What’s the future for e-books in libraries? Part 1.

On Monday night, I had an opportunity to attend a panel discussion organised by LIANZA.

Wow, my very own first professional event.
It was a surreal feeling to be around real professionals even though I’ve been working in many libraries for over 10 years, but once you’ve got that qualification under your belt, things do start to take on a totally different perspective.

The event was held at the Manukau Institute of Technology and around 20 professionals attended.

For those of you who missed this event, fear not I’m here to tell you all about it. But prepare yourselves it’s going to be long. So continue reading at your peril, but I hope you’ll gain something by the end of it.

The evening was designed as a panel discussion with open floor input and conversations – though from this experience, it was mostly presentations presented by the panel.

The panel consisted of Corin Haines from Auckland Libraries, who spoke first, followed by Ksenija Mincic-Obradovic from Auckland University and finally Martin Taylor, director of Activity Press and founder of the Digital Publishing Forum (now part of Digital Publishing New Zealand).

The topic – e-books.

What are libraries doing in this space?

For those who have completed your studies and those in it, you’re probably aware that there are constant issues with getting access to the right e-books and licences to distribute them for a long time. Well guess what, it still exists.

Corin Haines spoke about a standing committee formed to tackle the issue relating to overcoming legal, economic, and technical barriers to e-lending, and the provision of digital content, in order to promote the provision of equitable access to digital content for all New Zealanders.
Quite a mouth full, that sentence. This is Corin’s words not mine, honest.

But what Corin Haines have highlighted, libraries are still encountering issues such as:
– we can’t get the content our customers are demanding
– contracts offered to libraries are unreasonable or even overriding the rights given to libraries by law
– no certainty of supply.
Check these pictures for more issues:

The issues with ebooks

The issues with ebooks 2

What are librarians doing to address these issues?

Globally, the Canadian Urban Libraries Council is developing it’s own platform so as to have a consistent user experience and provision of e-books, but they are still encountering content issues.

Another example is the Douglas County Model – where Jamie LaRue:
– helped setup their own e-book platform and search engine,
– created content access similar to browsing a shelf
– establish relationships with over 800 different publishers
– with 10% of budget spent with Overdrive.
The aim was to expose people to new content.

What are our efforts here in New Zealand?

Public libraries in New Zealand have already got a strategic framework.

The APLM plans on using new technologies to deliver content and services anytime, anywhere.

One of their priorities is to work with New Zealand authors, publishers and booksellers to develop a whole-of-country approach to deliver an e-book solution. This is a National Library led initiative.

Auckland Libraries is currently developing a business model for assessment of e-resources which will look at:
– Content
– Supply model
– Ease of use
– Support
– Price.

So all in all, Corin has shown librarians are in the midst of tackling these issues. It is a slow process, but someday we’ll hope to achieve our goals.

I think we all need to be aware about this, as at some point in our career, we’ll encounter this issue either in a smaller role or in a larger one.

So this ends part 1.
I’ll report more in part 2.

Did you enjoy it? Find it too detailed? Too boring? Learnt something?

Comment below with your thoughts, observations, musings, whatever.
I’m hoping to bring more reports back on future events I’m attending, so feel free to give feedback.

Signing out.

Mark Huynh
Learn more about me on LinkedIn:


About newprofessionalsnz

Official website for New Professionals Network in New Zealand. Administered by: Abigail Willemse LIANZA Library Life Editor @ajwillemse91
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4 Responses to What’s the future for e-books in libraries? Part 1.

  1. That really wasn’t that long, Mark. It was interesting too – I could have kept reading. I was sad when the artlce came to an end. More, I cry!

  2. Pingback: What’s the future for e-books in libraries? Part 2. | New Professionals NZ

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