Rutgers drops “library” from name of school
The Rutgers University Board of Governors approved a resolution April 2 removing the words “library studies” from the name of the School of Communication, Information, and Library Studies. Effective July 1, its name will be the School of Communication and Information. The school’s faculty had voted 30–10 in favor of the name change at a February 4 faculty meeting. Dean Jorge Reina Schement noted that Rutgers is the only member of the Association of American Universities with a library program connected to a journalism program....
American Libraries Online, Apr. 10
Objection to Google scanning settlement filed
The consumer advocacy group Consumer Watchdog has sent a letter (PDF file) to the Justice Department asking to delay implementation of the October 2008 settlement of publisher lawsuits over Google’s scanning of copyrighted books. Concerns from more groups are anticipated before the May 5 deadline for filing objections. ALA, in conjunction with ACRL and the Association for Research Libraries, plans to file an amicus brief with the court about the settlement....
American Libraries Online, Apr. 15
Protests disrupt white-supremacist meeting at library
Police were called to Clifton (N.J.) Public Library’s Allwood branch March 21 in response to a brawl between five protesters and about 15 members of the League of American Patriots, a white supremacist group. No one was arrested, and while one man claimed to have been assaulted, he did not file a complaint. The group had met at the library’s main branch at least twice before without incident, although it had reserved rooms under the name “Polish-American Issues Forum.”...
American Libraries Online, Apr. 10
OIF Director Judith Krug dies
Judith Krug, 69, director of the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom and executive director of the Freedom to Read Foundation for more than 40 years, died April 11 after a lengthy illness. Through her unwavering support of First Amendment rights, she advised countless librarians and trustees in dealing with challenges to library materials. She was involved in multiple First Amendment cases that have gone all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Krug was also the founder of ALA’s Banned Books Week. See statements from the Freedom to Read Foundation, the Intellectual Freedom Committee, ALA President Jim Rettig, and Executive Director Keith Michael Fiels. American Libraries will be developing a retrospective on Krug’s career for the May issue. See the New York Times obituary and editorial. ALA has established a tribute page; to share your condolences, please send an email....
ALA releases State of America’s Libraries report
The value of libraries in communities across the country continued to grow in 2008—and accelerated dramatically as the national economy sank and people looked for cost-effective resources in a time of crisis, according to ALA’s 2009 State of America’s Libraries report, released April 14. United States libraries experienced a dramatic increase in library card registration as the public continued to turn to their local library for free services. More than 68% of Americans have a library card. This is the greatest number of Americans with library cards since ALA started to measure library-card usage in 1990....
American Libraries’ Spring digital supplement
Check out the expanded Facilities Showcase in the Spring digital supplement from American Libraries. Included is a showcase of more than 80 library architectural project reviews, the winners of the 2009 AIA/ALA Library Building Awards, two features by Wanda Urbanska on green products for libraries, and an article on two libraries that created successful spaces for the preschool set....
American Libraries, Spring 2009 digital supplement
Rev. Jackson, Fiels kick off National Library Week
Reverend Jesse L. Jackson Sr., CEO and founder of the RainbowPUSH Coalition in Chicago, and ALA Executive Director Keith Michael Fiels spoke April 11 at a televised forum about the value of libraries and then read to 20 children. The event kicked off the 2009 observance of National Library Week and took place in RainbowPUSH’s library. Jackson and Fiels discussed how libraries are an important community hub of literacy and learning, as well as a place people turn to during difficult economic times....
Visits surge as nation celebrates libraries
During National Library Week, April 12–18, the nation is celebrating the invaluable contributions of libraries. Libraries across America report a surge in visits by patrons who want free computer and internet access, job information, and accurate financial materials, in addition to many other services. The demand for books, CDs, and DVDs continues to grow as well. Best-selling author and actress Jamie Lee Curtis is the honorary chair of National Library Week 2009. Her messages about the value of America’s libraries are available by downloading PSAs....
ALA comments on broadband
ALA submitted a filing (PDF file) April 14 to the Federal Communications Commission in response to its call for comments to help inform the commission’s consultative role in the broadband provisions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. ALA also prepared comments (PDF file) for the National Telecommunications and Information Administration and the Rural Utilities Service....
