The e-newsletter of the American Library Association | April 23,

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

SirsiDynix ad

AL Buyers Guide

U.S. & World News

Parchment showing Mesa Public Schools slogan, "There is no better place to learn"Mesa schools to eliminate all certified librarians
The Mesa (Ariz.) Public School District is on the verge of eliminating all 87 of its school library media specialist positions over the next three years and replacing them with support staff. Faced with an estimated $20-million reduction in its 2008–2009 operating budget—caused both by a decline in student enrollment and attempts to remedy the state’s $1.2-billion deficit—school district officials said the libraries would be run by resource center specialists, a “full-time, 40-hour classified position” that does not require a teaching certificate. School library media specialists and advocates of school libraries across the country are joining together to sign a petition and decry the proposal. A protest before the April 22 school district governing board meeting drew more than 60 librarians and residents....

Harry Potter Lexicon graphicJudge in Harry Potter lawsuit urges settlement
The judge hearing British author J. K. Rowling’s copyright-infringement lawsuit against an unauthorized Harry Potter encyclopedia urged both sides to settle the case April 17. On the final day of the three-day trial in Federal District Court in Manhattan, Judge Robert P. Patterson suggested that appeals may delay resolution for years. Rowling and Warner Brothers Entertainment are suing RDR Books, which planned to publish The Harry Potter Lexicon, written by former school librarian Steven Jan Vander Ark....

Finance director sues for wrongful firing
Former Sacramento (Calif.) Public Library finance director Anil Paul has filed suit in Superior Court of Sacramento County, accusing the library of retaliatory termination after he raised concerns about overpayments to a library staffer’s company. Those concerns, he claims, were ultimately validated by an investigation that led to SPL filing suit to recover $1.3 million in restitution and damages....

Cover of The LandSchool removes The Land as age-inappropriate
A review committee at Turner Elementary School in New Tampa, Florida, has deemed The Land by Mildred Taylor age-inappropriate and removed it from its media-center shelves. The committee said the novel, about a former slave during Reconstruction, was “above the maturity level of elementary students at Turner.” School officials said they will donate the book to a middle school....

Town may withhold funding over librarian’s firing
Officials in Woolwich, Maine, voted 4–1 April 14 not to place a $43,700 contribution—its share of the operating budget—to Patten Free Library in Bath on the agenda for a town meeting, opting instead to set aside $20,000 to purchase for town residents individual library cards for up to $20 apiece at Patten or other libraries. The move is part of the fallout from the library’s September 21, 2007, firing of children’s librarian Nyree Thomas, allegedly for her receiving an unsatisfactory review....

American Association for State and Local History ad

ALA News

Annual Conferences to return to New Orleans
The ALA Executive Board has chosen New Orleans as its destination for the 2011 and 2018 Annual Conferences. The 2006 ALA Annual Conference was the first city-wide meeting held in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. ALA’s willingness to hold the meeting in New Orleans helped encourage other groups to host conventions there, according to the New Orleans Metropolitan Convention and Visitors Bureau....

Blue Skunk's copyright presentation at Second Life's ALA Island. Snapshot by Melissa JonesBlue Skunk Johnson on copyright
Rob Darrow writes: “Blue Skunk Johnson did a great job of challenging all of us at the ALA Second Life session on the librarian’s role in copyright. The text of his talk is here. While enjoying the wonderful surroundings of the ALA Island, Blue talked about many things related to copyright and issued a variety of suggestions. The one that resonated most with me was: Teach the things you can do with copyright and when in doubt, err on the side of the user.” For other ALA National Library Week activities in Second Life, watch this Machinima video (3:28) by Valibrarian Gregg....
California Dreamin’, Apr. 15;

Gwendolyn PrellwitzPrellwitz named Office of Diversity director
The ALA Office for Diversity has appointed Gwendolyn Prellwitz its acting director. Prior to her appointment, she was the office’s interim director. She has been involved in implementing 3 IMLS grants in support of Spectrum, including the Spectrum Ph.D. grant program administered by the University of Pittsburgh....

Advocacy Institute to feature Spokane Moms
“Spokane Moms” Lisa Layera Brunkan, Denette Hill, and Susan McBurney, founders of the Washington Coalition for School Libraries and Information Technology, a grassroots initiative that raised $4 million for school libraries in Washington state, are scheduled to speak at the ALA Advocacy Institute, June 29, in Anaheim, California. “School Libraries in Crisis: Why Everyone Should Care,” will focus on how the school library crisis can affect libraries of all types....

