Author archives

David Rothman is the founder and publisher of the TeleRead e-book site and cofounder of LibraryCity.org. He is also author of The Solomon Scandals novel and six tech-related books on topics ranging from the Internet to laptops. Passionate on digital divide issues, he is now pushing for the creation of a national digital library endowment.

How to start a cell phone book club for your library, school, neighborhood, workplace or other purposes

David Rothman believes that the cell phone book club idea is timely right now. Salon has even published an article titled “War and Peace” on the subway: How your iPhone is saving literature. A headline writer can dream, right? Still, the potential is there in less dramatic form. Most U.S. teenagers own smartphones, capable of displaying e-books. And phone screens keep getting bigger and sharper. Apple is expected to introduce a phone with a 5.5-inch screen, and companies like Samsung sell six-inch models. The tips that David provides include advice even for people without cell phones right now, or the usual WiFi connections. And he highlights that book-capable phones running the Android operating system can sell for less than $20 without shipping.

Subjects: Features

On tablets, summer reading and parental role models for young readers: How schools and libraries can together connect the dots

David Rothman discusses how his Washington, D.C. suburb and in countless other places, U.S. schools are buying tablets for students, and each city could potentially be a test bed for the ideas in this commentary. We’re talking about a partial solution to a national reading divide; well-off kids actually can make gains over the summer. Regardless of family income, however, more reading is likely to help. All the more reason to increase coordination between schools and public libraries to exploit e-book-related technology to the max!

Subjects: E-Books, Features, Librarian Resources

Cell phone book club vision excites school librarian Njabulo Tazibona in Zimbabwe: How he can make it reality

A follow-up from David Rothman’s article earlier this month, Cell phone book clubs: A new way for libraries to promote literacy, technology, family and community – he shares that while U.S. librarians mull over LibraryCity’s proposal for cell phone book clubs, an African librarian already is embracing the possibilities if he can win over his stakeholders.

Subjects: Features

Cell phone book clubs: A new way for libraries to promote literacy, technology, family and community

Young people are heavy users of cell phones, but most do not know they can read library e-books for free on their phones. In this cutting-edge essay, David Rothman tells how libraries could use “cell phone book clubs” to reach out both to young cell phone users and their families, including low-income people and members of racial and ethnic minorities. The clubs would not only foster literacy, but also leverage technology and strengthen the connections between families and communities.

Subjects: E-Books, Gadgets, Internet Resources - Web Links, Internet Trends, Internet Use Policies, Legal Technology, Librarian Resources, Libraries & Librarians, Library Marketing, Social Media

National Digital Library Endowment Plan Makes New York Times of Philanthropy

David Rothman encourages Librarians and friends to think like Willie Sutton, who supposedly said he robbed banks because “That’s where the money is.” Rothman is quick to say the quote in fact is iffy, but he wants us to focus on the logic behind supporting a national digital library endowment.

Subjects: Features, Libraries & Librarians, Library Marketing, Library Software & Technology

The sad reasons why Amazon’s #1 reading city doesn’t belong on the list

In this article David Rothman highlights the backstory on Amazon’s new list of America’s “Top 20 Most Well-Read Cities,” based on its sales of books, magazines and newspapers. As has been the case previously, the winner is Alexandria, Virginia, his hometown, which should be able to afford a book-rich public library system. This scenic Washington suburb on the Potomac River pays the city manager $245K a year. Yet the Alexandria library’s budget for books and other materials is well below the national average despite the needs of the city’s many African-Americans, Hispanics and and low-income people. Around half of Alexandria’s students qualify for free school lunches. Simply put, we’re talking about two different realities–Amazon’s and the actual Alexandria’s.

Subjects: E-Books, Features, Librarian Resources

Gates Global Libraries Program is Winding Down: Time for a National Digital library Endowment to Fill the Vacuum

David Rothman informs us that out of several billion a year in grants from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, just tens of millions go for public libraries in the U.S. and overseas. But as all funding is critical, the news that the foundation is phasing out the Global Libraries program over the next three-five years brings libraries full circle, in search of new mentors and significant financial support.

Subjects: Libraries & Librarians, Library Marketing, Virtual Library

Why the DPLA should focus on being a stellar ACADEMIC library: Check out these statistics

David Rothman acknowledges the attributes of the expanding DPLA program but highlights that it is lacking key components to make it a truly comprehensive academic digital library, including collection and business strategies. Rothman states that “DPLAers” keep insisting that the organization is a public library even though the academic and archival content in the catalog is just a subset of what a true general public library collection would offer. He recommends actionable next steps to widen the scope of access to digitized works.

Subjects: Features

The limits of ‘Hack the library’: Don’t aim for too much more with too much less–and try harder for more

David Rothman notes that less than 12 percent of U.S. public library spending goes for books and other items. So he is very much in favor of the “hack the library” movement reinventing libraries. At the same time, Rothman warns that all the technical ingenuity and creativity in the world is no substitute for sufficient funding in areas ranging from content to data security. The public’s needs, not the interests of techie volunteers, should count most of all.

Subjects: Gadgets, Information Management, Internet Trends, Internet Use Policies, KM, Open Source, Technology Trends, Virtual Library, Web Accessibility, Web Management, Web Utilities

$38 Datawind UbiSlate 7Ci tablet as an e-reader: Avoid this adware trap despite its many positives!

David Rothman is spearheading chronicling the progress of expanding low cost access to e-readers as libraries engage in mission critical outreach efforts to reach underserved communities. In this article, Rothman asks: Suppose you could buy an iPad for $38, read OverDrive library books, even hear text to speech from them, and enjoy Kindle books, too. And how about social media, photos, basic video chat, and production of low-res videos? What if you could even use voice recognition to dictate e-mail or other documents for work or school? Programs to loan out low-cost e-readers are on the horizon, but David cautions there are indeed impediments, including operating system security and lack of now ubiquitous high-end audio/video performance.

Subjects: E-Books, Features, Gadgets, Library Software & Technology, Product Reviews, Software
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