Step Up to the Plate begins
Just as thousands of libraries across the country are celebrating National Library Week, thousands of families are stepping up to learn about a library program at the National Baseball Hall of Fame’s Youth Baseball Week. Season Four of the national Step Up to the Plate @ your library program officially kicked off April 14. Patrons of all ages are encouraged to visit their library and answer a series of trivia questions inspired by the history and diversity of our national pastime.....
Attract and retain high-performing employees
ALA Editions has released the second edition of Developing a Compensation Plan for Your Library by Paula M. Singer and Laura L. Francisco. This thorough treatment of compensation plans includes updated versions of the numerous checklists, worksheets, and salary surveys that made the first edition a reliable resource. The book helps readers become familiar with the process of developing a compensation plan and offes tips that will guide them through potential challenges like maintaining staff morale....
Libraries, Second Life, and Education with Joe Sanchez
ALA TechSource is presenting its first virtual world event—a discussion of virtual worlds, libraries, and education with Second Life expert Joe Sanchez. Sanchez, a doctoral candidate at the University of Texas at Austin, is the author of the February issue of Library Technology Reports, “Implementing Second Life: Ideas, Challenges and Innovations.” An exclusive interactive discussion and presentation of his work will be held on the ALA Island at 9 p.m. Eastern time on April 15....
2009 Newbery and Caldecott awards
ALA Editions has released the 2009 edition of The Newbery and Caldecott Awards: A Guide to the Medal and Honor Books by ALSC. This annual guide covers the most distinguished American children’s literature and illustration. For more than eight decades, librarians from ALSC have intensely scrutinized the children’s books published each year, selecting the winning and honor books for the Newbery and Caldecott Awards....
Avatar stars for National Library Workers Day
In celebration of the ALA–Allied Professional Association’s National Library Workers Day, April 14, ALA Island in Second Life is featuring the Gallery of Library Stars. Visiting avatars can pose for a picture and have it added to the gallery. The feature will be available for several weeks, so just go to ALA Party Central (167, 73, 30) for pose-center instructions and gallery contacts. Shown above is Bunny Iwish (ALA’s Megan McFarlane)....
Featured review: Adult books
Horn, Dara. All Other Nights. Apr. 2009. 384p. Norton, hardcover (978-0-393-06492-6).
“How is this night different from all other nights?” Jacob Rappaport, a Jewish soldier in the Union army during the Civil War, has his own, very different answer to this ritual question, traditionally asked at a Passover seder. In March 1861, Jacob is spending Passover at the home of relatives in New Orleans, but he is there with a special assignment: kill his uncle, a loyal southerner, who is planning to assassinate President Lincoln. Horn, author of In the Image (2002) and The World to Come (2006), follows this stunning set-piece with a complex, multilayered, and thoroughly involving historical novel. Rappaport’s second assignment as a Union spy is every bit as troubling as his first: to woo and then marry the daughter of a Jewish businessman in Virginia with whom he had dealings before the war. It is no surprise, of course, that Rappaport falls deeply in love with the woman—purported to be a Confederate spy—he was sent to entrap, but it is certainly surprising to watch how Horn develops this premise....
@ Visit Booklist Online for other reviews and much more....
Barack Obama’s Chicago
At ALA Annual Conference, tour the Chicago that Barack Obama knows—from his home, to his barber, to the spot of his victory rally, the Baskin-Robbins where he and Michelle first kissed, and many places in between. At 57th Street Books, 1301 E. 57th Street in Hyde Park, Obama held launch parties here for his books, Dreams and The Audacity of Hope, and has reportedly called it his favorite bookstore....
WrestleMania Reading Challenge champs
Stephanie Diaz (left) and Christian Cervantes (second from right) of Houston were crowned national champions in the WrestleMania Reading Challenge, sponsored by YALSA and World Wrestling Entertainment. In the grade 9–12 finals, Cervantes answered the most questions correctly about the book Shift by Jennifer Bradbury. Diaz successfully defeated her competition in the grade 7–8 competition by answering the most questions correctly about the book Soccer Chicks Rule by Dawn Fitzgerald....
Ko, Christensen win YALSA Flip cams
Donna Ko, media assistant at the Central Academy of Technology and Arts in Monroe, North Carolina, won a Flip Ultra video camera by becoming a new member of YALSA. Deborah Christensen, media coordinator at the school, also won a Flip Ultra for recommending that Ko join YALSA as part of the divison’s 2009 membership drive....
