The e-newsletter of the American Library Association | July 25,

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

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U.S. & World News

Chambers of the Prince William County Board of SupervisorsLibraries examine policies as two counties target illegals
Following Congress’s failure to pass the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act in June, two counties in Virginia have taken steps to limit illegal immigrants’ access to public services. Resolutions passed in July by Prince William and Loudoun County supervisors could affect library circulation policies, although agencies in both counties—including schools, parks, hospitals, housing, sheriffs’ offices, and employment agencies—are scrambling to find out whether the new directives conflict with federal and state laws and regulations....

D.C. residents protest branch replacement plans
Some 75 people led by activist Ralph Nader staged a rally outside the District of Columbia Public Library’s West End branch July 14 to protest the city council’s vote that week to allow a developer to build a residential project on the site....

Salinas Public Library logoSalinas expands operating hours
Nearly three years after the Salinas, California, city council voted to close them because of a massive budget deficit, the city’s three libraries have made an impressive comeback: The addition of 10 hours each week per branch, effective July 17, brings the system’s total weekly hours to 117–39 for each branch....

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ALA News

Two surveys show progress in serving young adults
Two recent surveys illustrate progress in the staffing and use of library services to young adults. The 2007 Public Library Data Service Statistical Report found that nearly 90% of public libraries surveyed offer young adult programs. And a June 2007 poll (PDF file) conducted for ALA by Harris Interactive found that a significant number of youths between the ages of 8 and 18 visit both the public library and the school library media center for personal use....

Last chance to step up to the plate
All entries for the Step Up to the Plate @ your library program are due September 1, giving children and young adults 9–18 years of age their final opportunity for a chance to win a grand prize trip to the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York, by checking out a baseball book and writing about how their favorite character inspired them....

AL Focus

Ann Seidl on the red carpet, from The Hollywood Librarian world premiere videoThe Hollywood Librarian: World premiere
A huge crowd gathered at the June 22 world premiere of The Hollywood Librarian at Annual Conference in Washington, D.C. In this recap (4:54), attendees enjoy a red-carpet entry before viewing a film that mixes representations of librarians in cinema with current issues facing librarians today. Along with a few special guests, writer/director Ann Siedl speaks afterwards about the challenge of marketing ourselves and her plan to distribute the film in libraries during Banned Books Week....

Artist David Wiesner, from the videoDavid Wiesner interview
Artist David Wiesner speaks (3:49) with American Libraries Senior Editor Beverly Goldberg from the Annual Conference exhibit floor about winning his third Randolph Caldecott Medal for Flotsam, how his interest in “visual storytelling” led him to children’s books, and the gratifying feedback he has received from librarians, teachers, and kids....

The Greg Show #2 titleThe Greg Show #2
Spying on Bill Bradley, hotel mixups, that weird blimp, book cart drill teams, and lost luggage—all this and more awaits you in the second chapter (2:54) of The Greg Show, a skewed take on the 2007 ALA Annual Conference in Washington, D.C., by American Libraries editorial assistant and first-time conference attendee Greg Landgraf....

Keir Graff, Booklist Online, from the videoBooklist’s Keir Graff
Keir Graff, senior editor of Booklist Online, speaks (2:25) from the Booklist booth in the exhibit hall of Annual Conference in Washington, D.C., about developing the website, the possibility of being a “booth babe,” and his new book My Fellow Americans (Severn House, October 2007). Then it’s off to his reading from the exhibit hall’s “Live! @ your library” reading stage....

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Cover of Harry Potter and the Deathly HallowsFeatured review: Books for youth
Rowling, J. K. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. July 2007. 756p. Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine, hardcover (978-0-545-01022-1).
The cloak of inevitability hangs on the final installment of the Harry Potter series. One must die, one will live. Friends will be distinguished from foes. All will be revealed. To Rowling’s great credit, she manages this finale with the flair and respect for her audience that have permeated the previous six novels, though the mood here is quite different. The story has a certain flatness that extends through much of the book. Rowling can no longer rely on diversions like Quidditch matches and trips to Hogsmead for relief; Harry has made the decision not to return to Hogwarts. Aided by Hermione and Ron, he will instead search for the remaining Horcruxes that hide pieces of Voldemorte’s soul....

