The e-newsletter of the American Library Association | December 3,

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

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AL Buyers Guide

U.S. & World News

Charles NessonAntipiracy statute challenged
Harvard Law School Professor Charles Nesson (right) has taken on the defense of a 24-year-old Boston University graduate student who is challenging the constitutionality of a lawsuit filed against him by the Recording Industry Association of America. The suit seeks thousands of dollars in damages for the student’s alleged sharing of digitized music on a peer-to-peer network, and comes as colleges and universities are grappling with digital copyright enforcement regulations. The outcome could help clarify what restrictions libraries face in how they share and distribute digital media....
American Libraries Online, Dec. 3

H. W. Wilson ad

ALA News

Oprah sends her regrets
American Libraries Editor Leonard Kniffel writes: “The inside scoop on Oprah Winfrey is that she has already declined our invitation to speak at ALA Annual Conference next summer. Last April, a group of us at ALA Headquarters pounced on the idea that it just had to be Oprah for the 2009 conference in Chicago. But last week, I got the call I didn’t want to get—from an Oprah assistant, letting me know that she would be unable to appear. Meanwhile, wait till you hear who we’re after instead.”...
AL Inside Scoop, Dec. 1

Obama concerned over library closures
ALA applauds President-elect Barack Obama for recognizing, during a December 2 address to the National Governors Association, the effect that library closings have on communities. Obama, discussing potential budget shortfalls for the 41 states represented during the meeting, cited library closures as one of the drastic measures already being taken to balance state budgets. Read American Libraries Editor Leonard Kniffel’s open letter to Obama on the value of libraries to the country....
District Dispatch, Dec. 2; Associated Press, Dec. 2; AL Inside Scoop, Dec. 3

Emily Sheketoff on C-SPANALA’s perspective on federal policies
ALA Washington Office Executive Director Emily Sheketoff talked to guest host Paul Sweeting November 6 about ALA’s positions on federal copyright, privacy, and piracy policy. She also discussed how those issues could be affected by President-elect Barack Obama’s administration. The Communicators is C-SPAN’s weekly series that examines the people and events currently shaping telecommunications policy....
C-SPAN Video Library

Submit questions to ALA presidential candidates via YouTube
Do you have a question you’re dying to ask the candidates for ALA president? If you can’t attend the Presidential Candidates’ Forum at the Midwinter Meeting in Denver, why not submit a question on YouTube? It’s fun, it’s easy, it’s the new ALA way. Submissions will be accepted from December 8 through January 16, must be tagged as ALAelection09, and must be no longer than 90 seconds....

Lauren MyracleYA author to headline FTRF fundraiser in Denver
Lauren Myracle, whose book ttyl was one of the 10 most frequently challenged books of 2007, will be the featured speaker at the fourth annual Freedom to Read Foundation fundraising author event at the ALA Midwinter Meeting, January 25, in Denver. The event will take place at the Tattered Cover Book Store, 1628 16th Street, and will be cosponsored by the bookstore and the Friends of the Denver Public Library. Visit the Friends site to purchase a ticket in advance...

Cover of April 2008 American Libraries, containing the 2008 Library Design ShowcaseAL Library Design Showcase: Call for submissions
American Libraries Associate Editor Greg Landgraf writes: “American Libraries is now accepting submissions for its annual Library Design Showcase, to be published in the April 2009 issue. To be considered, send a completed submission form (PDF file), along with color photos, 35mm slides, or high-resolution digital images, by snail mail, by February 1. Projects must have been completed after October 1, 2007.”...
AL Inside Scoop, Dec. 1

CCF logoSuccessful conclusion to Cultural Communities campaign
The Public Programs Office has successfully completed an ambitious campaign to raise matching funds for the Cultural Communities Fund, in response to a challenge grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. More than 450 individual and corporate supporters donated more than $332,000, bringing the campaign total to $1.4 million, the largest fundraising effort in ALA history....

Booklist Online logo

Cover of One-Handed CatchFeatured review: Media
Auch, Mary Jane. One-Handed Catch. Read by Ryan Sparkes. Sept. 2008. 6hr. Full Cast, CD. Grades 4–8 (978-1-934180-16-7).
On July 4, 1946, 11-year-old Norm loses his left hand in a meat-grinder accident in his father’s butcher shop and must relearn how to do things one-handed, including tying his shoes and riding a bike. Wracked with guilt, Norm’s father struggles to come to terms with the accident, while the adolescent’s no-nonsense mother pushes her son and everyone to treat him as if nothing has changed. Before the accident, Norm dreamed of becoming a baseball player. When his doctor gives him a newspaper clipping of a one-handed major league pitcher, Norm is inspired to figure out how he, too, can play baseball with just one hand. What follows is an uplifting, motivating tale. The Full Cast team of readers energizes this historical fiction with superior narration....

Audiobooker blog bannerNew Booklist blog: Audiobooker
Booklist Online announces a new addition to its growing family of blogs: Audiobooker, by teacher, school librarian, and certified audiobook addict Mary Burkey. Burkey’s blog, launched independently a year ago, has already won loyal readers with listening notes, teaching resources, classroom examples, and what she describes as an “online scrapbook of audiobook minutia, digital literature ramblings, and random ridiculous addendums.” Her passions include getting the right audiobook into the right hands and championing young people’s right to read with their ears....

