Thursday, 29 December 2011

How Being Erica took Product Integration Too Far

Wonder what Being Erica's Erin Karpluk is trying to sell us here?

Being Erica has been circulating well in my library, especially for those who are in their teens and early twenties and female.  I never got into it and found the time shifting tedious (I am not a lover of fantasy anyway).  I am also not a member of the target demographic.

See below an article in the National Post about product placement.  As mentioned, I also found the neverending commercials to submit a pizza eating video annoying and troubling.

This was the year I stopped watching Being Erica. Technically, 2011 may be the year everyone stopped watching the quirky CBC dramedy, as the show just concluded its fourth and potentially final season, with all the storylines tied up in a tearful Christmas bow.
Or so I hear — I didn’t actually make it to the finale. I broke up with Erica, my TV BFF, because she tried way too hard to sell me a car.
The Toronto-set program is a bit of a guilty pleasure for me, but I’d never miss an episode, drawn in by Erin Karpluk as an underachieving-yet-loveable thirtysomething who, over time, manages to turn her regret-filled life around with the help of a therapist that allows her to time travel. (What’s not to love?)
It’s charming, critically praised, and has done well internationally, with distribution in 160 countries and plans in the works for U.S. and U.K. versions.
Perhaps all the success went to its head, though. The product placement, a.k.a. “branded entertainment,” became obvious in the third season, when Erica’s friend and business partner, Julianne, bought a car that got a lot of enthusiastic screen time — a development that also happened to earn numerous marketing accolades.

The trend continued this season, with Julianne quitting coffee to acquire a taste for Tetley Infusions iced tea. And during (official) commercials, McCain/Being Erica spots called on viewers to audition for a pizza-eating cameo with extra cheese.

The proverbial last straw, though, came with the fourth season’s eighth episode, which begins with Erica (inexplicably) test-driving a car with Julianne. There’s a salesman in the back seat extolling the virtues of the vehicle. Here’s some dialogue:
Sales guy OK, time for the coolest feature — let’s park between those two [closely spaced] cars.
Erica What? There? That’s a little bit tight. I kinda suck at parallel parking.
Sales guy Trust me, so do I, which is why the Focus can parallel park itself!
Erica No way.
Sales guy Way.
I didn’t even finish watching the episode.
The lesson here is one I hope TV’s creators will take to heart, and it is this: Having your quirky indie show characters speak ad copy will render your program unwatchable.
I’m no fool. I know that shows need sponsors. I know about torrents and PVRs and budget cuts. But how are viewers supposed to remain loyal to characters who will so blatantly trade our affection for a dollar?
None of this is new, of course. Since E.T. ate his first Reese’s Piece in 1982, marketers have been devising new and creative ways to get ad messages out of the commercial-break ghetto. It’s now a multi-billion-dollar-a-year industry. We know American Idol is Coke and The X Factor is Pepsi based on the logos on the judges’ tables. We know Jack Bauer drove a Ford in 24, a show in which Cisco Systems had a supporting role in saving the world.
Some shows can get away with the integration of brand and story — as opposed to simple placement — that Being Erica attempted so jarringly. 30 Rock is frequently cited as an example, as its spoof context allows for brand mentions that serve both the advertiser (by communicating favourable messages about the product) and the audience (by being funny), as in this scene in an early episode where Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin) brings up product integration to Liz Lemon (Tina Fey) and Pete Hornberger (Scott Adsit):
Jack Look, I know how this sounds.
Liz No, come on, Jack. We’re not doing that. We’re not compromising the integrity of the show to sell —
Pete Wow. This is Diet Snapple?
Liz I know, it tastes just like regular Snapple, doesn’t it?
It’s not uncontroversial, but at least it’s meta, and it works here. Similarly, Seinfeld’s classic “Junior Mints” episode, in which Kramer drops a candy into the open chest of a man undergoing surgery, may not even register as paid placement, so natural was the mint-driven action in the context of that show.
Being Erica, unfortunately, does not have the advantage of being a cynical comedy or an action show where product placement heightens the camp (oh hello there, Jack Bauer). Quite the opposite, it’s an earnest show on a public broadcaster about being your best self.
Not everyone can pull off explicit product integration, and shows like this one should think twice before trying.
When the U.K. version comes out, I plan to watch it, but I can only hope that Erica’s British counterpart knows how to parallel park.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

New Canadian Television Series - Bomb Girls

I am very excited to see that a new Canadian television mini series has been developed.  Bomb Girls will present an important part of World War II history - the role of women in the Canadian war effort on the home front.  Women were able to take on roles that had not been available to them before.  I also have a special interest in this since I worked for many years at the Ajax Public Library.  At the beginning of World War II, a munitions factory was built where the Town of Ajax is today.  The Town sprang up to accommodate the workers and many stayed after the War.

I know that this will be popular at my library when it comes out in DVD. The British series Land Girls goes out very well so it will be nice to have a Canadian version of the time to complement it.

(From the T.V., Eh website)

Global’s commitment to creating powerful original dramas continues with the prime time debut of its new six-part series, Bomb Girls. Premiering Wednesday, January 4 – 8pm ET/PT, the drama profiles the life-altering experiences of five brave Canadian women who risk their lives working in a munitions factory during the Second World War.

“What I love about Bomb Girls is the unique perspective it offers on the constant conflicts and difficult personal choices these women faced in such a high-stakes environment,” said Barbara Williams, Senior Vice-President, Content, Shaw Media. “How did their lives change so profoundly? Why did it all matter so much? Bomb Girls brings the remarkable journey to life.”
The series entertains viewers with a wartime persona that is rarely acknowledged yet played an integral role in the country’s rich history; it reveals the necessity of the ‘bomb girl’ along with her significance. Leading the ensemble cast is legendary Oscar® nominee Meg Tilly (Agnes of God, The Big Chill), who makes her return to network television after 18 years, taking on the role of Lorna Corbett, the Victory Munitions factory supervisor.
Joining Meg Tilly are Jodi Balfour (The Sinking of the Laconia) as free-wheeling socialite-turned-bomb girl Gladys Witham; Charlotte Hegele (Murdoch Mysteries) as wide-eyed preacher’s daughter Kate Andrews; Ali Liebert (Hellcats) as tough-talking Prairie girl Betty McRae; and Anastasia Philips (Skins) as kind-natured Vera Burr. Commissioned by Shaw Media’s original content team, the series is produced by Muse Entertainment and Back Alley Films.
The series also stars Antonio Cupo (L’Ombra del destino) as Italian-born factory worker Marco Moretti; Sebastian Pigott (Being Erica) as Gladys’ fiancé James Dunn; and Peter Outerbridge (ReGenesis) as Lorna’s husband Bob Corbett.
This gripping dramatic series set on the Canadian home front tells the remarkable stories of the women who risked everything building bombs for the Allied forces fighting on the European front. Bomb Girls delves into the lives of these exceptional women from all walks of life – peers, friends and rivals – who find themselves changed profoundly as they are liberated from their home and social restrictions to join the work force for the first time and face previously unimaginable risks in the process.
Shot on location in Toronto, Bomb Girls is executive produced by Muse Entertainment’s Michael Prupas (The Kennedys, Pillars of the Earth), along with Back Alley Films’ Janis Lundman (Durham County) and Adrienne Mitchell (Durham County). Mitchell also serves as co-showrunner along with Michael MacLennan (Flashpoint, Queer as Folk) who is executive producer and serves as the series’ head writer.