Writers & Readers: Trouble with Harry imageAnd so it ends
Ilene Cooper writes: “Not everyone gets to live through a cultural phenomenon, but if you do, it is something you never forget, the sort of experience that bonds a generation. For baby boomers, lightning-in-a-bottle came in the form of the Beatles, who changed music and just about everything else. Another British phenomenon began in 1997, when the first Harry Potter book was published in the UK under the title Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. The buzz began immediately, and Scholastic’s bid for the American rights set a record high for a children’s book. Under the title Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, the novel was launched in the U.S. with plenty of fanfare, but it was the captivating story of the young wizard that made the book a hit.”...

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

Division News

WrestleMania Reading Challenge imageWrestleMania reading challenge
Registration ends July 31 for YALSA’s WrestleMania Reading Challenge, sponsored by YALSA with support from World Wrestling Entertainment. The program is designed to encourage teens in grades 7–12 to continue their reading beyond Teen Read Week and win prizes donated by WWE. Teen participants can win a trip for two to WrestleMania 24. Every teen who turns in a reading log at the end of the challenge will win a prize from WWE; for grand prize eligibility, teens must also submit an essay on the topic “Why WrestleMania Got Me Reading.” Librarians who register can win $2,000 for their libraries....

John WoodJohn Wood to keynote PLA Conference
John Wood, founder and CEO of Room to Read, will present the keynote address at the Opening General Session at the PLA 12th National Conference, on Wednesday, March 26, 2008, in Minneapolis. Since its start in 2000, Room to Read has sponsored the opening of more than 280 school and 3,600 multilingual libraries across the developing world....

ALCTS Serials Section changes name, mission
The ALCTS Serials Section has changed its name to the Continuing Resources Section. With the new name comes a revised mission, which will be to contribute to library service and librarianship through development of theory and practice concerning continuing resources in all formats....

Cover of A Whole New MindRead A Whole New Mind in Reno
Daniel H. Pink’s A Whole New Mind will be the topic of discussion during the One Book One Conference, an early-morning book-discussion session held Friday, October 26, during AASL’s 13th National Conference and Exhibition in Reno, Nevada. Pink, who will deliver the keynote speech at the Opening General Session, charts the rise of right-brain thinking and lists six aptitudes that people and groups must have in order to succeed in this outsourced world....

Round Table News

Documents to the People cover, Summer 2007DttP cover contest
The Government Documents Round Table is seeking photographs for the cover of the Spring 2008 issue of Documents to the People. Submissions may include images of state, local, federal, foreign, or international publications. Photo orientation should be portrait (not landscape). Digital photos must be at least 300 dpi. Submit all images to Andrea Sevetson by December 1....


Improving Literacy Through School Libraries grants announced
U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings joined Laura Bush July 24 to announce $19 million in federal funds to enhance libraries in 78 low-income school districts across the United States. Visiting Driggs Elementary School in Waterbury, Connecticut, one beneficiary of an Improving Literacy Through School Libraries Grant, Spellings and Bush underscored the need to equip all students with a strong reading foundation so they can achieve grade-level success under No Child Left Behind....
U.S. Department of Education, July 24

SPARC video contest imageSPARC announces Mind Mashup contest
The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition launched on July 25 the first annual SPARC Discovery Awards, a contest to promote the open exchange of information. “Mind Mashup,” the 2007 theme, calls on entrants to illustrate in a short video (2 minutes or less) the importance of sharing ideas and information of all kinds. Submissions are due by December 2....
Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, July 25

Texas Senate honors Loriene Roy
The Texas State Senate has adopted a proclamation honoring ALA President Loriene Roy. The proclamation recognizes Roy for her “deep concern with matters of education, social justice, and literacy” and for “her philosophy of inclusiveness and for drawing on her American Indian heritage to embrace a library ethos based on the guiding ideas of community, collaboration, and culture.”...
NewsWatch Native America, July 25

