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Groups urge action on Presidential Records Act Amendments
On November 19, the National Coalition for History, along with ALA and several other organizations, sent a letter (PDF file) to U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) November 19, urging movement on the Presidential Records Act Amendments of 2007 (H.R. 1255, S. 886). The letter urges immediate action on nullifying Executive Order 13233 (PDF file)—part of which a District Court ruled October 1 was invalid—and says, “If you fail to bring this bill to the Senate floor, the clamor for more transparency will continue while a veil of secrecy will remain in place long after the Bush Administration has left office.”...
District Dispatch, Nov. 27
Deliberative Dialogue on December 12
The Committee on Legislation is sponsoring a “Deliberative Dialogue” on government information, with an emphasis on how ALA can develop an ongoing process for the consideration and articulation of policy positions. This dialogue will take place on December 12 in the ALA Washington Office, with support from Executive Director Keith Michael Fiels and the Executive Board, and will involve representatives of ALA membership units....
District Dispatch, Nov. 21
Serve on an ALA-APA committee
ALA President-elect Jim Rettig is seeking applications and nominations for appointments to 2008–2009 ALA–Allied Professional Association committees. Appointments take effect at the conclusion of the 2008 Annual Conference. All applicants must complete and submit the electronic 2008–2009 ALA-APA Committee Volunteer Form by December 3....
A conversation with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Basketball legend and author Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is the keynote speaker at the ALA Midwinter Meeting in Philadelphia, January 11–16. In this video (3:11) he sits down for a conversation about growing up with libraries, his committment to literacy and learning, and how books help young readers understand both past and present struggles....
Tucker, Spencer C., ed. The Encyclopedia of the Cold War: A Political, Social, and Military History. Sept. 2007. 1,385p. ABC-CLIO, hardcover (978-1-85109-701-2).
Eminent military historian Tucker, who has edited ABC-CLIO encyclopedias on World War I, World War II, and the Korean War, among others, now turns his attention to the Cold War. Chronologically, coverage begins with some background articles on World War II and ends in 1991, with the collapse of the Soviet Union. According to promotional material, The Encyclopedia of the Cold War: A Political, Social, and Military History is “the first and only major reference on the cold war to take advantage of recently opened Russian, Eastern European, and Chinese state archives.”...
@ Visit Booklist Online for other reviews and much more....
ebrary breakfast at Midwinter
During a breakfast event at Loews Philadelphia Hotel on January 12, 8–10 a.m., ebrary personnel will demonstrate how libraries, publishers, and other organizations can use the ebrary platform to easily and cost-effectively share, archive, and distribute digitized content online. They will provide examples of how Stanford University, McGraw-Hill, Duke University Press, American Libraries, and other customers are using the platform. A sneak peek at new and upcoming ebrary technologies is also planned. RSVP here....
ebrary, Nov. 28
Transportation from the airport
Taxi services can be picked up at Zone 5 on the Commercial Transportation Roadway, with a $25 flat rate from the airport to the central Philadelphia area. The R1 High Speed Rail Line (entrance on pedestrian bridges and commercial roadway) is $5.50 one-way to the Suburban Station and MarketEast/The Gallery stops near the Pennsylvania Convention Center. Shuttle Bus reservations can be made by calling providers....
Dungeons and Dragons to sponsor Teen Tech Week 2008
Dungeons and Dragons, a subsidiary of Wizards of the Coast, is the 2008 corporate sponsor for YALSA’s Teen Tech Week, to take place March 2–8. Now in its second year, Teen Tech Week is a national initiative that helps ensure that teens are competent and ethical users of technologies, especially those that are offered through libraries. The theme for 2008 is Tune In @ your library....
Present a session at the 2008 LITA Forum
LITA is seeking proposals for high-quality concurrent and poster sessions for the 11th annual LITA National Forum to be held at the Hilton Netherland Plaza Hotel in Cincinnati, Ohio, October 16–19, 2008. The Forum Committee is interested in presentations that highlight specific technology implementations, just over-the-horizon technologies that aren’t quite ready for implementation, or information technology research. The deadline is December 15....
PRIMO deadlines extended
The ACRL Instruction Section’s Peer Reviewed Instructional Materials Online (PRIMO) Committee invites you to submit your online information literacy tutorial, virtual tour, or other online library instruction project for review and possible inclusion in its online database. The deadline for nominations is now November 29, and for submissions December 10....
