evolution of readers

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Recently I had a lovely cup of coffee with one of my librarian mentors and we were speaking about the evolution of readers and reading. In today’s world, when our customers experience one-click shopping and instant downloads, where is the library’s place? And how quickly can we catch up? Even the most dedicated library users are now reading electronically too, experiencing the thrill of the “itchy Kindle finger:” the moment when you finish the last chapter of a fantastic book in a series (say Louise Penny’s Inspector Gamache series) and can, with a mere touch of a finger, purchase and begin reading the next book within minutes.

{Please also understand that I will argue forever that libraries are more than just books, digital or physical, that they are about people making connections in community and represent some of the highest values of our society and culture.}
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~mr. handsome’s new Steve Maddens~

When the same reader visits our state’s download library and discovers that the book she wants has a long waiting list or isn’t available at the moment… Is she likely to put herself on the waiting list of 12?

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I’d also like to know why someone hasn’t invented a Netflix or Audible-inspired model for e-books. Unlimited access to e-books, loaned one at a time, or alternatively, a one credit per month model that would allow me to purchase an e-book with my credits. And while we are speaking of e-books: if I purchase an e-book, can someone explain to me WHY I CAN’T LEND IT TO WHOMEVER I PLEASE? It’s mine, yes? Purchased with  my very own dollars. Publishers and authors: how is this any different than lending my paper copy to a friend with whom I would like to share the book?
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So I’ll leave you with this: Our readers are evolving, whether we (librarians, publishers, authors) like it or not. Take three young people I know, Mr. Handsome and his two friends, teenagers who are our reading legacy. One of them snatched up a Kindle edition of Fangirl when it was on sale for $1.99, smart boy that he is, who listens to his personal librarian. So now we have one reader who has a Kindle copy of Fangirl, plus two readers who have already read it but who want to share in a re-reading of this excellent book with their friend. Using the one Kindle account (on three different devices), all three readers are able to co-read and leave comments and highlights in the text of their favorite passages. Social and asynchronous reading! I’m pretty sure this is not the business model Amazon would prefer, but these clever readers are meeting their own needs.

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Another picture for you of our reading legacy: two teenagers who stay up until 1 a.m. reading aloud from The Fault In Our Stars , via FaceTime.

The librarian’s heart goes pitterpat.

~Happy New Year~

~sparkly~

SONY DSC SONY DSCI think the angel was tired. See how she’s taking a little bit of a lie-down up there? Also, someone tells me that The Christmas Pickle ornament was hidden in a rather indelicate place this year (UNDER HER SKIRT!). Naughty and shocking!
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SONY DSCThe perfect Christmas Eve present for Sylvan was this 3D model of Fenway park, the best occupier for an excited 11 year-old you could imagine. Thanks to Bumpa W!SONY DSCThe stockings were hung by the chimney with care and Tim and Kevin were snuggled in their little beds, awaiting Santa. They brought their toilet, books, and tiny table too.
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~Christmas morning light/self-portrait (above)~
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Check out the sparkles on those trees: true tinsel made of tinkling ice.

{You may have heard about all the very many people without power in Maine over this holiday.}
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~sorry if you’re saying: enough with the cinnamon bun pictures! because I’m just waiting for the internet to be able to transfer aromas~
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~Mr. Handsome got cufflinks and shirts to go with them and discovered the joys of crossword puzzles~
SONY DSCWe had these TINY MINCE PIES for Christmas dinner which have made a mince-eater of me.They were so delish and I want to have my own tiny mince pie tin for baking them, similar to a muffin tin, but rounded. Totes adorbes!

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SONY DSCTim and Kevin and Sylvan received Despicable Me 2 and we had to view it, natch. They also hung their own stockings (which were filled), and both received Santa hats, as well as the French Maid Costume (Kev) and the Baby Costume (Tim). 
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I saw these cute teenage boy feet in their festive socks under the dinner table. 
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And here are some sweet teenagers reading aloud to each other from an amazing book, deceptively charming as they are not arguing for the sake of arguing, not complaining about the music not being LOUD ENOUGH while the rest of us want to converse at a normal pitch, not glued to any device but one with pages. I guess I can forgive them for the other stuff.

what we did on our snow day

SONY DSC~this is the To Do List for our snow day~
SONY DSC~it seems we are the teenage hang-out house~

Which is great! I love these awesome young people. They are so good and fun and fun to be with and sweet with each other. Growing up, my house was never the hang-out spot, but Jake’s house was. I think my house was too precious and we lived too far out, and I just never felt like I could bring home bunches of teenagers who would possibly be loud or disruptive or messy.
SONY DSC So, I am learning how to do this! And liking it! I’m thinking a lot lately about the moms at the hang-out houses of my past, particularly Molly and Nancy (my mother-in-law) who somehow  always rolled with the flow of gangly, loud, awkward teenagers, who fed everyone and made everyone feel so welcome.
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Oh my gosh, are you seeing this snow? For real! Like up to my knees—walking is like wading through heavy water. Super leg work-out! We grown-ups took a walk and left the teenagers to watch Elf.
SONY DSCA bread loaf of snow on the picnic table! And the beautiful, sparkling winter beach.
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It was actually a little weird to step off the snow pack and onto the rocks.
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The snow made for easy sitting places and the warm sun felt terrific. 20 degrees feels balmy! Thanks Snow Gods! We needed this day!

catching the festive spirit

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The sunrises are happening after we leave for work now. But this was a few weeks ago.

And now, for a couple of action shots:
SONY DSC SONY DSCWe had Thanksgiving and the first night of Hannukah, and since it was the only night we were celebrating with some friends from afar, we went ahead and had a ceremonial lighting of all of the candles. In the picture below, you may notice a reference to the opening credits of Downton Abbey.
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And dear Joanie, so talented in so many ways, was working on another amazing gingerbread house, to be raffled in support of her local library! It has window boxes, friends, that will be filled with “snow” and cedar greens (dipped in beeswax to seal the color) and red hots.
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Of course it was designed to have a tiny candle inside it, to light up the candy-glass windows. And the gnomes would be in the sleigh, pulled by reindeer (including Rudolph).
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SONY DSCAs we set the holiday table for Thanksgiving, I caught this picture of Jonas looking 25.
SONY DSCWe are under mountains of snow now, two big northeastern storms within a week have left us with maybe 2-3″ of snow! It’s very festive. And we have a snow day today with a long list of work and play activities, cleaning and preparing for family’s arrival, wrapping presents, maybe some cribbage and knitting, and possibly reading. And a few extra teenagers around, just to keep things fun.

More posts to follow. Promise!