Program spokesperson and Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith runs through questions from the Step Up to the Plate @ your library program at the Baker High School library, MobileStep Up to the Plate on Flickr
The third season of the Step Up to the Plate @ your library program officially launched earlier this month in Mobile, Alabama, with Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith, and now photos from the launch are posted on Flickr. Photographs feature Smith speaking to students at the Baker High School library about the importance of libraries, local school library media specialists and a behind-the-scenes look at a video interview....

AL Focus

Still from Jesse White National Library Week videoThe Illinois state librarian on National Library Week
Illinois Secretary of State and State Librarian Jesse White visits Chicago’s Walt Disney Magnet School April 14 and answers questions from students to kick off National Library Week 2008 in this video (2:34) shot by Greg Landgraf. White diplomatically states that he loves all libraries, not just the Illinois State Library in Springfield....

Booklist Online logo

Cover of Encyclopedia of Sex and GenderFeatured review: Reference
Malti-Douglas, Fedwa (editor). Encyclopedia of Sex and Gender. Aug. 2007. 1,682p. Macmillan, hardcover (978-0-02-865960-2).
Today, print and online resources that blur or offer a new perspective on sex and gender abound. Recent debates and scholarship focused on sex and gender illustrate, first, that gendered discourse in both the public and private domains is most assuredly alive and well in the first decade of the twenty-first century, and, second, that the concepts of sex and gender are inherently interdisciplinary, drawing on anthropology, biology, cultural studies, history, linguistics, literature, political science, psychology, and sociology. Undergraduates in these fields, as well as advanced high-school students and educated general readers, need look no further than this landmark work to explore, examine, and evaluate the various concepts of sex and gender that impact nearly every area of human interaction and activity....

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

Anaheim Update

Cover of Quiet, PleaseQuiet, Please: Scott Douglas is watching
Day after day, Scott Douglas was watching you. He saw quite a show at the Anaheim (Calif.) Public Library on most days. Douglas started to write it down, capturing all the weirdness and strange characters he encountered as he moved up in the library ranks. Quiet, Please: Dispatches from a Public Librarian (Da Capo, 2008) is a mostly accurate memoir, Douglas acknowledges. Some characters are composites, some events are exaggerated for effect, but the stories all happened. Douglas, currently an adult services librarian at an APL branch, will be part of the FOLUSA First Author, First Book program on June 29....
Orange County (Calif.) Register, Apr. 15

Airlines to begin charging for a second bag
Five of the six major airlines in the United States plan to start charging coach passengers as much as $25 starting in May to check a second bag, the latest move in their quest to offset high fuel prices. But while the airlines, and even some industry specialists, say they expect the new fees will primarily affect leisure travelers, business travelers beg to differ....
New York Times, Apr. 22

FlightStats logoRelief for stranded air travelers
Air travelers whose flights have been cancelled or diverted can now greatly improve their chances of finding a seat on the next available flight thanks to a flight availability service from FlightStats and mobile FlightStats. You can see what seats can be purchased by class and cabin for flights that may be sitting at a gate nearby and what’s coming in over the next few hours....
FlightStats, Apr. 21 ad

Division News

Board game from Gaming alignment docuementThe AASL Standards and gaming
The AASL Standards for the 21st-Century Learner define student interactions with information in terms of an inquiry-based experience. 21st-Century learners need to explore information; to see what more they can find by building connections and trying different searches. The new standards are supportive of the ideas and skills that make up gaming, as you can see in this gaming alignment (PDF file), created by the member libraries of the School Library System of Genesee Valley (N.Y.) BOCES, provides support for the use of games as a learning resource in school libraries....

Carmen Agra Deedy with NYC public school childrenCelebrating School Library Media Month
To help celebrate School Library Media Month in April, AASL has made public service announcements available to school library media specialists. The PSAs feature Carmen Agra Deedy (right), award-winning author of Martina the Beautiful Cockroach: A Cuban Folktale. AASL also offers tips on getting the PSAs aired on local radio stations....

Wendy MassWendy Mass to speak at AASL awards luncheon
Award-winning author Wendy Mass will be the guest speaker at the AASL Awards Luncheon, June 30, during the ALA 2008 Annual Conference in Anaheim, California. Mass is the author of Mango-Shaped Space, the winner of the Schneider Family Book Award given by ALA....

El Dia 2008 bookmarkEl día in Second Life
ALSC will be celebrating El día de los niños/El día de los libros virtually this April by holding one-hour discussion sessions on ALA Island in Second Life. The in-world discussions, scheduled to take place at 1 p.m. on April 28 and 3 p.m. on May 1, on ALA Island’s main stage, will offer librarians an outlet to discuss Día programming at their library. Along with a Second Life discussion of Día, ALSC offers librarians and families a wealth of Día resources...