Seen Online

New York Times war correspondents at their desks. Photo from New York Public LibraryFor NYPL, a trove of New York Times records
The New York Times has donated a vast collection of personal letters, financial documents, confidential reports, and photographs—more than 700,000 pages in all—to the New York Public Library. The archives, which have been previously made available to authors on occasion, include records of the newspaper’s founding, its sale to Adolph S. Ochs, editorial direction, advertising policies, and tensions between the newsroom and the ruling Sulzberger family....
New York Times, July 25

Clintons give $100,000 to South Carolina library
The Clintons are donating $100,000 to a South Carolina library to be named after one of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s mentors, children’s rights activist Marian Wright Edelman. Organizers plan to build a library named after Edelman in her hometown of Bennettsville, S.C. The Clintons are making the donation through the Clinton Family Foundation, which they created after leaving the White House....
Associated Press, July 25

More on Maricopa
Andrew LaVallee writes: “The opening of a Dewey-free facility in the Maricopa County (Ariz.) Library District has sparked heated debate in the library world. But the debate, say many librarians, is about more than one branch’s organizational system. It feeds into a broader, increasingly urgent discussion about libraries, where a growing number of patrons, used to Google and Yahoo, simply don’t look for books and information the way they used to.” Karen Schneider has more details....
Wall Street Journal, July 20; ALA TechSource blog, July 23

Stonewall Library and Archives, Fort LauderdaleStonewall Library is premiere archive for gay/lesbian materials
Located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, the Stonewall Library and Archives boasts the largest private collection of gay and lesbian writings, videos, and historical documents in the southeastern United States. The library’s circulating collection is open to anyone over 18 and includes common subject areas such as gay and lesbian fiction, nonfiction, sociology, history, and art. It also stocks 60 gay periodicals from across the country....
Fort Lauderdale South Florida Sun-Sentinel, July 24

D.C. library gets a lift
For more than five years, day or night, summer or winter, one thing was always the same at the District of Columbia central library: At least two elevators were out of service, and those who tried the others were tempting fate. Then one recent day, it happened: All five worked. For Head Librarian Ginnie Cooper, restoring elevator service at the main library was no small feat....
Washington Post, July 24

Halo 2 video gameI play banned games
Scores of preteens and teens will compete July 29 in the popular, alien-killing Halo 2 video game tournament at the Mount Prospect (Ill.) Public Library. While the library will require permission slips to play, the slips will not spell out that the bloody and violent Halo 2 is rated by an independent video rating board specifically for those 17 and up—not the junior high and high school students that the library is targeting. That has the National Institute on Media and the Family calling the library event “irresponsible.”...
Arlington Heights (Ill.) Daily Herald, July 24

FBI investigates suspicious reading in public
Two FBI agents visited Atlanta bookstore employee Marc Schultz after they were tipped off that he had been reading something “suspicious” in a coffee shop. Turns out it was a printout of a column by Hal Crowther titled “Weapons of Mass Stupidity” that appeared in a Tampa free weekly. Schultz writes: “I say it seems like a dark day when an American citizen regards reading as a threat, and downright pitch-black when the federal government agrees.”...
Creative Loafing (Atlanta), July 17

The cell in which Australian citizen David Hicks, a Guantanamo Bay prisoner, was detained. Inset is the prisoners' reading room.The Guantánamo library
Detainee Abdul Aziz, in a declassified letter, reveals the paucity of reading material in the Guantánamo Bay detention camp: “The truth, as all will attest, is that the Gitmo camp library is nothing more than two small gray boxes with which guards walk around in some cell blocks, carrying them above their heads to protect themselves from the burning sun, or, at best, dragging them on a dolly with two little wheels. Inside the two boxes, there are no more than a combination of old, worn-out books, with their covers and some of their leaves torn by rain and other adverse factors.”...
Huffington Post, July 22

Congress: P2P networks harm national security
Politicians charged July 24 that peer-to-peer networks can pose a “national security threat” because they enable federal employees to share sensitive or classified documents accidentally from their computers. At a hearing on the topic, Government Reform Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) said, without offering details, that he is considering new laws aimed at addressing the problem. He said he was troubled by the possibility that foreign governments, terrorists, or organized crime could gain access to documents that reveal national secrets....
C|Net, July 25

