Libraries celebrates its first 100 years
More than 29 million copies of American Libraries—ALA’s flagship news magazine and the chief perquisite of membership in the Association—have been published since 1907, helping library workers do their jobs better for 100 years. Sharing best practices, offering updates and debates on the library profession’s hot issues of the day, and bringing every member the latest news of the Association’s work have all contributed to the magazine’s century-long popularity. A number of anniversary events and articles, including an official commemorative issue in June/July, will culminate in the new ALA pavilion in the exhibit hall at the ALA Annual Conference in Washington, D.C., in June....
Potter wins third Georgia challenge
A Georgia mother of four Gwinnett County elementary-school students has lost her third attempt to get the Harry Potter series banned from the county schools’ libraries and classrooms. The Georgia Board of Education ruled December 14 that Laura Mallory had failed to prove her contention that the series “promote[s] the Wicca religion,” and therefore that the books’ availability in public schools does not constitute state-sponsored advocacy of a religion....
Manatee County pulls the plug on MySpace
Patrons of the Manatee County (Fla.) Library System no longer have access to the social networking website MySpace.com, effective December 11. Manager of Library Services John Van Berkel told American Libraries that the decision was made by county administrators rather than the library. “But it’s not a new policy,” he added. “It’s an enforcement of our current policy,” which prohibits chat-room access, e-mail, and recreational uses....
No AL Direct next week
AL Direct is taking a week off December 27 for the holidays to allow the editors to play some catch-up in adding content to the American Libraries website. Look for a new edition in the new year on January 3.
Changes proposed for Standards for Accreditation
The Committee on Accreditation has released proposed changes to the Standards for Accreditation of Master’s Programs in Library and Information Studies 1992. COA asks for input and commentary on the draft (PDF file) by March 15....
Bronner, Simon, J., editor. Encyclopedia of American Folklife, Dec. 2006. 1,337p. Sharpe, hardcover (978-0-7656-8052-5).
Although it overlaps somewhat with publications such as American Folklore: An Encyclopedia (Garland, 1996), this work differs from other reference books in its emphasis on folklife rather than folklore, which is primarily concerned with oral or written literary traditions—the songs and stories that convey and give expression to a community’s identity. Here, entries discuss “the material and social genres of architecture, craft, food, ritual, belief, and festival as evidence of cultural practice” throughout the continental U.S. and its territories. Editor Bronner (Pennsylvania State University) draws from his own experience as former director of the Archive of New York State Folklife....
Seattle Public Library events
SPL will set up an ALA Information Station on Level 3 during the Midwinter Meeting to answer questions about the library.
Other activities include docent-led tours, special events held at the library by outside sponsors, demos of the Tech Logic automated materials handling system, a retail shop operated by the Friends, and a booth at the convention center....
Seattle Public Library
Murder in the rain
SPL recommends these titles of detective fiction for those who like to spice their Midwinter visit with a bit of murder and mayhem. One is Jayne Ann Krentz’s Smoke in Mirrors (Putnam, 2002): Settling her swindling half-sister’s estate, college librarian Leonora Hutton uncovers embezzlement, murder, and a seductive handyman. What answers will be reflected in an antique mirror collection?
Seattle Public Library
RUSA reception honors best books for reference and adult readers
The RUSA Collection Development and Evaluation Section is hosting its annual Awards Recognition Reception January 21, 4:30–6:30 p.m., in the Fairmont Olympic Hotel, Spanish Ballroom, during the ALA Midwinter Meeting in Seattle....
RUSA online courses for the spring
RUSA offers participants an opportunity for professional growth this spring by registering for one of four internet-based CE courses. Topics include business reference, marketing, readers’ advisory, and the reference interview....
PLA Spring Symposium luncheon features Bronson
Po Bronson, author of the bestselling What Should I Do with My Life? (Random House, 2002), will present the keynote address at the 2007 PLA Spring Symposium Author Luncheon, March 2, in San Jose, California, at the Fairmont San Jose....
Register for the ACRL/Harvard Leadership Institute
Registration is now open for the ACRL/Harvard Leadership Institute for Academic Librarians. The institute will be held in Cambridge, Massachusetts, August 5–10, 2007. The goal of this innovative program is to increase the participants’ capacity to lead and to manage. Two scholarships are available for the institute, to support the participation of academic and research librarians working at historically black colleges and universities, tribal colleges or universities, or those employed at Hispanic-serving institutions....
