Wednesday, January 10, 2007

One to watch - Bookswim 

Bookswim is a new commercial service that the library community should probably keep a somewhat wary eye on. Basically, they are offering a books by mail service. While the concept is not new, by adopting what is being called the "Netflix model," Bookswim will be able to provide a level of service that will far surpass what most small libraries are able to deliver. While my "librarian self" is dismayed, I must admit that my "patron self" is glad. This is especially so after I received an email today telling me the books I had requested on interlibrary loan had arrived at my local library and were ready to pick up. However, my excitement quickly evaporated when I discovered I couldn't get them because the library was closed. It turns out a books by mail service is preferable for me because my local post office keeps better hours than the library does.

I expect there will be quite a bit of discussion and maybe some hand-wringing as Bookswap gets up and running in the next few months. Now is the time for librarians and library boards to consider: How do you think this kind of new service will impact your small/rural library?

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