Alabama librarian’s workers’ comp ruling to be reviewed
An Alabama appeals court July 20 ordered the Madison County Circuit Court to review part of its ruling on a workers’ compensation case involving a celebrated retired Huntsville librarian. Nevada Easley, who retired as branch manager of the Bessie K. Russell Branch of the Huntsville–Madison County Public Library in 2005, sued for benefits for an arm injury sustained while she was emptying a book bin in 2004. Easley was among the first black employees to integrate the staff of the city-county library system in January 1966....
Huntsville (Ala.) Times, July 21

Poisonous leak at Yunnan Provincial Library
Thirty-nine people, including eight schoolchildren and 29 library staff, were hospitalized July 21 after being poisoned by a leak of concentrated carbon dioxide at the Yunnan Provincial Library in Kunming, China. The leak in the library’s fire extinguisher system created a large white cloud of carbon dioxide that quickly spread to the first and second floors. Those affected by the leak suffered from dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and shortness of breath....
Go Kunming, July 23; Shanghai Daily, July 22

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Tech Talk

Google’s $4.6-billion plan for an open wireless network
Salon’s Farhad Manjoo writes: “Google announced July 20 it would set aside at least $4.6 billion to purchase a slice of the public airwaves in an upcoming government auction of radio spectrum. The company is imposing one condition on its money: It will only participate, it says, if the FCC requires that all bidders for the radio waves be forced to adhere to principles of Internet ‘openness.’ You can think of it as the network neutrality debate for wireless.”...
Machinist blog, July 20; Google blog, July 20

Swedish woman has fastest residential internet connection
She is a latecomer to the information superhighway, but 75-year-old Sigbritt Lothberg is now cruising the internet with a dizzying speed. Lothberg’s 40 gigabits-per-second fiber-optic connection in Karlstad is believed to be the fastest residential uplink in the world. In less than 2 seconds, Lothberg can download a full-length movie on her home computer....
Associated Press, July 19

Facebook logo12 ways to use Facebook professionally
Judi Sohn writes: “Facebook has to be the most talked about, and the most misunderstood, web service/platform right now. Think of Facebook as a professional tool, and that’s what it is. It doesn’t matter how millions of high school and college students are using Facebook to get out of doing homework. You can make it into whatever you want, even your own personal media broadcasting channel.”...
Web Worker Daily, July 24

Technorati and Craigslist, where did you go?
A power outage hit downtown San Francisco the afternoon of July 24, leaving thousands of residents without power and knocking popular websites such as Craigslist, GameSpot, Yelp, Technorati, TypePad, and Netflix offline for a few hours. The power failure—caused by an explosion under a manhole cover on Mission Street—apparently hit 365 Main, a 227,000-square-foot data center in downtown San Francisco, particularly hard. The data colocation center’s client list includes Craigslist and C|Net networks’ GameSpot, a sister site of
C|Net NewsBlog , July 24

UK study: Cell phone tower sickness all in the mind
Cell phone relay towers are not responsible for the symptoms of ill health some blame them for, a major UK study says. Dozens of people who believed the masts triggered symptoms such as anxiety, nausea, and tiredness could not detect if signals were on or off in trials. However, the Environmental Health Perspectives study stressed people were nonetheless suffering “real symptoms.”...
BBC News, July 25

Google bristles over search criticism
Google Enterprise Product Management Director Matt Glotzbach threw down the gauntlet July 24 and accused Autonomy, an enterprise search company, of lying about Google’s search technology to scare potential customers. At issue is an Autonomy white paper that describes Google’s enterprise search technology using, as Glotzbach put it, “[i]naccuracies about our enterprise ranking algorithms, and downright fabrications about our security and access control capabilities.”...
Information Week, July 25

Actions & Answers

Harry Potter Square festivitiesThe Jetset show goes to Harry Potter Square
Jetset—an online pop culture show for young adults that features cool, weird, fun, geeky, underground, true-to-life, curious, quirky things and people found online and off—visits the crowd waiting in line for the first Deathly Hallows books at Scholastic’s Harry Potter Square (starting at about 2:53). An earlier episode featured Scholastic’s Knight Bus visiting the Los Angeles Public Library (starting at 2:20)....
Jetset, July 16, 23

Harry Potter celebrations is collecting examples of library events around the country surrounding the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows—parties, late-night festivities, and read-a-thons. If you want to share your library’s events, visit the ILoveLibraries “Libraries in the News” blog and add your event to the comments....