Man biting a bookRegistration open for Teen Read Week
YALSA launched its Teen Read Week 2008 website, opening registration and offering resources for the annual celebration of teen reading, including activity ideas and more. Teen Read Week is October 12–18, with a theme of “Books with Bite @ your library,” encouraging teens to read just for the fun of it. Mirrorstone Books, a subsidiary of Wizards of the Coast, is the corporate sponsor of Teen Read Week for the second year in a row....

SPARC-ACRL program to address Harvard policy
The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition–ACRL Forum during the 2008 ALA Annual Conference in Anaheim, California, will provide a timely look at “Campus Open Access Policies: The Harvard Experience and How to Get There.” The forum will give an up-close look at the recent vote by Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences enabling open access to their scholarly articles in an institutional repository....

PLA extends deadline for PLDS questionnaire
PLA is extending the deadline for public librarians to complete a questionnaire to provide essential information for the Public Library Data Service Statistical Report. The new deadline is April 30. The survey can be completed online....

Linda MehrALCTS presents Linda Mehr, librarian to the Oscars
Linda Mehr, director of the Margaret Herrick Library of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Beverly Hills, California, will be the featured speaker at the 2008 ALCTS President’s Program, “From Here to Eternity: The Challenge of Managing Oscar’s Very Special Collections” on June 30. Mehr has been director of the Margaret Herrick Library since 1982....

Library Administration and Management cover, Spring 2008Still time to apply for LA&M associate editor
LAMA is seeking an experienced writer or editor to assist in the production of its quarterly magazine Library Administration & Management, with the aim of eventually taking charge of the publication. The print magazine is making the transition to a full-feature web publication, a process expected to be finished by 2009. The deadline for application is May 1. Finalists will be interviewed at the 2008 ALA Annual Conference in Anaheim....

Cover of New Supervisors in Technical ServicesTwo new books from LAMA
New Supervisors in Technical Services: A Management Guide Using Checklists, edited by Emily Bergman and Andrea Kappler, is designed to help new supervisors get through tough management situations, help them manage their time and staff, and make plans for the future. Outstanding Library Public Relations: 60 Years of the John Cotton Dana Award, by Amy Shaw and Peter Deekle, is the story of John Cotton Dana the man and the evolution of the award that bears his name....


Lisa Layera BrunkanSpokane Moms to be honored with AASL Crystal Apple
AASL President Sara Kelly Johns has selected Lisa Layera Brunkan (right), Denette Hill, and Susan McBurney, also known as the “Spokane Moms,” as the recipients of the 2008 Crystal Apple Award. The award is given at the discretion of the AASL president to an individual or group that has had a significant impact on school library media programs and students. “The ‘Spokane Moms’ successfully spearheaded a drive to get new funding for school libraries into the Washington state budget,” said Johns....

The American Dream Starts @ your libraryDollar General Literacy Foundation grant
ALA announced April 21 the recipients of “The American Dream Starts @ your library” grant, which helps public libraries increase their literacy services to adult English-language learners. Each of the 34 winning libraries will receive a one-time award of $5,000. The grants are funded by the Dollar General Literacy Foundation and implemented by ALA....

Mary Popp is RUSA’s Favorite Martian
Mary Popp, public services librarian at the Herman B. Wells Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, is the 2008 recipient of the RUSA Machine-Assisted Reference Section recognition certificate, also known as the “My Favorite Martian Award.” The award is given to an individual to recognize excellence in service to MARS....

Richmond (B.C.) Public Library won the award for creating a unique campaign that promoted the library to school age children from kindergarten to grade seven.John Cotton Dana winners, in color
The Spring 2008 issue of Library Administration & Management offers exclusive color photos of all the winning entries in this year’s John Cotton Dana Library Public Relations Award. Winning entries will be displayed at the LAMA John Cotton Dana Library Public Relations Award booth in the exhibit area during ALA Annual Conference, June 27–July 2, in Anaheim, California....
Library Administration & Management 22, no. 2 (Spring)

Gordon M. Conable Conference Scholarship
The Freedom to Read Foundation’s Gordon M. Conable Conference Scholarship enables a library school student or new professional to attend the ALA Annual Conference, with a specific focus on intellectual freedom meetings and programs. The scholarship will provide for registration, transportation, housing for six nights, and a per diem. The application deadline is May 5....

