Ask A Librarian: What is the deal with “free” ebook sites?

screenshot of a page from the bookshowing two girls looking at a computer screen which says WIN PRIZES

It’s been an odd set of months. I got busy with Drop-In Time and then very un-busy. I’ve been keeping up with my newsletter a little, and doing email Drop-in Time, public awareness stuff on various mailing lists, keeping my ear to the ground. Still acting as a Qualifying Authority for the Internet Archive’s print-disabled program which got a LOT more visible thanks to the National Emergency Library. And so it was natural that someone would ask me about this. Got any questions, feel free to drop me a note. This question was a little longer, but a brief summary is a librarian question: “patrons who were asking about “free” ebook sites, ranging from OpenLibrary to ZLibrary. Are they safe? Legal? Should we even mention them to our patrons?” My response, which comes from my very particular place…

Hey there — thanks for asking. I do know a lot of these sites and I used to work for Open Library. My feelings on this topic are kind of complex, so I’ll just outline what I know. Sorry this is long!

So there are outright “We pirate stuff’ sites like Mobilism and ZLibrary. These are places that are basically set up to pirate things and have no veneer of legality to them. I have personally used them on rare occasions but I don’t think I’d point a patron to them. They often point people to sketchy download sites where it it incredibly easy to pick up viruses and etc. Though I must note the sites themselves do not have viruses or malware to the best of my knowledge. Continue reading “Ask A Librarian: What is the deal with “free” ebook sites?”

2019 in Libraries

special collections cube inside the Dartmouth Library

 

Visiting libraries is great. Neat things to learn about communities, comfy places to sit, clean bathrooms. I went to fewer libraries this year, but made more visits overall. Not chipping away at my VT 183 Project that quickly. This year I went to 27 libraries in six states. One hundred and eleven visits total.

Previous years: 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009 and some reviews from 2003.

Libraries I went to a lot

  • Kimball (VT) – my local
  • Rochester (VT) – another almost-local where I did drop-in time
  • Hartness/VTC (VT) – my local academic
  • Westport (MA) – summer local, wasn’t there as much this year
  • Tiverton (RI) – summer better local
  • Windsor (VT) – did some library shifts here

The rest

  • Howe/Hanover (NH) – always a fave wen I’m in Hanover
  • Peacham (VT) – cool taxidermy and nice people
  • Dorchester County PL (MD) – functional and a lovely building
  • Grafton (VT) – big book sale upstairs, lots of comfy chairs
  • Howe/UVM (VT) – renamed and still great, better possibly
  • Carney/Dartmouth (MA)- summer fave
  • Wicomico PL (MD) – simple and sturdy, a lot of great exhibits
  • Norwich U (VT) – aggravating meeting, lovely library
  • Shelburne (VT) – checking on the new reno, it’s great!
  • Lamont/Harvard (MA) – rainy day, cozy library
  • Montpelier (VT) – good place to met people
  • Dartmouth/Baker-Berry (NH) – good place to hide from the rain, hoppin
  • Dartmouth/Rauner (NH) – great art and wifi
  • Houghton/Harvard (MA) – space exhibit and good friends
  • Fall River (MA) – always impressed with what they can do in this space
  • Norwich (VT)
  • Hancock (VT) – so tiny, so cute
  • UVM Spec Coll (VT) – great tour of the new place
  • Seminole Heights (FL) – good place to chill out after a long walk
  • Saunders PL (FL) – gave a talk here
  • Widener/Harvard (MA) – hiding in the stacks here is one of my happy places

woodshedding in libraryland II

image of a woodshed from the library of Congress collection

Been thinking about this blog and how a lot of the work I’ve been doing lately doesn’t always lend itself to longform reflection. When I looked up “woodshedding,” a term I use for talking about going back to library-school type activities (i.e. more learning, less doing) and found this post from 2008. It’s been a while since I’ve posted a “What I’m up to.” work report, so here we go. Continue reading “woodshedding in libraryland II”

Vermont libraries and their money and towns

interior of a small public library in Hancock Vermont
This is a post about rural libraries and money on the occasion of Town Meeting week. Town Meeting happened last week. Most Vermont libraries receive their money through the town and Town Meeting is a time to discuss library funding. I am a sub at the library in my town, enough to go to staff meetings but not enough to work there all the time. I also do drop-in time both at my local library and at one “over the mountain” in the next town. Here are a few anecdotes about how local libraries manage their money situations. Continue reading “Vermont libraries and their money and towns”

2018 in Libraries

tree in the Warren Library kids' room

I continue to visit libraries every chance I get. This year I worked in my local library so my visit count is way up, I also gave my privacy talk at six Vermont libraries which was more visits. The rest were working on my VT 183 project or just curiosity. The pie chart isn’t that interesting, but you can see it here. I decided to just include a photo of one of the great libraries I visited in Warren Vermont.

This year I went to 45 libraries in six states and one Canadian province. One hundred and three visits total. Previous years: 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009 and some reviews from 2003. Continue reading “2018 in Libraries”