August 2007
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Month August 2007

pizza via SMS in the UK

It was years ago I read about SMS enabled vending machines in Asia. Now Domino’s is experimenting with pizza via SMS in the UK. Frankly, I’m surprised it has taken them this long. Phone technology usually travels to the US from Asia, Scandinavia, and then the UK, so I suppose we might see texting become even more popular and interesting here.

There are only a few libraries experimenting with services via SMS, two of which are in the US.

I still think Michael Casey’s solution to send text messages without needing anything beyond your current ILS (and a free website) is spot on, though of course I wish we didn’t have to piece together workarounds.

a response from the Arleta Library Bakery * Cafe!

Don’t you just love the connecting power of blogs?

The owner of the restaurant mentioned in my previous post “because good food is long overdue” found it via an ego search and added some neat comments!

Thanks for your thoughtful post. It’s refreshing to find someone appreciating our use of the library concept rather than condemning us for our lack of books!

We called our restaurant the Arleta Library Cafe for many reasons-none having to do with the presence of books for lending-which include:

1. Libraries are public spaces where people go for self-enrichment, relaxation, and engaging with others; we wanted to reinforce our commitment to spaces that encourage these activities

2. Once upon a time, there was an Arleta Library (not too near us, mind you) which stood at the nexus of a bustling neighborhood where streetcars converged and pedestrians conducted their daily business. Since the decline of “streetcar neighborhoods” like ours in the postwar years, people have increasingly relied on automobiles to run their daily errands-including their trips to the library. We aimed to remind people of the notion of having all services in a neighborhood within walking distance.

3. Our lack of books allows us to encourage conversation about libraries. “This is a library? Where are the books?” “Why would you expect books simply because it’s called ‘library’?” I think communities would be well served by investing in tool libraries, toy libraries and more means of “sharing” in this age of mass-production and overconsumption.

I’m sure there were more, but reverent kitsch (as you pointed out) was certainly primary among them.

Loving where the conversation takes us,

Sarah Iannarone

Owner, Arleta Library Bakery * Cafe

Spot on!

SEO your offspring

Considering how your child’s name will appear in google’s index is nerdy, maybe smart, and speaks to your faith in the longevity of PageRankâ„¢.

again with the eBooks

The (much deserved) hype surrounding the iPhone has spread to the publishing world. HarperCollins has released 14 Books for the iPhone. This lame attempt is unlikely to finally get ebooks right (an impossible task in our highly DRMed world), and might get people excited for only a limited amount of time. I do see the iPhone as an interesting piece of the eBook puzzle, though, considering it is the first high PPI device that people are carrying around on a daily basis.

I read about this right before I read Jessamyn’s post (with comments worth reading) about Overdrive, audiobooks, and the iPod. I love her attitude about making the most of a crappy DRM situation and using the inevitable patron iPod denial as a teachable moment about free audiobooks online.

Similarly, I doubt libraries will be circing titles to patron iPhones anytime soon. Instead we can tell them about Project Gutenberg and iPhone formatted PDFs from

wal-mart enters the MP3 frey

The 800 pound gorilla now offers $0.94, 256kpbs, DRM free MP3s from Universal. To some Windows uses, that is.

In similar news, Universal and Rhapsody are doing an experiment of their own, offering a DRM free MP3s for $0.99, or $0.89 for Rhapsody subscribers.

Will Sony and BMG follow Universal and EMI and eventually offer DRM free music? Will the public choose $0.94 256kbps MP3s without DRM or will they buy Wal-mart’s cheaper and DRMed 128kbps WMA files?

because good food is long overdue

I just learned of a restaurant in SE Portland called the Arleta Library Bakery Cafe. It appears to be indeed a bakery and cafe, but not a library. Their brunch is reportedly good. Sure, I’m interested in eating there but what intrigues me more is how the eatery uses the concept of “library” to convey not books, but quality, wholesomeness, and maybe even a reverent kitsch. Is this something we can use?

In a less abstract sense, are there any library sponsored spaces that are standalone cafes? A library could fulfill its mission to promote culture and community by opening a cafe for laptopping, renting meeting spaces, and hosting performances/art shows/movies. Taking it a step further, could you imagine the popularity of a neighborhood arcade where swipes of a library card are used instead of tokens? Don’t balk. This is essentially going on now in the libraries that haven’t banned Runescape.

I’m not suggesting that this model replace a main library or even a branch necessarily. However, it might make more sense to separate these functions into a distinct space rather than trying to squeeze different concepts into one place and making fewer people happy as a result.