Archive for January 6th, 2014

Toward 15 and 200: Your help wanted

Posted in Cites & Insights on January 6th, 2014

The current (February 2014) Cites & Insights is whole issue 170, and 2014 is the 14th volume of C&I.

I’m asking your help to encourage me to get to Volume 15 and Issue 200 (which would presumably be in Volume 16, if you want to be picky about it).

More specifically, I’m asking for donations, as I have been for some time. (If you’re wondering: last year, I received a number of donations, totaling in the low three digits.)

There’s always a Paypal Donate link on the C&I home page, but to make it even easier I’m replicating that link here (if this works!):

But this time, instead of just The Ask, there’s more to it.

No sticks, only carrots

I am not going to threaten to shut down C&I if I don’t reach a certain goal. Nor am I planning to hold my breath until I turn blue.

Instead, I’ll offer carrots–perquisites to encourage you to donate. Here’s the deal–and the campaign runs now to June 30, 2014:

Supporters: $30 or more

If you think C&I has been and continues to be worth at least $2 a year, but you’re not ready to go for more, this is your level: At least $30 ($2 times 15).

For this, you get the following:

  1. Recognition in a future C&I (probably the August 2014 issue), using the name you prefer when I send you an email “thanks!”–unless you say you’d prefer to be anonymous.
  2. If I reach the base goal of 50 substantial contributions, you’ll be part of the C&I advisory panel for July 2014-June 2015, asked to weigh in on some future decisions including, probably, a poll on coverage emphasis in 2015 and beyond. I don’t promise that I’ll do whatever the majority says; I do promise I’ll pay close attention–and the poll will only be open to the advisory panel.
  3. C&I advisory panel members will, at least four times a year and as often as monthly, receive advance notice of new issues of Cites & Insights, typically email a day before public notice appears.

Sponsors: $50 or more

If you figure C&I is worth $0.25 an issue in the long run, this is your level: $50 or more ($0.25 times 200).

For this, you get all the parks of supporters, plus the following:

  1. If there are fewer than 50 contributors at either level by July 1, 2014, you’ll get a free PDF ebook–and probably a choice of more than one, at least one of them no longer generally available.
  2. If there are 50 to 99 contributors at either level by July 1, 2014, you’ll get a free PDF ebook, your choice of either a new one or an existing one (a limited list of choices).
  3. If there are 100 contributors or more, you’ll get a free PDF ebook–and one option will be a new book that’s exclusively available to sponsors.
  4. You may be offered the chance to advise on what new book gets prepared.

In all cases, I’d expect that the ebooks would be ready before the end of the year.


Making Book S10. Give Us a Dollar and We’ll Give You Back Four (2012-13)

Posted in Books and publishing, C&I Books on January 6th, 2014

As is frequently the case, the preface tells the story of how this book came to be—but this time it’s an extended discussion. Portions:

In the fall of 2011, I studied the presence of public libraries on Facebook and Twitter as background for an ALA Editions book (Successful Social Networking in Public Libraries…). As research progressed, I wound up looking at (or for) the websites of every public library in 38 states (5,958 in all) and gained a new appreciation for the diversity and community connections of America’s public libraries.

During that study, I became skeptical of the many stories I’d read that assume public libraries are shutting down all over America. When my attempts to get actual numbers (how many libraries had actually closed and remained closed, neither reopening, being replaced by comparable libraries or at least reopening as volunteer-run reading rooms?) were unsuccessful, I decided to answer the question for myself. With help and advice from Will Kurt and others, I concluded that only about 32 public libraries (not branches but library systems and independent libraries) have closed during the 12 years from 1998 through 2009 and remained closed, with nearly all of those 32 libraries serving tiny groups of people. (That study is documented in two issues of Cites & Insights, my free ejournal at April 2012,, and May 2012, An update covering FY2010 closures appears in the October 2012 issue,

The study of closing libraries reminded me of speeches I’d done many years ago at state library conferences discussing the health and diversity of libraries. In preparation for some of those speeches I would download current library spreadsheets from the state library and do some analysis of funding and circulation. I consistently found that better-funded libraries did more—and quite a bit more, sometimes showing more cost-effectiveness than less well-funded libraries. I wondered what I’d find with a slightly more sophisticated analysis of the whole nation’s libraries. This book is the result.

Thanks to IMLS and the state libraries, it’s easy to get comparable figures for all the public libraries in the U.S., albeit with some delay.

This book was based on the 2010 data (the “(2012-13)” in the title is because if it sold well, I planned to do future annual editions). It consisted primarily of tables—lots of tables—with some text.

I actually did a preliminary edition (based on 2009 data); it sold six copies (4 paperback, 2 ebook). The full edition—about 50% longer, with newer data and more careful analysis—sold 74 copies through Lulu (4 hardcover, 32 paperback, 38 PDF ebook) and 7 copies through Kindle Direct/Amazon (all Kindle ebook).

Looking at the book later, I concluded that it needed more text and maybe graphs. I provided some text in Cites & Insights (November 2012 and Fall 2012 issues), and later tried to provide supporting graphs in a way people would find worthwhile. But that’s another story.

Admittedly, this book actually sold better than any Lulu book except Balanced Libraries, although I was hoping for a few hundred sales. Hope springs eternal…but, again, that’s another story.

The book’s still available. (The hotlink below is for the paperback; for other versions, go to and search “give us a dollar”)

Crawford, Walt. Give Us a Dollar and We’ll Give You Back Four (2012-2013) 2012.

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