The e-newsletter of the American Library Association | August 15,

U.S. & World News
ALA News
AL Focus
Booklist Online
Division News
Round Table News
Seen Online
Tech Talk
Actions & Answers


Sponsor: Sirsi Dynix

U.S. & World News

Iraqi National Guard patchIraq National Library director resists military intrusions
Saad Eskander, director of the Iraq National Library and Archive in Baghdad, issued a plea to the international library community August 9 for support in his efforts to resist the unlawful entry of Iraqi National Guard troops, which, he believes, endangers the INLA’s staff and collections. According to Eskander, a group of guards forced their way into the main building August 8 as the government declared a four-day curfew, which kept the director in his home....

LC announces digital preservation partnerships
The Library of Congress announced eight partnerships August 3 as part of its new Preserving Creative America initiative, which targets the digital preservation of creative media, including movies, sound recordings, digital photography, and video games....

Senate committee passes TV content-blocking legislation
The Senate Commerce Committee passed August 2 the Child Safe Viewing Act of 2007 (S. 602), which requires the Federal Communications Commission to assess new blocking technologies similar to the television V-chip for use in broadcast, pay TV, internet, and other media delivery systems. The bill would give the FCC approximately one year to review developing technologies and give Congress recommendations to help parents navigate indecent or violent content....

Spokane Public Schools logo and mottoSpokane schools halve K–8 librarians’ hours
Despite two months of protest and negotiations from parents and teacher-librarians, the board of the Spokane (Wash.) Public Schools unanimously approved August 8 the reduction to part-time status of librarians serving 10 elementary schools as part of the district’s 2007–08 budget. Culminating several years of cutting other elementary-school librarians’ hours, the action leaves the second-largest school district in Washington without a single full-time K–8 teacher-librarian....

ChaCha logoIndiana, ChaCha partner on librarian-guided search platform
A deal between Indiana University and Carmel, California–based search engine firm ChaCha to install the company’s software on university websites and develop a new search platform that combines machine-based searches with expert human guidance has provoked controversy over the revelation that the school’s new president recently left the ChaCha board....

Departing director aids efforts to reopen Jackson County libraries
“I did everything I could here,” Ted Stark, interim director of the shuttered Jackson County (Oreg.) Libraries, told American Libraries about his resigning effective August 17 to head the Menomonie (Wis.) Public Library. Stark succeeded Ronnie Budge, who retired just before the 15-branch system was shuttered in April due to lack of operating funds....

Colorado man investigated in massive theft scheme
A Denver man is being investigated for allegedly checking out more than $45,000 worth of materials, largely DVDs, from four area library systems with the intent to sell them online. Thomas Pilaar, 33, is suspected of getting seven library cards under different names from Denver Public Library, checking out 300 items per card, and selling at least some of the borrowed materials....

Bishop Gerald F. O'KeefeBishop’s name removed from university library
The board of directors of St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa, voted to remove the name of the late Bishop Gerald F. O’Keefe from the university’s library August 3. The board acted after considering the request of Mark Powell, a St. Ambrose alumnus and a victim of sexual abuse by priests in the Davenport Diocese in the late 1970s, when O’Keefe was bishop there....

Library-book drug smugglers sentenced
A Fort Worth, Texas, inmate and his girlfriend, who were convicted in April of smuggling methamphetamine into federal prison in the spines of books that the prison library received via interlibrary loan from local public libraries, were sentenced August 6....

ALA News

Be on an ALA committee
ALA Vice-President/President-Elect Jim Rettig is seeking applicants and nominations for appointments to 2008–2009 ALA and Council committees. All applicants must submit a committee volunteer form by December 3. Appointees will receive notifications in late March 2008....

School library opinions needed on copyright
The ALA Office for Information Technology Policy will be preparing a book focused on copyright issues and topics in the school environment. OITP is interested in what school library media specialists think about copyright and how they grapple with copyright at their schools. To help produce a book that reflects your concerns and needs, you can complete a short survey. All data gathered from the survey will remain anonymous....

District Dispatch blog, Aug. 13

Smartest Card logoFree PSAs for Library Card Sign-Up Month
ALA has released five new radio public service announcements that will help libraries promote Library Card Sign-up Month in September and the library card as the “smartest card in your wallet.” The PSAs can be downloaded in 10, 15, and 30-second MP3 formats for use by local radio stations....