Monday, 12 December 2011

Lost Doctor Who Episodes Found

Two classic 1960s episodes of the BBC science fiction series "Doctor Who", thought to have been lost forever, have been found, the British Film Institute said Monday.
The missing episodes, dating from 1965 and 1967 and starring William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton respectively in the title role, were bought at a village fete in southern England in the mid-1980s, the BFI said.
The copies are thought to have originated from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
The BFI said the copies had been in the private collection of a former TV engineer. They have now been given to the BBC archives.
"Doctor Who", which ran from 1963 to 1989 and was revived in 2005, is one of BBC television's top entertainment programmes.
Some 106 episodes dating from between 1964 and 1969 are missing from the BBC archives due to a tape-wiping policy which was in place for much of the 1960s and 1970s.
Video tape was expensive at the time and so transmission tapes were wiped in order to be reused.
"Doctor Who" was sold around the world during the 1960s. Top BBC programmes were transferred on to film for foreign broadcasters, the corporation said, and the BFI sometimes manages to recover these copies.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Cultural Anxiety Grips Your Local Library

By Heather Mallick Toronto Star Columnist
A Pirates of the Caribbean DVD in a public library is absurd, budget chief Mike Del Grande says, given that you can find the dreadful (adjective mine) thing in any of Toronto’s fast-disappearing video outlets. At a time when libraries are facing huge cutbacks, offering Hollywood films is “program creep.” Del Grande is right, as far as it goes. Toronto’s big, beloved library system is intended to “lift” the local reader into a higher sphere. Libraries are a self-improvement scheme just as miners’ book clubs were in the poverty-stricken colliery towns that D.H. Lawrence was so desperate to escape. Lawrence’s novels are difficult, gorgeous, obstructive things that are taught in university and anyone who voluntarily borrows one from his local library and reads it through is arguably the better for it. Presumably Del Grande is saying that libraries should offer Lawrence novels rather than a Bridesmaids DVD. We should offer both, is what the libraries say. DVDs take up 9 per cent of the library’s $17 million acquisition budget, and lowbrow stuff makes up about half of that. It is shameful on the face of it. It’s not that Pirates of the Caribbean, a film about a ride at Disneyland, is easily purchased, it’s that it’s impossible to outrun. I love American popular culture — Will Ferrell movies are a great joy to me — but I do draw the line at things like Pirates and Shrek, both of which have produced endless sequels of increasing stupidity. I sneer with confidence, as you can see. But what if you’re the 12-year-old daughter of new Canadians and you’re asking your library to “lift” you by helping you fit into Canadian culture — or the lack of it — by teaching you what the other kids like? And they do like rubbish in market-flooding quantities. Watching that Pirates DVD will let you into the Canadian club. And after that, reading novels by Lawrence, Douglas Coupland, Margaret Atwood, Carol Shields and Jeanette Winterson will be your intellectual ticket out. Toronto libraries are open to all and offer all, painful as that may be to the budget chief, whose job it is to be miserly. When you don’t read much, all reading is good, from the James Patterson industrial collective to those weird, slurpy Nora Roberts romances. “True fiction at it’s finest,” one Amazon reader enthuses. So they don’t teach you to punctuate or develop even basic critical judgment, but they give pleasure and keep you human. Library critics are also complaining about the amount of non-English language material on offer. Surely libraries should be a non-stop blast of English! But sophisticated libraries do what bookstores do: They give the customer what she or he wants, which will be French, Spanish, etc. The subtext of all this is brow — lowbrow, middlebrow and highbrow — and a fight over multiculturalism that the hard-right is fomenting. Also grinding away beneath the surface is the constant fear of dumbing down as a culture until we are sanding through our skulls to find . . . nothing at all. Libraries are at the centre of cultural anxieties, many of which are status anxieties in a time — I am not understating this — of finger-biting economic terror. How do we compare to our neighbours? Is my kid’s school better than yours? Did my kid get a better degree and eventually a better job? Did my references to Johnny Depp and Keira Knightley in Pirates endear me to my classmates? Am I a freeloading library devotee or a Thatcherite economic unit moving myself into a higher category? Is the left’s desire for total equality blocking my parental crusade to give my children an unfair advantage? I hear Del Grande with respect, booklovers with affection and Farsi readers with admiration. Each has a case to make. We thought Bay Street was the battleground for economic equality but it turns out that the local library — battered, pleasant, a bit smelly, and who knows where those germy books have been — is where civilized Torontonians have made a stand. The well-loved library, rather than snow-clearing, is our Last Chance Saloon.