LC’s Center for the Book gets a Raven Award
The Mystery Writers of America will present the Library of Congress Center for the Book with a 2008 Raven Award for its dedication to reading and literacy education. The award is bestowed by the MWA for outstanding achievement in the mystery field outside the realm of creative writing. The Center for the Book cosponsors lectures with MWA through its Books and Beyond program....
Mystery Writers of America, Nov. 26
New York Times notable books of 2007
The New York Times has released its list of 100 notable books published in the past 12 months. Links to the book reviews are provided. A couple interesting titles are The Yiddish Policemen’s Union by Michael Chabon (“cops, thugs, schemers, rabbis, chess fanatics, and obsessives of every stripe populate this screwball, hard-boiled murder mystery set in an imagined Jewish settlement in Alaska”) and Alice by Stacy A. Cordery (“a biography of Alice Roosevelt Longworth, TR’s shrewd, tart-tongued older daughter”)....
New York Times, Nov. 25
The Golden Compass points towards trouble
On December 7, New Line Cinema will release The Golden Compass, starring Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig, the first movie based on a trilogy of books by British atheist author Phillip Pullman. The Catholic League launched a boycott campaign October 9, calling the film deeply anti-Christian. Now some Catholic school boards in Halton, Peterborough, Dufferin-Peel, and Durham, Ontario, have pulled the book and its companions from library shelves for review....
Boston Globe, Nov. 25; CTV News, Nov. 23; Peterborough Examiner, Nov. 23; Durham Region News, Nov. 27
School’s book dispute ends in librarian’s firing
A Sebastopol, California, library consultant hired to improve literacy in the Bellevue Union School District says he was fired after administrators threatened to ban a science-fiction book. School officials say they were unsatisfied with Richie Partington and terminated his contract after he refused to discuss whether Rodman Philbrick’s The Last Book in the Universe was appropriate for elementary school students....
Santa Rosa (Calif.) Press Democrat, Nov. 28
State ethics panel hunts cronyism in Boston
The Massachusetts Ethics Commission has opened an investigation of Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino to determine if he illegally ordered the head of the city’s public library system to hire certain people, ostensibly for political favors, according to a senior public official with knowledge of the probe. Word of the investigation was included in a letter from Boston Public Library President Bernard A. Margolis to library trustees as he requested legal representation for himself and any subordinates who are summoned to appear before the commission....
Boston Globe, Nov. 28
Fired West Virginia archivist to file grievance
Fred Armstrong, who was fired without explanation as West Virginia’s director of archives and history, has decided to fight his November 1 dismissal. Charleston attorney Jim Lees said November 26 he notified Culture and History Commissioner Randall Reid-Smith and the state Public Employees Grievance Board that he would represent Armstrong in a legal challenge of his termination....
Charleston (W.Va.) Gazette, Nov. 27
Book challenges on the rise, says librarian/author
Book banning is on the wane in Western liberal societies, but the number of challenges against books has never been higher, according to Pearce J. Carefoote, medieval studies specialist at the University of Toronto’s Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library. Carefoote, author of Forbidden Fruit: Banned, Censored, and Challenged Books from Dante to Harry Potter, said many of the challenges are faced by library associations and school boards, organizations more easily swayed by a small parent group or lobbyist....
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Nov. 26
Small Michigan library’s future in doubt
The future of the 120-year-old Jonathan Hall Memorial Library in Ridgeway, Michigan, is uncertain at best after its entire collection of some 11,000 books and magazines was discarded in September due to mold damage, and no money has been offered to repair the historic building. The library, a branch of the Lenawee County Library in Adrian, has been without a furnace for five years, lacks plumbing, and needs repair on its roof....
Adrian (Mich.) Daily Telegram, Nov. 17, 24
License to support libraries
The Georgia Department of Motor Vehicles is offering a license plate that honors the state’s public libraries and puts books on those shelves, too. From each tag’s $20 annual renewal fee, $10 will be used to buy books for public libraries statewide. But the DMV must have 1,000 applications for the library tag by December 31, 2008, or the idea will be scrapped....
Gwinnett (Ga.) Daily Post, Nov. 28
Kennebunk debates flag art
If G. Bud Swenson hoped to inspire something in people with his flag collages, he succeeded. For what Swenson inspired was passion—on both sides of the debate—as evidenced by the more than 100 strong who turned out at a public forum November 16 to discuss Swenson’s art at Kennebunk (Maine) Free Library. Made from discarded flags, the collages catapulted Swenson into the spotlight of a debate over censorship and First Amendment rights....