Roy on the future of library science
In this podcast, ALA President Loriene Roy discusses the evolution of library science programs (including for some the evolution away from the “library name”), the role of LIS professors within ALA, and the increased need for library programs in training paraprofessionals who are taking on more responsibilities in the workplace....
Inside Higher Ed, July 25

Gaming Symposium logoThe games people play—in libraries
Tom Peters writes: “On the first day of the first-ever ALA TechSource Gaming, Learning, and Libraries Symposium in Chicago July 22, Scott Nicholson from the Syracuse University Library Game Lab released a report on ‘The Role of Gaming in Libraries: Taking the Pulse’ (PDF file). He cites an industry report indicating that sales of games have outpaced motion picture box office sales and should surpass music sales in the near future.”...
ALA TechSource blog, July 23

Are you a tool of the old education paradigm?
Steven Bell writes: “In an essay titled ‘Changing Paradigms’ found on the final page of the latest issue (July-August 2007) of Educational Technology, Marc Prensky claims that teachers still don’t get it because instead of adapting new technology and new ways of teaching with it, they persist in using the tools of the past. What are some of the tools of the past? Oh, you know, encyclopedias, multiplication tables, spelling rules, and libraries. Wait a minute. Did he just say ‘libraries’?”...
ACRLog, July 23

2007 Web Wise ProceedingsWeb Wise proceedings available
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is offering the 2007 proceedings of its signature Web Wise conference, “Stewardship in the Digital Age: Managing Museum and Library Collections for Preservation and Use” (PDF file), held February 28–March 2 in Washington, D.C. It contains summaries of each session, keynote speeches, project demonstrations, podcasts, and brief biographies of the speakers....
Institute of Museum and Library Services, July 19

A man virtually conferencingThe pros and cons of virtual meetings
Meredith Farkas writes: “There are things lost in virtual meetings. Virtual meetings start when people come into the space and end when the formal discussion ends. They are often more focused. Things are mentioned in passing at a face-to-face meeting that become important. A lot of times, the casual discussions before and after meetings are actually more important than what goes on during the meeting.”...
Information Wants to Be Free blog, July 21

New Melvyl catalog will run on WorldCat (PDF file)
The University of California Libraries are working in collaboration with OCLC Online Computer Library Center to pilot a Next Generation Melvyl Catalog supported by OCLC’s WorldCat Local system. Scheduled for launch in 2008, the catalog will offer a single search box, relevancy ranking of search results, result sets that bring multiple versions of a work together, faceted browsing, citation formatting options, and cover art....
California Digital Library, June 22

Photo of filesWhere to find public records online
While our most private information can (usually) not be found online, you can track down items like birth certificates, marriage and divorce information, obituaries, and licenses on the Web. Wendy Boswell offers a couple dozen tips on where to find public records online....
Lifehacker, July 23

Communist rallyGet grandpa’s FBI file
Attorney and FOIA researcher Michael J. Ravnitzky has set up an informational website that explains how to obtain an FBI file on anyone, deceased or (with that person’s permission) alive. Get Grandpa’s FBI File walks you through the process and creates appropriate form letters for you to send to FBI field offices....
Get Grandpa’s FBI File

Bill could hasten demise of FCC indecency regulation
In early July, Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) introduced a relatively unnoticed bill, the Protecting Children from Indecent Programming Act (S. 1780), that effectively overturns a major court decision in the area of free expression: Fox Television Stations v. FCC, which held that the FCC’s assertion that a single use of a curse word on broadcast television was indecent violated the Administrative Procedure Act. The ACLU says the bill is contrary to the First Amendment, but it might force the courts to determine whether the FCC really has the constitutional authority to regulate isolated utterances....
Center for Democracy & Technology, PolicyBeta blog, July 17; ACLU, July 18