Monday, 28 November 2011

Book publishers curb library access to e-books

Published On Mon Nov 28 2011
Vanessa Lu Business Reporter, Toronto Star
The Toronto Public Library’s e-book offerings are being significantly curtailed as publishers struggle to cope with the growing popularity of the new format. Penguin initially announced it was pulling all library e-titles downloaded on Amazon’s Kindle device over security concerns, but last week amended it to library access to its new Penguin e-books instead. That comes on the heels of a March decision by HarperCollins Publishers to restrict library circulation of e-book titles to 26 times, after which libraries must buy another copy. It argues that with an average two-week borrowing period, 26 times works out to a year — about the length of time printed books wear out and popularity wanes. But the Toronto Public Library hasn’t bought any HarperCollins e-titles since the new policy went into effect, because it doesn’t have the technology to keep track of downloads. Susan Caron, manager of collection development for Toronto’s libraries, said Penguin has concerns over pirating through the Kindle device, which is not sold in Canada. “We’re collateral damage,” Caron said, calling it a technical problem with Penguin officials working on a solution. “It’s huge. (Penguin is) one of the largest and most important publishers in the world.” Its titles includes paranormal romance, top literary fiction and popular authors like Nora Roberts and Tom Clancy. U.S. publishers, Simon & Schuster and Macmillan, do not sell e-books to libraries. While e-books make up less than 1 per cent of the 32 million items that the Toronto Public Library circulates, they are growing in popularity. Users can also read e-books on certain tablets and smartphones. The library’s statistics show e-book downloads jumped 196 per cent from 2009 to 2010, and are up 288 per cent so far this year from last year. On Christmas Day and Boxing Day last year, the Toronto public library saw a huge spike in downloads of its e-book collection as people tried out their new gifts. The library currently carries about 13,000 e-book titles, which are checked out more than 20,000 times each month. It can only circulate a single copy of an e-title to one borrower at a time. Patrons can borrow 10 books for up to 21 days. After the due date, the book disappears from the individual’s reading device so the item can circulate again. The global e-book market is one of the fastest growing segments of the consumer technology industry, with a compound annual growth rate of 36 per cent through 2015, according to third party market research firms. Toronto’s Kobo, which was spun off from Indigo book retailer in 2009, has been acquired by Japan’s Rakuten for $315 million (U.S.) Because library patrons can easily borrow an ebook just sitting at their computers without stepping inside a branch, publishers are naturally worried it will affect sales. Would people bother to buy books if they can conveniently access them for free? “It’s a threat. It’s very easy to understand where the book publishers are coming from, but the problem is it’s flying in the face of some version of common sense,” said Joshua Gans, a University of Toronto professor at the Rotman School of Management. “Publishers still want to hang onto the idea that one individual will buy their book, and that will be it,” Gans said. “This has never been true. If you buy a book, everybody in your household reads it. You’ll lend it to friends.” But he doesn’t believe there is a clear-cut solution yet. “Publishers may experiment. But it’s still a bit of a waiting game,” he said. Top e-books The top circulating e-books at the Toronto Public Library this month are: IQ84 by Haruki Murakami The Perfect Order of Things by David Gilmour Catherine the Great by Robert Massie Falling Backwards by Jann Arden. Source: Toronto Public Library

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Occupy Toronto Library

Here is the second in the series of  Libraries aren't just Buildings anymore.  Here is an article for the National Post on the Occupy Toronto Library book collection.

What is on the Occupy Toronto library’s reading list?

Nov 22, 2011 – 7:25 PM ET | Last Updated: Nov 22, 2011 11:11 PM ET
Mark Blinch/Reuters
Mark Blinch/Reuters
Some of the books available at Occupy Toronto's library.

As night fell on St. James Park Tuesday, two men remained chained to the yurt in St. James Park that houses what the Occupy Toronto protesters call the Toronto Open Library. On Monday afternoon, Jordon Walsh and Brandon Gray chained themselves to the yurt to keep it safe from anyone who might seek to evict them.
After they chained themselves, other members of the group built a kind of cage around the men, comprised of shipping pallets and plywood panels fastened together with nails, fishing line, nylon rope and bungee chords. A number of blue tarps cover the roof of this structure.
The men had plates stacked with sandwiches, along with candy and coffee. Mr. Gray said one of the supporters has been emptying their chamber pot.
According to the protesters, police burned 5,000 books when they evicted protesters from Zucotti Park on Wall Street in New York last week.
They say there are about 2,000 books in the yurt, all donated to the cause. The “open library,” is still open, just barely, Mr. Gray added.
“One of us has a longer leg chain and they can go and get books by request,” he said. “But you can’t browse. Blame the police.”
Among titles available:
1) Animal Farm, by George Orwell (three copies)
2) The Communist Manifesto, Karl Marx
3) Plato’s Republic
4) The Trouble With Billionaires, donated and signed by the author, Linda McQuaig, who wrote: “To my heroes in Occupy Toronto. Down with billionaires! In solidarity, Linda.”
5) The Prince, Niccolò Machiavelli
6) Manufacturing Consent, Noam Chomsky
7) Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll
8) The Paper Bag Princess, Robert Munsch
9) Selected Works of Bertolt Brecht
10) Fear and Trembling, by Soren Kirkegaard
National Post

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Murdoch Mysteries Continue!

I was very disappointed when CITY-TV cancelled the very popular television series, Murdock Mysteries, which are based on the bestselling mysteries by Canadian author, Maureen Jennings.  Like many others, I felt that the series had more stories to portray.  In addition, it is the only mystery series set in Victorian times and is popular in many countries. 
I am pleased that CBC has acquired series.  My patrons will be pleased as well.
Is the Murdoch Mysteries show popular at your library?
Toronto— Globe and Mail Update 
Last updated

Murdoch Mysteries will be moving to CBC-TV after City-TV announced earlier this year it was ending the period drama.
CBC says it has ordered a sixth season of the popular mystery series, based on a turn-of-the-century detective who pioneers radical forensic techniques to solve crimes.
Murdoch Mysteries is expected to air its fifth season on City-TV in 2012. CBC says production on more episodes is expected to begin in the spring.
CBC executive Trevor Walton says the public broadcaster is “delighted to welcome Murdoch Mysteries to the network,” noting it complements current programming.
Producer Christina Jennings says the series has many stories left to tell and that she looks forward to bringing the show to a national audience.
A favourite of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the show stars Yannick Bisson as Detective Murdoch and is set in late 1890s Toronto.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Looking for a new job?

CIA’s ‘vengeful librarians’ monitoring Twitter, Facebook


McLean, Va.— The Associated Press
In an unassuming brick building, the CIA is following tweets - up to five million a day.  At the agency's Open Source Centre, a team know affectionately as the "vengeful librarians: also pores over Facebook, newspaper, TV news channels, local radio stations, Internet chat rooms - anything overseas that anyone can access and contribute to openly.

From Arabic to Mandarin Chinese, from an angry tweet to a thoughtful blog, the analysts gather the information, often in native tongue. They cross-reference it with the local newspaper or a clandestinely intercepted phone conversation. From there, they build a picture sought by the highest levels at the White House, giving a real-time peek, for example, at the mood of a region after the Navy SEAL raid that killed Osama bin Laden or perhaps a prediction of which Mideast nation seems ripe for revolt.

Yes, they saw the uprising in Egypt coming; they just didn’t know exactly when revolution might hit, said the centre’s director, Doug Naquin.

The centre already had “predicted that social media in places like Egypt could be a game-changer and a threat to the regime,” he said in a recent interview with The Associated Press at the centre. CIA officials said it was the first such visit by a reporter the agency has ever granted.
The CIA facility was set up in response to a recommendation by the 9/11 Commission, with its first priority to focus on counterterrorism and counterproliferation. But its several hundred analysts – the actual number is classified – track a broad range, from Chinese Internet access to the mood on the street in Pakistan.

While most are based in Virginia, the analysts also are scattered throughout U.S. embassies worldwide to get a step closer to the pulse of their subjects.