Cover of This Clumsy Living, by Bob Hicok2008 Bobbitt National Poetry Prize winners
The distinguished Rebekah Johnson Bobbitt National Prize for Poetry, created 20 years ago, will be awarded to two poets who teach at universities in Virginia: Bob Hicok of Virginia Tech (for his book This Clumsy Living) and Charles Wright of the University of Virginia (for lifetime achievement). Hicok and Wright will receive the award and read selections of their work in the Library of Congress Madison Building April 28....
Library of Congress, Apr. 18

Quiet Reading Time photo winner, showing Lee County PL patron Leslie reading to her son SamSouth Carolina’s National Library Week photo contest (PDF file)
During the days of April 14–16, library staff members submitted to the South Carolina State Library a wide range of photographs of librarians working, teaching patrons, library events, and in some cases, just having fun doing what they love. Winner in the Best Overall category was “Quiet Reading Time,” Lee County Public Library patron Leslie reading to her son Sam in the reading area, submitted by Elizabeth Snyder-Powell....
South Carolina State Library, Apr. 18

Tech Logic ad
Seen Online

Net neutrality returns to the Senate
At a Senate Commerce Committee hearing entitled “The Future of the Internet” April 22, Democratic politicians argued for passage of a law designed to prohibit broadband operators from creating a fast lane for certain internet content and applications. Their stance drew familiar criticism from the cable industry, their Republican counterparts, and FCC Chairman Kevin Martin, who said there’s no demonstrated need for new rules, at this point. Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) is one of the backers of a bill called the Internet Freedom Preservation Act, chiefly sponsored by Byron Dorgan (D-N.Dak.) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine)....
C|net news, Apr. 22

After big gift, a new name for NYPL
The New York Landmarks Preservation Commission officially agreed April 22 to change the name of the New York Public Library’s main building on Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street to the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building. The renaming is in honor of Schwarzman’s recent gift of $100 million, which will go toward a $1-billion overhaul of the library system....
New York Times, Apr. 22

Video games a hit in Los Angeles County libraries
About half of Los Angeles County’s 88 public libraries hold gaming events at least once a month. Administrators credit the practice with helping boost teenage attendance by about 50% since the county started a pilot program two years ago. “It lets teens be more comfortable with the library and become familiar with librarians,” San Fernando librarian Lydia Harlan said. “And it’s what kids are into these days.”...
Los Angeles Times, Apr. 17

What’s new at the e-library
Anthony Torregrossa has always been an avid reader, but when his eyesight started to deteriorate from macular degeneration about a year ago, he knew he had to find a way to keep up his hobby. A frequent patron at the Bethpage (N.Y.) Public Library on Long Island, Torregrossa decided to try something he had never heard of before: audio books downloaded onto an MP3 player....
New York Times, Apr. 20

St. Joseph County (Ind.) Public LibraryStrapped South Bend libraries to cut summer hours
The St. Joseph County (Ind.) Public Library will close all its branches on Saturdays in June, July, and August to reduce expenses. The library also plans to cut service hours, purchases, and staff by 12% this year and 12 percent in 2009. The library board voted 5–0 April 21 to approve the requested cuts, which are in response to an estimated $791,000 loss in tax revenue in 2009 and $1.6 million in 2010 because of Indiana’s property-tax reform....
South Bend (Ind.) Tribune, Apr. 22

Librarian testifies in Salt Lake City pipe bomb case
Thomas Zajac, accused of setting off a pipe bomb at the main Salt Lake City Public Library in 2006, tried to convince a federal judge April 16 that charges should be dropped against him because the library does not impact interstate commerce. SLCPL Assistant Director Britton Lund testified that although the library is set up using city taxpayer funds, its services indeed extend beyond state borders. The judge dismissed Zajac’s motion to drop the charges....
Salt Lake City Deseret News, Apr. 16, 22

Arrow shows anomalous shadow in Elting Library surveillance videoGhost in the New Paltz library?
It appeared as a meandering shadow last October 25 in the suspense section of the Elting Memorial Library in New Paltz, New York, pausing on the wide plank floors in front of a bookcase. A surveillance tape picked up the image, and the video (0:33) has been viewed on YouTube by some 18,500 people so far, while library employees and patrons continue to debate the possibilities and recount the coincidences....
New York Times, Apr. 20

Rare Book Roadshow at UNCC
Dozens of collectors brought their could-be treasures to the Atkins Library at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte April 17 for a Rare Book Roadshow—borrowing from the title of public television’s popular antiques show. Judging was done by John Sharpe, who spent 30 years as Duke University’s curator of rare books....
Charlotte (N.C.) Observer, Apr. 18

Gulfport library demolition won’t be delayed
After an hour-long debate, the Gulfport (Miss.) City Council voted 4-3 April 22 against asking the county to delay demolition of the Gulfport Library building. Residents trying to save the building said they will take the issue to court. Tension over the library has been growing since February when supervisors accepted the deed for the property from the city. The county owned the building; the city, the property. Both had to be in the county’s name for FEMA to pay for Katrina damage....
Biloxi (Miss.) Sun-Herald, Apr. 23

