August 16, 2006
AL Direct is a free electronic newsletter e-mailed every Wednesday to personal members of the American Library Association.


U.S. & World News
ALA News
Booklist Online
Division News
Seen Online
Actions & Answers
AL Direct FAQ

U.S. & World News

Bendable toys under alertIndiana librarian triggers toxic-toy alert
A serendipitous conversation during a summer-reading promotion between an Indiana children’s librarian and a staff member of Bloomington Hospital has triggered the recall of thousands of toys containing hazardous lead levels that libraries nationwide were giving out to children as program incentives....

Tennessee judge rules library can privatize
A county chancery court has determined that the Jackson–Madison County (Tenn.) Library board is empowered to outsource the library’s management to a private company. In his July 31 ruling, Chancellor James F. Butler said the board has the “authority to enter into contracts relative to the operation of the library,” according to the August 9 Jackson Sun....

Dealer sues Christie’s over stolen Torah
Brooklyn, New York, antiques dealer Yosef Goldman has filed suit against Christie’s auction house in New York to recover $358,000 he paid for a 13th-century Torah that the French National Library says was stolen sometime before Christie’s put it up for sale in May 2000....

ALA News

George LopezLopez promotes Library Card Sign-up Month
Actor-comedian and author George Lopez joins ALA and hundreds of libraries across the country this September promoting Library Card Sign-up Month. Lopez is the official spokesman for this national observance, which serves as a time to remind parents that the best back-to-school tool for their child is a library card....



Abundance of Katherines coverFeatured review:
Books for youth

Green, John. An Abundance of Katherines. Sept. 2006. 256p. Dutton, hardcover. (0-525-47688-1). Grades 9–12.
Green follows his Printz-winning Looking for Alaska (2005) with another sharp, intelligent story, this one full of mathematical problems, historical references, word puzzles, and footnotes. Colin Singleton believes he is a washed-up child prodigy. A graduating valedictorian with a talent for creating anagrams, he fears he’ll never do anything to classify him as a genius....

Division News

ACRL Baltimore conference logoDyson, Waters, Totenberg to keynote ACRL National Conference
Radio commentator and religious scholar Michael Eric Dyson, filmmaker John Waters, and NPR correspondent Nina Totenberg are part of the lineup for ACRL’s 13th National Conference, to be held March 29–April 1, 2007, in Baltimore. Registration will open in mid-to-late September. The Baltimore Marriott Inner Harbor and the Renaissance Harborplace will serve as co-headquarters hotels....

AASL announces new reading grant
Sponsored by Coughlan Publishing, AASL’s new $2,500 Innovative Reading Grant will support the planning and implementation of a unique and innovative program for students that motivates and encourages reading, especially with struggling readers. The selection committee will look at initiatives for grades K–9 based on original ideas and methodology....

PLA sponsors a participant in Emerging Leaders Program
PLA will sponsor one individual to participate in ALA’s Emerging Leaders Program, an initiative of President Leslie Burger. The goal of the program is to prepare 100 young librarians for professional leadership. The Emerging Leaders Program will kick off with a day-long session at the 2007 ALA Midwinter Meeting in Seattle....

Guidelines for electronic information resources revised
RUSA has approved a revision of the 1997 Guidelines for the Introduction of Electronic Information Resources to Users. The guidelines cover planning and policy setting, testing, compatibility and remote access, staff education, user instruction, publicity, and assessment and evaluation....


New Gordon M. Conable Award
PLA’s new Gordon M. Conable Award will honor a public library staff member, a library trustee, or a public library that has demonstrated a commitment to intellectual freedom and the Library Bill of Rights. The award consists of a $1,500 check and a commemorative plaque from the sponsor, Library Systems and Support, LLC (LSSI)....

ACRL seeks nominations for 2007 awards
With almost $34,000 donated annually by corporate sponsors, ACRL continues to nominate, select, and honor the very best in academic librarianship through 17 different awards programs. ACRL urges members to nominate colleagues whose work has influenced their thinking and growth as an academic librarian and whose contributions merit recognition by the profession. Nominations and supporting materials for most awards must be submitted by December 1....

