Fall Notes from the Public Library
McPherson Sentinel, October 30, 2013
Everyone recognizes that time marches on, but it is difficult to believe that we are coming up on the 50th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy on that November afternoon in Dallas. Perhaps even more sobering is the fact that anyone under the age of 54 has no memory of the event: it is but a chapter in a history book.
Over the past year, publishers have issued many titles about President Kennedy and his assassination. Like the presidency of Dwight Eisenhower, that of Kennedy has undergone significant revision over the past half-century, as historians discover new information and as time washes away the emotions and rhetoric surrounding events.
As one might expect, the slew of new assassination titles run the gamut from the well-reasoned to the extreme, one of which contends that the assassination was orchestrated by Lyndon Johnson. As with the books on the Kennedy presidency, most of the new assassination titles from the main publishers take a more fact-based approach.
Visit the library and take a look at some of our newest titles about JFK, or visit our website at www.macpl.org and click on the “Recent & Notable JFK Books” link under the Weekly Bookmark section. You can browse those titles and place a hold any that are checked out.
I continue to work in our fiction book stacks, assigning new fiction genres to titles and weeding out old, unused books. Currently I am working with authors whose last names end in “S”. I am deep in the stacks by now, and anyone wanting to find me must weigh whether or not it’s worth the hike!
Library staff are all excited about what the completion of this project will mean for our patrons, but there is much work to be done before that happens, including a monumental shifting effort. It’s going to be great when we finish!
And Another One’s Gone
The merger of the Random House Publishing Group and Penguin has shaken up the publishing industry, as the independent publishers continue to be merged with or acquired by larger fish. The new publishing monolith now has control over some 250 publishing imprints which were, at one time, all independent publishers.
Most authors don’t view it as good news, as it means there continue to be fewer publishing houses competing for or interested in their books. Random House is not a favorite with librarians either, as their refusal to sell many popular eBook titles – and exorbitant pricing for those that are available – has significantly hampered libraries’ ability to offer quality eContent to patrons.
Penguin was a British company with a reputation for publishing good books, and the merger isn’t playing well on their side of the Atlantic, where it is being described as a takeover. Penguin’s headquarters has already been moved from London to New York. The buck stops in Germany, however, as the Random House Publishing Group is owned by the publishing giant Bertelsmann.