YALSA offers Earth Day ideas
YALSA has compiled a list of activity ideas to help teens learn about their environment on Earth Day, April 22. Earth Day activity ideas include geocaching seminars, recycled jewelry programs, and community clean-up programs. In addition, YALSA offers a booklist called Change Your World, highlighting titles nominated for the 2010 Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults booklist, which includes books about activism, politics, and volunteering....
Invite a legislator to your school library
AASL urges school library media specialists to advocate for their school library media programs by inviting local representatives to visit during School Library Media Month. It is important to help your legislator understand why school library media specialists are indispensable to a student’s educational career. AASL has created downloadable tip sheets (PDF file) for invitations....
New AASL guidelines
AASL has released Empowering Learners: Guidelines for School Library Media Programs, completing an essential professional-development package for school library media specialists. Empowering Learners provides leadership principles that address the requirements for mastering a changing school library environment. It builds on a strong history of guidelines published to ensure that program planners go beyond the basics to provide goals, priorities, criteria, and general principles for establishing effective library media programs....
ACRL’s Immersion ’09 program
The ACRL Institute for Information Literacy invites applications for its Immersion ’09 program. For the first time, the Intentional Teacher and Assessment Tracks will be offered simultaneously December 2–6 in Nashville. Applications for both tracks are now being accepted through May 29....
ACRL preconferences in Chicago
ACRL is offering three preconferences July 10 in conjunction with the 2009 ALA Annual Conference in Chicago. The topics are digitization, instructional design, and online library instruction. May 22 is the advance registration deadline....
ACRL debuts revamped website
ACRL launched an updated, user-centered design for its website on April 14. The results of an ACRL membership survey informed the redesign process, with many suggestions on usability incorporated into the final design....
RUSA professional development
Library professionals interested in adding basic business knowledge and business reference skills to their résumés are invited to participate in Business Reference 101, an online course, and Mastering Business Acumen (MBA) in a Day, a one-day workshop, both offered by RUSA. The next session of Business Reference 101 runs May 4–29 and is taught by Celia Ross. The MBA preconference will be held July 10 in conjunction with the ALA Annual Conference in Chicago. Another online course, The Reference Interview, runs May 4–June 19 and is taught by Dave Tyckoson; registration closes April 27....
YALSA summer online courses
YALSA will offer two online courses this summer—Beyond Booklists: Serving Today’s Diverse Teens (taught by Jennifer Velasquez), and Pain in the Brain: Adolescent Development and Library Behavior (taught by Beth Gallaway). Both classes meet for four weeks, running June 1–26. Registration ends May 26....
YALSA Podcast: Stephanie Rosalia
In this podcast (16:40), Matthew Moffett talks with school librarian Stephanie Rosalia about her work. Rosalia was profiled February 15 by the New York Times. The conversation covers how the interview came about, her information and media literacy teaching techniques, library and classroom collaboration in her school, what constitutes reading, the importance of informing people about what the modern library is all about, and the SKILLS Act....
YALSA Blog, Apr. 8
PLA Harvard University fellowship
PLA has awarded Ishwar Laxminarayan, director of the Jackson (Mich.) District Library, a PLA Leadership Fellows scholarship for the Senior Executives in State and Local Government program at Harvard University Kennedy School of Government. The program offers public library managers a chance to attend executive leadership training at some of the best universities in the United States....
Gale’s third annual NLW video contest
In honor of National Library Week, Gale Cengage Learning has announced its third annual video contest. Library fans are invited to create a one-minute video promoting their library. The video should explain how the library brings “power to the users.” The winning entry will be awarded $2,500 to the individual and an additional $2,500 will be presented to the winner’s favorite library. Entrants must load their videos to the Librareo group on YouTube. The deadline is June 1....
Donna Flake wins MLA International Service Award
Donna Flake, director of the Robert M. Fales Health Sciences Library of the South East Area Health Education Center in Wilmington, North Carolina, has won the Medical Library Association’s 2009 T. Mark Hodges International Service Award. Flake has organized partnerships between medical libraries in the United States and sister institutions in Lativa and Moldova, leading to the exchange of thousands of medical books, electronic databases, and the delivery of journal articles by email....
Wilmington (N.C.) Star-News, Apr. 13
Janice Rice receives UW Woman of Color Award
Janice Rice, senior academic librarian in the University of Wisconsin–Madison College Library and member of the Ho-Chunk Nation, has been selected as a recipient of the 14th annual UW System Outstanding Women of Color in Education Award. Rice was honored along with recipients from other UW System institutions at an awards ceremony and luncheon on April 4....