Sixteen chapters endorse NSL resolution
To date, 16 state associations have adopted ALA’s Resolution on the Use and Abuse of National Security Letters: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island, and Vermont....
Office for Intellectual Freedom blog, Aug. 15

AL Focus

Still from Lon Dickerson videoLon Dickerson: On recovering from Katrina
Lon Dickerson of the Jefferson Parish (La.) Library talks in this 2:38 video about the ongoing recovery efforts in his area following Hurricane Katrina, how six of the 15 parish libraries are still closed, the $10–$14 million in repairs that are needed, and how the 2006 ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans served as “a shot in the arm.”...

Booklist Online logo

Cover of You'll Be OkayFeatured review: Adult books
Kerouac-Parker, Edie; edited by Timothy Moran and Bill Morgan. You’ll Be Okay: My Life with Jack Kerouac. Sept. 2007. 288p. City Lights, paperback (978-0-87286-464-1).
Kerouac’s first wife, Edie Parker, played a pivotal role in his literary evolution, but her side of the story hasn’t been fully known until now. A pampered and venturesome 17-year-old when she first spies handsome Jack pushing Cole Porter in a wheelchair near Columbia University, she falls madly in love. Against her family’s wishes, she valiantly marries Kerouac in 1944 in order to spring him from a Bronx jail after he was arrested as an accomplice to their friend Lucien Carr’s murder of the stalker David Kammerer....

Cover of How to Talk About Books You Haven't Read, by Pierre BayardSecrets of the readers’ advisors
Kaite Mediatore Stover writes: “I think we’ve been outed. Pierre Bayard has blatantly stated what we librarians only whisper to each other in dark corners of conferences, confess in encrypted emails to our closest pals, grudgingly admit over the fourth or fifth bookardi and cola at Librarian’s Anonymous meetings. We haven’t read everything.”....
Likely Stories blog, Aug. 10

@ Visit Booklist Online for other reviews and much more....

Division News

Tiffany TrentWin a visit from Tiffany Trent
The library with the best celebration in honor of YALSA’s Teen Read Week will win a visit from renowned young adult author Tiffany Trent. Trent is the author of the recently released In the Serpent’s Coils, the first novel in the Hallowmere series. All current YALSA members who intend to hold a special 2007 Teen Read Week celebration may enter the contest by reading the contest rules and downloading the application form....

CPLA logoRegister for September CPLA courses
PLA is now accepting registrations for five specialized continuing education courses to be offered in September in partnership with local library systems. Each of these courses has been approved for the Certified Public Library Administrator program, and registration is open to CPLA candidates as well as librarians looking for quality, specialized continuing education....

Statistical report highlights key YA data
PLA’s 2007 PLDS Statistical Report includes a special section on young adult library services. Some findings in this special section include: Young adults comprise an average of 11.28% of a public library’s service area, and about half of all libraries surveyed have at least one full-time equivalent librarian dedicated to YA services....

RUSA to offer four online courses
In upcoming months, RUSA will offer four online continuing education courses on reference services and marketing: business reference, marketing basics, readers’ advisory, and the reference interview....

Library Advocacy logoAASL to launch Advocacy Institute in Reno
AASL will launch its new Advocacy Institute as a full-day preconference during the 13th AASL National Conference and Exhibition in Reno, Nevada. The AASL Advocacy Institute will be presented as an all-day preconference on October 24 in cooperation with the ALA Office for Library Advocacy and led by experienced presenters Deb Levitov and Nance Nassar....

Round Table News

Seminar logoLibrary Research Seminar IV
The Library and Information Science Program at the University of Western Ontario will host Library Research Seminar IV, October 10–12, in London, Ontario. The conference theme is “The Library in Its Socio-Cultural Context: Issues for Research and Practice.” ALA’s Library History Round Table, which initiated and sponsors the conference, encourages those with an interest to attend....


John Cotton Dana award logoJohn Cotton Dana PR Award competition
Competition is open now for the 2008 John Cotton Dana Library Public Relations Award contest, sponsored by the H. W. Wilson Company, the H. W. Wilson Foundation, and LAMA. The deadline for entries is December 6. Inaugurated in 1946, the John Cotton Dana Award honors the art and craft of getting the right message to the right audience at the right time and getting the right results....

