[bksvol-discuss] Re: Bookshare demographics

  • From: Mike Pietruk <pietruk@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: bksvol-discuss@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sat, 15 Jan 2005 06:12:46 -0500 (EST)


I understand where you are coming from; but, on the other hand, it is very 
important that a service such as BookShare have an extensive and high 
quality children and teens collection as those are tomorrow's potential 
readers, scanners, and yes, even financial donators.
It is akin to a successful and building church congregation reaching out 
and making certain that the next generation has a place and outreaches 
that meet their needs so that youngsters and teens feel a wanted and 
valuable part of the community.
Personally, I am a big believer in children's books along with Christian 
Others favor science fiction coming out of one's ears; others, such as 
yourself, have extensive history collections; and the beat goes on and on.

While massive contributions of one genre could, at least on a short basis 
impact what else gets processed, this is all a part of broad collection 
This leads me to reiterate what I consider BookShare's biggest problem at 
this time -- figuring out how to 
process an ever growing and expanding pool of submissions with the limited 
resources BeneTech has.

Yes, it is nice seeing the latest Grisham book, the 911 report, or the 
latest Harry Potter whisked through the system within a matter of hours.
And yes these may prove valuable in demonstrating both to users and donors 
the potential of BookShare.
But what the ultimate goal ought to be is for a book you or I submit 
today, be validated by weekend's end and join the collection by Monday 
The challenge for BookShare is how to get there and what we, as 
volunteers, can do to assist in the process.

The challenge no longer is getting folks to scan and submit materials; 
more and more are doing that with quality steadily improving in 
submissions thanks to improved equipment and the skills submitters are 
gaining with each book they work on.
The next 2 steps of the process, validating and final approval, are a bit 
more tenuous.
Posting of msgs on this list can help in getting submissions validated; 
and so can networking on and off list with other volunteers.
For the most part, both Christian materials as well as children's and teen 
books, tend to move through the validation process reasonably quickly 
because of that networking and a growing base of deddicated volunteers 
making certain that these titles move through the system.
Perhaps those with other interests should similarily band together -- and 
they probably do -- to get the books important to them through the 
validation process.

The last stage, at this time, is out of the hands of volunteers.  For 
legal reasons, those final approvals have to be done by a BookShare 
employee.  Perhaps BeneTech can figure out creative approaches to having 
volunteers assist on this end -- perhaps retired librarians, college 
students majoring in library studies, whatever.

Over time, these problems can and will be dealt with.  It should be noted 
that these problems indicate just how successful BookShare has become and 
how dedicated the volunteer community has become.
The solution isn't tempering the enthusiasm of the volunteers as 
enthusiastic volunteers are infectious and beget other enthusiastic 
If someone told me to work less on Christian or children materials and 
focus on science fiction, as an example, the likely end result would be 
not my refocusing but on my doing less.
So, how would BookShare benefit from that?

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