California wildfires threaten several libraries
Several libraries in central California were forced to evacuate staff and materials because of the facilities’ proximity to some of the wildfires that hundreds of state and federal firefighters, as well as brigades of volunteers, are trying to bring under control. The private Henry Miller Memorial Library has moved its materials to safety twice, and staff at the Big Sur branch of the Monterey County Free Libraries were packing up the entire collection July 2 as the Basin Complex Fire advanced....
NYC library budget maintains six-day service
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and city council leaders reached an agreement June 26 on a $59.1-billion budget that will keep the city’s public libraries open six days a week. Although it appeared during the budget negotiations that library hours might be cut back to five days weekly, the final deal, approved by the full council June 29, leaves the hours intact....
Hoosiers who sell mature materials are not adult booksellers
A federal court declared unconstitutional July 1 an Indiana law that required sellers of any materials that could be deemed harmful to minors to register with the secretary of state and pay $250 to be licensed as an adult bookstore. Eleven plaintiffs, ranging from the ALA’s Freedom to Read Foundation and the Indiana Museum of Art to the Entertainment Merchants Association, challenged the statute, which had been slated to go into effect on the same day U.S. District Judge Sarah Evans Barker ruled it unconstitutional....
ALA disappointed with Senate passage of FISA
ALA expressed its disappointment July 9 with the result of the U.S. Senate’s vote on FISA reform—the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 (H.R. 6304). “H.R. 6304 rewrites FISA in a way that expands the executive branch’s spying powers without doing enough to protect the privacy of innocent people whose communications are being monitored,” said Emily Sheketoff, Executive Director of the ALA Washington Office....
District Dispatch, July 9
Carnegie Corporation grants ALA $280,000 for public outreach
Carnegie Corporation of New York has awarded ALA $280,000 to support outreach directly to the public and to engage more people of every age in the world of knowledge and adventure available at their libraries. Several ALA units, including the Public Programs Office, American Libraries magazine, and the Office for Library Advocacy will collaborate in the project, which will develop news stories, videos, tips, and events highlighting library resources and libraries around the country through the “I Love Libraries” website, social networking sites, and other online and viral marketing....
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to chair Library Card Sign-up Month
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the NBA’s all-time leading scorer and a prolific author, has been named honorary chair of Library Card Sign-up Month. Held in September, Library Card Sign-up Month is a time to remind parents and children that a library card is the most important school supply of all. Abdul-Jabbar began his association with ALA earlier this year when he was selected by ALA President Loriene Roy to be the keynote speaker for the President’s Program at the 2008 ALA Midwinter Meeting in Philadelphia....
Digital TV toolkit
ALA has worked closely with the National Association of Broadcasters in an effort to educate the public about the Digital Television Transition. NAB has been one of the strongest leaders in this effort, having cofounded the DTV Transition Coalition, of which ALA is a member. In the interest of giving librarians every possible tool to educate their patrons about the February 17, 2009, transition, NAB has created a DTV Toolkit....
District Dispatch, July 9
COA accreditation actions
The Committee on Accreditation has granted accreditation status to the Master of Information Sciences offered by the University of Puerto Rico. Continued accreditation status was granted to programs offered by Dominican University and Emporia State University....
Featured review: Media
Curtis, Christopher Paul. Elijah of Buxton. Read by Mirron Willis. Mar. 2008. 9hr. Listening Library, CD, Grades 3–9 (978-0-7393-6415-4).
Curtis’s 2008 Newbery Honor and 2008 Coretta Scott King Award winner translates to a masterful audiobook perfectly illustrating a fine balance between high literary quality and expert performance. Buxton, a historic Canadian settlement of former slaves, is the setting of the tale, told from the viewpoint of Elijah Freeman, the first child born in Buxton. Willis immediately captivates listeners, turning Curtis’s meticulously crafted and authentic dialect and syntax into the effortless speech patterns of an 11-year-old black boy in the mid–19th century. Listeners hear every shade of emotion in Willis’s recounting of daily events....
Audiobooks: The new advisory challenge
Joyce Saricks writes: “Most readers’ advisors know that audiobooks are hot, replacing nonfiction as the new advisory challenge. It should be comforting to know that basic readers-advisory techniques translate to listeners and audio as well. Anyone familiar with these skills can readily make the transition to media. That’s the good news. The bad news is that adding audio brings a new universe of materials to learn. What’s more, listeners-advisory conversations must take place on two levels: addressing the appeal of the book and discussing the audio production, particularly the artistic skill of the narrator. A good narrator can transform a mediocre book, but an inadequate reader can turn listeners off and ruin the experience.”...
@ Visit Booklist Online for other reviews and much more....
PLA Leadership Fellows Program
PLA’s newest scholarship program, PLA Leadership Fellows, offers PLA members who are public library managers a chance to attend executive leadership training at some of the best universities in the United States. Each executive leadership program varies in length, as well as in scope and focus. Program dates and application processes are unique to each school and program. As a first step, send an application to the PLA Office for review....
GODORT handout exchange
The Government Documents Round Table
has been collecting guides and pathfinders to government information for years. Recently, this GODORT Government Information Clearinghouse and Handout Exchange has been wikified. The coordinator for the project is Jennie Burroughs, government documents librarian at Montana State University Library. The Clearinghouse is searchable (via a Google custom search), and contributions are welcome if you have handouts, guides, or tutorials of your own to share....
ResourceShelf, July 7
RUSA virtual poster session winners
RUSA’s Management of Electronic Resources and Services Committee has announced the winners of its second annual virtual poster session. Poster proposals were selected in blind peer review. Authors of the three winning posters, posted on the committee website, explain how they have used evaluation data to improve their virtual reference services....
Lois Lenski Covey grants
Lois Lenski, the 1946 Newbery medalist for Strawberry Girl, had a life-long concern that good books be available to all children. The Lois Lenski Covey Foundation annually awards grants to both rural and urban public and school libraries for purchasing books for at-risk children, and gives priority to applications from libraries with limited book budgets. The application deadline is September 15....
Lois Lenski Covey Foundation
YouTube ordered to hand over viewing data
In a ruling that could have serious privacy implications, a federal judge has ruled that popular internet video site YouTube must hand over details about what people are watching online. The decision, filed July 2 by U.S. District Judge Louis L. Stanton in New York, is part of a $1-billion copyright-infringement lawsuit that Viacom filed last year against Google, which owns YouTube. In response, Google has added a privacy link to its home page. See a comment on the ruling by Electronic Frontier Foundation Attorney Kurt Opsahl. But Jaikumar Vijayan asks, what is Google doing collecting and retaining all that data in the first place?...
San Francisco Chronicle, July 4; Los Angeles Times, July 4; Deeplinks, July 2; Computerworld, July 7
Nashua schools restrict reading of Lois Lowry book
Elementary school teachers in Nashua, New Hampshire, must now notify parents if they are going to use Lois Lowry’s Newbery Medal–winning science-fiction book The Giver in their classrooms. The school board made the decision July 7, by a 7–1 vote, after a two-hour hearing. Parent Jodi Gould had wanted the book removed from elementary school libraries, but the board felt that was too restrictive....
Nashua (N.H.) Telegraph, July 8
Obama invitation ambushes PLCMC
An invitation to bring Michelle Obama to Charlotte sparked a hubbub in early July for the Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. Organizers of the Charlotte Literary Festival (which the library cosponsors) asked her to be a speaker at its September 6 event, and offered to make a donation to Sen. Barack Obama’s campaign. But public agencies are barred from lobbying, and library officials, who were unaware of the invite, asked festival organizers to remove them from any material associated with the campaign....
Charlotte (N.C.) Observer, July 5
Hartford workers vote to give up pay increases
Full- and part-time unionized employees of the Hartford (Conn.) Public Library voted 42–4 July 7 to roll back pay increases and hours that they had agreed to work during fiscal 2008–09 in an attempt to eliminate further layoffs. The action comes less than a week after Chief Librarian Louise Blalock announced an $870,000 shortfall in the library’s $8.2 million budget....
Hartford (Conn.) Courant, July 8
Minneapolis planetarium conundrum
About a year ago, all seemed to be well for plans to make a new planetarium part of the recently completed Minneapolis Public Library downtown. Architect Cesar Pelli had created a site for the planetarium on the library roof. Then Hennepin County merged with the city library system and guess what? Now there is a fuss over where to put a new planetarium, or even if there should be one....
Minneapolis Star Tribune, July 7
University of Iowa library reopens
The University of Iowa Main Library opened for business July 9, despite the stacks of books and boxes that still clutter the upper floors. The first floor looked relatively normal the day before; the only thing missing was people. Library staff members had been scrambling to get the building up and running after the recent floods. The job required a lot of reorganizing and attention, even though little water actually seeped in....
The Daily Iowan, July 9
Corporate labeling on the rise on campus
Rooms emblazoned with a brand name are becoming more noticeable on public university campuses, which increasingly rely on private gifts to fund public education. Professors and administrators defend the use of corporate sponsorships, saying it allows them to build sophisticated facilities or pay for endowed professorships that they couldn’t otherwise afford. But such names can create a perception that university researchers don’t have autonomy from the donor. Just look at the University of Pennsylvania’s renamed Claudia Cohen Hall....
Madison Wisconsin State Journal, July 1; New York Times, July 6
Book complaint stirs changes in Appleton schools
The Appleton (Wis.) Area School District will modify its procedures for handling challenges from the public regarding reading materials to ensure that conflicts are resolved at the grassroots level. The move came after seeing media coverage this spring that followed a dispute between a parent who objected to a limited-access book in the Maplewood Middle School library and the Menasha Board of Education....
Appleton (Wis.) Post-Crescent, June 16
50 things you can blame on rising oil prices
For a sense of how deeply the oil-price story is woven into the fabric of life in 2008, Buzzwatch compiled a list of 50 things being attributed, at least in part, to high fuel costs. Quite a few are relevant, among them: schools cutting back on field trips, community colleges cutting Friday classes, the return of the bookmobile, and longer waits for the campus bus....
Wall Street Journal, July 3
Tatár still spreads the word
After 36 years working for the 36-branch San Diego (Calif.) Public Library, the last 11 as its 11th director, Anna Tatár is still relentlessly dedicated to libraries. In an extended exit interview one week into her retirement, Tatár repeatedly steered the conversation back to her career—and never-ending campaign to make sure the public, politicians, and potential donors are told that libraries still matter in the Internet Age....
San Diego (Calif.) Union-Tribune, July 6
Kafka’s papers to be available in Tel Aviv, maybe
Scholars of the 20th-century writer Franz Kafka were in a state of suspense July 8 at the news that the remains of his estate, which have been hoarded in a Tel Aviv flat for decades, may soon be revealed. Previously unseen documents have been gathering dust in the home of Esther Hoffe, the former secretary of Kafka’s friend Max Brod since his death in 1968. Now, following her death at the age of 101, Kafka lovers hope the items will throw new light on the mysterious writer....
The Guardian (U.K.), July 9
Fire destroys books in University of Geneva Arts Library (in French)
Some 20,000 books damaged in a June 29 fire that spread through a wing of the Faculty of Arts at the University of Geneva, Switzerland, have been freeze-dried in an effort to save them. About 30,000 other books, which were not as thoroughly soaked, were dried out by ventilators (right). Investigators are still looking into the cause of the fire, which took place during a widely watched European Football Championship....
La Tribune de Genève, July 1–4; Romandie News, July 3
Waiting for the internet meltdown
The world is running out of Internet Protocol addresses, the numbers that denote individual devices connected to the internet. The available addresses have already been allocated, and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development predicts we will have run out completely by early 2011.
Every day, thousands of new devices ranging from massive web servers down to individual mobile phones go online and gobble up more combinations and permutations....
The Times (U.K.), July 6
Google launches Lively virtual world
Google launched a new service July 8 called Lively, a browser-based virtual world add-on that lets users create and customize avatars and worlds, interact with other users, and generally have a richer social interaction than is offered by GTalk. Worlds can be embedded into web pages, although only Windows users on IE or Firefox can view them, after an add-on download and installation. This isn’t yet a full Second Life competitor. There’s no single world, for example, where users can move around. But it’s easy to see Google evolving this into a single online world....
TechCrunch, July 8
Vivaty brings the 3D Web to your browser
Erik Schonfeld writes: “Move over, Second Life. The 3D Web is starting to make inroads into the plain old browser. Vivaty Scenes launched July 8 in public beta on AIM and in Facebook. These are realistic rooms that act as virtual personal environments—a 3D version of your personal page. You can set the theme, decorate with furniture and other virtual goods, and chat with the avatars of friends who enter your room (they need to install the app as well). The best part is that you can bring in photos from Flickr and Facebook, or videos from YouTube and display them on screens in your room. You can play MP3 songs as well.”...
TechCrunch, July 8
New technologies are not serving people with disabilities
Web technologies and mobile devices have created many new ways for sight and hearing-impaired consumers to find information and connect with friends. But as entertainment and communications tools increasingly take digital form, some people with disabilities feel left behind. Online videos are not required to have captions, for example, and ticker-style emergency messages are not narrated....
Washington Post, June 23
Get productive (and stay sane) with social media
Steve Rubel writes: “Social media is the equivalent of digital food. It’s nourishing, tasty, and for many of us, necessary. However, consume too much and you can get sidetracked. The good news is you can participate in social media in a way that adds value to your life. You just need to know how to manage it so so that it does not devour your attention—the most valuable commodity of the digital age. Here are three simple steps I take.”...
Lifehacker, July 8
Good and evil in the garden of digitization
Wallace Koehler writes: “The Google book digitization project has caused something of a furor, perhaps even a firestorm, in the realm of intellectual property management. This issue is not solely for lawyers and academics; it can touch all of us in the information professions. On the one hand, Google may well provide researchers, users, and readers with an ever-widening and invaluable resource.
On the other hand, it also may mean that a single economic for-profit entity could gain effective centralized control over much of the world’s information.”...
The Searcher 16, no. 6 (June): 24+
Remember the reader
Jessa Crispin writes: “Amid all the intellectual banter about the decline of the publishing industry, everyone seems to have forgotten about the reader. The NEA releases regular reports saying how endangered we are, complete with pie charts and surveys to back up its claims. But me, I was born a reader. The problem isn’t that there are no substantial books being written. It’s that they cannot be found in the usual places, or in the usual ways.”...
Washington Post, July 2
Online academic textbook piracy on the rise
College students are increasingly downloading illegal copies of textbooks online, employing the same file-trading technologies used to download music and movies. Feeling threatened, book publishers are stepping up efforts to stop the online piracy. One website called Textbook Torrents (now taken down) promises more than 5,000 textbooks for download in PDF format, complete with the original textbook layout and full-color illustrations....
Chronicle of Higher Education, July 1
Johnson County offers crossword puzzle help
The Johnson County (Kans.) Library reference department has an expert staffer who provides hints for stymied crossword puzzlers. Karen Sadler (right) completes both the New York Times and The Kansas City Star crosswords daily and posts the answers for staff to help perplexed patrons trying to solve the day’s word puzzle.
Johnson County (Kans.) Library
Code of practices in fair use for online video
The American University School of Communication’s Center for Social Media has developed a Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Online Video. The document is a guide to current acceptable practices, drawing on the actual activities of creators and backed by the judgment of a national panel of experts. The full report is also available as a downloadable PDF file....
Center for Social Media, June
Free wireless spectrum for censors
David Kravets writes: “The FCC is seeking comments on a proposal (PDF file) to open up a swath of spectrum to provide free wireless internet—one of the FCC’s goals of achieving the universal availability of broadband access. But as with all free things, there’s a hitch. The winner of the spectrum, 25% of which must be available for free internet access, is required to filter out pornography and ‘any images or text that otherwise would be harmful to teens and adolescents.’” More insight here from Wendy Seltzer....
Threat Level, June 25; CircleID, June 25
Evaluating online learning (subscription required)
The U.S. Department of Education released its first guide to the evaluation of online-learning programs in K–12 education. The report (PDF file) is designed to help school leaders gauge the effectiveness of online education, as its use grows rapidly across the United States. Evaluation methods have lagged far behind the swift growth, varied application, and complex nature of online learning....
Education Week, July 2
A call for open-source classification
LibraryThing’s Tim Spalding writes: “I hereby invite you to help build the Open Shelves Classification (OSC), a free, ‘humble,’ modern, open-source, crowd-sourced replacement for the Dewey Decimal System. I think it’s finally going to become a reality. LibraryThing members are into it, and after my ALA panel talk, a number of catalogers expressed interest too. I am looking for up to five librarians willing to take leadership on the project. LibraryThing is willing to write the (fairly minimal) code necessary.”...
Thingology, July 8
Wall Street Journal ad campaign for librarians
Stephen Abram writes: “One of the great events at the SLA annual conference in Seattle was to see the full–page advertisements (PDF file) in the Wall Street Journal promoting the value of information professionals. This unprecedented campaign which will continue through 2010 is the result of the fine relationship between SLA and Dow Jones (owners of the Wall Street Journal).”...
Stephen’s Lighthouse, July 7
Google and the librarians
Bill Drew writes: “I am asking and challenging the Google Book Search library partners to ask their contacts at Google about the status of its Librarian Central blog, which has not been updated in more than a year. It appears to be next to impossible to get Google to respond on this topic by going through normal channels. Google and its partner libraries have a clear obligation to the rest of us.”...
Baby Boomer Librarian, July 8
What is LinkedIn? The video
Lee LeFever writes: “I’ve been a member of LinkedIn for years and like many members, I wondered how to get more from my connections. The company came to us to help address this question in video form (2:29). Ultimately, it’s about uncovering LinkedIn’s ability to not just connect, but get things done.”...
CommonCraft, July 2
Lawyer admonished for serving subpoena on librarian blogger
A magistrate judge in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Hampshire severely admonished (PDF file) a Virginia lawyer June 23 for serving a “breathtakingly broad” subpoena on Kathleen Seidel, a librarian who maintains a blog and who had posted info on the potential link between mercury and autism. Seidel had merely published information on fees the lawyer had received in various mercury-related cases he had pursued....
TechDirt, July 3
The Booklovers Library
Larry Nix writes: “The Booklovers Library in Philadelphia was an early-20th-century version of Netflix for books. This cover (right) was mailed from the Librarian’s Office of the Booklovers Library on May 3, 1901. In an article on the topic of home delivery of books published in Library Journal of 1905, Gertrude E. Forrest noted that it circulated several million books annually, giving credence to founder Seymour Eaton’s boast that it was the largest circulating library in the world.”...
Library History Buff
Jen runs a website called Contrariwise that focuses on tattoos based on books, poems, lyrics, movies, poems, plays, and quotations. If you have an appropriate tattoo, such as this typewriter tribute to Hemingway (“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”), you can submit a photo. Otherwise, it’s fun to look through. Be sure to check out the pain-o-meter if you are considering your first tat....
Syracuse receives huge collection of 78-rpm recordings
Syracuse University Library’s Belfer Audio Laboratory and Archive has received a major gift from the family of the late Morton J. Savada—the complete inventory of his Manhattan record store, Records Revisited, including more than 200,000 78-rpm records, along with a related print collection of catalogs, discographies, and other materials. With the addition of the Savada Collection, Belfer’s holdings now total more than 400,000 78-rpm recordings—second in size only to the collections of the Library of Congress....
Syracuse University, July 2
Radio Ephemera challenge
The Third Coast Festival’s 2008 Radio Ephemera challenge invites producers, artists, writers, and radio fans of all stripes (newbies to veterans) to submit finished audio works inspired by two of five selected books from San Francisco’s Prelinger Library. The selection must include the voice of a stranger and last two-and-a-half to three minutes. Four producers will be chosen to attend the Third Coast Festival Conference October 9–11 in Evanston, Illinois. The deadline is August 3....
Third Coast International Audio Festival
Saving water-damaged art and artifacts
Heritage Preservation offers a free, online, 10-minute video that demonstrates how to rescue soaked photographs, books, documents, and other valued items. Excerpted from HP’s Field Guide to Emergency Response, the video provides professional advice and hands-on demonstrations to benefit families as well as museum and library staff....
This new Lift Every Voice and READ poster is based on the song “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” a poem written by James Weldon Johnson (1871–1938) and then set to music by his brother John Rosamond Johnson (1873–1954) in 1900. The art was specially created by Kadir
Nelson to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Coretta Scott King
Book Awards in 2009. NEW! From ALA Graphics.
Your Circle of Wellness
Be Outstanding in Your Fieldwork
Conference Preview: California Dreamin’
Tastes for All Tastes
California Libraries: Places of Diversity
Librarians at Binghamton University collaborated with classroom faculty to assess how students really conduct research, and incorporated the results into their instruction program. Read about the survey results in the July/August issue of College & Research Libraries News.
Central Library Branch Manager, Cecil County Public Library, Elkton, Maryland. This professional, managerial, and supervisory position is responsible for the public services operations of the Elkton Central Library. Responsibilities include coordinating the operations of the Adult, Children’s, and Circulation departments and Outreach Services, training and developing staff, marketing collections and services, ensuring the delivery of quality library materials and services to the public, and managing routine branch related facility issues....
Digital Library of the Week
The AV/AR audio/video collection is a rich source of oral history and other recorded material hosted by the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, a department of the Central Arkansas Library System. Oral history interviews, lectures about Arkansas, and various kinds of film footage have been indexed with subject descriptions that provide a variety of sources relating to a specific topic. This collection began in the summer of 2007 when the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation funded a two-year project to explore the role of race relations in Arkansas history. Researchers can search through audio and/or video clips by subject or interviewee, most of which are shorter than two minutes.
Do you know of a digital library collection that we can mention in this AL Direct feature? Tell us about it.
“I’m assuming 32,000 books having been checked out at the time of flooding indicates that at least a few people appreciated the resources the library had to offer.”
A July 5 response from “Sparqy” to comments from others in the vein of “Who needs a library anyway?” following a story on the Cedar Rapids Public Library flood damage, KCRG-TV, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, July 4.
Wisconsin Library Services, WiLSWorld Conference, Madison Pyle Center. Contact: Tom Zillner.
Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts, “A Race against Time: Preserving Our Audiovisual Media,” Simmons College, Boston.
Ex Libris Users of North America, 2008 Conference, Long Beach, California.
International Association of School Librarianship, Annual Conference, “World Class Learning and Literacy through School Libraries,” University of California at Berkeley. Contact: Blanche Woolls.
BCR, “A Reference Renaissance: Current and Future Trends,” Four Points by Sheraton, Denver Southeast. Contact: Justine Shaffner.
International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions, World Library and Information Congress, Québec City.
Long Island Library Resources Council, 6th Symposium on Digitization, Sachem Public Library. Contact: Virginia Antonucci-Gibbons.
OCLC Western Digital Forum, Hotel Murano, Tacoma, Washington. “Making Digitization Count: Assessment and Evaluation Practices.”
Society of American Archivists, Annual Conference, Hilton San Francisco. “Archival R/Evolution and Identities.”
Center for the History of Print Culture in Modern America, University of Wisconsin-Madison. “The Culture of Print in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Medicine.” Contact: Christine Pawley.
Ninth International Conference on Music Information Retrieval, Drexel University, Philadelphia.
EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative, Fall Focus Session, Minneapolis. “Revisiting Learning Space Design.”