PLA awards applications available online
PLA is now accepting applications for its 2008 awards. Members can nominate their colleagues and libraries through the PLA website. The deadline for submitting an application is December 3....

Connecting to Collections: Statewide planning grants
The Institute of Museum and Library Services invites proposals for statewide, collaborative planning grants to address the recommendations of the Heritage Health Index, a landmark study conducted by Heritage Preservation in partnership with IMLS. HHI found the collections held in the public trust by libraries, museums, and archives to be at great risk. These grants are aimed at fostering effective partnerships among organizations that have a strong commitment to the collections stewardship goals of a given state, commonwealth, or territory....

Institute of Museum and Library Services, Aug. 14

2008 Barbara Bush Literacy Grant competition
The Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy has announced its 2008 national grant competition. The foundation’s grantmaking program seeks to develop or expand projects that are designed to support the development of literacy skills for adult primary care givers and their children. A total of approximately $650,000 will be awarded; no grant request should exceed $65,000. Deadline is September 7....
Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy

The IVP Atlas of Bible History, by Paul Lawrence, winner in the Bible reference and study category2007 Christian Book Award winners
The Evangelical Christian Publishers Association announced the winners of the 2007 Christian Book Awards for 2007, honoring the year’s finest in Christian publishing. Since 1978 the Christian Book Awards (formerly the Gold Medallion Awards) have awarded excellence in six categories: Bibles, Bible reference and study, children and youth, inspiration and gift, Christian life, and fiction....
Evangelical Christian Publishers Association, July 9

Seen Online

Brooke AstorBrooke Astor (1902–2007)
Brooke Astor, 105, whose marriage into one of America’s oldest fortunes made her a mainstay of New York high society and philanthropy for five decades as she gave away about $200 million, died August 13 at her estate in Briarcliff Manor, New York. No one played a more pivotal role in promoting and supporting the welfare of the New York Public Library than Astor. Her many substantial gifts, made through the Vincent Astor Foundation, supported collections, programs, staff, and facilities throughout the NYPL system....
Washington Post, Aug. 14; New York Public Library

Striking Vancouver library workersLibrary issues back on the table in Vancouver
Vancouver’s striking library workers agreed to renew talks with the city August 15—but negotiations with inside and outside workers remain at a standstill. Library talks are resuming at the request of the city. Spokesman Jerry Dobrovolny said the library workers were approached to resume talks because they began negotiations later than others and therefore “had not had as much time” to bargain. The primary issue is pay equity. For more on the strike, see the ALA COSWL blog and the Union Librarian blog....
Vancouver (B.C.) Province, Aug. 15

High school reading lists get a modern makeover
Precious summer minutes spent poring over Shakespeare or Nathaniel Hawthorne may seem less than appealing to teens, so some experts say there is a slowly growing trend to infuse more modern literature into summer reading. As a result, the revered literary canon of classics may be due for a shake-up. “The natural evolution of these lists is that they expand and include voices that are underrepresented,” says ALA President Loriene Roy....
Christian Science Monitor, Aug. 8

Cover of Alms for JihadAlms for error (subscription required)
Cambridge University Press may ask libraries that have acquired the 2006 book Alms for Jihad: Charity and Terrorism in the Islamic World by J. Millard Burr and Robert O. Collins to remove it from their shelves. The press agreed to pulp its remaining copies in response to a libel claim filed in Britain by Khalid bin Mahfouz, a Saudi banker who the book erroneously claims financed terrorism in Sudan and elsewhere during the 1990s. Unless there is an order from a U.S. court, the British settlement is unenforceable in the United States, and libraries are under no legal obligation to return or destroy the book....
Chronicle of Higher Education, Aug. 10; OIF blog, Aug. 14

Pennsylvania libraries offer big returns
Pennsylvania public libraries provide a return on investment of $5.50 for every $1 of taxpayer funding, according to a new study. Commissioned by the state Department of Education’s Office of Commonwealth Libraries, the study was funded with about $110,000 from an annual federal grant, said Glenn Miller, Pennsylvania Library Association executive director....
Wilkes-Barre (Pa.) Times Leader, Aug. 7