NEA Foundation logoBooks Across America grants
The National Education Association Foundation is making grants of $1,000 to public schools serving economically disadvantaged students to purchase books for school libraries. The applicant must be a practicing preK–12 school librarian, teacher, or education-support professional in a U.S. public school. At least 70% of the students in the school must be eligible for the free or reduced-price lunch program. Deadline for applications is November 12....
NEA Foundation

Creating a YA blog
Josh Bernstein, of the Capital Area District Library in Lansing, Michigan, writes: “Recently my library system decided to start a YA blog. Previously we did not have much of an online presence for our teens and this will hopefully mark a change in the right direction. I wanted to share some of our goals and thoughts behind the blog so they might aid other librarians, but also so those of you who already have one can advise us on what will and won’t work. So let the comments fly.”...
Alternative Teen Services blog, July 19

Amsterdam Central LibraryAmsterdam’s new public library is the largest in Europe
Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands opened the new Amsterdam Central Library to the public at a special July 7 ceremony. Novelist Hella Haasse read her Ode to the Amsterdam Public Library, written for the occasion, and the princess read a fairy tale, specially written by author Sieb Posthuma, to a group of 7-year olds. Designed by Dutch architect Jo Coenen, the 28,000-square-meter building is the largest public library in Europe....
Openbare Bibliotheek Amsterdam, July 18

Canadian Library Association moves to open access
The CLA Executive Council has approved some recommendations from its Open Access Task Force that move the association towards providing virtually all of its intellectual property free of charge online, free of most copyright and licensing restrictions, with the exception of Feliciter and its monographs....
CLA Digest, June 29

Find a book to match your mood
Whichbook gives readers an enjoyable way to find books to match their mood. You can either choose types of characters, plots, or settings; or select from sliding scales of moods (happy/sad, optimistic/bleak, no sex/sex). This web application is run by Opening the Book Ltd. in the UK, which gives it an international flavor of choices....

Houghton Mifflin logoHoughton Mifflin buys a piece of Reed Elsevier
Houghton Mifflin Company has signed an agreement to acquire the Harcourt Education, Harcourt Trade, and Greenwood-Heinemann divisions of Reed Elsevier for $4 billion. The move makes it the owner of such familiar imprints as Libraries Unlimited, Greenwood Press, Praeger, Raintree, and Holt Rinehart and Winston. Analysts say private equity has been attracted to the educational business by steady cash flows, a relative lack of competition, and expectations that spending will increase in coming years as big states like California step up textbook-replacement programs....
Houghton Mifflin, July 16; International Herald Tribune, July 22

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Cover of Whole Digital Library Handbook

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Map on Foreign Book Dealers Directory site
Foreign book dealers directory. Find suppliers of library materials from many parts of the world with searchable lists of vendors regularly used by university libraries in the United States. Created by a subcommittee of the ALCTS Acquisitions Section’s Publications Committee.

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

Children’s Librarian. The County of Henrico Public Library System, Richmond, Virginia, is accepting applications for three Children’s Librarian I positions. Provides information services, programming, collection development, and outreach to Henrico citizens, primarily serving children from birth to grade 6.

@ More jobs...

Cover of August 2007 Choice

Choice Editor Irv Rockwood reminisces about the magazine’s past 10 years of reviewing websites.

Take Action logo

Despite an authorization level of $250 million, the Improving Literacy Through School Libraries program received only $19 million in FY2007. Eight states— Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Nevada, New Hampshire, Vermont, Utah, and Wyoming—have never received funding under this program. Congress is currently considering funding levels for FY2008. The House Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education FY2008 Appropriations bill provides $19.486 million for the program and the Senate Appropriations Committee recommended $23 million for the program. Contact your Members of Congress and tell them to provide additional funding for the Improving Literacy Through School Libraries program.

Public Perception
How the World
Sees Us

When I was living in Washington, the Library of Congress became crucial to my work. In those days, readers who wanted to use it on a daily basis were given a carrel in the dome. This was one of the most astonishing interiors I have known —attics around a sphere entirely scaffolded with shelving and interspersed among this Piranesi-like colonnade, battered wooden tables and chairs facing a small bookcase all of one’s own on which 100 titles could be kept.
    “We were cellular —larval—creatures up there in the shadowy, mote-filled light; close to the vertiginous multitude of the books as the shelves bent away round the curving space. Every book has its own smell, its grain, its weight under the fingers, its creep and gait of printed characters, its air and speech and style of rustle. In the dome, I came to know the life of books as beings animate through time, acquiring unmistakable individuality.

