Ask me about eBooks”.  She did all the social media as well.  Her first eBook was actually an eBook that could be downloaded as an iTunes app, iDrakula.  Idrakula is a modern retelling of “Dracula”  via text, voice and e-mail.  The eBook group, mostly teens, set up a Skype chat with the author, Bekka Black.

Currently, one of the most successful programs has been the patron book reviews which appear on the library website, http://

Bianca Crowley, who maintains the database at, discussed how they have harvested over 46,000 free eBook titles.  This unique database has a dedicated user base from all around the world.    She discussed how they used the  Taxonomic Name Services  (from uBio) to identify scientific names, and created their own BHL subject headings based on LCSH.  They offer both the metadata and content free to anyone to use.  Technical information, including how to harvest the Metadata, can be found at: .


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