Artist's rendering of the Laura Bush Community LibraryFirst Lady launches Austin library named in her honor
Dubbed the “first lady of libraries” at an August 14 event in her honor, Laura Bush helped launch the Laura Bush Community Library, the first library in the United States to be named for her alone. To be built as a branch of the Westbank Community Library in Austin, Texas, the $5.8-million construction project will begin next year....
Austin (Tex.) American-Statesman, Aug. 14

San Francisco public libraries are wildly popular
They begin to line up on the sidewalk as much as an hour before the doors open. At 10 a.m. they make a mad dash through all three entrances. Security guards estimate they are 200 to 300 strong, race-walking in their eagerness to get inside. San Francisco’s Main Library has such a rush of visitors every morning when it opens that one staffer jokingly refers to it as “the running of the bulls.”...
San Francisco Chronicle, Aug. 12

Ken VandermarkAL Editor’s documentary has sneak preview in Chicago
Daniel Kraus, American Libraries associate editor and mastermind behind the AL Focus series of videos, announced that his newest documentary, Musician—a profile of one of Chicago’s hardest-working jazz figures, Ken Vandermark—will have a sneak preview August 24 at the Gene Siskel Film Center in Chicago. Then it’s off to the theatrical opening at New York’s Pioneer Theater, September 5–11, with a Vandermark solo set preceding each screening....
Gene Siskel Film Center

Cover of The InquestVermont librarian writes novel on 1830 abortion incident
Jeffrey D. Marshall, special collections librarian and archivist at the University of Vermont, discovered a fascinating 12-page document in 1984 when he was cataloging papers in the Burlington, Vermont, courthouse. The document, written by Burlington’s justice of the peace and dated September 18–19, 1830, is an inquest into the death of a Burlington woman, Experience “Speedy” Goodrich, who died after an abortion. In 2006, Marshall completed The Inquest, a novel based on the event....
Worcester (Mass.) Telegram & Gazette, Aug. 12

Retired cataloger donates rare books to Southern Maine
A longtime employee of the University of Southern Maine library has bequeathed nearly 2,000 books, some of them five centuries old, to the library’s special collections department. Albert A. Howard, who worked as a cataloger at the school’s library for 35 years but is now retired, donated his rare book collection earlier this year, knowing it was the best way to preserve the collection he had begun working on in 1958....
Portland (Me.) Press Herald, Aug. 13

Architect's drawing of plaza in front of planned University of Aberdeen libraryLibrary of the future planned in Aberdeen
The University of Aberdeen in Scotland is planning a £57-million (U.S. $113.8-million) “library of the future.” The nine-story building will replace the existing Queen Mother Library. Danish architects schmidt hammer lassen, who created the famous Royal Danish Library in Copenhagen, were selected for the project. Professor C. Duncan Rice, the university’s principal and vice-chancellor, said the new library “will stand as one of the most significant new Scottish public buildings of the last hundred years.”...
BBC News, Aug. 13; University of Aberdeen

CILIP lambasts library spin doctoring
The Chartered Institute for Library and Information Professionals, the professional body for UK librarians, has lambasted library chiefs for spin doctoring over plans to cut staff, and has called on the Secretary of State for Culture, Media, and Sport to intervene. CILIP Chief Executive Bob McKee says the future of the public library service is under threat. But the DCMS declined on August 15 to “micromanage the work of individual local library authorities.”...
The Bookseller, Aug. 13, 15

MaintainIT ad
Tech Talk

Nokia E61i cellphoneAn entire bookshelf in your hands
When Paul Biba, a lawyer in Bernardsville, New Jersey, finds himself stuck waiting, he likes to pull out his Nokia E61i cellphone and read one of the 20 or so books he usually stores on it. More cellphones have screens with a resolution fine enough to rival that of the printed page. The bright virtual pages, along with other advantages like weight, capacity, and a built-in reading light, are gradually drawing readers from paper books, one of the last holdouts against digitization....
New York Times, Aug. 8