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

Denver Update

How to find your way around any new city
Shana Glickfield writes: “Adding an extra day to [ALA Midwinter Meeting in Denver]? Whether you want to hit the local hotspots or knock those tourist must-sees off your list, these online and mobile tools are surefire secret weapons. To take in a city like a tourist without looking like a tourist, count on podcasts or downloadable audio walking tours to be your guide. For finding the best food in the city, use mobile apps like Zagat or Urbanspoon. Twitter is also a good way to find company if you are traveling solo.”...
Mashable, Nov. 28

Photo of Greenland glacier by James BalogExtreme Ice at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science
Photographer James Balog documents global warming in the icefields and glaciers of some of the most extreme and remote environments on Earth. “Extreme Ice: Evidence of Global Warming Now”— spectacular videos and photographs from the most wide-ranging glacial study ever conducted using ground-based and time-lapse photography—will be on exhibit at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, 2001 Colorado Boulevard, through March 8....
Denver Museum of Nature and Science

Division News

SPARC-ACRL Forum to focus on OER
The 18th SPARC-ACRL Forum, held January 24 during the ALA Midwinter Meeting in Denver, will examine “The Transformative Potential of Open Educational Resources.” In the academic community, there is growing interest in the concept of Open Educational Resources and their potential to transform the way scholarship is conducted. At the heart of the movement toward OER is the idea that the world’s knowledge is a public good....
ACRL Insider, Dec. 1

RUSA membership social in Denver
Kick off the 2009 ALA Midwinter Meeting in style with RUSA’s membership social—an opportunity to eat, drink, network, and learn more about the division. Past, present, and future members are all invited to this event, which will be held 5–7 p.m., January 23, at Baur’s Ristorante, 1512 Curtis Street, Denver....

Advance registration for Genealogy Institute ends Friday
Don’t be left out in the Denver cold with your family history questions—register for RUSA’s “Behind the Genealogy Reference Desk” by Friday, December 5, for advance registration prices. This one-day institute, January 23, is presented by the RUSA History Section....

RUSA online courses in the spring
Need that professional competitive edge in the new year? Consider an online course from RUSA to sharpen your resume. Registration is now open for the spring offerings: Reference Interview, Genealogy 101, Business Reference 101, and Marketing Basics for Libraries....

ALCTS announces editor appointments
ALCTS has appointed editors for Library Resources & Technical Services and the ALCTS Newsletter Online. Peggy Johnson, University of Minnesota, has been reappointed editor of LRTS; Edward Swanson, University of Minnesota, has been reappointed Book Review Editor for LRTS; Mary Beth Weber, Rutgers University, accepted a second term as editor of ANO; and Martha Whittaker, George Washington University, took on a new position as marketing specialist for LRTS....

Round Table News

Learning for learning professionals
The Continuing Library Education and Networking Exchange Round Table and WebJunction are cosponsoring a webinar on Thursday, December 11 (1 p.m. Central Time, 2 p.m. Eastern), on “Learning for Learning Professionals: Competencies, Strategies and Resources.” Mary Ross, CLENERT board member and former manager of staff development at the Seattle Public Library, will lead the discussion. Sign up here....
CE Buzz, Dec. 1


Omar PolerUW-Madison supports Spectrum Scholar
The University of Wisconsin-Madison Graduate School of Library and Information Studies will waive tuition for Omar Poler, a 2008 ALA Spectrum Scholarship winner. Poler is a Mole Lake Sokaogon Ojibwe tribal member, who grew up in a small Anishinaabe community in northeastern Wisconsin’s Forest County....

America the Beautiful, New Jersey editionNinety librarians win Scholastic scavenger hunt
Scholastic has announced the winners of its “America the Beautiful Scavenger Hunt” contest—90 librarians who submitted 10-question collections of unusual and fun facts about their states, and whose “scavenger hunts” will be published in a 53rd title in the America the Beautiful, Third Series next year called Fast Facts about the 50 States. Each winner will receive a free 52-book America the Beautiful collection—one book for each state, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico—and, of course, a copy of the 53rd title when it’s published....
Scholastic, Nov. 19

LC awards Kluge Prize
Peter Robert Lamont Brown and Romila Thapar will receive the 2008 Kluge Prize for Lifetime Achievement in the Study of Humanity in a December 10 ceremony at the Library of Congress. They are the sixth and seventh recipients since the Prize’s 2003 inception. Each awardee will receive half of the $1-million prize. Both Brown and Thapar brought dramatically new perspectives to understanding vast sweeps of geographical territory and a millennium or more of time in Europe, the Middle East, and the Indian subcontinent....
Library of Congress, Dec. 3

Interior of Seattle Public Library Montlake branchSimplicity is the key for Seattle branch’s AIA award
The Seattle Public Library’s Montlake branch by Weinstein AU won a local American Institute of Architects honor award for 2008. Seattle architecture critic Lawrence Cheek called it a “simple brick box with a two-story glass entry lantern. The single open reading room is perched on top of a street-level parking garage, so that people ambling by on 24th Avenue East have the sense of passing by an elevated temple.”...
Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Nov. 24; AIA Seattle