The most successful analysts, Naquin said, are something like the heroine of the crime novel The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, a quirky, irreverent computer hacker who “knows how to find stuff other people don’t know exists.”

Those with a masters’ degree in library science and multiple languages, especially those who grew up speaking another language, “make a powerful open source officer,” Mr. Naquin said.

The centre had started focusing on social media after watching the Twitter-sphere rock the Iranian regime during the Green Revolution of 2009, when thousands protested the results of the elections that put Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad back in power. “Farsi was the third largest presence in social media blogs at the time on the Web,” Mr. Naquin said.
The centre’s analysis ends up in President Barack Obama’s daily intelligence briefing in one form or another, almost every day.

After Mr. bin Laden was killed in Pakistan in May, the CIA followed Twitter to give the White House a snapshot of world public opinion.

Since tweets can’t necessarily be pegged to a geographic location, the analysts broke down reaction by languages. The result: The majority of Urdu tweets, the language of Pakistan, and Chinese tweets, were negative. China is a close ally of Pakistan’s. Pakistani officials protested the raid as an affront to their nation’s sovereignty, a sore point that continues to complicate U.S.-Pakistani relations.

When the president gave his speech addressing Mideast issues a few weeks after the raid, the tweet response over the next 24 hours came in negative from Turkey, Egypt, Yemen, Algeria, the Persian Gulf and Israel, too, with speakers of Arabic and Turkic tweets charging that Mr. Obama favored Israel, and Hebrew tweets denouncing the speech as pro-Arab.
In the next few days, major news media came to the same conclusion, as did analysis by the covert side of U.S. intelligence based on intercepts and human intelligence gathered in the region.

The centre is also in the process of comparing its social media results with the track record of polling organizations, trying to see which produces more accurate results, Mr. Naquin said.
“We do what we can to caveat that we may be getting an overrepresentation of the urban elite,” said Naquin, acknowledging that only a small slice of the population in many areas they are monitoring has access to computers and Internet. But he points out that access to social media sites via cellphones is growing in areas like Africa, meaning a “wider portion of the population than you might expect is sounding off and holding forth than it might appear if you count the Internet hookups in a given country.”

Sites like Facebook and Twitter also have become a key resource for following a fast-moving crisis such as the riots that raged across Bangkok in April and May of last year, the centre’s deputy director said. The Associated Press agreed not to identify him because he sometimes still works undercover in foreign countries.

As director, Mr. Naquin is identified publicly by the agency although the location of the centre is kept secret to deter attacks, whether physical or electronic.
The deputy director was one of a skeleton crew of 20 U.S. government employees who kept the U.S. embassy in Bangkok running throughout the rioting as protesters surged through the streets, swarming the embassy neighborhood and trapping U.S. diplomats and Thais alike in their homes.

The army moved in, and traditional media reporting slowed to a trickle as local reporters were either trapped or cowed by government forces.

“But within an hour, it was all surging out on Twitter and Facebook,” the deputy director said. The CIA homed in on 12 to 15 users who tweeted situation reports and cellphone photos of demonstrations. The CIA staff cross-referenced the tweeters with the limited news reports to figure out who among them was providing reliable information. Tweeters also policed themselves, pointing out when someone else had filed an inaccurate account.
“That helped us narrow down to those dozen we could count on,” he said.

Ultimately, some two-thirds of the reports coming out of the embassy being sent back to all branches of government in Washington came from the CIA’s open source analysis throughout the crisis.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

10 reasons this man is giving up his Amazon Kindle

November 01, 2011 By Ellen Roseman, Toronto Star 
A reporter tries out a new $79 Kindle reader, Amazon's cheapest model ever, at a news conference during the launch of Amazon's new tablets in New York, September 28, 2011.
A $79 Kindle reader, Amazon's cheapest model, at a launch of Amazon's new tablets in New York, September 28, 2011.
I'm a fan of electronic readers. So, I was surprised to hear that Jim Edmonds has had enough of his Amazon Kindle after using it for two years.
He gave me 10 reasons why he's going back to physical books.(Some reasons have more to do with the Kindle than with other models.)
1) You don't actually own the e-books you buy. They're only licensed for you to use on a Kindle and/or Kindle software.
2) Amazon tracks what you read on your Kindle (as outlined in its terms of service agreement).
3) Most e-books have DRM (digital rights management) and can only be used on a specific device, such as the Kindle or the Nook (from Barnes and Noble in the U.S.)
4) You can't donate, resell or give away e-books that you've bought.
5) You can lend some e-books once, but only if the author or publisher allows it. Most don't..
6) You have no way of knowing that the e-books you're buying will work on any other device in the future.  You might have to repurchase them to use on another device.
7) Prices for e-books are going up. They sometimes cost more than a regular book
8) E-books usually have more errors in them than physical books do.
9) Your local libraries may have a limited selection of e-books. And the waiting list for e-books may be longer than for physical books.
10) Your local library may not have e-books in its catalogue before they're released, so you can't get onto a waiting list in advance (but only after release).
Edmonds often sends me his comments. He's president of Fellowes Canada, which specializes  in records storage, shredding machines and computer accessories.
I'd argue with him about his seventh point. E-book prices are going up, but only because publishers are flexing their muscles and dictating what Amazon, Kobo, Sony and Apple can charge. They felt Amazon's early pricing was predatory.
The $9.99 price isn't as widespread as it once was, but it's still around. And I've never seen an e-book that costs more than a physical book, unless it's an esoteric title.
Meanwhile, I'd agree with him that e-books often have errors. And I've had some bad experiences when my reader stopped working.
Recently, my Sony Reader was replaced with a later model. I kept all the e-books I'd purchased (a few dozen), but lost all my bookmarks during the transition.
As a result, I couldn't pick up where I'd left off and had to search for the spots where I'd stopped reading. I doubt that would happen with cardboard bookmarks inside traditional books.
Amazon launched its first Kindle in late 2007. We're still discovering how this new business works and how it may evolve. And thanks to Edmonds, we have a list of reasons why e-books may not be everyone's choice.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

On the regular search of the Internet for new Viewers' Advisory tools, I came across this posting on the blog, 'Cataloguing Antelopes'.  It introduces a great resource that I had not come across,

Here is the discussion on the website from 'Cataloguing Antelopes':

The idea was possibly using You Tube to search for a film using keywords, much like many readers advisory services out there.  Searching on You Tube, however, is difficult, unwieldy, and many times, completely futile.
Enter Anyclip.
Anyclip is a new service that was introduced at the TechCrunch50 conference a few weeks ago.  Basically, these developers have created a movie clip search engine, which will allow users to “find any moment from any film, instantly.”  Imagine the possibilities.  A library patron approaches the desk and is trying to find a movie.  She can’t remember the title, but she thinks she remembers an actor’s name and can describe a scene.  I get these kinds of questions from friends all the time:  “You know that movie?  A surfer kid has a pizza delivered to class, and the guy from My Favorite Martian is the teacher.  What is that movie?”  If you didn’t know off hand, you could simply enter a few of these keywords into Anyclip, and voila–Fast Times at Ridgemont High.