Tagmash for LibraryThing
Tim Spalding at LibraryThing has gone live with a new feature called “tagmash,” pages for the intersections of tags. He writes: “In getting past words or short phrases, tagmash closes some of the gap between tagging and professional subject classifications. For example, there is no good tag for ‘France during WWII.’ Most people just don’t tag that verbosely. Tagmash allows for a page combining the two: France, wwii. If you want to skip the novels, you can do france, wwii, -fiction. The results are remarkably good.”...
LibraryThing blog, July 24

Maildog logoE-newsletter tools and resources
Even though social networks and group-management tools have become a good way to communicate among groups of people, some libraries may need a professional-looking e-newsletter to keep users, advocates, or staff up-to-date. Here are more than 30 email newsletter services which enable you to create and send professional newsletters to your audience....
Mashable Social Networking News, Aug. 10

EBSCOhost accessibility graphicEBSCOhost improves usability
EBSCO Publishing has teamed with accessibility experts to make it easier to search EBSCOhost using screen readers and keyboard controls. Working with the EBSCO Accessibility Interest Group, led by the Illinois Center for Instructional Technology Accessibility at the University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign, EBSCO was able to determine that Text Only interfaces (aka 508 compliance), the industry standard for web accessibility, were no longer enough....
EBSCO Publishing, Aug. 9

Actions & Answers

Cover of National School Boards Association studyReport refutes claims of social networking dangers
A study (PDF file) released this month by the National School Boards Association debunks the common assumption that MySpace and other social networking sites are breeding grounds for sexual predators seeking to harm students. The study, which surveyed students between the ages of 9 and 17, parents, and school-district leaders, found that less than 3% of students said that unwelcome strangers have tried repeatedly to communicate with them. On the other hand, 60% of the students report using social networking to discuss education-related topics. The study goes on to recommend that school districts reconsider the common practice of restricting student access to social networking tools....
National School Boards Association; PC World, Aug. 8

Invade the “Answer” sites!
On Monday, September 10, librarians are invited to be a little bold and have a little fun by going to online “Answer” sites—such as Yahoo Answers, Amazon’s Askville, and the Wikipedia Reference Desk—and answer queries all day. Make it clear that your answer was provided by a library professional. Add a link to your own library, and suggest that readers should consider finding answers in their own libraries, too....
Answer Board Librarians, Aug. 7

Web users read more, say less
Internet users are spending nearly half their online time reading content, a 37% increase in share of time from four years ago, according to the Online Publishers Association. According to the OPA’s Internet Activity Index, conducted by Nielsen//NetRatings, communications accounted for 46% of consumers’ time online in 2003. A dramatic shift has taken place since then, with consumers now spending 47% of their time with content, compared with 34% four years ago....
Online Publishers Association, Aug. 13

Wikipedia logoSee who’s editing Wikipedia
A new web tool called Wikipedia Scanner—the brainchild of CalTech computation and neural-systems graduate student Virgil Griffith—offers users a searchable database that ties millions of anonymous Wikipedia edits to the organizations where those edits apparently originated. Inspired by news that Congressional staffers had been editing their own entries, Griffith says he got curious and wanted to know whether big companies and other organizations (like Diebold, Pfizer, and the CIA) were doing things in a similarly self-interested vein....
Wired, Aug. 14

Search engines and privacy
C|Net recently polled the five leading search engine companies to see how long they retain search data, how they eventually dispose of it, whether they engage in behavioral targeting, and whether they use information they have from user sign-ups to guide which ads are displayed. The answers suggest that was the most protective of user privacy. And Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, and AOL? Results were mixed....
C|Net, Aug. 13

Law librarians like their jobs, but vendors are a problem
Today’s law library is tightly integrated with the rest of the firm. It’s vital for finding case law and for finding new business. LawFirmInc.’s sixth annual survey of law-firm librarians reveals that they’re continuing to move beyond legal research and into marketing and competitive intelligence, computer training, and knowledge management projects. But while job satisfaction rates remain high, headaches come from the vendors who sell access to electronic research tools....
Large Law Firm, Aug. 10

Cover of GulagJudging the covers of books
Covers—a website maintained by a graphic design group in Portland, Denver, Cupertino, and Brooklyn called Fwis—is dedicated to the appreciation of book cover design. Anyone can submit a book-cover critique or post comments about those already on the site. About this cover of Gulag, Ben Pieratt writes: “A well-done call back to Russian constructivism without the usual cheese that comes with it. I especially like the fold in the ribbon of the white Nobel Prize bar.”...

