Solving Common Issues With Innovative Collaboration

Collaboration & Conversation: Working with Publishers in Canada (eBound)
Michael Ciccone, Director, Collections, Hamilton Public Library
Christina de Castell, Director, Resources & Technology, Vancouver Public Library
Tricia McCraney, Consultant & Project Manager, Tricia McCraney Consulting

Lots of conversations from 2011 -2013 between libraries and publishers around eContent.

Publishers from the larger Canadian independent publishers, eBound, and the libraries. They began presenting at each others conferences — Association of Canadian publishers, ex. Saw they all had common ground. Canadian Urban Libraries rep on Booknet. Regular collaboration with publishers now on a regular basis.

Hot topics: Readers’ Advisory, MARC vs. ONIX, pricing, buying, and promoting Canadian books and authors. Conversations around licensing, access, what had been working in previous years of library digital content purchases.

Publishers weren’t aware of how much libraries were providing readers’ advisory and book promotion services. Distributors became in-between w libraries & publishers — no longer as close of a relationship.

eBook usage and increase of content has increased greatly from 2011-2013.

eBook revenue very little for the most part.

Reasonable terms: MOU

  • one copy per user
  • 40 circ cap
  • bundles of content
  • transferable
  • negotiate archival separately

eBook lending pilot


  • Canadian publishers were concerned with discoverability — that was their number one concern
  • Also, build more direct relationship with libraries (diminishing role of vendor in terms of selection and marketing of titles).
  • Make titles discoverable — and visible.
  • Greater control over pricing and terms; for publishers, ebook vendors are controlling the pricing and terms. A few key players were dominating things. Canadian publishers wanted to work more directly with libraries.
  • Seamless patron experience.
  • New technology solution — RFP to launch this — new platform


  • Cost
  • competitive market
  • lots of established vendors
  • need to integrate w existing vendors
  • high rate of innovation and flux in the market

Project Timeline

  • RFI in June 2012
  • RFP in March 2013
  • VEndor selection in June 2013
  • Negotiations through November 2013

Negotiations were very difficult. End with the successful and now unsucessful vendor. Rather than going to the next vendor from the RFP, they ended the RFP process and explored other alternatives, instead. They wanted to focus on Canadian content…

There was a lot of disappointment, but decided to change course. That meant the need to partner with existing vendor to offer a limited time sale, collections of Canadian eBooks, May-June 2014, identify what libraries have and what they need.

What they learned, they were working in a competitive environment, and waited too long. RFI set back significantly. Negotiate with 2 vendors at once.

Publishers + Libraries — enjoyed working together

  • Learned a lot talking to each other
  • Learned they had a lot in common
  • Growing respect and admiration

Lessons learned

  • Simplify the process
  • Trust your gut(s) –> including following the red flags
  • it’s okay to admit that it’s just not working
  • Future collaboration opportunities (including with existing vendors)
  • ReadersFirst Project

Local Music Project from Iowa City Public Library


Iowa City Public Library’s Local Music Project

Jason Paulios, Senior Librarian, Adult Services, and Brent Palmer, Coordinator, Information Technology, Iowa City Public Library


Iowa City works with local musicians to license their music and distribute the music to Iowa City PL card holders for 2 years. Packaged deals (missed the pricing). 140 albums from over 100 artists.

UNESCO City of Literature. College town. Local music scene.

Director saw lots of local musicians, wondered why lots of music was being bought outside the area, but local musicians weren’t getting known. Started asking local musicians if they wanted the libraries

Partnerships that support community and build community. Local bar scene and local artists and local musicians partnerships.

Innovative PatronAPI connector

Complicated upload, MARC, metadata, audio files, admin app, etc.

Admin app

  • built in-house
  • FLAC files are ripped and stored on a local server; album is cataloged
  • App pulls MARC fields and populates admin web form (creates bib record)

Web form, tracks, titles, web-editing form. Cover image pulled in as well.

App stores this metadata in XML for web display and adds metadata to song preview clips and ZIPs and App generates song previews.

