The Seattle Public Library has physical comics for children, teens, and adults available for checkout in all of our 27 locations, as well as through our mobile services. We also have comics available through our Hoopla Digital service. But did you know, amongst all of the mysteries, memoirs, and literary fiction e-books, that we also have approximately 1,700 “comic and graphic works” in our OverDrive collection?! This collection includes popular kids comics like the Narwhal and Jelly series, relatable webcomics such as “Sarah’s Scribbles,” award winners like Kindred… and even the 2019 Seattle Reads selection The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui!
To many it came as a shock. Just as conventional wisdom chorused that in our increasingly plugged-in society print books were destined to get left behind, a series of studies and articles from such sources as Nielsen, Publishing Technology, Hewlett Packard, The Pew Research Center, and The Washington Post overwhelmingly agreed that not only was print as popular as ever, but that younger digital natives are some of its most devoted fans. But the very latest data suggests this is starting to change, as hip young readers are forsaking paper for the retro-cool of parchment, papyrus, clay and stone. “I guess we shouldn’t be surprised.” observed cultural commentator DuPrise Blevins of the Myrick Millennial Institute, “Once it became clear that books were still hot, kids just naturally try to top each other. So we had the incunabula craze, and illuminated monk-punk. Then papyrus scrolls were popping up everywhere, in malls and at the clubs. This year, it’s clay. Everything is clay.” Continue reading “Kids Agree: Books are no longer cool”
Ok. Ok. I’m a laggard. Now, I don’t consider myself to be a Luddite, but I’ve been hanging on to print for dear life. But, the 13 hour flight to New Zealand loomed ever closer. Was I really going to lug all of that paper with me? Of course, it wouldn’t have been just one book. The idea of being trapped with a book that I didn’t like has always propelled me to bring a variety of reading matter on my travels, from old New Yorkers (judiciously saved) to the ever growing pile of books from one too many trips to Powell’s. It was time to commit. I did have to make some serious choices. Would it be a Touch or a Fire? I had already given up on my heart’s true desire, an iPad, as too pricey. No wannabe me, I bought the Touch.
Was it easy to set-up? Yes. Was it easy to read the font? Yes. Did the Library’s downloads work? Like a charm (with some fabulous directions). It even saved me from blindness as the booklight on my Kindle’s case illuminated the text despite the crazy angle of the plane’s overhead spotlight. Even so, did it drive me absolutely crazy? You bet. Where were the page numbers? And that Touch control left a lot to be desired. Either I landed up poking the screen at multiple points to turn the page, or worse yet, I suddenly found myself pages ahead or behind myself. Now don’t get me started on bookmarks. If you don’t bookmark that important passage, you know, the one that identifies all of the valets and ladies maids in that English house mystery, how are earth are you supposed to find the right page in Chapter 1? And the worst of all was that I couldn’t get rid of other readers’ highlighted passages. Now, what are friends for but to explain patiently about the menu options which change depending on your screen location. Even then, it was hard to find the settings option.
But persevere I did. And, as I flew many thousands of miles over the Pacific, I did manage a few good reads. The valets and ladies maids did ultimately straighten themselves out in Anne Perry’s Ashworth Hall. And then there was The Best American Crime Reporting, a wonderful catalog of depravity and weirdness. Most delightful of all was The Hare with Amber Eyes(not available as an ebook from The Library). I learned about netsuke and the amazing journey of a family’s collection from Belle Epoque Paris to wartime Vienna to postwar Japan.
I guess I’m hooked, at least for my next set of travels. But meanwhile, I’ll return to that pile of books by my bed.
The Seattle Public Library system consists of 27 buildings, including the Central Library and 26 neighborhood branches. All together, this fair system has a total floor area of approximately 600,000 square feet, or the equivalent of 10 and a half football fields (including the end zones).
The latest version of Apple’s iPhone is 4.5 inches x 2.4 inches and is less than half an inch thick. You can hold it in your hand. It slides easily into your pocket. You could place eight million iPhones, side-by-side, on the total floor area of the library.
Even though the library’s digital book service Safari Books Online hasn’t been at the forefront of my pleasure reading (no page-turning fiction to be found here!), I thought I’d take a look through it the other day — maybe there would be SOMETHING in it for me. I immediately liked that you don’t have to download any software to use it, and you don’t have to check the books out. You just go to the site, put in your card number and PIN, and read the book on the screen. Easy.
But the topics— not so easy looking! Databases, hardware, IT management — forget those. I clicked on E-Commerce, thinking of shopping online… And on the first page, there it was: The Manga Guide to Calculus. WHAT? Of course I had to read more — and it’s amazing! Here’s the story line (yes, it has a story line): “Noriko is just getting started as a junior reporter for the Asagake Times. She wants to cover the hard-hitting issues, like world affairs and politics, but does she have the smarts for it? Thankfully, her overbearing and math-minded boss, Mr. Seki, is here to teach her how to analyze her stories with a mathematical eye. In The Manga Guide to Calculus , you’ll follow along with Noriko as she learns that calculus is more than just a class designed to weed out would-be science majors.”
Even if I didn’t want to learn the calculus (which I didn’t), it was fascinating just to see how they presented it using manga characters and art. Not only that, but there are five more titles in the Manga Guides series! Molecular Biology, anyone?