Balanced Libraries one month in

Balanced Libraries: Thoughts on Continuity and Change

It’s been just over a month since Balanced Libraries: Thoughts on Continuity and Change went on sale, a little more than three weeks since anybody but me saw a copy.

So how’s it going?

There are two wonderful reviews, one from Pete Smith at library too, another from Jennifer Macaulay at Life as I know it.

Pete sez (among other things–it’s a thoughtful, detailed review):

[O]ne of the most refreshing aspects of the book [is] that it offers ideas, reflections and examples but always reminds us to put these in the context of our libraries and our visitors. The book is thus a good example of a balanced approach; it is not a strident call to revolution, nor a paean to lost joys. Rather it is a reasoned call to maintain the best of what we have and to always look as to how we can make change work for our libraries…

I recommend this book to anyone interested in ‘Library 2.0′ and other contemporary issues, as Crawford sets them in their wider context. Yet it covers broader issues than just the latest technology, and does so in a considered way. As such, it will also stand when today’s issues are yesterday’s debates. It is passionate, yet not partisan; timely, yet not time bound.

Jennifer sez (among other things–a slightly shorter and also thoughtful review):

I would recommend this book to any of my colleagues. Whether one likes the term or not, the concept of Library 2.0 is important as are the discussions that have taken place around it. Reading Balanced Libraries is a great way to learn more about Library 2.0 – in a very non-threatening way that won’t cause people to become overwhelmed by the winds of change that seem to always be surrounding us….

I definitely think it would be great for all library students to read also. There is some great information about how to balance change and continuity in libraries – which to me, is a critical message.

She also calls the book an “easy read,” which I regard as high praise.

I’m also assured by several people that Lulu’s doing a consistently good production job; I know I’m more than pleased with my own copy. And at $21.50, it’s a bargain among books in this subject area…

When you go to Lulu to order your copy–the link just under the cover works fine–don’t be misled by the seemingly high sales ranking (hey! I’m in the top 2,000!). I won’t cite actual sales, but they’re still in double digits–but it’s early yet.

I’m pleased with Lulu. I’m pleased with the book. I’m delighted with the reviews (but will link equally to mixed and bad reviews, and I expect some mixed reviews…or are those who won’t like my idea of balance unlikely to even read the book?). In an odd and sometimes difficult spring, it’s a bright spot.

Oh, and one reminder: Typos and layout problems are entirely my fault. Lulu just prints what I sent them.

2 Responses to “Balanced Libraries one month in”

  1. Stian Haklev says:

    Hi Walt, I have been following your blog for over a year now, this is the first time you hear from me 🙂 I am not a professional librarian but I love books and literacy, and think that libraries are essential institutions also in the future.

    I was wondering why you had chosen (as far as I can see) not to enable people to download a copy of your book (for payment). I am currently living and working in Indonesia, and I couldn’t even imagine the time and cost to have the book shipped down here. If there was an online version, I might consider buying it. (I know you are sceptical to reading online, but with a tiny ibook it’s feasible – not ideal but when far away from sources of printed books 🙂 I’ve read a bunch of Creative Commons books, fiction and non-fiction, in my bed, on my laptop).

    If not, I guess I’ll wait till I’m back in Toronto and hope that the Library and Information Studies library has picked it up.


  2. walt says:

    Hi Stan,

    I’m not a professional librarian either…

    Well, three chapters of the book–two in rough draft stage–are available for download, in recent issues of Cites & Insights.

    Right now, I need to get a better sense of whether it’s economically feasible to publish books this way–whether I can get enough sales to justify the time investment. Downloadable copies raise other issues–and, of course, they’d be pure PDF designed for printing.

    I may make the book available for downloading later. Not right now; it adds complexities that I’m not currently prepared to deal with.

    Have you checked the Lulu site? You can always fill out the order and cancel it if the shipping cost is too high. It says Asia & Pacific Rim should be 10-20 days (plus the 3-5 days for manufacturing) for economy shipping, 5-7 days for standard shipping. The book price itself is the same. I know that people have been receiving it in Europe with no difficulty, although Indonesia is admittedly not Europe.