How do students conduct academic research?
Alison J. Head used student discussion groups, content analysis, and a student survey to find that students may not be as reliant on public internet sites as previous research has reported. Students in her study at Saint Mary’s College of California used a hybrid approach for conducting course-related research, and a majority leveraged both online and offline sources to overcome challenges with finding, selecting, and evaluating resources and gauging professors’ expectations for quality research....
First Monday 12, no. 8 (Aug.)

An 1850s library userBook circulation per public-library user since 1856
FCC Senior Economist Douglas A. Galbi reviewed existing studies of library circulation statistics to show that from 1856 to 1978 users borrowed an average of 15 books per year from U.S. public libraries, but the rate has since dropped by 50%. He writes: “The growth of audiovisuals circulation, estimated at 25% of total circulation in 2004, accounts for about half of this decline. These figures depend on estimates and disparate samples of libraries with varying circulation and user accounting methods. Nonetheless, it suggests that historically established institutions significantly stabilize borrowing behavior.”...
Galbi Think! Communications Industry and Policy Analysis, July 29

LibVibe logoLibVibe library news podcasts
Marv Kaminsky, a former broadcast radio personality and reference librarian living in Kansas, has been creating podcasts of library-related news for more than a year now. LibVibe offers concise, professional, and listenable news reports twice a week....

OCLC opens office in Beijing
Library cooperative OCLC opened an office in Beijing July 20 to better serve the growing information needs of libraries and other cultural heritage institutions in China and other parts of Asia. The OCLC office is located in Zhongguancun, the academic center of Beijing often called “the Silicon Valley of China.” Qiu Dongjiang, OCLC chief representative, is joined by three other OCLC staff members in the Beijing office....
OCLC, Aug. 9

Cornell University emblemCornell joins Google Book Search
Cornell University Library is partnering with Google to digitize materials from its collections and make them available online. Materials from Mann Library will be digitized as part of the agreement. Mann’s collections include some of the following subject areas: biological sciences, natural resources, environmental sciences, applied economics, management and public policy, human development, textiles and apparel, nutrition, and food science....
Cornell University, Aug. 7

Evolution of a Librarian T-shirt. Drawings by Robert Carter; concept by Alison Hicks, Nicole Albers and Jennifer LindleyEvolution of a Librarian T-shirt
The Student Association of the School of Information at the University of Texas at Austin is selling T-shirts that portray the evolution of librarians, from Informationus Primatus to Informationus Professionus. Four iSchool students came up with the drawings and concept....
Student Association of the School of Information, July 26

Teen Read Week Laugh Out Loud poster

Laugh out loud! This year’s Teen Read Week theme is LOL @ your library, which encourages teens to use the resources at their libraries to find books, magazines, comics, graphic novels, audiobooks, and other resources that are entertaining or humorous. Teen Read Week will take place October 14–20. (YALSA will help you find things to laugh about on its Teen Read Week wiki.) The poster above is NEW! From ALA Graphics.

Banned Books Week 2007 logo

Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read is observed during the last week of September each year. Observed since 1982, this annual ALA event reminds Americans not to take this precious democratic freedom for granted. This year, 2007, marks BBW’s 26th anniversary (September 29–October 6). The Office for Intellectual Freedom offers BBW posters, T-shirts, and bookmarks; tips on how to celebrate; and lists of challenged books.


In this issue
August 2007

Current AL cover

A Library 2.0 Manifesto

Library Stamps of 1982

The Ventriloquist Who Changed the World

Annual Conference Roundup

Career Leads from
ALA Joblist logo

Assistant Curator for Special Collections, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge. Supervises the acquisition, preservation, and cataloging of published materials for the Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collections; collaborates with the head of Special Collections to develop the Rare Book and McIlhenny Collections; provides outreach and instruction to enhance use of Special Collections....

@ More jobs...

Digital Library of the Week

Civil War-era envelope. Giant bomb that's about to go off. Cream envelope with black ink. Image on left side. "This is the Pill that will Cure or Kill."