Cover of Vintage edition of Lizard Tails (2004)Catalan novelist Juan Marsé wins the Cervantes
The Cervantes Prize, the Spanish-language equivalent of the Nobel Prize for literature, has been awarded to Catalan novelist Juan Marsé for a body of work focusing on the hardships of life in post–Civil War Spain. Marsé, 75, was honored for works including Rabos de lagartija (Lizard Tails), which is narrated by the unborn brother of the hero David as he grows up in postwar Barcelona....
The Guardian (U.K.), Nov. 28

Seen Online

More people visit the library to save money
Stores may be quiet these days, but libraries are hopping as people look for ways to save money. The Los Angeles Public Library is “experiencing record use,” said spokesman Peter Persic, with 12% more visitors during fiscal 2008 than the previous year. At the San Francisco Public Library, about 12% more items were checked out in October than a year earlier. The Chicago Public Library system experienced a 35% increase in circulation. The New York Public Library saw 11% more print items checked out (a spokesman said that could be partly explained by extended hours)....
Los Angeles Times, Dec. 3

Harvey Milk photo from San Francisco Public Library exhibitA full picture of Milk
Gus Van Sant, the director of a new film about the late gay activist Harvey Milk (right), did extensive research at the GLBT Historical Society in San Francisco to accurately portray Milk’s life, his possessions, his political career, and his slaying at age 48. In addition to the suit he wore when he was assassinated in 1978, they studied Milk’s campaign posters, his round dining-room table, and photos of the early days of gay liberation in the city’s Castro district. The filmmakers also dug into a large trove of Milk’s papers, love letters, and photos at the San Francisco Public Library, which is hosting an exhibition....
Los Angeles Times, Nov. 30; San Francisco Public Library

Telcoms and advocacy groups unite over broadband
As the sluice gates of stimulus open, proponents of expanded broadband access are hoping the Net will catch some of the cash Congress is preparing to pump into the economy. An impressive array (PDF file) of telecoms, trade associations, tech companies, think tanks, and advocacy groups (including ALA) have issued a Call to Action (PDF file), introduced at a December 2 event on Capitol Hill, urging the incoming Obama administration and Congress to make a national broadband strategy a high priority....
Ars Technica, Dec. 2

FCC head pushes free wireless internet plan
Outgoing FCC Chairman Kevin Martin is pushing for action in December on a plan to offer no-cost, pornography-free, wireless internet service to all Americans, despite objections from the wireless industry and some consumer groups. The proposal to allow a no-smut, free service is part of a plan to auction off a chunk of airwaves. The winning bidder would be required to set aside a quarter of the airwaves for the free service, although the company could establish a faster, paid service. The free service would be slower in order to filter out porn and other harmful-to-minors materials....
Wall Street Journal, Nov. 30

Report ties excessive media use to bad health
A new study by the National Institutes of Health took a detailed look at nearly 30 years of research on how TV, music, movies, and other media affect the lives of children and adolescents. The report found strong connections between quantity of media exposure and problems with childhood obesity and tobacco use. Nearly as strong was the link to early sexual behavior. Most of the 173 studies used in the analysis focused on movies, music, and television. Researchers said a big gap was the lack of research on the effects of the internet, cellphones, social-networking sites, and video games....
Washington Post, Dec. 2

Breviarium Ratisponense. [Commissioned by Heinrich IV von Absperg, bishop of Regensburg]. [Würzburg: Georgius de Spira (Georg Reyser?), before 13 June 1480]University of Calgary’s new rare book begs to be examined
It has survived wars, pestilence, religious reformation, and the scribbled notes of unknown priests. Yet the 528-year-old Breviarium Ratisponense remains remarkably intact on the 12th floor of the University of Calgary’s MacKimmie Library. Published in 1480 in Strasbourg, Alsace, it contains both 131 pages of text printed by movable type and 52 handwritten pages of manuscript....
Calgary (Alberta) Herald, Nov. 30

Scholarly group think
For scholars, the internet has been a godsend. Perhaps the greatest boon is the sheer quantity of readily accessible knowledge. A recent study, however, suggests that online research may actually have a narrowing effect on scholarship. University of Chicago sociologist James Evans analyzed a database of 34 million articles in the sciences, social sciences, and humanities, and concluded that the internet’s influence is to tighten consensus, posing the risk that good ideas may be ignored and lost—the opposite of its promise....
Boston Globe, Nov. 23

Nixon Tapes icon from Nixon LibraryNixon archives shed light on enemies list
As part of a December 1 release of archival tapes and documents, the Nixon Presidential Library and Museum revealed fresh records that reflect the 37th president’s heated campaign to investigate, intimidate, and smear political rivals and opponents of the Vietnam War. The documents, along with hundreds of hours of tape recordings, mark the largest release of Nixon’s presidential papers and recordings since the Yorba Linda library shifted from a privately run facility—controlled by Nixon loyalists—to a National Archives institution last year....
Los Angeles Times, Dec. 3