Portsmouth (N.H.) Herald, Nov. 22
Wisconsin strengthens library-police cooperation
Wisconsin libraries will be able to help law enforcement investigations without compromising the privacy of its patrons, thanks to a law enacted this month that allows libraries to turn over video surveillance tapes to police if a crime has occurred in the library. A narrow exception to the court order requirement, the new law was supported by the Wisconsin Library Association....
KUWS-FM, Superior, Wis., Nov. 22
Costs imperil Philadelphia Library for the Blind
Philadelphia’s Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped is facing a huge rent increase amounting to $1.8 million, or 40%, over the life of a new 10-year lease. Administered by the Free Library of Philadelphia, the library rents space from the Associated Services for the Blind, but funding from the state has been flat for at least six years—even as operating costs and demand for services have increased dramatically....
Philadelphia Inquirer, Nov. 23
Old Bridge library offers Wii to seniors
You’re never too old to rock out. Just ask the 10 seniors who took up Guitar Hero III as part of the Old Bridge (N.J.) Library’s “Senior Spaces” program on November 8. Seniors, alongside teenage volunteers, tested their mettle in the ubiquitous air-guitar video game, and other games available for the Nintendo Wii gaming system, as the first step in the library’s plan to make seniors more technologically proficient and to include them in what Assistant Director Allan Kleiman calls the inevitable redesign of libraries....
East Brunswick (N.J.) Home News Tribune, Nov. 26
Library, school torched in Paris riots
Arsonists struck the Louis Jouvet municipal library and a neighboring nursery school in the Paris suburb of Villiers-le-Bel during widespread rioting the night of November 26, completely destroying both buildings. Youths, many of them Arab and black children of immigrants, appeared to be lashing out at police and other targets seen to represent a French establishment they feel has left them behind....
Associated Press, Nov. 27; Agence France Presse, Nov. 27
Israeli National Library to be established in Jerusalem
The Knesset passed an historic law November 26 creating Israel’s first national library, effective January 1. The Jewish National and University Library on the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Givat Ram campus has acted as the de facto national library since 1925. In three years, its governance will be split between the university, the state, and other public entities....
Jerusalem Post, Nov. 27
Florida author lectures on censorship
Pulitzer Prize–nominated writer Claudia Hunter Johnson, author of the memoir Stifled Laughter: One Woman’s Story about Fighting Censorship, spoke at the North Florida Community College library recently about the dangers of censorship. Johnson began her fight against book banning in Lake City, after learning that the local high school had proposed banning a humanities literature text for containing Chaucer’s “The Miller’s Tale” and Aristophanes’ play Lysistrata, two of Johnson’s favorite works....
Suwanee (Fla.) Democrat, Nov. 27
Inside the tomb of tomes
Stuart Jeffries writes:
“This warehouse on an industrial estate in West Yorkshire is being built to house the books and journals that no one wants. When it is complete next year, it will be state-of-the-art, containing 262 linear kilometers of high-density, fully automated storage in a low-oxygen environment. But with the British Library’s UK collection growing at a rate of 12.5 kilometers of shelf space a year, is the notion of the copyright library really sustainable?”...
The Guardian (U.K.), Nov. 24
Even more on Kindle
David Rothman writes: “Poor Steve Levy. He sang the Kindle’s praises in Newsweek, and Amazon tried to lend credibility to his puff job by keeping review units away from uppity troublemakers like me (ironic because I’m hoping that the machine will be good for novices and e-books in general). Mission botched. The neg reviews are getting out anyway. As you can see from this video (13:56), none other than Robert Scoble, one of the most influential guys in the blogosphere, hates the interface, not just the design.”...
TeleRead blog, Nov. 26
VIP compares news from Factiva, LexisNexis, and Thomson
An independent comparative product review of Thomson NewsRoom, LexisNexis, and Factiva (the Big Three) has just been published by VIP. To help customers choose among the major vendors, November’s issue takes on all of the Big Three and compares them side-by-side in a detailed review. Among the findings: Factiva is the most multilingual of all three services (offering 22 languages) against 16 for LexisNexis and 11 for NewsRoom....
Free Pint, Nov.
Internet could max out in two years
Consumer and corporate use of the internet could overload the current capacity and lead to brown-outs by 2010 unless backbone providers invest up to $137 billion in new infrastructure—more than double what service providers plan to invest—according to a study released November 19 by Nemertes Research. The study suggests that demand for web applications such as streaming and interactive video, peer-to-peer file transfers, and music downloads will accelerate, creating a huge demand for more capacity....