University of Wisconsin–Madison, Apr. 9
Tie for Philip K. Dick Award
The 2008 Philip K. Dick Award has resulted in a tie between Emissaries from the Dead by Adam-Troy Castro (Eos Books) and Terminal Mind by David Walton (Meadowhawk Press). The award, sponsored by the Philadelphia Science Fiction Society, honors the most distinguished science fiction published in paperback original form in the United States....
Philip K. Dick Award
Best British SF novel
Ken MacLeod has won the 2008 British Science Fiction Association Award for Best Novel published in the UK for his latest book, The Night Sessions (Orbit). A gripping hybrid of SF thriller and police procedural, The Night Sessions is set in the future of the Second Enlightenment, where religion has finally been crushed and removed from political life....
Orbit, Apr. 13
2009 Sparky video contest
The organizers of the Sparky Awards, which recognize the best new short videos on the value of information sharing, are calling on colleges and universities to organize their own campus video competitions in 2009 to get maximum benefit from the contest. Well-suited for adoption as a class assignment, the Sparky Awards invite contestants to submit videos of two minutes or less that imaginatively portray the benefits of the open, legal exchange of information. Entries must be submitted by December 6....
Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, Apr. 9
Amazon error removed rankings from gay books
In response to nearly two days of angry online commentary, particularly on Twitter, Amazon.com said April 13 that “an embarrassing and ham-fisted cataloging error” had caused thousands of books on its site to lose their sales rankings and become harder to find in searches. Amazon managers found that an employee who happened to work in France had filled out a field incorrectly and more than 50,000 items got flipped over to be flagged as “adult.” Most of the company’s online critics complained that the problem appeared to have a disproportionate effect on books with a gay and lesbian theme, leading to cries of censorship....
New York Times, Apr. 13; Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Apr. 13
Job seekers at NYPL, in Obama’s footsteps
Jobless New Yorkers are being invited to follow in the footsteps of President Barack Obama, starting at a Midtown branch of the public library. Officials of the New York Public Library unveiled Job Search Central April 14, a concentration of resources to help the unemployed find work, in the lower level of the Science, Industry, and Business Library on Madison Avenue. NYPL President Paul LeClerc said librarians will be on hand to advise and guide job seekers just as one once did for Obama....
New York Times, Apr. 14
Libraries seeing more patrons with mental illness
Librarians are seeing varying degrees of problems with patrons exhibiting severe mental illnesses. Nationally, libraries have become daytime shelters for many people with severe mental disorders who need to be in treatment, according to E. Fuller Torrey (right), founder of the Treatment Advocacy Center in Arlington, Virginia, the chief author of a survey (PDF file) published in the March/April issue of Public Libraries....
Waterville (Maine) Morning Sentinel, Apr. 11; Public Libraries, Mar./Apr., pp. 45–51
Montana libraries in a bind
Tax coffers are shrinking, leaving libraries with slumping income at a time of booming business. In Flathead County, Montana, which is experiencing double-digit unemployment rates, branch libraries aren’t as busy as New York’s, but Library Director Kim Crowley sees the same sorts of people: a diesel mechanic who drives 50 miles to Whitefish just to learn computer skills and laid-off construction workers eager to learn word processing and spreadsheet software. In hot spots such as Columbia Falls—where lumber and smelter layoffs have left hundreds unemployed—library foot traffic has spiked by more than 22%....
The Missoulian, Apr. 14
San Jose to look at porn filters again
San Jose, California, officials are preparing for a showdown over online pornography in the city’s libraries. Officials last considered whether to filter library internet use in 1997 but concluded the technology was too primitive. The council will revisit that decision in what is expected to be a heavily attended meeting April 21. Councilman Pete Constant’s filtering crusade has put him on a collision course with the city’s head librarian, Jane Light....
San Jose (Calif.) Mercury News, Apr. 11
Myracle’s ttyl okayed for Wausau middle school
The Wausau, Wisconsin, school board voted 7–2 April 13 to keep a book in the John Muir Middle School library after a parent asked that it be removed because of sexually explicit content. Board President Dale Lawson and member Pat Keefe voted to remove Lauren Myracle’s novel ttyl. Yolanta Soroko Baumann had asked district officials to remove the book after her 6th-grade daughter showed it to her. The formal review process has not been used for at least a decade, said Joel VerDuin, the school district’s director of technology and media service....
