We drew you in, didn’t we? Well, it’s true: librarian and author Lauren Pressley is working with crowdfunding startup unglue.it to provide free access to her book So You Want To Be a Librarian. Read our interview with Lauren to learn more about the book, unglue.it, and how you can contribute!
Why did you write So You Want to Be a Librarian? Can you share a brief outline of what readers will find in the book?
I was approached to write So You Want to Be a Librarian fairly soon after completing library school. The publisher, Rory Litwin of Library Juice Press, thought the book would be a valuable one and was looking for someone with a broad perspective who could speak to the current state of the field. Library school had given me a broad view of the field and I was already involved with ALA and blogging regularly about library issues, so it seemed we were a good pairing. I was very happy to write it, not only to have written a book, but because I care so much about the field and the future of libraries, and this project fit right into that intense area of focus for me. I also loved that it gave me the chance to talk to people in all types and areas of libraries as I gathered background information for the book.
The book covers many aspects of the field: types of libraries, types of jobs, professional issues–like technology and advocacy, things to consider when getting the MLS, and general information such as possible challenges. I was also thrilled to be able to include interviews with people in different types of positions and different types of libraries, to help give people a bit of perspective from people actually living in those roles.
What is unglue.it? What does it mean to unglue a book, and why have you decided to go that route?
Unglue.it is an awesome startup that is built around the idea of crowdsourcing the funding to convert books to a Creative Commons license. The total amount a book needs to raise is determined by the rights holder–in this case, the publisher–based on forecasting the likely income that the electronic version of the book will bring in over the future. This is important, because publishers contribute significantly to published works. In this case, the publisher played a significant role from determining this book would fill a need, to helping locate some interviewees, to copy editing and formatting the book and cover for publication. There is a lot of work on the back-end of a published book, and Unglue.it gives publishers and companies doing this work a way to get paid for it, while also getting information out there in a freely available format.
So the rights holder, Library Juice Press, decided to launch the campaign and involved me as an interested author. I’ve been really interested in Unglue.it for some time, even contributing to their first successful campaign, so I was delighted to be involved.
It seems as though unglue.it is mostly relying on individual donations via the website. What possibilities, if any, do you foresee for library-wide involvement in this type of campaign?
That’s true. Most of the funding does come from individuals through the website. It’s really tricky to get libraries to contribute because the funding structure looks a lot different from traditional materials and ematerials purchasing. We think library schools might be logical supporters, but it looks different from what they typically do, too. Of course, creative institutions can often find ways to make things work, so we’re not counting that out by any means! We’d especially love to see library school and library association participation.
Why is it important for library students to care about this project?
There are several reasons library school students might find it interesting. For one, if the campaign is successful, that means the book will be freely available to them. For another, if they’re curious about different models of publishing or DRM free books or sharable ebooks, Unglue.it is a really interesting solution.
What recommendations do you have for someone who would like to follow in your footsteps and unglue their work?
If an author is interested in ungluing their book(s) they could talk with the rights holder(s) for their work to see if they’d be willing to try an Unglue.it campaign. There is more information on the website for those who are interested.
But there are other ways to be involved as well for those who haven’t written books but are interested in the idea.. There are several campaigns going on, so people can donate to those or help get the word out about them. Registered users of the site can put any book on a wishlist to become unglued. Anyone who finds this idea intriguing can or is interested in open access, alternative copyright models, or simplifying the ebook experience can help get the word out.
How can HLS readers help unglue So You Want to Be a Librarian?
HLS readers can help unglue So You Want to Be a Librarian by heading over to its campaign page, registering with the site, and donating what they would like! There are a number of premium for different pledge amounts as well. You won’t be charged until the campaign is over, and you will only be charged if the campaign is successful. Thanks for considering it!
Lauren Pressley is the Head of Instruction and an Associate Librarian at the Z. Smith Reynolds Library at Wake Forest University. Lauren’s professional interests include strategic thinking, advocacy, the library’s role in the teaching and research missions of the university, and mentoring new and emerging professionals in the field. Lauren blogs at Lauren’s Library Blog, tweets as @laurenpressley, and can be reached at email@example.com.