School libraries and weeding
For K–12 librarians, it’s a no-brainer to toss a book that’s full of outdated, politically incorrect information. But they say it’s a public relations nightmare when taxpayers find out librarians actually throw books away. “It looked like a Nazi book-burning,” is how Grand Rapids (Mich.) Riverside Middle School Media Specialist Becky Goodspeed described her first few months of book-weeding in that library six years ago....
Grand Rapids (Mich.) Press, Apr. 21

Cover of Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal SnoggingRennison book to stay on middle-school shelves
Parent Guy Hegg wants the book Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging removed from the shelves of the Maplewood Middle School library in Menasha, Wisconsin. Hegg said the coming-of-age novel by Louise Rennison purveys a sexual tone that is inappropriate for 6th, 7th, and 8th-graders. But the school board voted 6–1 in closed session earlier this week to keep the book in the library....
Appleton (Wis.) Post-Crescent, Apr. 20

Rooms that lose none of their shelf life
In this age of digital information, books have lost none of their appeal, with many people carrying “old friends” they have loved reading from house to house. So it comes as no surprise that according to a new report—The Changing Face of British Homes, compiled by insurers Legal and General—15% of 4,000 interviewees said they would like a library, compared to 13% wanting a gym, 9% a music studio, and just 8% a home cinema....
The Telegraph (U.K.), Apr. 15

Young man with sign that says "Borrow me."European library trend: Borrowing a person
David Baker writes: “It was like the school disco all over again. As some unexpected spring sunshine brightened up the Finchley Road last Sunday lunchtime, 15 of us were waiting nervously in a room in Swiss Cottage’s sleek new leisure centre to be borrowed as ‘books’ in the UK’s first ever Living Library. The idea, which comes from Scandinavia, is simple: Instead of books, readers can come to the library and borrow a person for a 30-minute chat. The human ‘books’ on offer vary from event to event but always include a healthy cross-section of stereotypes.”...
The Times (U.K.), Apr. 22

San Mateo rips plastic for Green Week
The San Mateo (Calif.) Public Library is doing its part for Earth Day by encouraging patrons to take their books home in reusable bags and ditch the plastic ones for good. The library, in partnership with eight local merchants, is “Taming the Plastic Bag Beast” by giving away donated reusable bags. Nearly 2,000 donated bags became available to library patrons April 21....
San Mateo (Calif.) Daily News, Apr. 22

Library gift from T. S. Eliot’s widow
The widow of T. S. Eliot has donated £2.5 million ($4.9 million U.S.) to help build a new wing of the world’s largest independent lending library, which will be named after the Nobel prize-winning poet. The gift from Valerie Eliot follows a long-running appeal by the London Library, of which her late husband was president for 13 years. The annex to the 167-year-old institution in St James’s Square will be called T. S. Eliot House. Valerie Eliot will appear at a ceremony in June....
The Times (U.K.), Apr. 20

British Library Reading RoomStudents hog British Library reading rooms
Two years after one of the world’s greatest libraries opened its doors to undergraduates and anyone working on research, high-profile writers and academics say that the struggle to find a desk is now intolerable. Library directors stand accused of increasing visitor numbers to boost funds and performance bonuses. Of particular irritation is the notion that many undergraduates now come to the library to relax, meet and text friends, and play on laptops, rather than to read books....
The Times (U.K.), Apr. 21

Queens Library ad

Tech Talk

Image of green PCEasy ways to go green with your computer
Adam Pash writes: “Not everyone can afford to install solar panels or get a new Prius this Earth Day, but there is one place you can go green without spending an arm and a leg or radically changing your lifestyle—your computer. Chances are you spend the majority of your day sitting in front of the keyboard, and a few small changes can go a long way toward reducing its negative impact on the environment. This Earth Day, we’ve rounded up a few simple ways you can go green with your computer.”...
Lifehacker, Apr. 22

529 tips for better computing
There’s a ton of information in your computer’s user manual, but it’s also hundreds of pages long. To become a real power user, you could read through the entire thing, memorizing the details on each page. Or you could turn to this tip sheet from PC Magazine, carefully organized into nearly three dozen categories and filled with advice, how-tos, hacks, and add-ons. For example, did you know this Word 2007 tip? When reopening a large document, hit Shift-F5 to jump directly to the last spot you were working on....
PC Magazine, Apr. 21

