Message to the community from Luren E. Dickinson:
Happy 75th Anniversary to the Shaker Heights Public Library! It was seventy-five years ago this month that the first Library Board met to discuss the formation of a new library system in our community. By now, many of you should have received your invitations to the Library’s 75th Anniversary Party, which will take place after hours at the Main Library from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday evening, April 20. We hope to see you there!
Times have certainly changed since 1937. Libraries were pretty much just books in the first half of the twentieth century. Then came a variety of tapes, followed by discs, and then the use of personal computers developed over time along with the Internet access.
Recent changes in the way people access video, music, and books, compared to library use over the past few decades, are most telling. According to USA Today, in 2011 alone, sales of DVDs dropped 13.3% and rentals were down 3% while digital sales, video on demand, and streaming of movies increased 51.2%. Likewise, CD album sales sank 5.7% while digital album sales rose 19.5%. Even more dramatic was the change in book sales during the past year. The sale of adult hardcover books was 17.5% less than in 2010, while eBook sales were up 117%! Even audiobooks were downloaded at a pace 25% greater than they were the year before.
Another front-page story in USA Today announced that Encyclopedia Britannica would no longer produce the print version of its famous reference work. It was followed by an equally ominous front page, top-fold story entitled "Books, CDs, DVDs, photos Going, going. . .’talking about how’ as our stuff evaporates into a digital cloud, the American home is being remade.”
Library vendors are scrambling to deal with new ways of doing business and everyone is wondering whether everything will end up in "the Cloud" of the Internet. Companies are attempting to bridge the gap with a digital platform allowing public libraries to provide movie downloads, but any success is dependent upon negotiations with movie producers and the ability to negotiate agreeable pricing. In speaking with other directors at the recent Public Library Association conference, the latest trend is to go to customers rather than to expect them to come into our buildings. With smartphones dominating the market, "mobile users" want to be able to reach us easily, and we need to "push" what we offer directly to them. Easier said than done!
One positive change is the addition of our newest library board member, Carmella Williams, who replaces Donna Whyte, who completed her seven-year term March 31. Ms. Williams is President of the Moreland on the Move Community Association and we are happy to have her on board! She has joined us at an exciting and interesting time.
We celebrate National Library Week this April not only with our Jewel of Shaker anniversary party/benefit, but also with four special events and activities. Barbara Hacha, author of Line by Line, will attend our Book Discussion at 10 a.m. Tuesday, April 10. Readers will be in for a treat to learn how the Ohio author came to write her book, which was a finalist for the USA News Best Books of 2011.
Members of Friends of the Shaker Library have been working hard to prepare for their Spring Book Sale. The “Members Only” sale is held from 4 to 8 p.m. Thursday, April 19 when Friends members get first dibs on a wonderful assortment of books at great process. Not a Friend? Join at the door and take home books, audiobooks, and DVDs for the entire family. The sale opens to the public from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, April 21 and Saturday, April 21. The popular Bag Sale is held from 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday, April 22.
Shaker Library has partnered with the Shaker Heights League of Women Voters and the Flora Stone Mather Center for Women to present It’s Not Your Mother’s Politics II: Finding Your Voice. The interactive discussion will be held from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Thursday, April 26 at Laurel School. Our fourth exciting program features the artwork of students at Shaker Heights High School when they present Art Exposed III from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday, April 27 at the Main Library.
Luren E. Dickinson, Director