A brief history of CLENE (PDF file)
Anne Masters presents a history of the Continuing Library Education Network and Exchange Round Table in the December issue of CLENExchange. The round table had its origins in a group founded in the mid-1970s by Catholic University Professor (and later ALA President) Betty Stone. Also included is an article by Gail McGovern on the Infopeople Technology Petting Zoo at the California Library Association conference....
CLENExchange 23, no. 2 (Dec.)
New digital innovation grants
The Institute of Museum and Library Services and the National Endowment for the Humanities invite applications to a new digital humanities grant competition sponsored by the two federal agencies. The grant program, “Advancing Knowledge: The IMLS/NEH Digital Partnership,” is looking for innovative and collaborative humanities projects using the latest digital technologies for the benefit of the American public, humanities scholarship, and the nation’s cultural community....
Institute of Museum and Library Services, Dec. 20
Newman’s Own First Amendment award
For the 15th consecutive year, Newman’s Own, the food company whose founder and president, actor Paul Newman, donates all after-tax profits to charity, is funding a First Amendment Prize administered by PEN American Center. The $20,000 award is presented to a U.S. resident who has fought courageously to safeguard the First Amendment right to freedom of expression as it applies to the written word. Joan Airoldi of the Whatcom County (Wash.) Library System, won the award in 2005. Nominations are due December 29....
PEN American Center
WebFeat awards nominations announced
WebFeat President Todd Miller announced December 19 his company’s nominations for the 4th annual President’s Awards for Innovation. The awards, presented to libraries with the most innovative federated search systems, recognize innovation in design and function in WebFeat clients’ information systems. Winners will be announced at the annual President’s Awards Dinner ceremony to be held January 20 during the 2007 ALA Midwinter Meeting....
WebFeat, Dec. 19
Three new California libraries reflect civic priorities
Architecturally, libraries can symbolize a community’s self-image. That’s the case with three distinctive new Bay Area libraries in Hercules (right), Belmont, and San Mateo that seem shaped by the aspirations of each city as much as the need to find space for books. Computers are everywhere, but the exterior of each library is quite different, and each strikes a quite different pose....
San Francisco Chronicle, Dec. 17
Innovative reading idea grabs attention
Dangling around students’ necks at the West Hernando Middle School cafeteria in Brooksville, Florida, are book titles. Katelyn McDow, 11, was advertising Can You Feel the Thunder? while her friend Cynthia McDowell sported The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Reading teacher Kathy Eppley asked students and adults to wear cards around their necks with the titles of the books they’re reading. National reading experts are vowing to steal the idea....
St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times, Dec. 1
Felines fail to qualify for top cat position
A Dallas-area CPA’s offer to give the Spencer (Iowa) Public Library a new cat has been turned down by Librarian Vicki Myron, who says she has also turned down more than 100 other offers from all over the country. Since longtime library kitty Dewey Readmore Books died in November, Myron says she has had more than 500 e-mailed messages of condolence....
Sioux City (Iowa) Journal, Dec. 17
Financially strapped library sets fines, cuts staff
With the failure of two library millage proposals in 2006, Lapeer (Mich.) District Library customers will find five fewer branches, books, hours, and employees in 2007, Director Kate Pohjola said. And for the first time in the library district’s history, there will be fines for overdue books and materials. The cuts also involve laying off 33 part-time employees, reducing hours for 15 full-time employees, and closing five branches (including the Goodland branch, above) January 1....
Flint (Mich.) Journal, Dec. 19
Glitch releases library user data
As Chris VanOosterhout updated his account with the Hackley Public Library in Muskegon, Michigan, this week, he stumbled upon the personal information of more than 15,000 western Michigan library users. Officials with the Lakeland Library Cooperative—a service used by about 80 libraries in eight counties—say they have secured the data that included names, phone numbers, e-mail addresses, street addresses, and library card numbers of library patrons registered on its website....
Grand Rapids (Mich.) Press, Dec. 20
Free Library of Philadelphia partners to help the homeless
A group that helps homeless people get back on their feet is posting once-homeless “attendants” in the restrooms of a downtown library in an effort to help manage the masses who flock there looking for shelter or a bathroom. Project HOME and the Free Library of Philadelphia hope the project, which started in mid-December, will prevent loitering and unsanitary conditions. But they also see the six-month pilot as a unique way to reach out to the homeless....