A library room named after Stephen Colbert?
Utah Valley University student Nate Bagley hopes “truthiness” will prevail. He is waging a one-man fundraising campaign to get a room in the new Digital Learning Center named for Stephen Colbert, host of Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report. So far, Bagley’s a tenth of the way toward the $5,000 minimum donation for room-naming rights. The 180,000-square-foot Digital Learning Center opened July 1 and replaced the Orem, Utah, college’s 35,000-square-foot Losee Resource Center (the library)....
Salt Lake Tribune, Nov. 29

Men from Barre, Massacusetts, posed for a fundraising calendar, "The Bare Men of Barre," to benefit Woods Memorial Library. The calendar was released at a Nov. 22 benefit. Still from the Worcester newspaper videoBarre men go bare to aid Woods Memorial Library
When Suzanne G. Fullam approached her nephew with a fundraising idea several months ago and asked if she could tap his photographic skills for a calendar to benefit the Woods Memorial Library in Barre, Massachusetts—in which men would pose nude while obscuring their private parts with tools of their trades—he balked. But in the end, more than 80 men from 20 to 90 years old posed proudly on rock-climbing walls, with the town’s famous stagecoach, in an office, and at other locations. Watch the video (1:14) for public reactions to the $20 calendar, which Fullam hopes will raise about $15,000 for the library....
Worcester (Mass.) Telegram and Gazette, Nov. 28

Libraries offer seniors more than books
Recognizing that when it comes to seniors one size does not fit all, libraries are designing programs to better accommodate the established-in-life crowd. And while they still offer space to various organizations for meetings and countless other services for the community as a whole, libraries are planning to do more for older residents. Officials of the 54 libraries in the Nassau (N.Y.) Library System and the 56 in the Suffolk Cooperative Library System are using feedback from seniors about the services they’d like to see....
Long Island (N.Y.) Newsday, Nov. 29

DVD of Season 4 of Queer As FolkPueblo moves Queer DVDs to larger library after complaint
Acting on the recommendation of an ad hoc staff committee, Pueblo City-County Library District Executive Director Jon Walker is transferring DVDs of the Showtime cable series Queer as Folk from the smaller Lamb branch to the main Robert Hoag Rawlings library. Walker said his decision, prompted by a patron complaint, was in keeping with the library’s philosophy to guide patrons rather than censor materials, and the DVDs could still be checked out by anyone....
Pueblo (Colo.) Chieftain, Nov. 27

Anime Club a hit with Cheshire teens
More than 20 teens sat in the Cheshire (Conn.) Public Library’s Mary Baldwin Room November 28 eating Pocky, a Japanese snack consisting of a biscuit stick dipped in chocolate, and watching Japanese anime in the original language with English subtitles. They were part of Youth Librarian Kelley Gile’s Anime Club, an informal group that meets every three weeks to watch anime, snack on Japanese food, and share anime-inspired art. Gile said the club has been one of the most successful library programs the library has ever had, with an average of 35 teenage “otakus” per meeting....
Meriden (Conn.) Record-Journal, Nov. 30

Cover of the forthcoming Library Mouse: A Friend's TaleSchool librarian urges kids to become authors
School librarian Lee Foerster not only wants to inspire kids to read books—she wants them to write books as well. Foerster, who works at Glen Acres Elementary School in Lafayette, Indiana, aims to demystify the author-illustrator process and make it relevant to the kids in her library. She has also achieved fame as a character in three books: Library Mouse and its sequel Library Mouse: A Friend’s Tale by Daniel Kirk, and Oggie Cooder by Sarah Weeks....
Lafayette (Ind.) Journal and Courier, Nov. 30

Ted Widmer at the 2008 Texas Book Festival, Austin. Image by Larry D. MooreBrown director used to be a rocker
Though the soft-spoken demeanor of the John Carter Brown Library Director, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, seems to fit the part, his enthusiastic nature makes it easy to believe that he once sported a powdered wig and platform shoes as “Lord Rockingham,” guitarist and vocalist for 1990s rock band (and 18th-century aristocrat impersonators) The Upper Crust. Ted Widmer’s short-lived on-stage escapades—he left the band in 1997—brought him unexpected success and fame, including an appearance on Late Night with Conan O’Brien and an opening slot for Aerosmith....
Brown Daily Herald, Dec. 2

Hugh Atkinson. Photo by Rhondal McKinneyHugh Atkinson was no stereotype
Sarah Long writes: “Hugh Atkinson didn’t look like the stereotypical librarian. He was a big, tall man, with red hair and handsome features. He wore a black patch over his right eye as the result of a childhood accident. He often wore black leathers since his usual mode of transportation was a large black Honda motorcycle. In 1976, he came from Ohio State University to be director of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library.” Listen to an MP3 podcast (17:00) with Bridget Lamont as she reminisces about Atkinson....
Arlington Heights (Ill.) Daily Herald, Nov. 21; Longshots, Nov. 21

LaSalle Public Library acquires timepieces
Jim Whitaker has been collecting Westclox products since the late 1960s and today has a collection of about 500 alarm clocks, pocket watches, wrist watches, and cast-iron clocks all made in Peru, Illinois, by the now-closed manufacturer of the famed “Big Ben” clocks, introduced in 1908. But this year he donated more than half of his collection to the LaSalle (Ill.) Public Library. Director Laura Frizol commented, “People have said it’s a great asset to the community.”...
Ottawa (Ill.) Times, Nov. 28