Laptop within a bookE-book concealed within a book
David Rothman writes: “Let’s say your boss or your spouse hates e-books, and you want to con them into thinking you’re a print purist. Why not put a secret compartment inside a hardback to conceal a laptop you use for e-reading? A design by Kyle Bean, a student of illustration at the University of Brighton, might be just the thing. If nothing else, this would be an imaginative twist on the idea of fake bookselves, except that you could actually read a whole library of e-books.”...
TeleRead, Apr. 21

Still from video showing the destruction of a hard drive by thermiteSilly ways to remove data from a hard drive
Computerworld decided to look at YouTube to find some cheap methods of removing sensitive data from a hard drive permanently. While some of the behavior in these videos clearly displays an alarming level of pent-up rage, the myriad ways identified to destroy a hard drive—from a plasma cutter to a train to aluminothermic reactions (right)—are fascinating....
Computerworld, Apr. 18

AL Buyers Guide ad

Actions & Answers

Encyclopaedia BritannicaEB online free to bloggers
Michael Arrington writes: “Now you can get access to the online version of Encyclopaedia Britannica for free through a new program called Britannica Webshare—provided that you are a ‘web publisher.’ The definition of a web publisher is rather squishy:This program is intended for people who publish with some regularity on the internet, be they bloggers, webmasters, or writers. We reserve the right to deny participation to anyone who in our judgment doesn’t qualify.’ Basically, you sign up, tell them about your site URL and a description, and they review it and decide if you’ll get in.”...
TechCrunch, Apr. 18

Vampire getup. Photo by Jessica PolancoVampire parties
Sarah Granville writes: “How does one celebrate the life, or rather death, of the undead? With the popularity of series such as Twilight, Vampire Kisses, and Blue Bloods, throwing a vampire party is a great way to get teens excited about reading. But where to begin? In my mind, every successful party includes cake. And what better variety of cake to serve at a party devoted to blood suckers than red velvet? If you have access to Halloween cookie cutters, you could also decorate cookies in the shapes of coffins, tombstones, bats, or spider web.”...
Alternative Teen Service, Apr. 15

Snacks in the stacks (subscription required)
Andrea L. Foster writes: “When Terri Curry mentioned last month that the library at Morningside College allowed students to eat among the books, she did not hear appalled gasps from the crowd of librarians, deans, and professors in front of her. What she heard was a burst of applause. Fed by a desire to make libraries more inviting places for students to work in groups, many colleges are installing cafes in their libraries.”...
Chronicle of Higher Education, Apr. 18

Library of Congress Subject Headings booksDo LC Subject Headings still matter?
Radical Reference says they do. Does LC always identify accessible and appropriately named headings and implement them in a timely manner? RR says not always. Between now and April 27, Radical Reference invites you to suggest subject headings and/or cross-references that will then be compiled and sent to the Library of Congress. You can either choose one previously suggested by Sandy Berman (pdf or spreadsheet) or propose your own....
Radical Reference, Apr. 22

Cover of Farthest North by Fridtjof Nansen, Steve Jones's life-changing bookScientists’ life-changing books
A great book has the power to move, inspire, or even change lives. From adventure tales of the Arctic to the ultimate in quantum weirdness, here are the books that have left a lasting impression on some of the world’s top scientists, including Oliver Sacks, Michio Kaku, Jane Goodall, and more. Geneticist Steve Jones said Fridtjof Nansen’s Farthest North is “an account of an attempt in the late 19th century to drift through the Arctic ice in a wooden ship called the Fram.”...
New Scientist, Apr. 10

Some libraries shun Google in digitization battle (podcast)
Technology has made it possible to make books accessible to anyone, anywhere. But in the effort to digitize the world’s books, there’s a fight brewing over who should control tomorrow’s virtual libraries, and how open they should be. Some libraries in the Boston area are choosing to pay to digitize their collections rather than accept offers from Google and Microsoft to do it for free. Listen to this 5:56 podcast....
All Things Considered, National Public Radio, Apr. 22

SLA logo tinted greenSLA honors its green members and units
In recognition of Earth Day, Special Libraries Association President Stephen Abram announced April 22 that he is accepting nominations for a special Presidential Citation honoring SLA “Knowledge to Go Green” Champions. Recipients will be announced at the SLA Leadership Summit in January 2009 to mark the inaugural year of SLA's Knowledge to Go Green initiative....
Special Libraries Association, Apr. 22

GPO study of regional depositories
The U.S. Government Printing Office has been directed by the Joint Committee on Printing to conduct a study on the conditions of regional depository libraries. The purpose of the study is to evaluate the extent to which public access to federal depository resources may be impaired by organizational, financial, technological, or other conditions affecting regional libraries. The findings are to be delivered to the JCP by June 1. GPO is asking for comments on the components of the draft report....
FDLP Desktop, Apr. 10

Portion of Unshelved comic from Apr. 21, 2008Win Unshelved treatment at BEA 2008
Every other week between now and BookExpo America in Los Angeles (May 29–June 1), Unshelved will draw winners for the following prizes: Appearances in an upcoming Unshelved comic strip, coffee @ BEA with Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum, gold autographing passes, discounts on shipping books, free Author’s Breakfast tickets of your choice, and free Lewis Black tickets. To qualify you must be a librarian or educator who registers for BEA 2008 through the link on the Unshelved page....