Associated Press, Dec. 15
Black history trove seeks a home
Painstakingly collected over a lifetime by Mayme Agnew Clayton—a retired university librarian who died in October at 83 and whose interest in African-American history consumed her for most of her adult life—a massive collection of books, films, documents, and other precious pieces of America’s past has remained hidden for decades, most of it piled from floor to ceiling in a ramshackle garage behind Clayton’s home in the West Adams district of Los Angeles. Only now is her son Avery close to forming a museum and research institute that would bring her collection out of the garage and into public view....
New York Times, Dec. 14
Smithsonian-Showtime TV deal irks GAO investigators
Two filmmakers were refused access to the Smithsonian Institution’s collections for their projects, but researchers generally have not been restricted so far by the Smithsonian’s semiexclusive deal with a cable network, congressional investigators say. Nonetheless, he public has justifiable concerns about the 30-year contract between the Smithsonian and Showtime Networks Inc., a cable network owned by CBS Corp., according to the Government Accountability Office....
Associated Press, Dec. 16
Minority librarians seek to change profession’s image
Deborah Lilton is a black student at the University of Alabama who is pursuing a degree to become an academic librarian. She is one of a disproportionately small number of minorities entering a field that is trying to get past stereotypical images of the “bun lady.” “Until this perception is changed, people who would make fine librarians will undoubtedly make another career choice,” said Lilton, one of two Spectrum scholars at Alabama....
Montgomery (Ala.) Advertiser, Dec. 17
Vermont librarian a youthful 85
Marybelle Mason Singer has been director of the Alburgh (Vt.) Public Library for the past 15 years, and at 85 she has no intention of quitting. But there has been nothing more unusual than the way this granddaughter of the first white child born in Abilene, Kansas, has, without seeming to expend any energy, made the library of this town (renamed Alburgh from Alburg last April) into a thriving community center....
Worcester (Mass.) Telegram and Gazette, Dec. 17
Tulane’s Lance Query to the NOLA library rescue
Lance Query, dean of libraries and academic information resources at Tulane University, has been named special consultant for administration to the board of the New Orleans Public Library, guiding the staff of 85 and the post-Katrina rebuilding process until a new director is chosen. The library board appointed Query to the consulting administrative post in the wake of the departure of the city librarian and the deputy city librarian. “My wife and I love it here,” says Query, who has worked at Tulane since 2000, explaining his decision to accept a part-time consultancy on top of his full-time job....
Tulane University New Wave, Nov. 21
Cow stars in ad filmed at Aurora University library
A commercial for Oberweis Dairy was shot at Aurora (Ill.) University December 18 because the remodeled library offered more room for 1,700-pound Bridget the Cow and a film crew than corporate headquarters. Outside the reference room, librarians and a handful of students ruminated over their work as usual....
Naperville (Ill.) Sun, Dec. 20
Australian library offers speed-dating
A 150-year old Australian public library has a new true-romance section after introducing speed-dating nights for lovers of classic texts. The State Library of Victoria in Melbourne introduced dating with a literary twist after the idea was raised at a staff party. Those who attend must bring a book they either love or loathe as a conversation starter, ensuring there are no uneasy silences during the series of five-minute encounters....
Reuters, Dec. 20
Trawling for patrons in Gloucestershire pubs
Gloucestershire County Council’s library service hopes to convert UK binge drinkers into bookworms by handing out 20,000 beer mats in pubs across the county. The coasters give the Oxford English Dictionary definition of lager lout, “noun, a rowdy or aggressive male,” and read, “Fill your head with something you’ll remember tomorrow.” On the reverse of the mat is a picture of a man flipping the top of his head open and pouring in a bottle of lager....
London Times, Dec. 14
Cambridge buys ProQuest Information and Learning
In a press release issued December 15, Cambridge Information Group announced its intention to combine its subsidiary, Cambridge Scientific Abstracts, with the ProQuest division, which includes ProQuest, Chadwyck-Healey, UMI, Micromedia ProQuest, Serials Solutions, SIRS, eLibrary, and CultureGrams. The new privately held company will maintain operations in both CIG’s Bethesda, Maryland, and PQ’s Ann Arbor, Michigan, locations....