Public Printer receives award for transforming the GPO (PDF file)
The Council for Excellence in Government has honored Public Printer Bruce James with its Champion of Excellence Award for turning the U.S. Government Printing Office into a profitable, 21st-century, electronic information agency. Under his leadership, GPO is creating a Future Digital System that will be operational next year....
U.S. Government Printing Office, Aug. 14

New York Times Librarian Awards
In this sixth year of its Librarian Awards program, the New York Times will honor 21 public librarians from across the country whose exemplary performance and outstanding community service have made their libraries friendlier and more accessible institutions. Nominations will be accepted until September 15. The newspaper is also launching an Academic Librarian Awards program later this year, which will honor three librarians who are currently working in university libraries....
New York Times

Seen Online

Dead fish give new life to creative impulses
Laurena Schultz said the same thing to all the latecomers: “Come in. Grab a dead fish.” Schultz, the teen services librarian at the Mt. Lebanon Public Library in Pittsburgh, was leading a session of gyotaku, a Japanese method of printing using real fish, as part of the monthly teen activities series at the library....
Pittsburgh (Pa.) Post-Gazette, Aug. 10

Google logoGoogle wants to digitize every book; but read the fine print first
If it is really true that Google is going to digitize the roughly 9 million books in the libraries of Stanford University, then you can be sure that the folks who brought you the world’s most ambitious search engine will come, in due time, for call number E169.D3. But when you ask Google executives directly whether they plan to offer some kind of print-on-demand service, they can get a bit coy....
Washington Post, Aug. 13

Pratt Library receives a $1 million donation
The Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore has received a $1-million gift from an anonymous donor that will be used to upgrade facilities and services in the system’s 21 branches. The gift was the third million-dollar donation to the city’s public library system since 2001, when philanthropists Eddie and Sylvia Brown awarded that amount to endow the Pratt’s 13,000-piece African-American collection....
Baltimore Sun, Aug. 16

Listeners growl for more
The story that 6-year-old Sidharth Muralidhar is reading aloud is about a dog who wants to be wild but discovers it’s much better to be home. Sidharth’s voice is soft, but he has an attentive audience at the Princeton (N.J.) Public Library—his 4-year-old brother, Sachin, and a 95-pound English Labrador named Emma....
New York Times, Aug. 13

A delicate balance
The body-odor calls are the ones Security Officer William Morris dreads most. That’s when he has to tell someone to leave the Los Angeles Central Library because they smell. He doesn’t mind the rule, but the library-security veteran also knows how easy it is to humiliate the indigent, and he won’t stand for that either....
Los Angeles Times, Aug. 13

Phoenixville PLGhosts in Phoenixville Public Library?
Phoenixville (Pa.) Public Library Executive Director John Kelley walked investigators from the Chester County Paranormal Research Society room-by-room through the building, giving them a brief history of the Carnegie library. Sitting in his office while the investigators made their final preparations, Kelley talked about the library and the three ghosts said to inhabit its walls....
Phoenixville (Pa.) News, Aug. 14

Library visitors look for inexpensive entertainment
West Des Moines, Iowa, library officials have seen a surge in visitors this year, which they suggest is related to residents’ need for cheaper sources of entertainment because of higher fuel costs. Library director Ray Vignovich said he compares numbers month to month and year to year, and this year they have been consistently higher. (One of nine August 15 stories that praised Des Moines libraries.)...
Des Moines (Iowa) Register, Aug. 15

Actions and Answers

Take Action logoALA’s Summer Congressional Recess Package
The Washington Office has assembled a Summer Congressional Recess Package that details everything you can do to help libraries while your legislators are in their district offices. Part 1 (PDF file) includes both a fact sheet on the Library Services and Technology Act and a table that shows what each state will receive if Congress provides $171.5 million in grants to state library agencies. Part 2 (Word file) is a form letter for you to fill in and send to your legislator to indicate your concern for libraries....
ALA Washington Office

UW Madison Class of 1912UW Madison SLIS celebrates its 100th
One hundred years ago this year, the Wisconsin Library School opened its doors. This September 29 and 30, it celebrates a century of education for the library, archive, and information professions. Photos showing the school’s history appear on its website....
University of Wisconsin at Madison,
School of Library & Information Studies

Looking at liblogs: The Great Middle (PDF file)
Walt Crawford reviews 213 library-related blogs from a population of around 550 active sites represented in the directories and wikis he looked at: “More than one commentator has suggested that the most interesting blogs are in the great middle—blogs with more than a handful of readers but not so popular as to carry the burden of popularity.”...
Cites & Insights 6, no. 10 (Aug.)

