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School for free accounts?

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Editado: Nov 14, 2006, 11:11am

We always want to try everything, so lately I've thought we might pick a school, or maybe two or three, and blitz it—ads in the newspaper and free memberships to everyone on campus. (Basically, if you have a university email, you get a free account.) I'd like to see what kind of penetration we can get if we really slam a place.

So, what university should it be? The criteria are:

1. Small is probably better. We could, for example, get a full-page ad in the Tufts Daily and four smaller follow-ups for under $500. (At one point Tufts was the smallest university with a daily paper.)

2. Bookish is good. Most colleges and universities are full of the wrong sort of people.

3. Grad students are good. From my own experience, grad students are book-hoarders far and above undergrads.

4. Schools with a strong paper are good.

4. Having a LIS program would also be good.

I'd also like to build audience around Boston and Maine, although that's not a requirement. Maybe Harvard, Tufts and Bowdoin? Brown, Yale or UPenn would work—indeed I'm going to be talking at Brown, so that might be an extra reason for it. I visit North Hampton pretty often, so Smith could work—I could put up flyers even. The town also has the only library still using the Cutter system, which we've be a nice alternative to Dewey.

I went to Georgetown and the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, but I'm not sure they're ideal. Georgetown is smart, but somewhat careerist; it doesn't have as many freewheeling intellectuals as it ought. UM is great, with grad students and even a library school, but it's HUGE; we'd be giving away a lot of value, and advertising would cost a lot.



Nov 14, 2006, 11:17am

Simmons College is small and has a LIS Graduate program. A number of us are already LibraryThingers (we even have a relatively small, mostly inactive group).

Nov 14, 2006, 11:30am

And it's Abby's alma mater, but are the undergraduates "right" for LibraryThing? Of course, any school will have potential LTers, but we're looking for a perfect storm here.a

Nov 14, 2006, 1:39pm

Tim, you can't pick Smith over Mount Holyoke if you're just doing it based on location. Have you no loyalty to where *I* went to undergrad?

Nov 14, 2006, 1:46pm

Well, I certainly don't, but LibraryThing should. We do both, I think. Maybe we do all the seven sisters? Then again, we don't want to upset the gender balance too much! We could balance it out with free accounts for Catholic priests, though.

Nov 14, 2006, 5:19pm

I would suggest somewhere in the Midwest, maybe a branch campus of a big school, like UW-Eau Claire, or UW-Milwaukee, which has a library school.

Nov 14, 2006, 5:53pm

"Bookish is good. Most colleges and universities are full of the wrong sort of people."

Wow, I wonder what you could possibly mean by that.

Nov 14, 2006, 8:03pm

1. Small is probably better.

Maybe Harvard

Harvard, "small"?

Seriously, I understand it's all relative, but "small" and "university" rarely go together.

I vote for:
1. Barnard College (because I went there! And it's small, and bookish.)
2. University of Chicago. Definitely bookish! (They not only have an undergraduate book collecting prize, they also have a writing award named after my high school English teacher.)

Nov 14, 2006, 11:40pm

This is sad.

Nov 15, 2006, 6:52am

Samizdat: According to USA today 63% of Americans now go on to college. Most Americans don't read. I can't find the statistic, but it's a tiny sliver of the general and college-going public. Do you think bookishness is evenly distributed among colleges students?

Nov 15, 2006, 8:28am

I love this word, bookishness.

And to answer your question, no I don't.

Nov 15, 2006, 8:31am

Do you think bookishness is evenly distributed among colleges students?

Having taught a fair number of college students (at a large state school), I can say with confidence that no, no it is not. I've had a depressing number that were barely literate, let alone book-hoarders.

Although, Tim, given your conditions above, I think you're going to have a hard time meeting all criteria... smaller schools with bookish undergrads usually don't have particularly large graduate programs. I'm sure there are exceptions, but I think those two trends run counter to each other.

Nov 15, 2006, 11:26am

First, let me say I think this is a marvelous idea, Tim. Second, I agree with the general consensus that a) most people don't read (books) and b) "bookishness" is not evenly distributed.