Hectic Pace blog, Dec. 16
Ingram goes academic
Ingram Industries Inc. announced December 18 its acquisition of Coutts Information Services and its MyiLibrary affiliate—heralding Ingram’s entry into the academic library supply business. Coutts is based in the United Kingdom and has offices in the United States, Canada, and Holland. The company specializes in book and electronic content supply to academic, government, corporate, public, and institutional library and information sectors....
Coutts Information Services, Dec. 18
Google Library Project triggers debate
Already facing a legal challenge for alleged copyright infringement, Google’s crusade to build a digital library has triggered a philosophical debate with an alternative project promising better online access to the world’s books, art, and historical documents. The latest tensions revolve around Google’s insistence on chaining the digital content to its internet-leading search engine and the nine major libraries that have aligned themselves with the Mountain View-based company....
Associated Press, Dec. 20
One-stop book printer
After several years in development, the Espresso—a $50,000 vending machine with a conceivably infinite library—is nearly consumer-ready and will debut in 10–25 libraries and bookstores in 2007. The New York Public Library is scheduled to receive its machine in February. The machine, built by On Demand Books, can print, align, mill, glue, and bind two books simultaneously in less than seven minutes, including full-color laminated covers. Prices for the finished product will vary depending on locations, but the production cost is about a penny per page. Watch a video of the machine in action....
Fortune Small Business magazine, Dec. 14
A guide to anonymous blogging
Ethan Zuckerman offers some advice on security measures for hiding your blog-contribution identity online: “I decided to write a quick technical guide to anonymous blogging, trying to approach the problem from the perspective of a government whistle-blower in a country with a less-than-transparent government.”...
TechSoup blog, Dec. 15
LC launches RSS feeds
The Library of Congress launched December 18 a series of news feeds using RSS technology. The feeds offer updates on LC news, upcoming events, new on the web, new webcasts, news from the John W. Kluge Center, and what’s new in science reference....
Library of Congress, Dec. 18
Report on RFID meeting in Washington
OITP Technology Policy Analyst Mark Bard attended a December 14 roundtable hosted by the Congressional Internet Caucus Advisory Committee that focused on RFID chips for use in passports and driver’s licenses and offers a brief summary of the discussion. Audio is available on the committee’s website....
District Dispatch blog, Dec. 14
CSU Fresno library receives $10 million
California State University at Fresno’s Henry Madden Library will benefit from a $10 million gift from the Table Mountain Rancheria band of Mission Indians, which operates a casino in nearby Friant. The gift is the largest single cash gift in the university’s history and will enhance the $95-million library project, which will be completed in fall 2008....
CSU at Fresno, Dec. 15
Libraries as sanctuaries for criminals? (PDF file)
“In October, several Illinois libraries received FOIA requests for incident reports and records concerning patron and staff complaints about crimes and disturbing behavior taking place in the library,” writes Illinois Library Association
Executive Director Robert Doyle. “ILA recommended that libraries seek legal advice in complying.” This article is in response to those developments....
ILA Reporter 24, no. 6 (Dec.), pp. 12–17
YouTube opens an untamed copyright frontier
Larry Richard is one of the millions to have discovered the world of YouTube, the free website that allows people to post, watch, and share video clips. But is it legal, given that at least some of what he’s watching is copyrighted material being disseminated by individuals who clearly do not hold the copyright? The law on this matter is murky and likely to get murkier before it gets clearer, say experts in intellectual property law....
Christian Science Monitor, Dec. 18
DoE wants LSL proposal reviewers
The U.S. Department of Education is in the planning stages for a possible 2007 funding competition for the Improving Literacy through School Libraries (LSL) program, and there is a need for proposal reviewers to assist with the peer review process. As many as 700 applications are expected this year. The program will be using the U.S. Department of Education’s e-Reader system. Reviewers will be sent hard copies of proposals to discuss with fellow peer reviewers during conference calls....
ALA Washington Office, Dec. 20
Happy birthday, Bill of Rights!
The Bill of Rights to the U.S. Constitution was ratified on December 15, 1791. “The very purpose of a Bill of Rights was to withdraw certain subjects from the vicissitudes of political controversy, to place them beyond the reach of majorities and officials and to establish them as legal principles to be applied by the courts. One’s right to life, liberty, and property, to free speech, a free press, freedom of worship and assembly, and other fundamental rights may not be submitted to vote; they depend on the outcome of no elections.”—Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson....