—British writer Marina Warner, from a speech given at the British Library’s annual dinner, The Times, July 21.

Ask the ALA Librarian

Prisoner reading

Q. Does the American Library Association have a division to help those of us working with prison libraries?

A. Yes, both a division and an office! The Association of Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies (ASCLA) represents state library agencies, specialized library agencies, multitype library cooperatives, and independent librarians. Specialized library agencies are those organizations that provide materials and services to meet the information needs of persons whose access to library services and materials is limited because of confinement, sensory, mental, physical, health, or behavioral conditions. The Libraries Serving Special Populations Section (LSSPS) is the section that represents members with interests in this area. Interface, the online newsletter for ASCLA, has published (and collected into a single page) articles on prison libraries.

ALA’s Office for Literacy and Outreach Services (OLOS) supports, serves, and promotes adult literacy and equity of information access initiatives for traditionally underserved populations through training, information resources, and technical assistance. There are resources for library services to incarcerated people and ex-offenders, including “Behind the Walls @ your library,” a regular online column. See the ALA Professional Tips wiki for further assistance.

The ALA Librarian welcomes your questions.

Interface logo

Julia Schneider discusses a survey of California prisons, sent out recently to gauge the opinions of the state’s prison librarians on their work and work conditions, in the Summer issue of ASCLA’s Interface.


Sept. 19–
Oct. 31:
Newberry Library,
Chicago. Seven Wednesday sessions. “Danger Ahead! Banned Books As Art and Controversy.” Seminar on the literary value and controversies surrounding The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Of Mice and Men, Catch-22, The Catcher in the Rye, and To Kill a Mockingbird. Contact: Newberry Library Seminars.

Sept. 24–25:
National Information Standards Organization,
E-Resource Management Forum, Magnolia Hotel, Denver, Colorado. “The What, Why, and How for Managing E-Resources.” Contact: NISO.

Sept. 28:
Authors As Experts Web Seminar.
“A Practical Guide to Fantasy,” featuring Mirrorstone Editor Nina Hess. Contact: Raab Associates, 914-241-2117.

Sept. 29–Oct. 6:
Banned Books Week.
Contact: ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom.

Oct. 7–11:
International Association of Aquatic and Marine Science Libraries and Information Centers, Annual Conference, Sarasota, Florida. “Changes on the Horizon.” Contact: Barb Butler.

Oct. 12–13:
Oregon Association of School Libraries,
Annual Conference, Seaside, Oregon. “Making Waves: Sneaker, Surfing, and Tsunami Ideas.” Contact: OASL.

Oct. 14–16:
New England Library Association,
Annual Conference, Sturbridge, Massachusetts. “NELA Stars in Sturbridge.” Contact: NELA.

Oct. 17–20:
Northeast Regional Law Libraries Meeting,
Toronto Marriott Downtown Eaton Centre. “Libraries Without Borders II.” Contact: Steven Weiter.

Oct. 21–27:
National Friends of Libraries Week.
Contact: FOLUSA.

Oct. 22:
International School Library Day.
“Learning: Powered by Your School Library.” Contact: International Association of School Libraries.

Oct. 22–26:
Triangle Research Libraries Network,
Friday Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. “Management Academy: The Business of Libraries.” Attendance is limited to 15 participants from TRLN Libraries and 15 from the wider academic library community. Contact: TRLN, 919-962-8022.

Oct. 24–26:
International Cultural Heritage Informatics Meeting, Toronto, Ontario. Contact: ICHIM07.

Nov. 2–4:
United States Board on Books for Young People,
Regional Conference, Westward Look Resort, Tucson, Arizona. “Children Between Worlds: Intercultural Relations in Books for Children and Young Adults.” Contact: USBBY.

Nov. 7–10:
XXVII Charleston Conference,
Issues in Book and Serial Acquisition, Charleston, South Carolina. “What Tangled Webs We Weave.” Contact: Beth Bernhardt.

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