I second Peter's suggestion of Simmons above - I have no idea about the undergrad population, but the grad student population would, I suspect, eat this up ... and even if the undergrads don't, it's a small enough place that you could easily do it and then some of the "larger" places that have been suggested (Tufts, Brown, Harvard, Bowdoin).

If it's LIS/small/grad students/reasonably bookish/in New England that you're looking for, Simmons does pretty well. Might not be the perfect storm (hence the need to combine it with others) but it would be a good small target, I think.

Nov 15, 2006, 11:35am

Hey, this may seem totally out of left field--but University of Texas meets 2-5, and advertising in the Daily Texan (which is very strong, and read by a lot of people) looks like it's cheaper than the Tufts Daily ( Lots of grads + popular LIS program. The undergrads probably aren't entirely "the right people," but as a matter of numbers you'd be sure to get a ton of them. And I'd put up fliers for you!

Nov 15, 2006, 11:37am

Also, what about doing the Great Books schools (St. John's NM & MD, Shimer)? You'd probably want to do other schools too, but the cost would probably be minimal and it'd be a cute gimmick.

Nov 16, 2006, 3:58am

It would be a cute gimmick, but the entry of a population who--by definition--all have a bunch of books in common could throw everything out of whack. People who like Fight Club also like Darwin, Augustine and Pasteur!

Nov 16, 2006, 6:24pm

For what it's worth, the University of Denver might be another good school. It's about half grad students, and the undergrads (while typical undergrads), are also very receptive to new programs. Plus, there's an LIS program - the LIS students and faculty are VERY interested in LT and the algorithms and ideas that are coming from in. (there's a few of us on LT, but many people are aware of it and talk about it)

Nov 16, 2006, 9:40pm

I'd suggest my PA library/grad school but there's a spam problem in the e-mail system.

Nov 16, 2006, 10:16pm

UPenn or PennState?

Nov 19, 2006, 1:15pm

U of Iowa is a big state school... but it does have a ton of literarily-inclined people, what with the Writers' Workshop and all. Sure, there are loads of undergrads who I'd guess haven't read a book for fun their entire lives, but that's gonna be the case at any school big enough to have a sizeable number of grad students. And should the booklovers at these schools be looked down upon just because they ended up somewhere that they're not the majority?

And I agree that "small" and "grad students" are pretty much two opposite goals.

Nov 19, 2006, 11:52pm

Well, I guess I'm talking about the RATIO of the two, not absolute numbers. Some small schools—eg., Bryn Mawr—have large graduate programs compared to the undergrad. Some don't have any at all.

Smith/Mt.Holyoke are looking good to me, particularly because of location synergy with the only library still using Cutter, the Forbes library in Noho. Unfortunately, I can't seem to get my foot in the door over there.

Nov 20, 2006, 10:07am

My biased opinion would be Boston College (but only before May 2007... :D). Alfred University (another biased opinion... my alma mater) has a large reading population, I believe. We've had nothing else to do during the winters! It's very rural and isolated so that may not work for that part of your request...

So I guess the only one I would say is BC (and its newspaper The Heights that is always looking for ads if I remember correctly). Large Jesuit community rooting for learning and books in general. They have a large community among us grad students who are going to be the ones to be building libraries because we have space in our own apartments (and not in dorms) and the ones who are organizing books for our theses.

You should think about marketing it towards teachers as well. My friend down at UVA and I have found it a great way to catalog our classroom libraries. It makes finding graded/themed reading books easier, that's for sure! :)

Chelsea :)

Dez 22, 2006, 1:18pm

y'all sound like a buncha edjumakatid snobs with yer high falutin private ivy coverds and yer big state universitys! ;-)

Yes, over 60% of Americans "go to college" now, but the vast majority go to community college and a great deal of them are in technical, not academic, programs. In other words, as long as you didn't choose a school that was too heavy on the tech side, you'd get a balance of book types.

You said picking a book college would skew the stats. Frankly, picking any college will skew the stats. Why not pick a town instead? Pick a town that is well-educated, known to be book oriented, with a fairly balanced population (politically and religiously speaking). That way you get a college-type crowd, but don't get swamped with libraries full of text books.