Right now, the site seems to be targeting movie lovers, studios, and the online film community, but this is a service that could really prove its value for libraries. 

Here is Anyclip's description of their product:

AnyClip is a tagging technology that extracts and indexes metadata of full-length feature films. This database, available through our open API, enhances the user experience on third-party websites, ncluding video, travel, fashion, sports, and dating, as well as location based services. Publishers and educators can also enrich their content with our syndicated player. AnyClip is the premier video resource for movie studios to monetize and promote their libraries of entertainment online by connecting consumers with the emotional experience of viewing movie clips to make purchasing decisions.

This could be very helpful at the information desk, especially for patrons who are remember things visually. Do you think this would be helpful as a Viewers' Advisory Tool?

Monday, 17 October 2011

Warner Home Video DVD Releases for Public Libraries

I just came across this announcement from Midwest Tapes regarding Warner DVDs from movies released theatrically. 

For library users, those who cannot purchase these DVDs will not only not be able to see the movies on the release date, but also will lose the extras that make watching the DVD version so interesting.

What do you think of this decision?

We have recently learned that Warner Home Video will no longer distribute theatrical releases to libraries or home video rental stores until 28 days after they release the movies for sale at retailers. This Warner Home Video policy applies to all public libraries and video rental outlets such as Redbox, Netflix, and Blockbuster.

In addition to being released 28 days after the retail version, Warner’s rental version DVDs and Blu-rays will not contain bonus features or extras. However, we understand that there will be a significant price reduction for these products, apparently amounting to an average $4 per DVD title and $8 per Blu-ray title (see cost breakdown below).

Warner Home Video has announced that it may seek to enforce its new policy by auditing its distribution partners’ sales. Additionally, Warner may require retailers, like Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart, and Target, to limit the number of copies of a new release that may be sold to a single customer.

Please note that Warner’s new policy will only impact titles that have a theatrical release, perhaps amounting to about 12 titles per year. Non-theatrical Warner releases will not be affected by this policy.

Below are the first three Warner theatrical titles affected. Note that Warner’s rental versions will feature rental artwork.

Monday, 10 October 2011

ALA Recommended Viewing List

I am always on the look out for Viewers' Advisory tools.  On another of my tours around the Internet, I found the ALA Recommended Viewing List, which includes links from Booklist and the Carnegie medal and is sorted by age.

Note at the end the promotion of ALA product.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Materials Matchmaking: Articulating Whole Library Advisory

In my research on Viewers' Advisory, I had looked at how factors of appeal can be transferred from Readers' Advisory.

This article from Tara Bannon Williamson in RUSQ builds on the factors of appeal to use them for all types of materials.

She also provides five 'bundles' which feature a theme and a representative book, CD and DVD. She explains the benefits of the bundles:

It is important to note that customers may not know to request a matchmaking intervention, and as librarians, we need to be bold enough to offer it to them. This can be achieved simply and without library jargon. Customers requesting a popular title may face an extensive wait list as more and more customers take advantage of the library’s offerings. After placing their request and before they walk away, asking if they are looking for a movie for tonight/the weekend/a special occasion can get the ball rolling.

I really like this approach.  It provides patrons with a sensory experience while exploring a theme. As library advisors, we may have not thought of ourselves in that light.  We can promote the wide variety of our collections with this method. 

Ms Bannon Williamson ends her article with the following:

Until a database similar to Novelist for providing recommendations for movies or music is created, or tools such as an algorithm that generates suggestions based on either customer or librarian input, or a recommendation engine is made available to libraries, any librarian can learn the skills needed to smoothly navigate the materials matchmaking request using skills based in readers’ advisory.

We are navigators to our collections.  Let's begin the voyage.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Libraries Aren't Just Buildings Anymore

The name of the this blog is Libraries Aren't Just Books Anymore.  However, for this entry anyway, I am going to change the name to Libraries Aren't Just Buildings Anymore.  The Little Free Library is a grassroots movement that brings books to where people are to create a sense of community.  Isn't that what it is all about.

The little library that could. . .

Published On Sat Sep 17 2011 Toronto Star

Leslie Scrivener Feature Writer
On Felton Place, a residential street in Madison, Wis., there is a very small library holding about 20 books. Not much bigger than a bird house, the little library is of rustic construction. A door adds to the charm and to the notion that the books are to be valued and protected. It belongs to retired professor Marshall Cook and his wife Ellen. Within three kilometres of their house, there are a dozen more little libraries, each with an ever-changing assortment of books. Look at the titles. There’s something for everyone. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, I’m a Stranger Here Myself by Bill Bryson, Pippi in the South Seas by Astrid Lindgren and even Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul IV. It’s based on the pay it forward principle. Take a book, leave a book. The Cook’s library is part of the Little Free Library project to spread tiny libraries and the love of reading around the United States and beyond. The project started in 2009, the idea of Wisconsin men Rick Brooks and Todd Bol, two recession-era Andrew Carnegies. “A book shelf where you share books is a great idea,” says Brooks, 55, “but these little houses for books appeal to people’s emotional needs for friends and neighbours, a sense of community and feeling that we are all in this together.” He adds: “Go to a bookstore, there are so many books it’s overwhelming.” Still, the turnover in a little library can be impressive. At a Little Free Library outside the Indie Coffee shop in Madison, more than 1,000 books have changed hands since November. Most little libraries are in public areas, though some are also in front yards. Little libraries are not a dustbin for a reader’s discards. “Don’t think of this as a way to get rid of your books,” says Brooks, “but to share your favourite books or those that may have changed your life.” Bol, a 63-year old who travels around Wisconsin with a trailer full of little libraries, says people are often reluctant to sell their books. “But when they share books they are sharing something of themselves.” The little libraries cost about $350. They can be ordered or built do-it-yourself from architectural plans. The men have built about 100, most in the Madison area, but they have had 42,000 inquiries, including some from Canada. Here in Toronto, where threats of closures and reduced services threaten one of the most successful library systems in the world, little libraries may be just the thing. We could see them strung like little hobbit houses along the bike paths or in parks or outside the houses of public-spirited citizens and officials. The mayor might even want a no-frills little library stocked with belt-tightening titles for everyone’s edification: Profit Building: Cutting Costs Without Cutting People; The Budget Kit: The Common Cents Money Management Workbook; Rethink: A Business Manifesto for Cutting Costs and Boosting Innovation and, of course, Small is Beautiful. For more information, visit

Monday, 12 September 2011

The Bankruptcy of Blockbuster and the Future of Viewers' Advisory

I recently found this article on the CBC website.