PC World, Nov. 24
Fighting spam on social websites (PDF file)
If left unchecked, spam threatens to undermine resource sharing, interactivity, and openness. This article surveys three categories of potential countermeasures—those based on detection, demotion, and prevention. Although many of these countermeasures have been proposed before for email and web spam, these three Stanford authors find that their applicability to social websites differs....
IEEE Internet Computing, Nov./Dec., pp. 36–45
Hot image your PC’s hard drive
Gina Trapani writes: “You don’t need a complicated boot CD or expensive software to create a restorable system disk image for your PC: Free utility DriveImage XML can save a full, working snapshot of your Windows hard drive while you work on it. (That’s hot.) When your PC crashes and burns or just slows down over time, the best insurance you can have is a mirror image of your operating system, complete with drivers, user settings, software applications, and documents in one place.”...
Lifehacker, Nov. 26
Search video lectures for keywords
Researchers at MIT have released a video and audio search tool that solves a challenging problem: how to break up a lengthy academic lecture into manageable chunks, pinpoint the location of keywords, and direct the user to them. The MIT Lecture Browser website leverages decades’ worth of speech-recognition research to convert audio into text and make it searchable....
Technology Review, Nov. 26
Web design: Lessons from eye-tracking studies
Christina Laun writes: “Eye-tracking studies are hot in the web design world, but it can be hard to figure out how to translate the results of these studies into real design implementations. These are a few tips from eye-tracking studies that you can use to improve the design of your web page.”...
Virtual Hosting, Nov. 13
Heidi Hoermann maintains a website for historical technical services technology—“for the new generation of
librarians who may not be familiar with the tools
and methods used before technology and the
digitization of library catalogs stepped in.” One section discusses plastic card jackets (right), which were placed over catalog cards when there was special
information about an entry....
Virtual Museum of Cataloging and Acquisitions Artifacts
Commons 2.0: Library space for collaborative learning
Bryan Sinclair writes: “The idea of the information commons as a space for students to gather and work with technology has been with us for over a decade now. Carving out these areas has allowed many university libraries to remain relevant in the academic lives of students. But the information commons itself must adapt and evolve to meet changing expectations and technological capabilities. How well do these environments currently support social learning and promote collaborative work?”...
EDUCAUSE Quarterly 30, no. 4 (2007): 4–6
Students’ use of Facebook
Brett A. Bumgarner conducted an online survey among Facebook users at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to examine why they use Facebook and how it fulfills their needs. The most prevalent use of Facebook was as a social activity—students reported using Facebook with friends to view and discuss other people’s profiles. Essentially, Facebook appears to operate primarily as a tool for the facilitation of gossip....
First Monday, Nov. 5
Facebook’s privacy default
David Weinberger writes: “With its new advertising infrastructure, Facebook is being careful to protect privacy of information. But they are bucking—and perhaps helping to transform—the norms of privacy. At its most basic, Facebook is getting the defaults wrong. When Blockbuster gives you the popup asking if you want to let your Facebook friends know about your rental, if you do not respond in 15 seconds, the popup goes away, and a ‘yes’ is sent to Facebook. Wow, is that not what should happen!”...
Huffington Post, Nov. 14
Courts offer access to e-records
For the first time, the U.S. court system is providing free access to its online court records at select libraries. Lawyers say that waived fees for the system known as Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER), which typically costs 8 cents per search, will empower citizens who choose to represent themselves in court. On November 8, the government announced the free service would be available at 16 library systems nationwide under a joint project of the courts and the Government Printing Office. The participating libraries must promote the service, administer a user survey, and report activity to GPO bimonthly....
National Journal’s Technology Daily, Nov. 20
Collection management haikus
For a recent RLG Programs event in Philadelphia November 12–13, organizers decided to frame the discussion topics in the shape of haikus, such as:
My online access
Is guaranteed by someone
I’m almost certain
Hanging Together, Nov. 19
Merriam-Webster has launched a Visual Dictionary Online that features thousands of images enhanced by clear and precise definitions. Access is provided by an index or by browsing through 15 broad subject areas (astronomy, human beings, house, transport and machinery, etc.) to locate words or find the meaning of a word by viewing the image it represents....
Merriam-Webster, Nov. 19
Survey of library database licensing practices (purchase required)
This 100-page study presents data from 90 libraries—corporate, public, law, academic, state, and nonprofit—about their database licensing practices. Some of the findings are: The mean number of independent licenses for electronic content
held by the libraries in the sample tripled from 2000 to 2007; consortium purchases accounted for a mean of 30%; and participants reported spending an average of $7,300 on dues and
fees to consortia....
