On October 24, Karen Yacino presented me with a $2,000 donation from Unibank to help cover the cost of our e-books and e-audio in Libby. Yesterday, I used all of it to purchase 56 titles. Some of them were titles that patrons had been waiting on for over 45 days. Some of them were titles that had no available copies because the licenses expired before the holds were filled. Some of them were titles that had more than 10 Douglas patrons waiting for them.
All of them are titles that will now be a valuable part of our local collection thanks to Unibank. Once there is nobody from Douglas waiting for them, they’ll automatically be shared with CWMARS. Once nobody in CWMARS has holds on them, they’ll automatically be shared with every library patron in Massachusetts. But Douglas patrons will always “skip the line” when it comes to these locally purchased licenses, receiving the next available copy as soon as it is checked in elsewhere.
There was a time when the common thought was that e-books would eventually diminish the demand for print books. That hasn’t panned out. You can see below that demand for books at the Library has remained steady despite the ascendancy of e-books. This has made funding their demand an interesting puzzle, because the Library doesn’t have 2 circulation budgets. And yet we now have 2 parallel collections to maintain.
To complicate matters, digital material costs much more than print material for Libraries, which is weird. We get a discount on books, CDs, DVDs, etc. But e-books and e-audio are marked up for us by as much as 300% and a lot of the licenses expire after a year or two. It is an exploitation of libraries that a lot of librarians and legislators (including our own) are trying to address with Bill H.3239.
But in the meantime, we still have to buy digital content. And thanks to donations like these, we can.