Barbara TillettInterview with LC’s Barbara Tillett
Those who are familiar with Sanford Berman’s work on LC subject-heading reform have read or heard the name Barbara Tillett, for many years the chief of the Library of Congress Cataloging Policy and Support Office. Rory Litwin often wondered what Barbara Tillett would have to say in answer to some of Berman’s more convincing arguments, and recently he got his chance....
Library Juice, Aug. 9

Obstacles to educational uses of copyrighted material in the Digital Age
William W. Fisher and William McGeveran examined whether innovative educational uses of digital technology are hampered by the restrictions of copyright. They found that provisions of copyright law concerning the educational use of copyrighted material, as well as the business and institutional structures shaped by that law, are among the most important obstacles to realizing the potential of digital technology in education....
Berkman Center for Internet and Society, Aug. 10

Mystery photoEnoch Pratt’s most wanted
The Central Library of the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore has a number of unidentified photographs in one of its collections and it is asking your help in identifying them. All the photographs were taken in the state of Maryland in the 20th century, but in many cases that’s all they know....
Enoch Pratt Free Library

Ambient Findability coverAmbient findability
Peter Morville, widely recognized as a founding father of information architecture, discussed his recent book Ambient Findability, in a program sponsored by LC’s Science, Technology, and Business Division. In this 45-minute webcast, Morville describes ambient findability as a safari—how people search for information and how they find their way through a world of information overload....
Library of Congress, July 20

ACLU Freedom Files coverLibraries benefit from new ACLU membership drive
Libraries can receive free copies of a two-DVD set of the ACLU Freedom Files as part of the American Civil Liberties Union’s new membership drive. The promotion invites supporters to send a set of the programs to any library of their choosing when they establish or renew ACLU membership....
American Civil Liberties Union, Aug. 14

ISBN-13 logoAre you ready for ISBN-13?
Effective January 1, 2007, the length of the International Standard Book Number (ISBN) will officially change from 10 to 13 digits. In 2007, the publishing industry will begin using 13-digit ISBNs, phasing out the use of 10-digit ISBNs. This change will affect everyone who uses ISBNs throughout the world....
Book Industry Study Group

Spellings Commission approves final report
Eighteen of 19 members of the Spellings Commission on the Future of Higher Education agreed August 10 to sign and send a final report to U.S. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings that contains recommendations in six broad areas including access, student financial aid, accountability, quality improvement, lifelong learning, and global competitiveness. Only American Council on Education President David Ward declined to sign the report....
American Council on Education, Aug. 10

Snakeskin book cover, Death ValleyCoil up with a snakeskin book
Most people would not relish opening a book wrapped in cobra or python skin, especially with the summer’s big movie Snakes on a Plane expected to remind us that snakes are one of the animal kingdom’s least popular critters. However, snakeskin-bound books have been around since the 1800s when big-game hunters looked for novel ways of displaying their prey from Africa and Asia. Although these exotic bindings have not been in vogue for decades, snakeskin-covered books can generate four-figure prices...., Aug. 8

Page from Black Book of CarmarthenBlack Book of Carmarthen online
The Black Book of Carmarthen, so called because of the color of its binding and its connection with the Priory of St. John the Evangelist and Teulyddog, Carmarthen, Wales, is thought by modern scholars to be the work of a single scribe writing at different periods of his life before and about the year 1250. This makes it one of the earliest surviving manuscripts written solely in the Welsh language. The National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth has digitally captured some 54 leaves of Wales’ most important manuscript....
National Library of Wales

The Library 2.0 Idea Generator
British biblioblogger Dave Pattern, who is also library systems manager at the University of Huddersfield, has created an idea generator for Library 2.0 concepts. The generator simply picks random entries from a list of actions and a list of things, people, and objects, etc., and then (most of the time, but not always) appends a random entry from a list of miscellaneous comments. You keep clicking on the generator until it comes up with one you like, then you can save it to a whiteboard....
Dave Pattern’s weblog, July 28

Looking at the World Future Society
ALA Senior Associate Executive Director Mary Ghikas went to the annual conference of the World Future Society in Toronto June 28–30 to have her perspective shifted, to be jolted out of habitual ways of thinking about things, and to attend sessions on topics she didn’t realize she would find interesting....
The Green Kangaroo, Aug. 11

Real Men Don't Apologize coverDDC helpless to classify new Jim Belushi book (satire)
Members of the OCLC Online Computer Library Center’s Editorial Policy Committee, which oversees the Dewey Decimal System library classification system, were no closer Monday to assigning a definitive call number to the recently published Jim Belushi book Real Men Don’t Apologize....
The Onion, Aug. 14

Sponsor: Sirsi Dynix

Sirsi Dynix ad

Puzzled man reading American Libraries
Can’t remember
where you saw that fascinating article, intriguing report, or clever illustration in American Libraries? Consult the
Annual Index
online, now updated through the August 2006 issue. Indexes are available online for every year since 1996.