Ideas & Lessons — fast turnaround on the project

  • Lifetime distribution contract option vs 2-year contract option — musicians not really interested in contracts.
  • Mobile User Solutions — streaming player; mobile apps — iOS struggles with ZIP. Android a bit better, but still not intuitive for average user. Also, no renewal or checkout again. Circ doesn’t match up on usage. Streaming could help on this (but would require rewrite of contract again)
  • Promotion — staff resources not there yet. Bar coasters may be a simple way to promote the service
  • Collaborations: commissioning unique works; selection committee — recording studio partnerships.
  • Other Local Music Projects: sharing code & best practices

What will your project look like?

  • What can others do? Lots of libraries looking into this.

Ebooks: Landscape & Implications

Bobbi Newman, Brian Hulsey, Jason Griffey

Brian Hulsey

“We change whether we like it or not” –Ralph Waldo Emerson

Why is this change important to us? We have to be there for our patrons. Back of Wall Street journals. Airports had eReaders all over the place during Brian’s travels. Library conference is being held online.

Relevance: photo of old Apple computer. Have to examine your area and determine what will work for you. Have to figure out how the patron base and what they are wanting. Many are wanting

Cost: replacing physical books costs lots of money. Digital content can’t be lost, destroyed, ruined. Maximizing budgets for what you get for the library.

Impact: look at how it will affect the community & affect the library & its staff. Training will have to take place. Don’t just implement something just because you read about it. Thought has to go into it.

Implementation: eservices get implemented because its cool; be careful. Kindle loaning — tied to library’s credit card. Patrons started buying more books, using library’s credit card. Be careful — know what you’re getting into.

Policies: what type of service will you use at your library; policies on the loaning of the devices must be created.

Cataloging: if you don’t add econtent into your catalog — how are patrons going to find it, locate it, if it’s not in your catalog and online services?

Vendor Advice: Make the vendor rep your best friend; that person knows the system in and out; find out how to best maximize the use of the e-content service you implement.

Problems: training all staff first so all questions can be answered by anyone at any time, not call back later; helping patrons when questions come up; when you don’t help the patron, library isn’t relevant to the patron any longer.

Constantly changing: vendor situation constantly changing & devices constantly changing; Ebrary; Kindle; Sony Reader; iPad. Story time with Cat in the Hat on the iPad. These services aren’t just going to fall into your lap and you can use them. Must learn & constantly change with the services to stay relevant.

Bobbi Newman

Will be talking about devices.

“Everything I say will be outdated by the time you leave this room.”

iPad — didn’t get it when it was announced, then saw one and her mind was changed.

Kindle: easy to use; most popular device right now, still; buy the book, download it to the device.

Lending Library eBooks, complicated process.

Sony eReader

Nook: can loan books to 1 friend and only one time.

Who owns electronic content, from eBooks? Severe restrictions on these files. Physical books can be given to others; eBooks, not so much.

iPhone/iPod Touch: people are reading on these devices; not made for it.

iPad: its brand new; but going to greatly change the future of devices.

Watching video from Jason Griffey now, who couldn’t be at the conference. If it’s online, will post a link to it later.

His Predictions

  • eBooks will stop being tied to specific devices
  • iPad: Kindle, iBooks;
  • Amazon: has a Kindle app for iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch, has desktop software for all platforms, and for the Kindle, of course, trying to be there for all devices.
  • Software platforms for eBooks up & coming: Copia, & Blio,
  • Black & White eInk readers, will be commodity devices by the end of 2010. Prices will drop considerably, maybe even as low as $50. What will libraries do at that point?
  • eBook DRM: initially goal with music was to tie it up with DRM; eventually the publishers will realize that it’s not in the best interest of the consumer to have DRM. DRM keeps honest people honest.
  • is his blog.

Comments at the end

  • ease of use matters most to patrons
  • iPod/iPhone took off because it was the easiest to use.
  • people aren’t going to use those devices that are difficult to use.
  • these devices can be hacked; but that isn’t easy.
  • Database eBrary can’t be used on eReader devices.