Capacity for work

I read two e-books in one night, the night of Tuesday the 27th / morning of Wednesday the 28th. Were they worth purchasing?

Yesterday (the 28th of November), I woke late — having stayed up until 2:30 AM the night before — and had to go get an eye exam. I couldn’t write this post last night, because I was blind to anything within reading distance. However, something very strange had happened, the night before:

I read two e-books, excepting their indexes, between the time I had gotten off of work at 2 PM, and the time I went to bed at 2:30 AM.

How did this happen? I’m not entirely sure. What I can say is that I kept plugging through, because I was afraid that if I stopped, I’d never get back to either one of them.

From research I’ve had to do within Collection Development, it seems that there are a number of e-readers still popular within the U.S. In no particular order, these are the NOOK, Kindle, Kobo, iPad/iPhone, and Android readers.

What I can say from my experience — as I had basically been browsing Amazon since I got home — is that I’m starting to be capable of reading so much, that it doesn’t make sense to buy everything. Browsing on a Kindle is very much like having a bookstore in a tablet; but the quality of those books, varies.

The first book I finished, Black Belt Librarian, by Warren Graham, is 104 pages long, including the Index. (I had seen this book before in the break room of a library at which I used to work, and so had been apprised of its applicability.) The second book I finished, What They Don’t Teach You in Library School, by Elizabeth Doucett, was 161 pages, including the Index.

The thing is, to get the exact page numbers, I’d have to go back and do some research. But just in the ballpark, I read somewhat less than 265 pages — let’s say 252.

I’m getting to the point where I’m realizing that not all reading is as difficult as what I had to do in my Master’s program. I’m also getting to the point of realizing that I don’t have to buy everything I sincerely want to read.

Those of you who know me from the past incarnation of this site will know that even though I work in a library, it’s tough for me to deal with the books. Actually, it isn’t the books, so much; new books are great; it’s all the grime that gets on the books, because they’re physically handled by so many people. This acts as a deterrent to my actually reading them, unfortunately.

However, this isn’t an issue with e-books!

But also, with e-books…sometimes these things are available through using library services. For instance, the second book I read (Doucett), I was able to find in my University library, and it was free to read online (whereas I would have been charged $31, if I downloaded it).

There are two ways I have of searching for this book. The first is to look the title up in WorldCat.org, which is a federated search engine. This means that it searches multiple libraries all over the world for your item. If you enter your location, WorldCat will tell you where the closest libraries are which carry your item — if that library is a WorldCat member.

As a bonus, WorldCat (and Amazon) also linked me to reviews on Goodreads, which let me know more information about the information resource (book, in this case) that I was looking at. This, and having access to book reviews via online databases (reviews are typically accessible by searching the book title), has been a world of help in winnowing down what I actually wanted to buy (out of the eight or so books which it looked like I wanted to buy).

As it turns out, the nearest holdings were fairly close, but I don’t have direct access to those libraries, as they’re University-affiliated (and not with a University I attended).

The second way of searching for this book is what bore fruit. I went to my nearest public library’s homepage and searched their federated search system, known as “LINK+”. LINK+ is a system which spans California and Nevada member libraries. Most states in the U.S. have similar federated search systems, but they go by different names.

EDIT, 6/2/2019: I believe what I called a “federated search” in the last paragraph is more likely referred to as a, “Union Catalog,” but to be honest, I’d have to do some research to be sure.

LINK+ told me that the item was available through a specific Web resource, called “ProQuest Ebook Central”. Because I’m in the Library Science program, I realized I might have access to this from my University’s library. I found the database (“ProQuest,” the aggregator name, was omitted from its title), found the item, and was able to basically read it cover-to-cover within about three to four hours.

It wasn’t as pretty as the Amazon version (actually, the font was pretty terrible), and of course it’s temporary; but it worked, I saved about $31 for the second half of the night’s reading, and now I know the content of that book.

Of course, the initial reason for me to even find it was to see if I actually wanted to pay the $31; I’ve taken up the habit of looking through libraries prior to actual purchases, in order to see the actual contents of the books I’m browsing. This is because of repeated episodes of getting books which were not what I expected or hoped for.

Amazon enables some sample reading from most of its eBooks, but it’s painfully limited — and, as I’ve found, the samples are hidden behind the link to buy the book, now, instead of prominently displayed (as they used to be).

Right now I’ve got a couple of new clips lined up, as well. If they go through, it will save me a good amount of money, which I may apply to a specific textbook in the $70 range, for a class I never took. (I have a couple more lined up which won’t be ready for 3-4 months…but I’ll delay on ordering those. I’ll probably forget about them, otherwise.)

Go libraries, eh?

I did purchase Black Belt Librarian (by Graham) right off, before I realized that if I bought everything I wanted to read off of Amazon, I very quickly wouldn’t have any income left. I am glad I bought it, and am waiting to see how it meshes with Robert Bacal’s book on a similar topic (Defusing Hostile Customers Workbook, 3rd ed.). I am wondering how I’ll remember I have it, however, without it having a presence on my shelf; which seems to be the perennial problem with eBooks.

Graham’s content is much more about handling times one has to say “no” to people in the library, than it is about fighting. In that context, it’s helped a lot toward giving me knowledge of what I’ll have to eventually face, if I do become a Public Librarian. (In my position, I’m shielded from a lot of that, but won’t be if I become a Library Assistant, or Librarian; and there has been very little training for me on this point.)

Doucett, however…that was more like an overview of what a job as a Librarian would entail, and making sure the reader found a job they could deal with. I’m not sure it’s worth the $31, which is something a reader on Amazon said, as well.

Am I going to have to start writing book reviews, just so I can remember this stuff?

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