The decline of video chains like Blockbuster has led to discussion about how independent neighbourhood video stores are faring.

CBC commenter
solus909 has started renting movies from a local store again because of dissatisfaction with the online experience.

"I got tired of paying fines to Rogers for exceeding my monthly GB [gigabyte] allowance," the commenter wrote.

"I find downloading HD movies time-consuming and sort of a pain...and, as a movie buff, I was missing all the extras that are on DVDs."
Some film aficionados, like CBC Community member Matt Bingley, prefer renting from independent video stores because of the wider movie selection and knowledgeable employees (my emphasis)."They point you in the right direction and very often lead you to the section you never thought about," he wrote.

"Also, in respect to the stores that aren't part of chains like Queen Video in Toronto, they have the best selection of off-beat movies that a big corporate franchise would never think about renting."

This discussion confirms what I have been thinking about with regards to my library's DVD collection.  Although we do have a local independent video store in town, our DVD circulation is not declining.  With my library's niche collection of British television comedies and dramas, my patrons are finding a different selection than the video store.  Although I am still training some of my staff to be more knowledgeable about movies, patrons have the confidence in my library staff's knowledge that they come to them with requests for suggestions as well as requests to purchase.  Viewers' Advisory continues to be a vital service in public libraries and a great opportunity to enhance usage and visibility.  With the high cost of Internet downloads in Canada, it won't go away any time soon.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Great Movie - One Week

A week or so ago, CBC television aired the Canadian movie, One Week.  I had heard good things about it, so I wanted to see it.  I also mentioned it to a number of friends who also had a opportunity to see it.

What a fantastic movie!.  The main character in the movie, Ben Tyler, is diagnosed with a terminal illness and decides to go on a road trip from Toronto to British Columbia to think things through.  Although this sounds depressing, the trip is a homage to the beauty and quirkiness of the Canadian landscape as well as a look into the human spirit.  Also, the sound track has some great songs. (Sunparlour Players are from Essex County, my home area).

Here are some reviews:

"One Week is unabashedly, unapologetically and proudly Canadian from Leafs references to Sudbury's giant nickel but for once, that's a great thing! "
Barrett Hooper, NOW MAGAZINE

"***** "If you see only one movie this year ... make it One Week.""
-Kathleen Bell, SEE MAGAZINE

"It's a very Canadian adventure, showcasing this country¿ beautiful landscape and stopping at every bizarre world's biggest monument along the way. Like any good road trip, the soundtrack is amazing, filled with atmospheric indie rock provided by Stars, Great Lake Swimmers, Sunparlour Players and the like! "

"A unique and memorable Canadian feature film. Rarely does a film like this come along that moves me to tears, inspires me to use the time that I have left and has left me in utter awe of a filmmaker that is bound to have a long and lasting future creating films. Rare even more is the fact that One Week is the best example of Canadian cinema, one that transcends the usual cliche associated with films from up North! "

One thing I did wonder about about how the locations for some of the scenes were chosen.

Joshua Jackson won Best Actor at the 2010 Genie Awards for his portrayal of Ben Tyler. Liane Balaban who plays his fiancee was nominated for Best Supporting Actress.

The 2011 edition of the Gemini Awards for excellence in Canadian television airs tonight on CBC television.  If you haven't already added to your television series collections shows such as Being Erica and the Murdoch Mysteries, they are a must!

Monday, 29 August 2011

More Book Decor

Novel Ideas: Books as Furniture & Functional Décor

Unloved and unwanted, millions of books are sent to landfills when their text is no longer valuable in itself; the glue in the spine makes them difficult to recycle. But shift their function from repositories for words and pictures to physical building blocks for furniture and décor, and suddenly they once again become desirable objects. These 14 bookcases, stools, lamps, vases, counters and even planters give old books a new life.

Counters & Desks

(images via: the design files, inhabitat)
Stacked and covered with a countertop, books make a surprisingly strong – and beautiful – basis for a desk or counter.  Bookstore Brunswick Bound in Melbourne built a relatively small one, while Delft University went big and colorful for the front desk of its architectural library. The books in the latter were actually salvaged when a devastating fire in the Architecture building destroyed most of the library. The salvaged books represent a physical and metaphoric link to the building’s past.

Invisible Book Shelf

(images via: maydecemberhome)
Invisible book shelves are a fun way to display books on the wall, but look for a tutorial so you can DIY, and you’ll find that most of them require the destruction of the book that will form the base of the shelf. The blog May December Home Accessories uses simple L-brackets to achieve the same look without sacrificing any books.

Books as Planters

(images via:
As planters, it hardly seems as if books would hold water (literally). But Italian company Gartenkultur specially modifies unwanted books of all sorts, drilling holes into them and sealing the inside of the ‘pot’ with an insulating material. Considering that paper comes from trees, using books as pots for bonsais seems like an especially poetic way to allow books to ‘get back to their roots’.

Book Shelves by Jim Rosenau

(image via: eco-artware, verdelivre)
Jim Rosenau collects thousands of old hardback books, saving them from dumpsters and library discard piles and transforming them into functional furniture. His work ranges from simple wall-mounted shelves created using 3-5 books to large six-tiered bookcases.

Book Vases, Lamp & Stool by Laura Cahill

(images via: dezeen)
Delicate and ephemeral-looking, these books will long outlast the outdated text on their pages in their new lives as vases, lamps and a stool. Laura Cahill uses a band saw and traditional book-binding methods, creating three-dimensional forms from the cut pages. The pages that form the lantern-like vases are formed around a test tube to create a functional piece, while the stool was created by bolting books together along with wood that forms the legs.

Paperback Chair

(images via: casasugar)
This weird one-of-a-kind chair was made entirely from recycled and reclaimed materials including scrap metal for the frame and paperback books from the discard bins at the local library. Made by artist David Karoff for Providence, RI’s Myopic Books, the paperback chair is definitely an eye-catching piece, though its comfort may be in question.

Hanging Décor from Vintage Books

(image via: rpscissors)
Throwing a party for a book lover? Try your hand at some beautiful hanging décor made from vintage books. Cut into shapes and fanned out into three-dimensional forms, this unusual ‘chandelier’ made by NYC event décor & prop resource {found} vintage rentals was a great choice for a themed bridal shower.