Wausau (Wis.) Daily Herald, Apr. 14
Puyallup principal censured after standing up for librarians
A Puyallup, Washington, principal has been disciplined after emailing school board members about the value of school librarians in helping students meet educational standards. Guy Kovacs (right), principal of G. W. Edgerton Elementary School, received a letter of reprimand for going outside the chain of command, not for commenting on impending budget reductions, according to a district spokesperson. School officials are considering the elimination of nearly half of the 27.6 librarian positions, reducing the current $3 million library-staff budget by $640,000....
Tacoma (Wash.) News-Tribune, Apr. 12
Iowa ILL system uses bicycle delivery
When libraries in Iowa want to borrow materials from another library in the state, they use the U.S. Postal Service—except in Ames. In town, it’s faster to send things with Jim Gregory, who bikes books, articles, and other circulating materials daily between Ames Public Library, the Veterinary Medical Library, and the Iowa State University’s Parks Library. The idea that bicycle delivery would be faster got started in 2007, when librarians realized the postal service added at least a day to deliveries across town....
Ames (Iowa) Tribune, Apr. 12
Seattle’s new city librarian discusses budget cuts, e-books, and Mickey Rourke
In six weeks on the job, Susan Hildreth, Seattle’s new city librarian, has been busy getting to know the department’s 26 branches, $50-million budget, and 700 staffers. But there’s a more recent number on her plate: a potential 3% cut to the library’s budget, in light of a $43-million revenue shortfall facing Seattle this year. All city departments have been asked to identify such budget reductions. This is an excerpt from her interview....
Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Apr. 9
Book returned 110 years late
An overdue library book with a storied past—including being pulled across an ice-covered St. Lawrence River on a skid—is back home in Canada after no less than 110 years. The cost of its journey in late fees, dating back to 1899 from the Lyn (Ontario) Public Library, should have been more than $9,000, but retired Denver engineer Dale Fenton Baird Sr. will not have to pay it....
Brockville (Ont.) Recorder and Times, Apr. 9
Marin County to close San Geronimo Valley branch
Despite protests from a handful of residents, the Marin County (Calif.) Free Library agreed April 7 to shut down its 80-year-old San Geronimo Valley branch, saying it will close by July when its services are merged with the Fairfax branch. The board called the branch, located in leased school-district space, a victim of the recession and said it had no alternative. The move will eliminate a library staffer and other costs, saving $144,000 a year....
Novato (Calif.) Marin Independent Journal, Apr. 7
Schaumburg’s new odor policy
The Schaumburg Township (Ill.) District Library recently added “offensive bodily odors” to its list of prohibitions. The policy stemmed from complaints about an apparently homeless person, but Director Stephanie Sarnoff said the aroma would have to be so overpowering that it interfered with others’ use of the facility and would apply just as much to an overuse of perfume as an underuse of soap. Advocates for the homeless, though, say it’s not easy for a person living on the street to stay clean....
Chicago Tribune, Apr. 13
New Henderson branch opens in mall
The Galleria at Sunset mall has given the Henderson (Nev.) Library District a 1,300-square-foot store for use without rent until August, after which a discounted rate will kick in. The library’s newest branch opened there February 28. The Galleria Family Branch will be used as a prime pickup location for requested materials and for checking out popular best-sellers and high-interest books. The branch also has a space for family literacy programming that focuses on pre-kindergarten literacy skills....
Green Valley/Henderson (Nev.) View, Mar. 3
Go back to the Top
What to do when the internet is out
Kevin Purdy writes: “A while back, we wrote about hypothetical internet outages. These days, with bandwidth caps and cable cutters kicking whole areas offline, we’ve got new suggestions for the best uses of time when a disconnection really happens.” For example, look at your to-do list; clean up your computer files and folders; or do some actual work....
Lifehacker, Apr. 14
Why open-source library software is a trend
School and public librarians list flexibility, low cost, and convenience as some of the major benefits of migrating to an open-source library management system. Some of the best-known open-source library management products include Koha, Evergreen, and OPALS. Many larger libraries pay a hosting site, such as Equinox Software or LibLime.com, to help with the initial implementation and then pay a yearly fee for hosting....
eSchool News, Apr. 10
Get the most out of Gmail Labs
Ben Parr writes: “Google has been on a tear with Gmail lately—it has been releasing new features at a rapid pace. You can now watch YouTube videos within Gmail, undo sent messages, and, as of this week, you are able to insert images into Gmail. These are all useful and wonderful features—if you’ve turned them on in Gmail Labs. Gmail Labs, the Gmail version of Google Labs, has several dozen features you can enable, from location-based signatures to multiple inboxes.”...