Primary Research Group
FWIW: We’re finally “in”
According to Jessica Shaw’s “The Shaw Report,” getting a library card is “in,” while buying books online is “out” and reading in the bookstore is “so five minutes ago.”
Entertainment Weekly, Nov. 30, p. 13
ALA Midwinter Meeting in Philadelphia, January 11–16. Hotel reservation requests will be accepted until December 7, subject to availability.
The November 15 issue of Booklist focuses on first novels, with reviews of a new crop of debuts and highlights of the best of the previous year. NEW! From Booklist.
Double the value
Just after the New Year, watch for a special January-February double issue of American Libraries that will feature a guide to the ALA Midwinter Meeting in Philadelphia. Advertising space is still available; reserve it by November 30, with materials due December 5.
Immigration and the Right to Read
Ralph Nader on Reading
Vartan Gregorian on Libraries
ALA’s Ethics Codes
ALSC Bookapalooza deadline
The deadline for Bookapalooza applications
is fast approaching. Don’t forget to submit your application by Friday, November 30.
Supervisory Serials Librarian, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. In coordinating the management of all serials (including electronic journals), incumbent catalogs serials in all formats (print, electronic, and microform) and supervises check-in and claiming of periodicals; serves as the primary serials cataloger, creating original cataloging records and adapting complex copy cataloging records on OCLC and in SIRIS (Smithsonian Institution Research Information System), and coordinates all serials cataloging, serials maintenance, and serials metadata management in SIL....
American Libraries and the ALA Washington Office want to find out how to serve your news needs better. Take this brief survey and tell us how you use the suite of services that the two offices provide.
Library showcase. Laramie County (Wyo.) Public Library recently replaced its 38-year-old library with a new three-story, 100,000-square-foot “green” facility that follows the LEED guidelines.
Digital Library of the Week
Casselman Architecture Image Collection. This University of Wisconsin, Madison, digital collection contains over 4,000 color slides and black-and-white photographs of medieval Spain taken by the late Eugene Casselman (1912–1996) during his 30 years of travel throughout the Iberian peninsula. The images span more than 1,000 years of architectural history, from the 7th to the 17th century. The majority of the slides focus on the Mudejar style, an ornate court style largely inspired by Spanish Islamic architecture that was shared among Islamic, Jewish, and Christian cultures during the later Middle Ages in Spain. Casselman taught voice and music history at Gustavus Adolphus College, Colorado Technical College, Downer College, and Lawrence University. He exhibited some of the photographs from this collection in 1983 at the then Elvehjem Museum of Art. The slides and photographs were donated to the Department of Art History by Eugene Casselman’s widow, Frances, and his children.
Do you know of a digital library collection that we can mention in this AL Direct feature? Tell us about it.
“Basically, it’s the work of a reference librarian. The writing lacks fluidity and finesse and smacks of awe.”
Movie critic Rex Reed, criticizing the new biography Dark Victory: The Life of Bette Davis by Ed Sikov, New York Times Book Review, Nov. 4.
Phillip M. Edwards discusses the fine art of refereeing manuscripts for peer-reviewed LIS journals in the November 2007 issue of College & Research Libraries News.
By Nov. 30: The Ezra Jack Keats Foundation and the de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection at the University of Southern Mississippi offers grants up to $750 for research based substantially on holdings of the de Grummond Collection.
By Dec. 1: The Medical Library Association offers a scholarship of up to $5,000 to a student who shows excellence in scholarship and potential for accomplishment in health sciences librarianship. The MLA also offers a number of other scholarships, fellowships, and continuing education awards.
By Dec. 2: The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition Discovery Awards will present $1,000 to the best high school or college student–made video demonstrating the benefits of open exchange of information.
By Dec. 17: The Institute of Museum and Library Services seeks applications for the Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian grant program, offering grants from $50,000 to $1 million to libraries and institutions of higher education to develop faculty and library leaders and recruit and educate librarians.
By Dec. 31: The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation seeks applications for the $1 million Access to Learning Award to recognize public libraries and similar organizations outside the United States for providing free public access to information through computers and the internet, particularly institutions in developing countries or those working with disadvantaged communities.
By Jan. 16: Cable’s Leaders in Learning Awards offer $3,000 to educators using new ideas to educate and new technology to prepare students for the future.
By Jan. 25: The National Endowment for the Humanities and ALA's Public Programs Office offer 3,000 “We The People” bookshelves on the theme “Created Equal” to public and school libraries.
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