Stacks as Side Tables

(image via: real simple)
Using books as furniture and décor doesn’t get much simpler than this. Real Simple Magazine highlights a low-key, stress-free organized home wherein a large book collection is kept visible and accessible in stacks around the room, but also functions as side tables.

Literary Lamp

(image via: thrifty fun)
Craftily-cut pages aren’t the only way to turn old books into a lamp. Using a lamp kit or recycled lamp parts and a drill bit that’s slightly larger than the pole used to support the lamp, a stack of books can form a totally custom library lamp.

Couch Made of Books

(image via: shelterpop)
In the movie Paper Man starring Jeff Bridges, a couch made of books made a memorable appearance. Bridges’ character, an author frustrated both with his work and the ugly couch in his living room, built a sofa using unsold copies of his last novel. The same concept – using any old books you can find, and a roll of tape – could easily be duplicated as a DIY project.


(image via:
The Bibliochase is a cozy chair and a bookcase in one, making it easy to sit back, relax, read a book and pick up another when you’re done. While it’s not exactly recycling or reusing books in any way, it does cut back on the amount of furniture you need to purchase, which is especially helpful for small-space living.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

What do you do with old books? Turn them into decor, of course !

Lisa Occhipinti’s Narrative Vases are often made with illustrated books. - Lisa Occhipinti’s Narrative Vases are often made with illustrated books. | Lisa Occhipinti
From Saturday's Globe and Mail
For some people, the most potent smell of summer has nothing to do with Coppertone. It’s a decidedly earthier bouquet: pine sap, wood smoke – and books. Those would be the people who ignore the crisp paperback in their beach tote and instead spend the weekend riffling through the swayback bookshelf at the musty cottage they rented off the Internet, then poring over un-putdownable titles like Puck of Pook’s Hill or Bourinot’s Rules of Order.
For them (okay, us), old books are like identity documents, household gods with bent spines and beloved covers – “conduits of memory” is how Toronto curator Noa Bronstein describes them. “Carriers of fingerprints, coffee and wine stains, folds, tears and annotations, books become a reflection and extension of the self.”
What happens to memory, then, as we enter a post-book age, where the physical form is becoming a quaint throwback, replaced by the sleek lines of the latest eReader?

Clearly, nostalgia is helping fuel the trend to repurposing old books as objects of design – elevating them, according to U.S. artist Lisa Occhipinti, “to a new form where the cover can be seen as an image and the insides, the pages, can be freed to reveal their tone, their words, their typography, their illustration.”
Examples are stacking up. Vintage hardcover books are used for lamp bases and shades, a clever play on the culture of reading lamps. Anthropologie stores feature  lights incorporating old book spines, while haute U.K. upcycler Lula Dot offers a stunning chandelier using vintage books splayed into sconces.
In Esquire, a review of hardboiled fiction featured a skull fashioned from the pages of a book, a technique made famous by Italy’s Stefano Arienti. Meanwhile, shops show off shoes perched on book pedestals, while Toronto’s EQ3 furniture shop pleats the pages of display books like fancy napkins.
Occhipinti offers more possibilities in The Repurposed Library (yes, that’s a book), turning old tomes into mobiles, desktop sculptures and kitchen containers. She even gets meta with a set of bookshelves made of books.

But are these inventive interventions an homage to the book or another page torn from Gutenberg’s achievement?

Both, depending on the project and the viewer, says Bronstein, who’s the acting curator for the Toronto-based Design Exchange’s Out of Sorts: Print Culture and Book Design, a show that explores the future of the book. The works on display include Occhipinti’s Bookmobile, a poignant construction of looped pages created from a 1901 book on bees, and Jardin de la Connaissance, a bench built of books by Thilo Folkerts and Rodney LaTourelle.

“I find appropriative book art quite moving and rarely if ever an assault, while others would say the reverse,” Bronstein says. “I think that is precisely why these works are so effective.”
Jardin was originally designed for a landscape installation at Quebec’s Reford Gardens, in which walls and paths of books were allowed to decay in the woods. Some design bloggers found the idea of returning books to nature lovely, while others were like vegetarians told it was okay to eat roadkill: “The idea of deliberately letting books perish like this just makes me cringe and curl up inside,” one wrote. “Any other material than Books!!!”

Occhipinti is sensitive to the charge that any kind of messing with books is sacrilege and sticks to those headed for landfill (often a subjective evaluation). Perhaps the more irredeemable a book, the more thoughtfulness its transformation requires. Beyond her crafty projects, Occhipinti has created more austere works, gathering ruined fragments of obsolete information into sculptural statements.

Book nerds both, Occhipinti and Bronstein have their summer reading lined up, including A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan (Bronstein) and The Summer Before Dark by Doris Lessing (Occhipinti).
Of course, if they happen to be at a cottage with a good bookshelf, they may never get around to them.

Monday, 15 August 2011

The Future of Libraries

Last week, I attended a couple of meetings/workshops on the future of libraries.

First, I facilitated my board's SWOT analysis, demographics and library trends in preparation for the library's new strategic plan.  We discussed a wide range of issues but some came to the forefront for me - the electronic information/format explosion, decreased funding and the increase of 'have nots' in Canadian society. 

At the Marketing Think Tank, the first speaker in the panel discussion on the future of libraries started off with the statement that libraries are screwed and no longer will be viable in the age of Netflix, downloadable music and ebooks.  He did state that his view changed during the Think Tank with the vision and enthusiasm of marketing staff in libraries.

When I mentioned to a friend, an electrical engineer, that the renovated Central Library in Hamilton had 48 Internet stations in an 'Internet Commons', he could not believe that not everyone had Internet at home.

At the end of last week, I came to the realization that the library is probably going to be even more important in the new economy where fewer people will have a good middle class income and will have to come to the place like the library to participate in the pay-as-you-go electronic subscription and registration world.  Libraries will have to be more nimble in finding new and alternative sources of income and rework the traditional model.

This is both disheartening and energizing.  The current public library CEOs will have to either embrace the new world which is very different to what they have successfully done in the past or bring more of the newer generation who understand the implications of the future.

How will this play out?

Monday, 8 August 2011


Today at work I had to replace several seasons of different television series.  Only one disk from the series was damaged.  It is frustrating to keep reordering the same series.  Most of my television series still have strong circulation.

This issue is the same as the cassette and CD unabridged talking books.  One of the set is damaged and you have to replace the whole set unless the library purchased from companies that offered one off replacements.

I wish we could do this with television series.  Maybe libraries could set up a system and offer the disks to others as a purchase or exchange.

No wonder my DVD budget is almost overspent!

