Happy New Year!

Library staff have returned from the holiday break and are gearing up for the spring semester, and some of us are having some re-entry adjustment (getting up early in the morning—eeuuw!), so I offer something light to help us all ramp up to the new year.

I’ve just started reading Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, a novel by Robin Sloan.  I’ll participate/lurk  in an online book discussion on Friday afternoon, organized and hosted by the TLT Group as part of its series on using cognitive science and brain research to improve teaching and learning with technology.  I haven’t read much of the book yet, but so far it’s intriguing, amusing, and well written.  I’m looking forward to the New Knowledge vs. Old Knowledge themes that TLT says are coming.

What’s especially interesting to me about the book, though, is that it started out as a short story “published” on the author’s website and was later picked up by Farrar, Straus and Giroux.  Regular readers of the blog will recall that I’ve written about self-publishing before, and here’s a case (not the first by any means) of a writer breaking through via self-publishing before getting notice from traditional print publishers.  Libraries have traditionally thought of people who self-publish as, well, losers who couldn’t get a real publishing contract, but self-publishing clearly has a lot more to offer these days.

In the new issue of American Libraries, the magazine of the American Library Association, there’s an article about public libraries around the country who are helping their patrons self-publish, sometimes with platforms and often with how-to workshops.  Very cool!