Mashable, Apr. 11
New tool aims to make browser’s history more useful
Carnegie Mellon University graduate student Jing Jin and her colleagues demonstrated a new browser-history tool at the 2009 Computer–Human Interaction Conference, April 4–9, in Boston. Researchers tested users’ ability to recall web pages and found that URLs and textual descriptions (by which most browsers organize their history) weren’t as easy to remember as colors or images collected from the pages themselves. So the tool—currently a plug-in for the Firefox browser—lets users browse images of websites they have visited in the past....
Technology Review, Apr. 10
The dangerous web
Worldwide malicious code activity reached alarming figures last year, said information security vendor Symantec. In 2008, Symantec created more than 1.6-million new malicious code signatures, which helps the organization block attacks. This equates to more than 60% of the total malicious code signatures ever created by Symantec, a response to the rapidly increasing threats. The figures were reported in Symantec’s Internet Security Threat Report, Volume XIV....
Network World, Apr. 15
50 years of stupid grammar advice
Geoffrey K. Pullum writes: “April 16 is the 50th anniversary of the publication of a little book that is loved and admired throughout American academe. Celebrations, readings, and toasts are being held, and a commemorative edition has been released. I won’t be celebrating. The Elements of Style does not deserve the enormous esteem in which it is held by American college graduates. Its advice ranges from limp platitudes to inconsistent nonsense. Its enormous influence has not improved American students’ grasp of English grammar; it has significantly degraded it.”...
Chronicle of Higher Education, Apr. 17
Print no longer the default MLA citation style
Even in citations, print is the default no more. The seventh edition of the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, released March 9, states that the Modern Language Association no longer recognizes print as the default medium and suggests that the medium of publication should be included in each work’s cited entry. Moreover, MLA has ceased to recommend inclusion of URLs in citing web-based works—unless the instructor requires it or a reader would likely be unable to locate the source otherwise....
Inside Higher Ed, Mar. 11
ABC-CLIO open house
ABC-CLIO is offering free access to its electronic products during National Library Week, April 12–18. Entrants who sign up for a free 60-day trial of any of the publisher’s databases could win a one-year database subscription; those who follow the link to a multiple-choice trivia quiz based on the databases and answer the questions correctly, could win an iPod Touch....
ABC-CLIO, Apr. 10
Oxford’s library scavenger hunt
To kick off National Library Week, Oxford University Press is offering free access to Oxford Reference Online (login as user nationallibraryweek and password oxford). They are also hosting a library-related scavenger hunt to encourage you to use ORO to find the answers to such questions as “Under which pope was the Vatican Library established in 1450?”...
Oxford University Press, Apr. 13
Alexander Street launches American History in Video
Electronic publisher Alexander Street Press and A&E Television Networks released American History in Video April 9, a new online resource designed for college and university instructors and researchers. The only online source for the complete series of both United News and Universal Newsreel, the collection contains much other rare archival footage. Alexander Street is offering free access through April 30....
Alexander Street Press, Apr. 9
ProQuest encourages library advocacy
Database publisher ProQuest is celebrating National Library Week by encouraging libraries to take advantage of the company’s popular advocacy program. The program includes tools and services that help librarians connect with their user communities, free database access and scholarship support for library students, and awards to recognize outstanding library school educators and those who protect intellectual freedom....
WWJ-AM, Detroit, Apr. 12
The world’s weirdest book
Richard Davies writes: “Some people think it’s one of the weirdest books ever published. An art book unlike any other art book, a unique and disturbing surreal parody. Codex Seraphinianus by Italian artist Luigi Serafini is a window on a bizarre fantasy world complete with its own unique (and unreadable) alphabet and numerous illustrations that borrow from the modern age but veer into the extremely unusual. First published in two volumes by Franco Maria Ricci in 1981, the pictures in this article are from the 1983 American edition published by Abbeville.”...