Sunday, 31 July 2011

Toronto Public Library in the News

The new mayor of Toronto, Rob Ford, was elected last October on getting the 'gravy' out of the city budgets.  He is having some 'challenges' trying to find it. He has stated that the city must find savings to cover a $774 million budget shortfall.

Last week, Mayor Ford's brother, Doug who is a city councillor, stated that there were more public libraries than Tim Hortons in his ward. (This was found to be incorrect). He also indicated that he would cut a library branch "in a heartbeat". (According to the Ontario Public Libraries Act, the municipal council cannot ask the library board to cut a specific service or location, only decrease the municipal grant.)

Respected author Margaret Atwood came forward to defend Toronto Public Library via Twitter.  She asked the community to sign a petition to oppose library cuts. Here is Councillor Ford's response:
"Well, good luck to Margaret Atwood, I don't even know her. If she could walk by me I wouldn't even have a clue who she is," Ford told reporters on Tuesday. "But she's not down here, she's not dealing with the problems, and if she did, tell her to go run in the next election and get democratically elected and we'd be more than happy to sit down and listen to Margaret Atwood."  The next day, he tempered his additional comments: “What I was saying is, everyone knows who Margaret Atwood is. But if she were to come up to 98% of the people, they wouldn’t know who she was. But I think she’s a great writer and I look forward to her input. And saying that, we have to look for $774-million and we have to look at efficiencies right across the board.”

On Friday, the Executive Committee of Toronto Council listened to 20 hours straight of public delegations on the budget.  The most impassioned appeals came from those supporting the library. No decisions on the cuts for the 2012 budget have been made.

The Toronto Public Library is the busiest public library system in North America.  Canadian libraries have not had the massive cuts of many U.S. and U.K. libraries.  However, future cuts cannot be discounted in Ontario and the rest of Canada.

Have your libraries been affected by budget cuts?

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Film Festivals

Film Festivals are a great way to find out what may be the next great movie.  Many enthusiastic movie goers (and library patrons!) are in the loop. 

The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) has announced some of its lineup for September 2011.

The U2 documentary, "From the Sky Down" opens the Festival.

Other highlights for the 11-day event include Brad Pitt's baseball tale "Moneyball;" George Clooney's political saga "The Ides of March;" Jennifer Garner, Hugh Jackman and Olivia Wilde's comic story "Butter;" and Keira Knightley's Sigmund Freud-Carl Jung drama "A Dangerous Method," with Viggo Mortensen and Michael Fassbender.

Since I am working an hour away from Toronto, many people from my community attend.  One of my former libraries, the Ajax Public Library, offers a film series in conjunction with its Friends group which features highlights from the past year's TIFF.

Do you attend Film Festivals?

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Viewing Map - Bend it Like Beckham

I was introduced to Reading Maps while teaching a course on Readers' Advisory.  The charting of additional titles to find out more about a book read was compelling, but daunting to someone like me who is not so detailled oriented.

However, when preparing my viewers' advisory presentation for the Ontario Library Association Conference, I did look at a Viewer's Map for a Bend it like Beckam.

With the assistance of my Viewers' Advisory Bible, VideoHound's Golden Movie Retriever, I was able to locate a couple of  topic lists.

Bend It Like Beckam Viewing Map

 ¡Female Bonding           

Calendar Girls             
First Wives Club            
Thelma and Louise  
Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood  

Culture Clash 
The Namesake
My Beautiful Laundrette    
My Big Fat Greek Wedding    
Bride and Prejudice
This technique can be applied to a wide range of movies.  I would be interested to hear from others who have used this technique or have just tried it now!

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Will and Kate

I decided to spend Canada Day on Parliament Hill to see Will and Kate (with only 100,000 + of my closest friends).  It was certainly worth it despite the crowds, the heat, the sun and the peeling skin.  Canada has welcomed the new Royal Couple in a 'royal' way.

When I got back to work, I decided to put a short list on my library's readers'/viewers' advisory blog of some of our new British television/movie DVDs and noticed that the Will and Kate wedding DVD has already arrived on our shelves.  We have many Anglophiles in my community, so it should fly off the shelves like all our other British DVDs.

Did your library buy the Will and Kate wedding DVD?

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

The last movie in the Harry Potter franchise will have its World Premier in London on Thursday with North American and U.K. openings on July 15.  The books and movies have attracted viewers of all ages which is great for viewers' advisory suggestions.

Will your library have any special celebrations to mark the end?

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Toronto Goes Bollywood!

Toronto is hosting the International Indian Academy Awards on June 25th which celebrate the past year's Bollywood films and actors. India has the largest movie industry in the world.

There is alot of buzz in Toronto this week with the arrivals of the Indian film stars into Pearson airport.  The success of movies such as Slum Dog Millionaire has brought them to a wider audience.

The Greater Toronto Area has a large South Asian population.  When I worked at the Ajax Public Library, I helped start a collection of Hindi movies which proved to be very popular.

Serving the Viewers' Advisory needs of newcomers to the country who speak languages other than English (and French in Canada) can be a challenge.  When the selector or advisor does not understand the languages, suggestions can be difficult to do.

Fortunately there are vendors who specialize in foreign language movies and can provide assistance in selection and movie content.  Making connections with the communities can help determine interests and titles.

Does your library provide foreign language movie collections?  How do you provide Viewers' Advisory Service for these films?

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

ALA and Viewers' Advisory

I have been looking at the ALA conference's workshop lineup and noticed that there will be a Viewers' Advisory session.  Here is the summary:

Two Thumbs Up: The Genres, Directors and Films You Should Know to Give Awesome Viewers Advisory
Organizer/Speaker: Kati Irons, Music and Film Librarian, Selection and Acquisition, Pierce County (Wash.) Library. Additional Speaker: John Fossett, Collection Manager, Kitsap Regional Library (Wash.).
Is your idea of "Viewer's Advisory" pointing to IMDB and walking away? Are you not exactly sure what Viewers Advisory or IMDB are? You don't have to read every book to give great Reader's Advisory, so why feel that way about movies? This mini-survey course of notable genres, directors and films will give you tools to face Viewer's Advisory questions with confidence.
Is anyone going to ALA in New Orleans this year?  Can someone provide feedback if they attended this session?  I would like to know if there are any new tips.  If either of the presenters is reading this blog, please contact me!

I can't believe that it has been two and half years since I gave my session on Viewers' Advisory at the Ontario Public Library Association Conference!

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Cool Blog - Libraries at the Movies

I just found this cool blog as I was searching around to see what I was going to write about this week.

Libraries at the Movies looks at movies that include libraries.  For some movies, libraries and librarians play a key role, while in others, libraries are less prominent. No matter how big or how small the role of the library is in the movie, libraries are stars!

This theme would make a great display or DVD list.

Check out the blog: