Overturn of Patriot Act gag order upheld, in part
A federal appeals court ruled unanimously December 15 that it is unconstitutional to gag recipients of a National Security Letter from discussing its receipt unless disclosure might interfere with “an authorized investigation to protect against international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities.” The decision (PDF file) in Does v. Mukasey upheld a September 2007 district court ruling, although the appeals court narrowed the circumstances under which the FBI can enjoin a provider of internet access—interpreted as including libraries—from revealing the receipt of an NSL demanding the email addresses and websites accessed by one or more users. ALA President Jim Rettig released a statement on the decision....
American Libraries Online, Dec. 17
WorldCat policy revision draws librarians’ ire
OCLC’s proposed “Policy for Use and Transfer of WorldCat Records,” released November 2 and revised November 5 and 19 (PDF file), has been greeted with a host of critical blog postings (for example, this one from Karen Schneider) and two online petitions opposing it. Among the provisions that disturbed commentators were: the “reasonable use” clause, viewed as restricting their rights to use records, even ones that they themselves added; and the perceived lack of openness in the policy’s development process....
American Libraries Online, Dec. 12; Free Range Librarian, Dec. 13
Wayne State transforms LIS program into school
The board of governors at Wayne State University in Detroit voted December 3 to authorize the creation of the School of Library and Information Science, effective May 6. The school will house the existing library and information science program, which has grown from 125 students in 1987 to more than 600 in 2008....
American Libraries Online, Dec. 12
The ALA online election
For the first time, ALA is holding virtually its entire election online. This means it is important for voters to check with their library information technology personnel or internet service providers to make sure that spam filters will not prevent ALA from emailing the ballot forms. When polls open at 9 a.m. Central time on March 17, ALA will notify voters by email, providing them with their unique passcodes and information about how to vote online....
Presidential candidates offer views on their websites
The 2010–2011 candidates for ALA President—Kenton L. Oliver and Roberta Stevens—have launched websites that describe their platforms and qualifications. Oliver is the executive director of the Stark County (Ohio) District Library, and Stevens is outreach projects and partnerships officer at the Library of Congress and project manager for the National Book Festival....
Stop Bullying Now DVD toolkit
All U.S. public libraries will be sent a copy of the Stop Bullying Now! DVD toolkit in December. Bullying is a significant issue for many young people. The Stop Bullying Now! campaign was launched by the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration in 2004 to raise awareness about bullying and to encourage bullying prevention for youths from 9 to 13 and the adults who influence them. ALA and 80 other organizations are campaign partners....
Library Education Forum
The ALA Committee on Education is presenting a forum on Library Education, 1:30–3:30 p.m., January 23, at the ALA Midwinter Meeting in Denver. It will be dedicated to the core competences of librarianship, as set forth in a document being presented to the ALA Council for approval at the meeting....
Empowerment Institute at Midwinter
“The Empowerment Institute: Success in the Workplace,” presented by consultant Debra Wilcox-Johnson, will be held 1–5 p.m., January 23, in the Colorado Convention Center. The institute will offer attendees the opportunity to identify barriers to their success and consider ways to feel more motivated and satisfied at work....
Spice up your teens’ library time
ALA Editions has released two new titles that showcase YA activities: The Hipster Librarian’s Guide to Teen Craft Projects, by Tina Coleman and Peggie Llanes; and Teen Spaces, 2d Edition: The Step-by-Step Library Makeover, by Kimberly Bolan. The books offer excellent advice on craft sessions and teen library spaces....
ALA in Waukesha in 1901
Larry Nix writes: “The ALA Annual Conference was in Waukesha, Wisconsin, in July 1901 at Fountain Spring House, the city’s premier resort. At early ALA conferences, momentos were routinely given to participants. At the Waukesha conference, the attendees were given an elaborate medal with a pin-back badger, followed by a ribbon similar to those on military medals, and finally a copper-colored medallion (right). The full Public Libraries report on the Waukesha conference can be found in Google Books on pages 459–497 of the 1901 annual compilation.”...
Wisconsin Library Heritage Center, Dec. 16
Featured review: Adult books
Ayres, Chris. Death by Leisure: A Cautionary Tale. Feb. 2009. 288p. Grove/Atlantic, hardcover (978-0-87113-964-1).
Europeans have long chronicled their American tours, their reactions ranging all the way from disgust to disenchantment. The account of Ayres, an English journalist, is more illuminating than the usual open-mouthed astonishment at our overfed incuriosity because, during his tenure as the Los Angeles correspondent for the Times, he goes native. He falls for it all: giant TVs, seductive real estate, unobtainable former models. Romantically desperate, he woos women by making impossible promises and then scrambling to make them come true. Alas, his dream of a “clifftop bachelor palace” seems out of reach: broke and plagued by bad credit, he finds himself unable to capitalize on what was, until recently, the cheapest of currency: a jumbo, adjustable-rate mortgage....
Brad Hooper writes: “The bicentennial anniversary of Lincoln’s birth will continue to be celebrated in various fashions throughout 2009, but in the publishing world, the celebration began months ago with what has become a steady stream of estimable books about Lincoln and his presidency and family. Public librarians need to collect many of these new titles to keep their U.S. history section up to date in Lincolnalia, and by the same token, the public librarian should look back at classic Lincoln books, with an eye to purchase, that were published well before the recent flood commemorating the anniversary of his birth. Together, old and new, classic and current, would constitute a good, basic Lincoln collection. The following core collection encompasses both.”...
@ Visit Booklist Online for other reviews and much more....
12 things to do while you’re in town for Midwinter
The Denver Post says: “Anything New York can do, Denver can do better. We’ve got your art (how about a big blue bear?). We’ve got your celebrities (like comedian Josh Blue). We’ve got your sense of history. And we’ve got it all without a $20 cover to leave your hotel.”...
Imagine a Great City: Denver at 150
In 1858, Denver was unorganized, unruly, and unabashedly optimistic. Although isolated and faced with adversity, civic leaders managed to build a foundation for future prosperity. Through boom and bust, they dared to imagine a great city. Discover the events, people, communities, and politics that have shaped Denver over the past 150 years in Imagine a Great City: Denver at 150, a new History Colorado exhibit at the Colorado History Museum, located at 1300 Broadway....
Colorado History Museum
Smartest Card @ your library
PLA is offering new Smartest Card merchandise at its Library Store…Library Stuff found at Café Press. Smartest Card items include messenger and tote bags, mouse pads, note cards, and even license plate frames. Librarians looking to use the Smartest Card to promote their library can download logos from the Campaign for America’s Libraries website under “popular resources.” Here are a few stories of how libraries across the country have used the logo and made the campaign their own....
Trends in academic library research
ACRL has issued a new publication, Academic Library Research: Perspectives and Current Trends, edited by Marie L. Radford and Pamela Snelson. The title is number 59 in the ACRL Publications in Librarianship monographic series, edited by Craig Gibson. The book combines theoretical scholarship with real-world research, including case studies and user surveys, designed to inform practice....
PLA offers technology workshop
PLA is offering public librarians an opportunity to learn practical skills and gather knowledge that will help them better utilize technology to deliver library services. The Management of Technology workshop, taught by Michael Porter, is scheduled for February 9–10 in Phoenix, Arizona, and features an intensive, small-group environment....
YALSA winter online courses
YALSA opened registration December 10 for three online courses in Winter 2009: “Booktalks Quick and Simple” (Nancy Keane); “Boys and Books: Encouraging Early Teen and Tween Boys to Read” (Jenine Lillian) and “Power Programming for Teens” (Amy Alessio). All of YALSA’s winter courses meet for four weeks and begin February 9....
Attend the AASL Institute for graduate credit
Attendees of the AASL Premidwinter Institute at the ALA Midwinter Meeting now have the opportunity to receive continuing education credits from the University of Colorado Denver. The full-day School Library Advocacy Institute will take place 9:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m., January 23, at the Sheraton Denver....
Experiencing conferences as a student and as a professional
Amber Wilson Castor writes: “As it turns out, the recent Arkansas Library Association conference was very different from my past conference visits. Since I was now a professional, my time was more focused on activities related to my position, whereas my conference visits as a library student weren’t focused on any particular area or issue. I feel that this sense of direction made this conference a much more rewarding one than previous ones I have attended.”...
NMRT Footnotes, Nov.
ALA awards deadline extended
The deadline has been extended to February 1 for a number of ALA awards and grants, including the Beta Phi Mu Award, the Melvil Dewey Award, the Gale Cengage Learning Financial Development Award, the Ken Haycock Award for Promoting Librarianship, the Scholastic Library Publishing Award, and the Sullivan Award for Public Library Administrators Supporting Services to Children....
Youth Media Awards announcement on January 24
ALA will provide a free live webcast of its national announcement of the top books and media for children and young adults on January 26 at 7:45 a.m. Mountain time. The awards are part of the Midwinter Meeting in Denver. Unikron, a streaming content provider, will host the webcast. The number of available connections will be limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis....
Does the Newbery dampen kids’ reading?
The Newbery Medal has been the gold standard in children’s literature for more than eight decades. Now the literary world is debating its value, asking whether the books that have won recently are so complicated and inaccessible to most children that they are effectively turning off kids to reading. Of the 25 winners and runners-up chosen from 2000 to 2005, four of the books deal with death, six with the absence of one or both parents, and four with such mental challenges as autism. Most of the rest deal with tough social issues....
Washington Post, Dec. 16
RUSA awards recognition reception
All ALA Midwinter Meeting attendees are invited to celebrate the winners of numerous RUSA awards—including the Notable Books selections and the Reading List—at the RUSA awards recognition reception, 4–5:30 p.m., January 25, in the Capitol Peak Ballroom at the Grand Hyatt Denver....
Mini grants for Teen Tech Week
Through funding from Verizon Communications, YALSA will award up to 20 mini grants, consisting of $450 in cash and a prize pack of products for libraries offering inventive activities, resources, and programming for Teen Tech Week, March 8–14, to YALSA members. Application forms must be submitted by January 19....
Silent auction to benefit ASCLA Century Scholarship
A silent auction will be held at the 2009 Midwinter Meeting’s ASCLA/COSLA reception January 25 to benefit the ASCLA Century Scholarship. Proceeds from the auction directly benefit the scholarship fund and promote its long-term financial viability. Library and information science students with access needs—including veterans—are encouraged to apply for the scholarship....
Need additional financial assistance? The 2009 Financial Assistance for Library and Information Studies Directory is an annual directory of awards from state library agencies, national and state library associations, local libraries, academic institutions, and foundations that give some form of financial assistance for undergraduate and/or graduate LIS programs. The directory is available online (PDF file)....
Downs Award goes to Brewster Kahle
For his successful challenge to a National Security Letter in May, Brewster Kahle, digital librarian and cofounder of the Internet Archive, has been awarded the 2008 Robert B. Downs Intellectual Freedom Award by the GSLIS faculty at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The award is given annually to acknowledge individuals or groups who have furthered the cause of intellectual freedom, particularly as it affects libraries and information centers. An evening reception to honor Kahle will be held January 24 at the ALA Midwinter Meeting in Denver....
UIUC Graduate School of Library and Information Science, Dec. 16
Coming Up Taller award nominations
The Institute of Museum and Library Services invites nominations (PDF file) for the 2009 Coming Up Taller awards, which honor excellence in afterschool, out-of-school, and summer arts and humanities programs for underserved children and youth. Award recipients receive $10,000 each, an individualized plaque, and an invitation to attend the annual Coming Up Taller Leadership Enhancement Conference. The deadline is January 30....
Institute of Museum and Library Services, Dec. 10
Vote for best library/librarian edublog for 2008
The Edublogs Campus is sponsoring awards (the Eddies) for the best educational blogs in 16 different categories.
One category is for the best library or librarian edublog, and there are eight nominees. Anyone can vote. The deadline is December 20....
NBC Nightly News spotlights libraries
The important role libraries are playing during tough economic times was the focus of a recent NBC Nightly News report (2:26). The report discussed how the economic climate is forcing people to find new ways to save money. “The library business, it seems, is booming,” said NBC’s Brian Williams. However, reporter Chris Jansing noted, libraries themselves are struggling in the current economy. Usage is up, but budgets are way down in some communities, forcing libraries to cut hours and staff....
NBC Nightly News, Dec. 10; Visibility @ your library, Dec. 13
21st-century skills for all
Andrew J. Rotherham writes: “In public education today, 21st-century skills are all the rage. Schools, the argument goes, focus too much on teaching content at the expense of communication and collaboration, critical thinking and problem solving, and concepts like media literacy and global awareness. But overall, none of these skills are unique to the 21st century. What’s new today is the degree to which economic competitiveness and educational equity mean these skills can no longer be the province of the few.”...
U.S. News and World Report, Dec. 15
Google pushes for a more searchable federal web
For years, the U.S. government has been unwilling or unable to make millions of its web pages accessible to search engines. Now Google CEO Eric Schmidt has a unique opportunity to change that as an informal adviser to President-Elect Barack Obama. Much of the information that the search engines are asking for is already available on the Web, but users have become accustomed to finding information by typing queries into one of the engines—and give up if they don’t find it....
Washington Post, Dec. 11
South West Philadelphia boos branch closures
Residents of South West Philadelphia blasted Mayor Michael Nutter’s plan to close the Kingsessing branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia December 16 at the seventh public meeting held to discuss proposed budget cuts. About 275 people braved the sleet and cold rain. It was by far the rowdiest crowd, with people heckling the mayor all night. The loudest boos were reserved for Library Director Siobhan Reardon, who had to defend the city’s rationale for cutting 11 branches....
WHYY It’s Our City, Dec. 17
Librarian breaks leg pursuing thief
Ann Arbor (Mich.) District Library Director Josie Parker may have a pleasant Southern accent and good manners, but don’t question her toughness. On December 7, at a Borders bookstore where she was volunteering as a gift-wrapper, Parker pursued a thief after he grabbed a collection box of money donated for a local charity. In the process, she broke her leg and the thief got away—but not with any money. A security camera captured the incident....
Ann Arbor (Mich.) News, Dec. 10; KTUL-TV, Tulsa, Okla., Dec. 12
Myracle defends ttyl
Lauren Myracle, author of ttyl, said that if she had known so many of the book’s readers would be middle schoolers, she would have toned down some of the questionable language. But she said she firmly believes ttyl should not have been taken out of middle school libraries in Round Rock, Texas, in November. She defends it as a cautionary tale for young people, alerting them to problems involving alcohol and dangerous liaisons....
Austin (Tex.) American-Statesman, Dec. 12
Tango stays in Ankeny schools
On December 15, the Ankeny, Iowa, school board denied, by a vote of 6–1, a request by parents who said And Tango Makes Three, a children’s book about two male penguins that raise a chick together, should be off-limits to elementary school students. The vote means the book will remain in circulation at two elementary school libraries despite the concerns of Cindy and James Dacus, who said the book normalized homosexuality to students too young to understand the “risky lifestyle.”...
Des Moines (Iowa) Register, Dec. 16
Answers about the New York Public Library
New York Public Library President and Chief Executive Officer Paul LeClerc answered a series of questions about the library and its services from New York Times readers. Many of the questions involved how libraries were changing in response to new information technologies. One answer: “Libraries will need to be there for those who simply do not have the means to satisfy their information and educational needs elsewhere. In addition, we have to remember that libraries are the only indoor communal spaces left in New York.”...
New York Times, Dec. 10–12
School librarian appears on Jeopardy this week
Milt Hathaway, librarian at Eastern View High School in Culpeper, Virginia, could receive an early Christmas bonus this year, depending on how he performed on a popular TV game show. He is scheduled to appear on Jeopardy sometime this week (possibly December 18). Hathaway said the tricky part was maneuvering the handheld buzzer: “You cannot ring in until Alex finishes the question.”...
Culpeper (Va.) Star-Exponent, Dec. 15
The Big Read is a national page-turner
Developed by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Big Read funds projects nationwide in an effort, NEA Literature Director David Kipen explains, “to restore reading to the heart of American life.” While the projects are diverse, there is a clear structure. Each year, communities nationwide choose from the Big Read’s list of books, map out projects, and submit a formal grant application. Generally libraries or municipalities apply, but the program is flexible....
Los Angeles Times, Dec. 15
Obama’s education pick supports school libraries
Arne Duncan, the man President-Elect Barack Obama has tapped for secretary of education, spent the last seven years as CEO of the Chicago Public Schools—and during that time he’s shown solid support for school libraries. Despite widespread layoffs of school librarians nationwide, there have been no district-level cuts in library staff over the last few years and staffing at the school level has held steady, according to Paul Whitsitt, CPS director of libraries and information services....
School Library Journal, Dec. 16
17,000 Bronx kids have no school library
More than 17,000 students in at least 42 schools in the poorest sections of the Bronx, New York, lack library access due to budget cuts and overcrowding. Educators say that the books, computers, and research expertise found in a school library are crucial for literacy and college preparation. Some schools don’t have functioning libraries because the space is being used as a classroom or because there’s no librarian....
New York Daily News, Dec. 11
Tennessee Supreme Court closes three law libraries
Some high-level belt-tightening will result in the Tennessee Supreme Court’s shuttering of its three state law libraries in Nashville, Knoxville, and Jackson by the end of December. The three law libraries combined house about 125,000 volumes. The Nashville School of Law has offered to make its library available to lawyers who were in the habit of using the Supreme Court library....
Nashville (Tenn.) Business Journal, Dec. 16
Melrose Park to restore its New Deal fresco
A New Deal–era mural rediscovered in Melrose Park (Ill.) Public Library’s ceiling last year reveals a piece of local history few knew still existed. Now librarians are trying to raise money to restore the historic artwork, the middle section of which is completely destroyed. The library used to be the village post office, and the mural, titled Airmail, has a postal theme. The fresco was painted in 1937 by artist Edwin Boyd Johnson and captures Melrose Park’s early role in aviation history....
Proviso (Ill.) Herald, Dec. 10; Melrose Park (Ill.) Public Library
Bush Library proceeds quietly
Plans for the George W. Bush Presidential Library are ramping up as architects finish designs for an edifice in Dallas on the campus of Southern Methodist University intended to burnish the president’s image for the ages. The estimated $300-million project, situated on prime real estate at the university’s entrance, is expected to open its doors in 2013. It will contain the archives of the Bush presidency, a museum celebrating his accomplishments, and a policy institute that its backers hope will become a leading Republican think tank....
Chicago Tribune, Dec. 14
End in sight for Las Vegas Friends lawsuit
The Las Vegas–Clark County Library District has reached a preliminary settlement with its former nonprofit partner, Friends of the Southern Nevada Libraries, in a suit over the nonprofit’s funds. The Friends group will donate $75,000 to buy children’s books and will drop its claim that the district owes them $23,151 from March bookstore sales. In exchange, the district will forgo its claim that the Friends owes it $26,281 for approved projects and will drop its lawsuit....
Las Vegas (Nev.) Sun, Dec. 11
Springsteen memorabilia returned to Asbury Park
Nineteen boxes of Bruce Springsteen memorabilia worth about $30,000 were returned to the Asbury Park (N.J.) Public Library December 11, relieving a feud that had led the library to file a police complaint to get some 1,120 items returned. The complaint against Bob Crane and Dan Toskaner, members of the Friends of the Bruce Springsteen Special Collection, said in September 2007 they had removed about a fourth of the collection to be microfilmed with the library’s permission. A portion of the collection then became part of an ongoing dispute between Crane and Library Director Robert Stewart over ownership....
Asbury Park (N.J.) Press, Dec. 12
Brits lie about reading to impress their dates
Nearly half of all men and one-third of women have lied about what they have read to try to impress friends or potential partners, a U.K. National Literacy Trust survey suggests. Men were most likely to do this to appear intellectual or romantic. The men polled said they would be most impressed by women who read news websites, Shakespeare, or song lyrics. Women said men should have read Nelson Mandela’s biography or Shakespeare....
BBC News, Dec. 11
Prague scraps Kaplický’s library design
While many Prague officials fiercely oppose Czech-born architect Jan Kaplický’s blob-like plans for a new National Library, it has received some acclaim abroad. However, in mid-December the Prague Assembly voted to shelve the design. Kaplický himself has no intentions to build his library in another city. Opposition Social Democrat leader Jiří Paroubek plans to use the stalled project as a campaign topic before the next general elections....
CzechNews, Dec. 17
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12 most popular free Windows downloads
Adam Pash writes: “In the past year we’ve highlighted hundreds of Windows apps aimed at making your life easier, boosting your computer productivity, and powering up your PC.
For those of you who weren’t able to keep up, here’s a look back at the most popular Windows downloads of 2008. Many were brand new this year, while others were solid updates to popular software.”...
Lifehacker, Dec. 15
Tech trends every school leader should know
A new generation of students with vastly different learning needs is redefining expectations for classroom instruction, and a growing emphasis on school accountability is changing the role of the school district IT leader: These were two of the main ideas outlined in a December 10 webcast from the Consortium of School Networking titled “Major Technology Trends that School District CTOs Must Know.”...
eSchool News, Dec. 12
Yahoo surpasses Google in privacy protection
Yahoo announced December 17 an “industry-leading approach” to online privacy under which it will anonymize its log data after 90 days. The move comes only months after Google cut its own retention period for personal data by 50%, and it gives Yahoo by far the strongest anonymization policy of the big three search engines. The announcement also scored points with Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), a powerful voice on tech issues....
Ars Technica, Dec. 17
Travel directions map gadget
The Google Maps team has released a handy Travelling Directions gadget in time for the holiday period. With the new directions gadget, you can bring driving and walking directions to your home page or even to your own website. By copying and pasting a single line of code, any website can offer customized door-to-door directions to their users. Users can then print the directions....
Google Maps Mania, Dec. 16
The ergonomics of laptops
Sales of laptop computers passed desktops in the U.S. for the first time ever this fall. That’s bad news for backs, necks, and shoulders. Most users simply set their laptops on a desk or table—which is hard on many body parts. The keyboard is too high, which makes your arms reach up, your shoulders hunch, and your wrists bend down. The monitor is too low, which pulls your head and neck forward and down, and puts a strain on your back....
Wall Street Journal, Dec. 16
Mobile phone to be primary internet link in 2020
A survey of internet leaders, activists, and analysts shows they expect major tech advances as the phone becomes a primary device for online access, voice-recognition improves, artificial and virtual reality become more embedded in everyday life, and the architecture of the internet itself improves.
That is one of the key findings in a new report, The Future of the Internet III (PDF file), based on a survey of experts by the Pew Internet and American Life Project that asked respondents to assess predictions about technology and its roles in the year 2020....
Pew Internet and American Life Project, Dec. 14
Library RFID technology update
Connie K. Haley, Kathleen Degnan, and Kathleen Haefliger of Chicago State University offer an overview of RFID tags, applications, and vendor services, along with a summary of new trends and concerns, in this self-published tech update. A helpful roundup of RFID-related links concludes the piece....
Connie K. Haley, Dec. 9
We love open source; no, you can’t have our code
Dale Askey writes: “Librarians are among the strongest proponents of open source software. Paradoxically, libraries are also among the least likely to actively contribute their code to open source projects.” He identifies six main reasons this dichotomy exists—perfectionism, dependency, quirkiness, redundancy, competitiveness, and misunderstanding—and suggests some ways to get around them....
Code4Lib Journal, no. 5 (Dec. 15)
The three best cities for bookworms
Berlin has been attracting both fledgling and established writers from around the globe, including Pulitzer Prize winner Jeffrey Eugenides. Many of America’s most enduring writers lived and worked in Boston’s Beacon Hill during the 19th century, and Boston Public Library is the nation’s first municipal library. Dublin abounds with literary landmarks, from George Bernard Shaw’s birthplace to bronze statues of James Joyce, Oscar Wilde, and Brendan Behan (right)....
Condé Nast Traveler, Dec. 15
Calculating a fair price for eBooks
Ficbot writes: “People keep saying that eBooks—with their lack of a physical medium, need for shipping, and need for warehouse storage—should be priced appropriately cheaper than their print counterparts. Also, since they have no second-hand market (if they did, it could only be enabled using cumbersome DRM) the price should reflect this loss of privilege. Too bad publishers are not yet on board with this and persist in charging hard-cover prices.”...
TeleRead, Dec. 15
Collecting modern photobooks
Scott Brown writes: “To build an organized photobook collection, begin with Andrew Roth’s Book of 101 Books (Roth Horowitz, 2001). Roth, a rare book dealer, assembled the most influential photobooks of the 20th century and presented them in this single volume. For many, it changed the way people look at photographic books and essentially created the idea of a photobook canon—a notion that was further solidified by The Photobook: A History (right), a two-volume set (Phaidon, 2004–2006) by Martin Parr and Gerry Badger.”...
Librarian: Still one of the 30 best careers
U.S. News and World Report rates librarian as one of the 30 best careers to choose in 2009. This is at least the fourth straight year the magazine has chosen it for its top tier, based on job outlook, satisfaction, training, prestige, and pay. The job description? “It’s out to the reference desk, where visitors regularly ask how to find something. Sometimes it’s esoteric; often, it’s the bathroom. Later, you teach a class: an advanced lesson in Googling.” The magazine seems to think the median salary has slipped: Last year, it claimed it was $51,400; this year, it shows as $47,400. The ALA–Allied Professional Association reports the 2008 median is $53,521....
U.S. News and World Report, Dec. 11
The top 10 most annoying people at the library
After being cramped up in the library for hours at a time, little things that never used to annoy you suddenly reach the top of your list. Finals week is all about the race to the good table at the library or who could last the longest until the library decides to shut down. With only a few more days until the semester is over, the fight to finish is still going on and the library annoyances seem to be getting more annoying....