American University in Cairo, Egypt. Working under the supervision of the university archivist, the successful candidate will solicit, organize, and create finding tools for the University Archives. A major aspect of this job will be to develop the AUC’s record management program, which involves the preservation of faculty, departmental, and administrative records. Other duties will be in the organization and conservation of manuscript, photographic, and document archives....

for more career opportunities.

Joint Conference logo
Cynthia Leitich SmithJuan Williams
Children’s author Cynthia Leitich Smith and NPR senior correspondent Juan Williams are two of the featured speakers at the Joint Conference of Librarians of Color, Dallas, October 11–15.

Libraries just aren’t what they used to be. They’re more—and better. In this first annual report on the State of America’s Libraries, ALA found that 89% of Americans surveyed early this year reported being satisfied with their public libraries.

The 2007 ALA Midwinter Meeting will be held in Seattle, Washington, January 19–24, 2007.

What do YOU think?

Where does your library rank in its use of blogs, wikis, social software, and other Web 2.0 technologies?

Click here

This is an unscientific poll that reflects the opinions of only those AL Direct readers who have chosen to participate.

Results of the
August 9 poll:

Does a library engage in censorship when it refuses to consider for purchase controversial materials that are not covered in traditional review sources?


NOT SURE.......8%

(225 responses)

For cumulated results and selected responses to all AL Direct polls, visit the AL Online website.

“At a Border’s bookstore at Heathrow, the suddenly laptop-free [air] travelers were among the store's best customers. Popular titles included Freakonomics and The World Is Flat, said Jonathan Daniel, the store’s supervisor. ‘If they hadn’t been able to get books, I think they would’ve been quite frustrated.’”

—“Go without a Laptop?” Los Angeles Times, August 11.

August 2006
AL cover
Stories inside include:

New Orleans Gathering Sends Message of Hope and Renewal

Building Bridges through Consensus

Libraries in the Eye of the Storm

Are you a library history buff? The Library History Round Table offers an interesting set of links to resources for the study of library history.

The July issue of Book Links suggests 15 classic read-alouds for children’s storytime.

Sept. 27-30:
Kentucky Library Association / Kentucky School Media Association, Annual Conference, Louisville. “A Century of Change from Carnegie to Gates.” Contact: John T. (Tom) Underwood, 502-223-5322.

Sept. 27–30:
Wyoming Library Association, Annual Conference, Gillette. “Re-energize @ WLA.” Contact: Laura Grott, 307-632-7622.

Sept. 30:
2006 National Book Festival, National Mall, Washington, D.C. Organized by the Library of Congress and hosted by First Lady Laura Bush, the festival is free and open to the public. Contact: National Book Festival, 888-714-4696.

Oct. 10–14:
Association for Educational Communications and Technology, Dallas. “Strengthening Connections.” Contact: AECT, 877-677-2328.

Nov. 3:
Brick and Click Academic Libraries Symposium, Northwest Missouri State University, Maryville. Contact: Carolyn Johnson, 660-562-1393.

Nov. 3–5:
Association of Mental Health Librarians, 38th Annual Meeting, Washington, D.C. Contact: Gary McMillan.

Nov. 17–19:
Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair, Hynes Convention Center, Boston. Contact: 617-266-6540.

Nov. 30-Dec. 1:
E-Info Global Symposium, University of Alabama at Huntsville. “Information Delivery and E-Access in Academic Libraries.” Contact: Annette Parrish, 256-824-6313.

More Datebook items...

American Libraries Direct

George M. Eberhart,

Karen Sheets,
Graphics and Design:

Send feedback:

AL Direct FAQ:

To advertise in American Libraries Direct contact:
Leonard Kniffel, Editor-in-Chief,

All links outside the ALA website are provided for informational purposes only. Questions about the content of any external site should be addressed to the administrator of that site.

American Libraries
50 E. Huron St.
Chicago, IL 60611
ext. 4216

ISSN 1559-369X.