Archive for the ‘Library Conferences’ Category


Library Conferences – Tech Trends – eBooks

March 30, 2010

Last week the PLA (Public Library Association) met in Portland, Oregon and although library staff couldn’t be there in person, we did participate in an online version of the conference on Thursday and Friday. There were many interesting topics – author talks, working with teens, technology, marketing and security.

I went to two of the sessions – Tech Trends and marketing your library through your web site. Both were interesting although during the tech trends session we had technical difficulties – go figure!

The most interesting thing I heard was talk about eBooks and eReaders. Did you know that eBooks have been around since 1971 – that is when Project Gutenberg started. The first eBook reader didn’t appear until 1998.

I get a lot of questions from our customers about being able to transfer eBooks to their personal eBook Readers and this session confirmed what I already knew and that is there are 15 different formats of eBooks – yes I said 15 different formats. You might be able to see why libraries are having a difficult time determining when and if to make a commitment to a specific format.  It’s like Beta vs. VHS vs. laserdisc, vs. DVD vs. BlueRay vs. whatever comes next – Yikes!

Please do not despair, however, there is always a shakedown when new technologies appear and when we have a clear winner in the eBook format arena I’m sure your public library will be jumping in to make sure you get the content you want and need in the format that works for you.

Jill Wagy
Library Webmaster


ALA, Humor and Cancer

July 5, 2008

ALA, our national professional association (the American Library Association,, held its annual conference in Anaheim the past several days. One thing that’s great about these conferences is the chance we have to learn about new authors. The headliner at a program of Friends of Libraries U.S.A. was Paula Poundstone, and she’s hilarious. But there were four other comics and one of them touched me . . . viscerally.

Robert Schimmel I didn’t know before Sunday. He’s pretty earthy & raw with his comedy. But his book Cancer on $5 a Day* (*chemo not included) is a tremendous testimonial of his struggle with cancer back in 2000. His 11-year-old son had died of cancer a few years before. Schimmel was Stand-Up Comic of the Year in 1999, and his pilot for a 13-episode TV sitcom had been picked up by Fox. Then he got non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. To his doctor, he said “Just my luck, I get the one not named after the guy.”

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At the end of the program, Robert Schimmel’s wife and two boys, who were born after his cancer was in remission, came up front. He said, “Here are the kids I wasn’t supposed to have.” Read this book and give it to a friend. It’s funny, gut-wrenching, and heart-wrenching.

The other comedians at the program, and their recent books, are:

Beth Lisick, Helping Me Help Myself: One Skeptic, Ten Self-Help Gurus, and a Year on the Brink of the Comfort Zone

Dan Kennedy, Rock On: An Office Power Ballad

June Casagrande, Mortal Syntax: 101 Language Choices That Will Get You Clobbered by the Grammar Snobs – Even If You’re Right

Paula Poundstone, There’s Nothing In This Book That I Meant to Say