National Poetry Month poster, from Poets.orgWhy I like National Poetry Month
Ami Greko writes: “I don’t mean to say that you have to live in a big city to be able to turn your nose up at the idea of a month devoted to poetry. I am pretty sure that if you’re a person who spends a lot of time writing poetry, or reading poetry, or hanging out with poets, then the idea of National Poetry Month sounds stupid, whether you live in Terre Haute or San Francisco. But let’s be honest: It takes a lot more effort to be a full-time poetry fan if you are also a full-time resident of a city lacking a significant university population or growth industry. And this is why I am a fan of National Poetry Month.”...
The Best Words in Their Best Order, Apr. 14

Karen Coyle stands before a graffitoed sculpture in Kosovo that spells "NEWBORN"Karen Coyle in Kosovo
Coyle writes: “Libraries in Kosovo have existed in deep isolation for a long time. First, they need to restore the physical spaces. Many libraries became government or military offices during the conflict of the late 1990s. Next, they need books. Then they need a way to create a catalog, and it has to be cheap, if not free, and must run on absolutely minimal hardware. The librarians need training. They have moved from a Soviet-style system to a decade (at least) of disruption of civic life, and now they wish to embrace the West.”...
Coyle’s InFormation, Apr. 20

The Monkey Song (with a nod to Louis Prima)
American Libraries columnist Meredith Farkas writes: “Every few months, I get an email from someone in library school or a new librarian basically asking me how I’ve accomplished all that I have in this profession in three years and how they can do the same. Five years ago, I felt trapped in a profession I was miserable in. Now, things couldn’t be more opposite. But I really struggle to offer advice when I get emails like this, because there’s no answer I could give that would really be useful. But I’ll give it a try anyway.”...
Information Wants to Be Free, Apr. 20

Google Maps now shows traffic accidentsBeat traffic with Google Maps
During the last several months a team of Googlers has been charged with bringing you the latest and greatest in traffic congestion information. Now in Google Maps you can see what the traffic is typically like at any given day and time, making planning a drive easier than ever by helping you avoid likely congestion. Also, it displays accidents, construction, and road closures in most areas where there is traffic coverage....
Google Lat Long Blog, Apr. 17

Rittenhouse ad

Crisis Prevention Institute ad

ALA Annual Conference logo

ALA Annual Conference in Anaheim, California, June 26–July 2. ALA will accommodate attendees with special physical or communication needs. If you have any special requests that ALA can reasonably provide, please contact Anne Weglewski before May 18.

Booklist's April 15 issue focuses on Historical Fiction

The April 15 issue of Booklist offers a Spotlight on Historical Fiction, as well as a Spring Reference Database Update by Mary Ellen Quinn. NEW! From Booklist.

In this issue
April 2008

Cover of April 2008 issue of AL

Going for the Green

Library Design Showcase

Makeover at the Mansion

Learning Side by Side

Homegrown Superstars Say READ to Succeed

Student with media

GPO helps celebrate School Library Media Month. To acknowledge and celebrate the school library media specialists in our nation’s elementary and secondary schools, the Government Printing Office is offering for sale several of its publications that focus on graphics and media.

Career Leads from
ALA Joblist logo

Small Business Librarian II, Cecil County Public Library, Elkton, Maryland. Under the general supervision of the Branch Services Manager, the Small Business Librarian will develop, manage, and deliver a full range of effective and innovative reference and information services to prospective and established small business owners. Works cooperatively with Branch Librarians to develop and enhance services in all libraries....

@ More jobs...

Coffee cup with YALSA engraved on it

YA Author Coffee Klatch in Anaheim. Want to have coffee and meet authors from YALSA’s Best Books for Young Adults list? Come to the Klatch! This informal Sunday breakfast (June 29, 9–10 a.m.) will give you the opportunity to mingle with such authors as Mary Pearson, Gary Schmidt, Susan Beth Pfeffer, Barry Lyga, Margarita Engle, Jay Asher, John Green, and many more. Tickets are only $19.

