Saturday, May 25, 2013

Big Library Read Diary: Four Corners of the Sky

Although the first Big Library Read (BLR) started on May 15th, it wasn't until yesterday that I got Four Corners of the Sky onto my iPad. Four Corners is the book that Overdrive is making available for free in librararies around the world- at last count 7500 of them! My local library Montclair Public, is part of a regional consortium, BCCLS, that decided not to participate in the Big Library Read in its first incarnation. There wasn't enough advance notice for BCCLS  to participate in such an initiative and do it well.  "BCCLS doesn't enter into such endeavors half-heartedly and felt that a two week window wouldn't allow us the time and effort a project like this deserves" BCCLS Library Services Director Arlene Sahraie told me. I hear similar things from other libraries.

The rapid roll-out of Big Library Read shows up in other areas. I haven't seen a single mention of the program in the mainstream media; it's an initiative with historic implications, in my view. On the other hand, when the program's impact is studied, there won't be the confounding effect of non-library promotion.

On GoodReads, you can see the sudden, but modest effect of the program:
 We'll soon see if that's a one-time bump or the short end of a hockey stick.

I looked into other libraries where I would be entitled to library privileges. In New York City, where I have business, NYPL isn't participating, which might account for the lack of MSM interest. I applied for a card from Queens Public Library, one of the most innovative public libraries anywhere, which is participating in BLR, but I would have to show up in person to get the card approved. So I went to another New Jersey library which approved me for a card. They're a member of a different consortium, eLibraryNJ, that's participating, so I'm finally set to start reading. 

I'm interested to see if online conversations develop differently if an ebook is available to large numbers of people. So I've going to keep an online reading diary on this blog. There are 55 chapters of 4 corners, and I have a 2 week checkout period to work my way through it, so that's 4 chapters a day. We'll see how I do. It's good that I have the full 2 weeks even thought the program ends next Saturday. With BEA and IDPF on my plate, I won't have that much time.

I'm also going to collect here all the online conversations centered around this BLR that I can find, especially blog posts. So far, I haven't seen anything develop. So feel free add yours via the comments!
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