Australian groups slam net censorship plan
Support for the Australian government’s plan to censor the internet has hit rock bottom, with even some children’s welfare groups now saying that the mandatory filters, aimed squarely at protecting kids, are ineffective and a waste of money. Live trials of the filters, which will block “illegal” content for all Australian internet users and “inappropriate” adult content on an opt-in basis, are slated to begin by Christmas, despite harsh opposition from the Greens, Opposition, the internet industry, consumers, and online rights groups....
The Age (Melbourne), Dec. 1

Senegalese library offers hope for readers
The bustling, even crowded, lending library in the city of Pikine, cobbled together with hope, donations, and volunteerism, is evidence of how strong demand is for more libraries in Senegal, which, as one of the world’s poorest countries, has a 40% literacy rate. The single room off a sandy courtyard in the Leopold Sedar Senghor Cultural Center is the only public library in this city of 2 million. Poverty aside, Senegal has a rich literary history....
Christian Science Monitor, Dec. 2

Tech Talk

The best free photo software
Michael Muchmore writes: “You may not be a digital darkroom junkie who spends hours tweaking adjustment layers in Adobe Photoshop, but you want your pictures to look good, and you want an easy and inviting way to share them with friends and family. Luckily, there’s no dearth of tools that let you do just this—many of them free. Here we gather our latest reviews of the major free consumer photo editors to help you decide which to use.”...
PC Magazine, Dec. 3

Twitbacks logoGet a customized Twitter background
People with a good-looking custom Twitter background have been the envy of ordinary Twitter users without the Photoshop skills to make their own. TwitBacks is looking to make those same rich profiles available to everyone. TwitBacks currently features six different themes that you can choose from, but promises more in the future....
Web Services Report, Nov. 29

STC Router, with flowersWireless router vase from Saudi Telecom
The Saudi Arabia–based telecommunications company STC has designed a wireless internet router that can also be used to hold flowers. The designers say, “The STC Router successfully bridges the gap between lifestyle and technology with its flower-vase functionality.” Wireless internet, VOIP, land-line telephone, and wired DSL are all incorporated into the device. Flowers, apparently, are not included....
Dezeen, Nov. 21

The pitfalls of public library portals
In London, Michael Stephens got to meet up with Edward Byrne, senior web services librarian at the Dublin (Ireland) City Library, and chatted with him about his creation of a public portal with Pageflakes. However, Byrne told him that Pageflakes had to be replaced with Netvibes in November because of a strange ISP dispute between Sprint and Cogent. Byrne said: “An added benefit of the move has been an improvement in page-loading time, Netvibes being discernibly quicker to load than Pageflakes.”...
ALA TechSource blog, Dec. 1

Nature Network logoSocial networks and citation tools for scientists
Lorcan Dempsey writes: “The emergence of social-network services is symptomatic of the move from website to workflow as our unit of attention on the Web. We want to get things done, by tying things together ourselves or by having them tied together in prefabricated services. It is interesting to see how many of them strongly feature literature resources.” Here are a handful of useful tools for science researchers....
Lorcan Dempsey’s Weblog, Dec. 1

Notify me when it’s up
The website Ding It’s Up performs a very simple but worthwhile task: It sends you an email when a downed site you want to visit returns online. Similar to Down for Everyone or Just Me?, the site monitors a downed URL and lets you know when it returns. It might be useful next time your favorite weblog is unreachable or a link you really want to check out crashes under the weight of its popularity....
Lifehacker, Dec. 1

Verneur Pratt demonstrates his Optigraph. This device reproduces full pages of film copy on an illuminated screenCanned libraries open new vistas
All of the reading material in the vast Library of Congress may be housed in a few small filing cabinets! To anyone who has seen the thousands of massive volumes in this great building, such a statement seems fantastic. But it remains a fact. Through recent developments in microphotography and the perfection of a new type of micro-grain film, the contents of two 10×15 inch pages can be reduced 400 times to occupy but three-fourths of a square inch of film....
Modern Mechanix, Aug. 1936


Old cartoon showing frustrated newspaper readerDeath to film critics! Hail to the Celeb Cult!
Roger Ebert writes: “A newspaper film critic is like a canary in a coal mine. When one croaks, get the hell out. The lengthening toll of former film critics acts as a poster child for the self-destruction of American newspapers, which once hoped to be more like the New York Times and now yearn to become more like the National Enquirer. We used to be the town crier. Now we are the neighborhood gossip. The crowning blow came this week when the once-magisterial Associated Press imposed a 500-word limit on all of its entertainment writers. The 500-word limit applies to reviews, interviews, news stories, trend pieces, and ‘thinkers.’”...
Chicago Sun-Times, Nov. 26

Finding free eBooks
Are you looking for new eBooks to read and new authors to discover? Finding Free eBooks is a new blog that presents news about websites that offer free and legally distributed eBooks. Christine in Louisiana is the blog owner, and she is especially interested in supporting independent authors. Time-limited promotional giveaways are included....
Finding Free eBooks