Don Wood’s Library 2.0 blog, Dec. 15
Mozart catalog available online
Mozart maniacs, enthusiasts, students, and scholars can now access the immortal composer’s entire catalog through a free online database, launched December 11, which contains more than 8,000 pages of critical commentary published since 1954. Ulrich Leisinger, head of research at the International Mozart Foundation in Salzburg, Austria, said site users can search for a specific work using key words and a scroll-down menu. They also have the option of printing out individual movements....
Associated Press, Dec. 13
Polar Express pulls into San Francisco
The electric train layout featuring the Polar Express and Thomas the Tank Engine trains has been a hit this winter with visitors to San Francisco’s Main Library. Kids and adults delight in pushing the buttons that activate the trains, a ski gondola, animated sledders, and the village lights. A Lionel O scale replica of the Polar Express, which starred in Chris Van Allsburg’s 1985 holiday classic and in a subsequent 2004 movie adaptation of the same name, is the highlight of the display....
San Francisco Public Library, Dec. 12
Google Patent Search
Google’s new search engine for patents, launched December 13, covers the entire collection of patents made available by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, from the 1790s to the present. The company has converted the entire patent image database into a format, like Google Book Search, that on its advanced page is easy to search by details, classification, inventor, assignee, or date....
Search for a library
Marshall Breeding’s worldwide directory of libraries and their websites and catalogs, lib-web-cats, now has an advanced search engine designed to help identify libraries according to the library automation system used, collection size, and affiliations....
IFLA approves new code of ethics
The governing board of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions approved a Code of Ethics in December that outlines a set of fundamental principles in order to help the board define what is right, fair, just, and good for the organization in meeting its mission and purpose....
International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions, Dec. 18
Registration open for 2007 WebWise Conference
The Institute of Museum and Library Services announces open registration for the eighth annual WebWise Conference on Libraries and Museums in the Digital World, to be held February 28–March 2, 2007, at the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. The conference is sponsored annually by IMLS and is cohosted again this year by the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) and the J. Paul Getty Trust....
Institute of Museum and Library Services, Dec. 19
Don’t miss out on the Midwinter Meeting’s parties and receptions.
American Libraries Senior Production Editor Karen Sheets and Editor-in-Chief Leonard Kniffel look at the final proof pages of the January issue, the first to feature the magazine’s new design that will coincide with its 100th anniversary.
ALA Headquarters holiday hours
When Olympic medallist Sasha Cohen isn’t on the ice, she enjoys promoting her favorite charities, acting, reading, and spending time at the beach. NEW Sasha Cohen celebrity READ poster from ALA Graphics.
Stories inside include:
David Mamet on the Chicago Public Library
Public Library Rebirth
The Top 10 News Stories of 2006
Online Social Networking and Intellectual Freedom is a presentation created by the Office for Intellectual Freedom on IF issues involving social networking websites. You can listen to it in MP3 audio format, view it in Power Point, or read it in HTML script.
The Basalt (Colo.) Regional Library District seeks an experienced Executive Director to administer our growing library district and to lead us through the exciting process of building a new library. Building experience is preferred....
for more career opportunities.
How do you meet someone without being completely hammered? Try the institution we are here for—school! The library is a great place to chat up potential hook-ups. That way you can get a sober look at their physical assets, their conversational skills, and a peek at their work to gauge their intelligence.”
Student Jenny Paradise advocating non-drunk sex at the University of California at Santa Barbara, Daily Nexus, Nov. 29.
The Online Resource Center for Library Cultural Programming is a professional development tool and digital library where librarians and library supporters can find the resources and framework for developing high-quality humanities programming. Models of past ALA Public Programs Office initiatives are featured to encourage replication, enhancement, and inspiration.
do YOU think?
Does your library currently have an in-house coffee shop or restaurant?
cumulated results and selected responses to AL Direct polls, visit the AL Online website.
the ALA Librarian
Q. We’re thinking of adding a coffee shop to our library. What issues should we consider before doing so?
A. Some of the issues to be considered are the extent of service to be offered, how the service is managed, the impact on policies (such as food in the rest of the library), and the effect on tax revenues. Check out some readings—and a place for you to add information about your coffee shop, if you have one—at the ALA
Professional Tips wiki.
The ALA Librarian welcomes your questions.
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.
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