College on the Record, Dec. 15
LC releases report on Flickr pilot project
In January 2008, the Library of Congress uploaded thousands of images from its collections to Flickr Commons and asked the user community to get involved by submitting tags and comments. On October 30, LC released full (PDF file) and summary (PDF file) reports on the project. The report details how the Flickr project has increased awareness of collections in the LC Prints and Photographs Division and given library staff experience in social tagging and Web 2.0 community input....
Library of Congress Blog, Dec. 11
New York Public Library joins the Flickr Commons
Ben Vershbow writes: “We are delighted to be the latest institution to join in the Flickr Commons endeavor, with an initial contribution of 1,300 images culled from various areas of our diverse photographic collections. We think of this as a sort of appetizer course, a sampler of collections accessible in greater breadth and depth on the NYPL Digital Gallery, and on-site in our network of libraries. We expect to learn a lot from Flickr users and are thrilled at the exposure that this project will give to our photographic collections.”...
Blogging@NYPL, Dec. 16
Books for Babies matching grants
In partnership with Nordstrom, Friends of Libraries USA will be granting 20 grants for $500 each to match $1,000 raised by selected Friends groups, women’s groups, libraries, and other nonprofit organizations for purchasing Books for Babies kits (right) from FOLUSA. Applicants agree to order a minimum of $1,500 worth of Books for Babies kits, of which FOLUSA will pay $500. Applications for the first cycle of grants are due April 1....
Friends of Libraries USA
Libraries of early America
Jeremy Dibbell writes: “A new project will make it possible to search, compare, and study the personal libraries of Americans who collected books prior to 1825. Using the book-cataloging website LibraryThing, scholars from institutions around the country have begun the process of creating digital catalogs of these early American book collections. Is your institution home to any personal library collections, inventories, or book lists? We have begun compiling a list of collections to be added and are happy to receive further submissions.”...
Thingology, Dec. 15
Top newspapers for higher ed reporting
Steven Bell writes: “All newspapers are not created equal. When it comes to reporting higher education news, some are better than others. In the past it was not uncommon for metropolitan papers to have dedicated reporters for education or possibly just higher education. In today’s environment that would be a luxury. However, some daily newspapers are real standouts when it comes to reporting higher education news. In this post I share some of my top picks.”...
ACRLog, Dec. 17
BCR partners to help libraries digitize
The Bibliographical Center for Research in Aurora, Colorado, is partnering with BiblioLife and Ingram Digital in a new program to help libraries expand access to their collections. BCR’s Shelf2Life program will digitize pre-1923, U.S.-published monographs and make them available through Ingram’s MyiLibrary platform....
BCR, Dec. 15
Things found in books
Howard Yeend runs a website that showcases the unusual things that people have found in books: receipts, letters, flowers, train tickets, a 1963 postcard with a Bunny Yeager photo of the Rare Bird Farm in Miami (right). You can upload your own images of found objects, along with the book’s ISBN, relevant tags, and your thoughts on its significance. You can also comment on other people’s found items....
Jocasta Nu: Worst librarian in the galaxy
Jocasta Nu (played by Alethea McGrath) was the chief librarian of the Jedi Archives at the time of the Clone Wars with a penchant for being a bit overconfident in the completeness of her Archives. Her patterned robes bore the symbols of the Ansata, representing her devotion to knowledge and learning. During these years, her confidence in the Archives was absolute, claiming that if something was not in the Archives, then it did not exist....
Wookieepedia; Star Wars: Episode II, Attack of the Clones (2002); YouTube, Dec. 16
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ALA Midwinter Meeting, Denver, January 23–28. As of December 12, registration had reached 5,422, compared to 4,261 at the 7-week point one year ago for the Philadelphia meeting.
Get ready! Registration for the 2009 Annual Conference in Chicago opens January 5.
In this fully updated revision of Fundamentals of Collection Development and Management, expert instructor and librarian Peggy Johnson addresses the art of controlling and updating your library’s collection. Each chapter offers complete coverage of one aspect of collection development, including suggestions for further reading and a narrative case study exploring the issue. Johnson also integrates electronic resources throughout. NEW! From ALA Editions.
Laura Bush, Librarian in the White House
Top Stories of 2008
The World’s Greatest Music Library
Coordinator of Information Literacy, University of Scranton, Pennsylvania. The Weinberg Memorial Library of the University of Scranton seeks an innovative and collaborative librarian to coordinate the library’s information literacy program. Key components of this tenure-track position include developing effective relationships with classroom faculty and administrators, scheduling, teaching in-person and online classes, assigning instructors, and collecting and analyzing data to evaluate program effectiveness....