Cover of Diary of a Bad Year by J. M. Coetzee100 notable books of 2008
The New York Times Book Review has selected this list from books reviewed since December 2, 2007. It’s divided into sections on fiction and poetry, and nonfiction. Each summary is only one sentence long, but the title links to the full review on the newspaper’s website. J. M. Coetzee’s Diary of a Bad Year (Viking, 2008), for example, “follows the late career of one Señor C, who, like Coetzee himself, is a South African writer transplanted to Australia and the author of a novel titled Waiting for the Barbarians.”...
New York Times, Nov. 26

Cover of What I Saw and How I Lied, by Judy Blundell (Scholastic, Nov.)School Library Journal’s best books of 2008
Of the more than 5,000 books reviewed in SLJ’s pages in 2008, 67 stood out as having distinctive voices, singular vision, and innovative approaches. They include books for toddlers and preschoolers, terrific picture books and easy readers, and some highly original novels. It was an amazingly strong year for YA novels, several with hard-hitting, powerful themes. There are also some spectacular science and history titles....
School Library Journal, Dec. 1

The Trouble with Physics, by Lee Smolin, UK ed., PenguinFavorite book covers of 2008
Joseph Sullivan writes: “In no particular order, here are my favorite book covers of 2008. Readers can choose their favorites among the 27 until December 31. Linked titles lead to the original post, if one exists. A very small number of titles were actually published in December 2007. Also, this year’s list has more U.K. titles than in the past, so some designer credits are missing.”...
Book Design Review blog, Nov. 30

Cover of The Moon Maid (1926), by Edgar Rice BurroughsThe 10 best apocalypse novels of pre–Golden Age SF
Joshua Glenn writes: “With Wall-E director Andrew Stanton starting work on a film based on Edgar Rice Burroughs’s 1917 novel A Princess of Mars, and with Hollywood adaptations of Brave New World and When Worlds Collide also in development, it’s time for us to give you a crash course in science fiction books from 1904 to 1933. Many of these novels are in the public domain, like Burroughs’s The Moon Maid.”...
io9, Nov. 29

AL Buyers Guide ad

Actions & Answers

The end of online anonymity
Sarah Perez writes: “On tomorrow’s Web, we’re no longer going to be anonymous. A precedent-setting case, the Lori Drew MySpace trial, has just come to an end. The judge’s ruling has now criminalized the act of creating a fake persona online. In the case of Drew, most would agree she deserves the punishment she received. However, the aftershocks of the ruling could very well impact the online-identity creation process for years to come if it’s not overturned.”...
ReadWriteWeb, Dec. 1; Surveillance State, Dec. 1

Libreria Lectorum logoNew Spanish-language online bookstore
Lectorum Publications launched an online bookstore, Librería Lectorum, November 17 that is exclusively for Spanish-language books. Already featuring more than 2,000 titles, the site aims to add thousands more books that reflect a variety of cultural backgrounds and the national heritage of America’s Latino families, who come from many countries. The site currently features seasonal books, new books, staff picks, original works by Latino authors, and special offers....
Lectorum Publications, Nov. 17

Depository librarians featured on FDLP video, and the words "Dedicated service from a community of librarians"Promote your federal depository collection
Using the theme, “Easy as FDL: Free information, Dedicated service, and Limitless possibilities,” this video (5:10) demonstrates what makes federal depository libraries essential to the American public. Librarians and others knowledgeable about the Federal Depository Library Program were interviewed and asked to explain its benefits. The video is downloadable for use on library websites....
FDLP Desktop, Nov. 3

SLA centennial stamp, 42 centsSLA centennial stamps
In order to celebrate its 100th anniversary next year, the Special Libraries Association is selling centennial stamps. They are sold per sheet and contain 20 U.S. first-class postage stamps with the SLA 2009 conference logo. Stamps will be shipped via Priority Mail through the U.S. Postal Service within 3–5 business days....
Special Libraries Association

The new library at the U. of Toronto at Mississauga, clad in an unusual wood veneer, is a warm and inviting place, unlike its predecessor.Replacing a dungeon library with a beacon
Scott Carlson writes: “The new library at the University of Toronto at Mississauga, a suburban campus, is dazzling. Mississauga’s old library was so awful that the head librarian, Mary Ann Mavrinac, actually considered turning down the job she was offered there in 2001. But Mavrinac wanted a building that put an emphasis on ‘people space over collections space.’ After some planning and pushing—and $34 million—the new, 108,000-square-foot building opened in June 2007.”...
Buildings & Grounds, Dec. 2

Issues of GIT's library newsletterWhat do students want in a library newsletter?
Brian Mathews conducted an informal assessment of student reactions to the Georgia Institute of Technology’s library newsletter: “I tested different layout styles to see how much text was too much text, what types of images or themes students liked, and what they remembered based upon a quick glance. The editorial group is working through that data now.” He sums up the things that male and female students liked to see in the publication....
The Ubiquitous Librarian, Dec. 2

