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Posts Tagged ‘public libraries’

Why do libraries spend thousands of dollars a year on Microsoft Windows licenses for pc’s that are only used for access to the internet? 

I’m no expert by any means, so it’s possible that they think it’s worth it so they won’t need a separate server for those computers, but in reality they probably already have a dedicated server for them anyway…  Or maybe they think patrons can’t adapt to a different operating system – more likely they don’t want to themselves!  Most patrons wouldn’t even notice the difference, and those who did would quickly adapt.

These computers often do absolutely nothing except provide access to the internet.  So why not use Linux?  And while we’re at it throw some open source software on there like Gimp and Open Office?  All free, all useful to patrons – how can this not be the right thing to do?

Just a thought on how we can save everyone a little money. 

And now I shall prepare for some relaxing in the good-smelling open air of Wisconsin with a wacky web developer and Skippy the camping cat.

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Library Journal published a short article last year about small libraries using Netflix to supply movies to patrons.  It’s a short article and doesn’t say much, but the interest and ideas it sparks make up a hundred fold for the small amount of screenspace it needs to be read – at least for me. 

At the time I thought this was a great, economical way for libraries to provide more of what patrons want without running out of space and budget.  I even remember rumors and ideas circulating in the library world a year or so before the article in Library Journal was published.  I think the first place I came across the idea was at Jenny Levine’s blog – see The Shifted Librarian: The Exeter Public Library Does Netflix .   

Here I am two years later still wondering how Netflix is working in libraries.  Is it still working?  Have the executives at Netflix shut everyone down?  Did all the ‘naughty’ libraries get a copy of “There Will Be Blood” as recommended in that NEWSWEEK article?  I really wanted to know. 

So, I decided to just go ahead and ask. 

I chose to check in on the Cook Memorial Library way up in Tamworth, NH from that article in Library Journal.  Library director Jay Rancourt had this to say about Netflix’s successful and continued use in her library:

Yes, we are still using Netflix. We are circulating two at a time now. Very popular service. Even more so in this lousy economy. There are (red) cards on the circ desk to be filled out by the patrons with their request. We queue the patron requests up on the Netflix website, and loan only one unit per person at a time. Then the patrons must queue up again.  It’s a two-day rental to keep the queue moving. I think it’s well worth the $13.99 per month it costs…

I did the math and I’d say she’s getting a great deal.  Economically, it’s like buying one new DVD a month, but having access to around 30.  Smart, smart, smart.  Why not take advantage of an easy and inexpensive way to provide users with what they want?  Way to go Jay!

It looks like no one has seen any kind of ‘reminder’ from Netflix the corporate entity banning libraries from using this service.  I’m sure they realize how many new subscribers they will gain from the pool of people who have access to their service through libraries.  Impatience is commonplace in America, eventually everyone wants their own subscription.  Netflix should consider paying libraries to offer the service!

Public libraries aren’t the only ones taking advantage, academic libraries are getting in on the deal, too.  University of Washington libraries offer Netflix service for UW  instructors.  That’s especially helpful for film classes I’ll bet. 

Any other great pairings of libraries and Netflix that I have yet to unearth?  Share please!

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