Digital Library of the Week
The Chronicling America website is a project of the National Digital Newspaper Program, a partnership between the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress to provide enhanced access to American newspapers. Over a period of approximately 20 years, NDNP will create a national digital resource of historically significant newspapers from all the states and territories published between 1836 and 1922. This searchable database will be permanently maintained at the Library of Congress and be freely accessible via the internet. On December 11, the NDNP added 183,698 historic newspaper pages (including 14 new titles) to the site, which accesses 864,509 pages from 108 titles that were published in nine states (California, Florida, Kentucky, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York, Texas, Utah, and Virginia) and the District of Columbia between 1880 and 1910. Six additional states (Arizona, Hawaii, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Washington) will be contributing content in 2009.
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.
“In making the decision to close 11 public libraries as of December 31, the Nutter administration ignored a crucial piece of information: In many cases, public libraries are the de facto school libraries for children and teachers in Philadelphia. Years of budget cuts have left many public city schools without libraries—a separate disgrace. That has meant sending students and classes to the local public library— including some of the 11 branches targeted for closure —during the school day.”
Editorial on “Schools and Libraries,” Philadelphia Inquirer, Dec. 14.
The Urban Libraries Council is offering a new toolkit as a supplement to its recent publication on library service to communities with a rapidly growing immigrant population, Welcome, Stranger: Public Libraries Build the Global Village. The toolkit includes a print component that offers exercises to help your team develop locally tailored strategies to serve new Americans, and an accompanying CD provides worksheets that will help you create a welcoming center for our nation’s newest citizens.
the ALA Librarian
Q. I saw a story in the news recently that mentioned the important role that libraries have, particularly as the economy slows down. It was also mentioned that libraries are themselves falling victim to the tough financial times we are in. Can you give me some additional information about this topic?
A. Yes, there are several sources for additional information that you may find helpful. Recently, NBC Nightly News did a report on this topic. The value of libraries in general has generated much discussion throughout the media, and ALA’s Public Information Office has compiled a press kit that focuses on how the slow economy has fueled a surge in library visits. As you have mentioned, libraries are also affected financially by the downturn in the economy, and it is more important than ever to support your library. Advocacy is one of the best ways to make sure that your library continues to get the funding needed to provide the services you expect. For tips on promoting your library, ALA’s Office for Library Advocacy has some excellent resources. From the ALA Professional Tips wiki.
@ The ALA Librarian welcomes your questions.
ALA chapters. ALA has affiliate relationships with state library associations in all 50 states (such as Kansas), the District of Columbia, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and regional library associations in the Mountain Plains, New England, Pacific Northwest, and Southeastern regions. Each state chapter is represented by an elected chapter councilor with full voting rights in ALA’s governing assembly. The interests of chapters are represented within the Association by the Chapter Relations Office and the Chapter Relations Committee.
Society for Scholarly Publishing, Librarian Focus Group, American Geophysical Union, Washington, D.C. “Librarians and Publishers: Partners in Troubled Times.”
National Storytelling Network, South Central Region, Columbia, Missouri. “Telling Stories, Changing Lives.”
Webwise Conference on Libraries and Museums in the Digital World, Hyatt Regency, Washington, D.C. “Digital Debates.”
Learning, Libraries + Technology Conference, University System of Ohio, Hilton Columbus at Easton.
Visual Resources Association, Annual Conference, Toronto, Ontario.
National Science Teachers Association, Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, New Orleans. “Celebrating the Year of Science.”
North American Serials Interest Group, Un-Conference, Hale Library, Kansas State University, Manhattan.
Society of Architectural Historians, Annual Meeting, Pasadena, California.
National Council on Public History, Annual Meeting, Biltmore Hotel, Providence, Rhode Island.
Popular Culture Association / American Culture Association, National Conference, New Orleans Marriott.
National Library Week.
National Teacher Day.
Substance Abuse Librarians and Information Specialists, Annual Conference, Halifax, Nova Scotia. “Setting Sail: Best Practices for the Next Decade.”
SOLINET, Annual Membership Meeting, Georgia Tech Hotel and Conference Center, Atlanta. “The Changing World, Changing Libraries.”
Seminar on the Acquisition of Latin American Library Materials, Annual Conference, Hotel Maritim, Berlin. “Migrations and Connections: Latin America and Europe in the Modern World.”
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