The New-York Historical Society’s Department of Prints, Photographs, and Architectural Collections owns approximately 3,000 unused envelopes dating from the Civil War years. Of these, 490 were scanned for this project. Measuring approximately 3 x 5 1/2 inches, they are printed or embossed with caricatures, allegories, slogans, portraits, etc., relating to Civil War events and personalities. The vast majority is Union-oriented; most were produced by New York printers ca. 1861–1865. Some are quite crude; others are beautifully designed and executed, many in color, some gilt. Featured in the Library of Congress’s American Memory Project.

Do you know of a digital library collection that we can mention in this new AL Direct feature? Tell us about it.

Public Perception
How the World
Sees Us

“One of the most obvious changes you’ll notice is that library staff members are now easy to identify. In response to customer suggestions, and in an attempt to reduce the avalanche of daily ‘Do you work here?’ inquiries, all staff now wear teal-coloured golf shirts with our logo— Welcome to the World of Information—on the back. Additionally, all staff members will be sporting the familiar white and navy blue colours of footwear donated by Swoosh, the library’s official athletic shoe.”

—Ron MacSpadyen, program manager of the Ontario Lacrosse Association, in a parody on public libraries run as businesses, Toronto Star, Aug. 14.

From the CentenniAL Blog

A scene at the White House Conference on Library and Information Services. From left: Peter Peyser (R-N.Y.), John Brademas (D-Ind.), William Sudow (assistant to Brademas), Jack Duncan (counsel to the subcommittee), and Orval Hansen (R-Idaho).

Long road to the White House. Greg Landgraf writes: “The first White House Conference on Library and Information Services (WHCLIS) was, quite literally, decades in the making. It was first proposed in 1957, and finally took place November 15–19, 1979.     
    “Not surprisingly, American Libraries covered WHCLIS’s development extensively throughout the 1970s, mostly in reports of the surprisingly twisty path to the passage of a bill authorizing it. A July-August 1973 report, for example, claimed (erroneously) that the idea for a White House Conference ‘Was born on the eve of the worst image setback suffered by the American library community at the hands of a federal administration’—
President Richard Nixon’s March request that Congress not fund libraries in the 1974 budget (p. 410). The Conference was proposed for 1976, ‘in connection with’ the Bicentennial.”...

See the CentenniAL Blog for more....

AL 100 logo

Ask the ALA Librarian

One of several different bookplates placed in the books of ALA Library War Service libraries. Image courtesy of Larry Nix.

Q. Mixed in with some donations dropped off at our library recently was an older title with a bookplate that says "War Service Library—This book is provided by the people of the United States through the American Library Association for the use of the soliders and sailors." What is the significance of this?

A. The bookplate— sometimes a label—is one of several versions affixed to books furnished to sailors and soldiers by the American Library Association during World War I. In 1917, ALA established the Committee on Mobilization and War Service Plans (later the War Service Committee). ALA’s wartime program, known as the Library War Service, was directed by Herbert Putnam, Library of Congress, and later by Carl H. Milam. Between 1917 and 1920, ALA mounted two financial campaigns and raised $5 million from public donations; erected 36 camp libraries with Carnegie Corporation funds; distributed approximately 10 million books and magazines; and provided library collections to 5,000 locations. Continuing byproducts of this effort are the American Library in Paris and military libraries all over the country and the world. The work is carried on by librarians who are members of the Federal and Armed Forces Libraries Round Table. See the ALA Professional Tips wiki for more....

The ALA Librarian welcomes your questions.


Sept. 1–30:
Library Card Sign-up Month.

Sept. 29–
Oct. 6:

Banned Books Week. “Ahoy! Treasure Your Freedom to Read and Get Hooked on a Banned Book.”

Oct. 4–7:
LITA National Forum, Denver. “Technology with Altitude: 10 Years of the LITA National Forum.”

Oct. 14–20:
Teen Read Week. “LOL @ your library.”

Oct. 25–28:
AASL National Conference, Reno, Nevada. “The Future Begins @ your library.”

Jan. 11–16,

ALA Midwinter Meeting, Philadelphia.

Mar. 2–8:
Teen Tech Week. “Tune In @ your library.”

Mar. 25–29:
PLA National Conference, Minneapolis.

Apr. 13–19:
National Library Week. “Join the circle of knowledge @ your library.”

June 26–
July 2:

ALA Annual Conference, Anaheim, California.

@ More...

Contact Us
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