From cataloging to metadata: An invitation
Karen Calhoun writes: “In recent talks for library catalogers on ‘the new world of metadata,’ I am often challenged for real evidence of a shift from traditional cataloging tasks to more broadly defined metadata activities—and what kinds of activities are we talking about anyway? This post provides some evidence that the transition from cataloging to metadata work is well underway and invites your collaboration in providing more.”...
Metalogue, Nov. 30

Woozor opening screenWeather on Google Maps
Woozor is an excellent Google Maps–based weather service with detailed coverage of the U.S., Mexico, U.K., France, Belgium, Italy, and Spain. Woozor plans to add detailed coverage for a number of other countries very soon. The National Weather Service Enhanced Radar Image mashup animates U.S. radar images from the National Weather Service. It is possible to watch an animation of 30 minutes of radar imagery directly above a satellite or map view....
Google Maps Mania, Dec. 1

Letter sent ca. 1868 by Mercantile Library AssociationThe Mercantile Library Association of New York City
Larry Nix writes: “The phrase on this cover that reads ‘Books Delivered at the Residences of Members’ is at the heart of this story. This letter was mailed by the Mercantile Library Association of New York City, now the Mercantile Library Center for Fiction, around 1868. In 1866, the Mercantile Library initiated a home-delivery service for its members. This may have been the first such service of any nonprofit library in America. An interesting aspect of the Mercantile Library’s home delivery service was the use of stamps similar to postage stamps to indicate prepayment for delivery.”...
Library History Buff

Sourdough bread image courtesy of the Thomas Crane Public LibraryGet cooking @ your library
Food is a big part of everyone’s life. This fact has provided fuel for librarians across the country who have made cooking a programming resource. Recently, the Grand County (Colo.) Library District provided readers of its weekly column in the Sky Hi Daily Newspaper with a listing of the top five “cook books available @ your library.” The Grand Rapids (Minn.) Area Library celebrated Minnesota’s sesquicentennial anniversary of statehood by hosting “Cooking Minnesotan @ your library.” And Thomas Crane Public Library in Quincy, Massachusetts, hosted “What’s Cooking @ your library: Let’s Bake Sourdough Bread,” for the health-conscious bakers in the community....

Lidia Bastianich (left) shows Rebecca Federman how to cook a historical recipe for stuffed artichokesTreasures of NYPL: Menus and cookbooks
Italian chef Lidia Bastianich (left) joins librarian Rebecca Federman to peruse the New York Public Library’s collection of more than 30,000 menus from restaurants worldwide for inspiration in her latest dish, stuffed artichokes. This is one video in a new series produced by NYPL to showcase its special collections....
YouTube, Oct. 1

Library students at play at the University of Alberta SLISI want to be a librarian
It’s end of term at the University of Alberta’s School of Library and Information Studies and several first-year students are hard at work on a paper. Of course, they break out in song (a rewrite of “I Want to be a Producer” from the movie The Producers). Yes, the date/time, sound scale, and text on the screen are distracting, but it was shot by and edited by people who hadn’t used a videocamera before. Nonetheless, it is wildly inspiring....
YouTube, Apr. 20

Still from Digital TV conversion spoof PSAAre you ready for digital TV?
This spoof PSA (1:53) originally from the CollegeHumor video site, demonstrates, in a well-meaning way, the challenges that seniors could have in dealing with new technologies and unclear instructions involved in the digital TV transition that is coming up on February 17. “Will all of this make Jack Benny come back?”...
YouTube, Oct. 1

Ninja Librarian poses after rubber-stamping a bookTrouble in the library
A library user is talking loudly on his cellphone, and Ninja Librarian springs (literally) into action to stop the problem patron dead (again, literally) in his tracks. Rated somewhat R for violence and language, but then this is a fantasy, after all. The video (0:54) was produced by Letterbox Media in London in 2006....

ALA 2009 Midwinter Meeting logo, Denver

ALA Midwinter Meeting, Denver, January 23–28.
Want to add a workshop or institute to your Midwinter Registration? Several divisions are offering some unique programs (PDF file). It’s easy! There are two ways:
1. By phone: Call ALA Registration at 1-800-974-3084 and ask to add a workshop to your existing registration.
2. Online: Add an event to your existing registration by clicking on the online registration form. Use your login and password to access your existing Midwinter registration and add events in the “Your Events” section (screen 6). Then simply check out and pay for the events you’ve added.

Tale of Despereaux poster

The Tale of Despereaux, Kate DiCamillo’s Newbery Award–winning classic about a mouse in love with adventure, books, and a princess named Pea, has enchanted readers around the globe. Now you can highlight your collection with this charming poster and bookmark featuring a special color illustration by Timothy Basil Ering. The beloved tale has inpsired a highly anticipated animated adventure from Universal Pictures, which arrives in theaters December 19. NEW! From ALA Graphics.

In this issue
December 2008

Cover of December 2008 issue

Laura Bush, Librarian in the White House

Top Stories of 2008

The World’s Greatest Music Library

User Tagging

PLA Spring Symposium

Going to the PLA Spring Symposium in Nashville, April 2–4? Here are some special events to make plans for.