Digital Library of the Week

Gun embedded in tree as a result of a tornado in New Prague, Minnesota, in 1912

Minnesota Reflections features more than 20,000 digital copies of primary resources about Minnesota, including photographs, maps, and documents (with transcriptions). This database project of the Minnesota Digital Library is in its fourth year of providing digital resources to historical organizations across the state. More than 90 organizations have participated in the project to date. The Minnesota Digital Library is a primarily volunteer organization supported by LSTA grants from the Minnesota Department of Education.

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

Public Perception
How the World
Sees Us

“Brenda meant something different to everyone on the library staff, and that meaningful something was never anything good. To some she was the person who told them they looked like a slob, commented about their weight gain, or asked if someone’s son was mentally challenged. . . . She wasn’t the kind of person anyone would wish dead, but she wouldn’t be missed if she was pushed off a tall building.”

—Scott Douglas [La Counte], Quiet, Please: Dispatches from a Public Librarian (Da Capo Press, 2008).

A happy mother on Mother's Day

Help a mom save money on Mother’s Day. The Social Security Administration is asking libraries to publicize the extra help that is available under Medicare Part D. This year’s message is “I helped my mom save $3,600 on prescription drugs. You Can Too!”  Libraries can help in this effort by referring to this Social Security page in your newsletters, blogs, or websites. Social Security also has a Mother’s Day pamphlet available upon request in packets of 100, free of charge, for display and distribution at libraries. Contact Maria Artista-Cuchna with your name, mailing address, phone number, and quantity you need.

Ask the ALA Librarian

Booklist cover from January 15, 1981, showing Miss Piggy standing on a pile of books

Q. I'm looking for resources on employee safety, safety tools and equipment, and safety procedures that mostly apply to the work that is done in the library environment, such as recommended ladders or step stools, bending and lifting, specialized equipment, etc. Can you help?

A. This is one of those areas where you will want to consult with the general physical plant or trades manager at your university or in your municipality as well as to review the specific library literature. The Federal U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety & Health Administration has established many guidelines for workplace safety, on such things as use of ladders and latex allergies. There may also be local requirements or work rules that should be followed, though the basic principles of safety and security may need to be adapted for the library environment. For example, an optimal workstation set up may need to be adapted (scroll down past the golf courses!) in a library workroom to accommodate the books. From the ALA Professional Tips wiki.

@ The ALA Librarian welcomes your questions.


May 8–9:
OCLC Eastern and SOLINET,
Engaging Teens Conference, Arlington County (Va.) Public Library. This first-ever conference on teen programming in libraries is for librarians, educators, and staff who work with teens.

May 12–14:
Asociación Mexicana de Bibliotecarios,
XXXIX Jornadas Mexicanas de Biblioteconomía, Ciudad de Chihuahua. “Las bibliotecas, repositorios dinámicos del conocimiento.”

May 14–16:
Ohio Valley Group of Technical Services Librarians,
Annual Conference, Hope Hotel and Conference Center, Dayton. “Technical Services Taking Flight: Soaring to New Heights of Innovation.”

May 14–17:
National Genealogical Society,
Annual Conference, Kansas City, Missouri. “Show Me the Nation’s Records.” Contact: NGS.

May 16–21:
Medical Library Association,
Annual Conference, Chicago. “Connections: Bridging the Gaps.”

May 21–22:
Ohio Library Council,
Management Conference, Columbus.

May 21–24:
Canadian Library Association,
Annual Conference, Vancouver. “Libraries and Publishing 3.0: Connecting Authors to Readers in the Digital Age.”

May 22–23:
Portland, Oregon. Explore the future of web design.

May 30–
June 1:

Canadian Association for Conservation of Cultural Property,
Annual Conference, Bibliothèque et Archives Nationales du Québec, Montreal.

June 1–4:
Academic Library Advancement and Development Network Conference,
Driskill Hotel, Austin, Texas.

June 5–7:
Canadian Association for Information Science,
Annual Conference, University of British Columbia, Vancouver. “Information Beyond Borders: LIS Interacting With Other Disciplines.”

June 15–18:
Special Libraries Association, Annual Conference, Seattle.

@ More...

Contact Us
American Libraries Direct

ALA logo

AL Direct is a free electronic newsletter emailed every Wednesday to personal members of the American Library Association.

George M. Eberhart,

Daniel Kraus,
Associate Editor:

Greg Landgraf,
Associate Editor:

Leonard Kniffel,
American Libraries:

To advertise in American Libraries Direct, contact:
Brian Searles,

Send feedback:


AL Direct FAQ:

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

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

ISSN 1559-369X.