24Kaczclassroomlibrary Primeira Mensagem
Fev 1, 2007, 1:02am

I agree about marketing it for teachers, Chelsea! I started a new LibraryThing account to keep track of the books I'm acquiring for my future classroom library. I think that having a searchable catalogue online would be a great aid to help students look for books for independent reading projects--they can do it outside the classroom, alone, with no peer pressure to read what everyone else is reading, etc.

And as a Bryn Mawr alumna, I support the Seven Sisters idea. :)


25soto97 Primeira Mensagem
Fev 25, 2007, 6:33pm

I propose Dartmouth College. The undergrad size is small (~4000 students) and it has a moderate number of graduate students when you include the medical school, business school, and engineering school.

Mar 3, 2007, 10:40pm

pdxwoman said: "Why not pick a town instead? Pick a town that is well-educated, known to be book oriented, with a fairly balanced population (politically and religiously speaking). That way you get a college-type crowd, but don't get swamped with libraries full of text books."

This sounds like a good idea. Why not pick Ann Arbor? You're familiar with the area, probably still know some folks in the grad school. And Eastern Michigan University is close by. Of course, being a Central Michigan University person, I'd be jealous. Wanna come to Mt. Pleasant? Another recommendation might be Athens, GA and The University of Georgia - a very literate community.

Good luck,

Mar 8, 2007, 7:59pm

I'd suggest Brandeis University, in Waltham, MA.

1. Small is probably better. -- Brandeis has roughly 4K undergrad, and another few thousand grad.

2. Bookish is good. Most colleges and universities are full of the wrong sort of people. -- Brandeis folks are definitely bookish. From what I remember from undergrad, th main and science libraries were often hang out spots. About half the graduating class applies to law school, and another quarter to med school, and a good chunk get in and go. Not that other pursuits aren't bookish as well, but those are just examples...

3. Grad students are good. From my own experience, grad students are book-hoarders far and above undergrads. -- Again, a few thousand grad students... though can't speak for much more than that.

4. Schools with a strong paper are good. -- Won't vouch for quality, but most everyone reads it, mainly for kvetch-material.

4. Having a LIS program would also be good. -- OK, not currently available. The Brandeis Libraries are generally pretty good and extensive, with some nice special collections and archives. Yes, I realize that's tangential.

Mar 11, 2007, 9:24pm

It just occurred to me that Bard College also might work well for testing. It has a small grad pop. Focus is on liberal arts & sciences. Well respected, distinguished, notable faculty - writers, painters, composers. The school is bookish, artsy, music positive and is an 1 1/2 north of NYC - near Woodstock, Rhinebeck, Kingston, etc. The actual town is Annandale (yeah, it's the Annandale that Steeley Dan song.)

Mar 17, 2007, 8:55pm

I would like to second the suggestion of Simmons. I'm an undergrad there and the undergrads seem pretty bookish to me (although that may be skewed by my social group....). MIT also has a pretty bookish population.

30traductora Primeira Mensagem
Mar 19, 2007, 2:28am

I must vote for Brown. All of the students I graduated with, including the hardcore science folks, are heavy readers. Of course, the proposition was posted some time ago, so perhaps a school has already been chosen and blitzed?

Abr 5, 2007, 10:11pm

*Has a school been chosen? What came of it?

Jul 28, 2007, 12:30pm

I suggest oxford MS...medium sized school, and famous for many authors that live around here!

Jul 28, 2007, 1:37pm

I've read articles about Oxford Square Books, which seems to have quite a reputation. I noticed that someone connected with it is an LT member.

Mar 13, 2008, 5:45pm

OK you Yankee SNOBS! ;-)
How about Agnes Scott College -- in the top 10 with the seven sisters and in Decatur, GA -- very bookish when I was there AND they have one of the best literary festivals in the South --2000-3000 undergrad females AND a grad. MAT program with men and women.
As for the TOWN -- Decatur, GA also has Emory University - private, bookish, grad and undergrad AND one of the 5 campuses of Georgia Perimeter College -- 23,000 students in a two-year transfer institute AND a DeVry Institute and a DeKalb Tech College, and, and, and . . . .
the City of Decatur has had a very successful NEW Decatur Book Fair -- I think 40,000 the first year and 80,000 in 2007???
And there are LOTS of free newspapers (like Creative Loafing) along with the college newspapers.