Career Leads from
ALA Joblist logo

Library Director, White County Regional Library System, Searcy, Arkansas. Progressive, fast-growing White County, Arkansas, is seeking an energetic, experienced public library system director to oversee and assist with planning all phases of library services for seven branches with 15 FTEs. Will work with a 13-member regional board and 5-member county board; will be responsible for budget preparation and represent the library to the public and governmental agencies....

@ More jobs...

Digital Library of the Week

Gold coin of Emperor Claudius, A.D. 50-54, 18 mm, 7.64 grams, minted in Rome

The University of Virginia Art Museum Numismatic Collection contains nearly 600 coins of Greek and Roman origin. The coins were generally acquired in small lots that were purchased or donated from 1987 to 2001, but larger groups of coins belonging to English hoards were also acquired, including 51 from the Normanby Hoard and 302 from the Oliver’s Orchard Hoards. About 450 of the coins are from the Roman Republic or Empire, providing a broad sample from the late 3rd century B.C. to the late 3rd century A.D., including more than 100 coins from the breakaway Gallic Empire of A.D. 260–274. Many of the coins are in poor condition, but digitization provides access to those that are too fragile to be handled by students and scholars of numismatics. In October 2007, funding was received from the University of Virginia Library to work in conjunction with the Art Museum and a Roman numismatics class taught by Professor John Dobbins in the Classical Art and Archaeology program, and scanning of the coins in the Art Museum commenced shortly thereafter. The collection was described in Encoded Archival Description (EAD), with several coin-specific adaptations to describe physical attributes such as legends and iconography. In addition to EAD’s capability of describing the physical attributes of each object in the collection, administrative history, essays, and index terms can be encoded in XML to create completely comprehensive metadata for those students and scholars of numismatics to use as a tool in their research.

Do you know of a digital library collection that we can mention in this AL Direct feature? Tell us about it. Browse previous Digital Libraries of the Week at the I Love Libraries site.

Public Perception
How the World
Sees Us

“In these fragile, turbulent, uneasy times, it is more essential than ever to make sure that we and our children are digesting wisdom and strengths and possibilities and dreams of all kinds. Dreams that lead to the White House as well as the jailhouse. This is no time for one kind of reading, living, or thinking.
    “It behooves all those folks who decry the hijacking of African-American culture and literature by urban fiction to let their public libraries know that they wish a balance of high-brow, low-brow, and everything in between on their bookshelves.
    “It does indeed matter what we read.”

—Writer and publisher Tina McElroy Ansa, on the popularity of urban fiction in public libraries, in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Nov. 30.

Ask the ALA Librarian

Cover of the forthcoming Multicultural Programs for Teens and Tweens, by Linda B. Alexander and Nahyun Kwon

Q. My library recently completed a user survey that showed an increase in the ethnic and cultural diversity of the community we serve. As a young adult librarian, I want to make sure that we are providing the right collection and services. Do you have any resources that might help us?

A. Your survey results mirror the larger demographic patterns of the country. Earlier this year, the Pew Research Center issued a report (PDF file), U.S. Population Projections: 2005–2050. Among the results is a projected increase in the population ages 17 and younger through 2050, but at a slower rate than for other population segments. But that increase will be due to the arrival of new immigrants and the children born to them in the United States. So, to start your planning, take a look at our pages on Serving Multicultural Populations and Teens and Young Adults. You may also be interested in registering for the ALA Midwinter Meeting which offers an institute sponsored by the Young Adult Library Services Association called “Reaching Today’s Diverse Teens.” From the ALA Professional Tips wiki.

@ The ALA Librarian welcomes your questions.

ACRL National Conference in Seattle logo

Going to the ACRL 14th National Conference in Seattle, March 12–15? Here are some tours and other fun things you can make plans for.


Jan. 23–28:

ALA Midwinter Meeting,

Mar. 12–14:
Louisiana Library Association, Annual Conference, Baton Rouge.

Mar. 31–
Apr. 3:

Texas Library Association, Annual Conference, Houston. “Creating Communities of Ideals and Innovation.”

Apr. 1–3:
Oregon Library Association,
Annual Conference, Salem. “Oregon Reads: One State, Many Stories.”

Apr. 7–10:
Alabama Library Association,
Annual Convention, Auburn. “Alabama Libraries: Invite, Involve, Inform, Inspire.”

Apr. 8–10:
Tennessee Library Association,
Annual Conference, Nashville. “Customer Service Is Our Heart.”

Apr. 22–24:
New Mexico Library Association, Annual Conference, Albuquerque.

Apr. 22–24:
Utah Library Association, Annual Conference, Sandy. “Utah Libraries: Turning Up The Volume.”

Apr. 27–29:
New Jersey Library Association,
Annual Conference, Long Branch. “New Jersey Libraries Rock.”

Apr. 29–
May 1:

Connecticut Library Association,
Annual Conference, New Haven.

May 6–8:
Florida Library Association, Annual Conference, Orlando. “Libraries: Connecting People, Information, and Knowledge.”

May 8:
Delaware Library Association, Annual Conference, Dover.

May 13–15:
Maryland Library Association, Annual Conference, Ocean City.

May 28–29:
Rhode Island Library Association,
Annual Conference, Bryant Center, Bryant University, Smithfield.

@ More...

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