Hyperlocal websites deliver news without newspapers
If your local newspaper shuts down, what will take the place of its coverage? Perhaps a package of information about your neighborhood, or even your block, assembled by a computer. A number of web start-up companies are creating so-called hyperlocal news sites that let people zoom in on what is happening closest to them, often without involving traditional journalists. The sites, like EveryBlock, Outside.in, Placeblogger, and Patch, collect links to articles and blogs and often supplement them....
The New York Times, Apr. 12
Kindle 2’s fuzzy fonts
Priya Ganapati writes: “Amazon’s Kindle 2 is slimmer, faster, and has longer battery life than its predecessor. But the newly launched e-book reader falls short when it comes to how well it displays text, say some users. Kindle 2 has font-smoothing algorithms and its screen offers more levels of gray in order to better render text and pictures. But the changes have backfired by making text more difficult to read at smaller sizes. The problem seems especially acute for older users.”...
Gadget Lab, Apr. 13
Lost in the pixels of a good book
Elizabeth Bluemle writes: “I’d always dismissed e-books as handy tools for business travelers. No one would really want to read fiction in pixels, would they? Book lovers love the artifact. I even said as much, all calm and confident, to a customer last month. No way, José. Not for me. Not for anyone who loves the feel and smell of paper and ink, the textures of matte covers and deckled edges, the heft of a heavy tome or the personal goodness of a little smooth square hardcover.”...
Shelftalker, Apr. 9
Apple’s DRM-free music: 8 things you should know
Tim Gideon writes: “Apple brought its only slightly delayed new pricing scheme to the public on April 7, after initially promising an April 1 launch. To catch you up, the big news is that Digital Rights Management is now a thing of the past, meaning that from now on you can play the iTunes store files you buy on any computer that has iTunes, and you can pass those files along to anyone you wish. Apple was already selling this codec under the name iTunes Plus, but the files were priced at 30 cents more than the regular 99-cent iTunes tracks because they also had a slightly higher bit rate. Have any questions? We certainly did. Here are our top eight, along with answers.”...
PC Magazine, Apr. 7
Gates Foundation and OCLC partner to increase library support
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announced April 14 a $5-million grant to the OCLC library cooperative to develop a campaign that will help public library leaders heighten awareness of the needs of local libraries and increase support for the services they provide during challenging times. The campaign will launch in select areas of Georgia and Iowa. This spring, OCLC will solicit proposals from libraries that wish to participate in the early pilot campaign and will award a limited number of small grants to support the campaign in select communities....
OCLC, Apr. 14
Third OCLC research software contest
OCLC Research is once again celebrating libraries, archives, museums, and their heritage of technological innovation, by sponsoring a software contest to encourage innovation in the use of web-based services. The prize is $2,500 and a visit to OCLC in Dublin, Ohio. The challenge is to use an OCLC resource to create a web service that does something interesting, innovative, and useful. The deadline is June 30....
April is Jazz Appreciation Month
Angela Hanshaw writes: “The Smithsonian launched Jazz Appreciation Month in 2001 to pay tribute to jazz both as a historic and living American art form. This year’s celebration marks the centennial of Chicago jazz-musician Benny Goodman, the King of Swing, who is featured on the 2009 poster (PDF file). Visitors to the JAM site can learn how to take part in the celebration.”...
Programming Librarian, Apr. 10
Can’t afford a prom dress? Try the library
With its community facing tough economic times, the Galesburg (Ill.) Public Library has reached out by offering free prom dresses to teens who otherwise couldn’t afford them. As a result of the 100 Dresses Program launched by YA Librarian Kari Smith, more than two dozen local girls from four high schools recently chose from gently used evening dresses donated from women's clubs, college students, and other high school kids. Some even walked away with matching accessories to wear on their big night, April 25....
School Library Journal, Apr. 8
School libraries and the educational ecosystem
ALA President Jim Rettig writes:
“No Child Left Behind put the spotlight on K–12 education and outcomes assessment. But faculty who teach introductory college courses also conduct outcomes assessment every year. They perennially conclude that our K–12 system fails to prepare many students to meet professors’ reasonable academic performance expectations, as the ubiquity of remedial education makes clear. College librarians are also in a unique position to assess new students’ college readiness.”...
Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, Mar.-Apr.
NBPTS creates Library Media Standards Committee
The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards is accepting applications from educators who wish to serve on the NBPTS Library Media Standards Committee. Applications must be completed by May 15. As part of the NBPTS ongoing mission to provide leading standards for what accomplished teachers should know and be able to do, NBPTS Standards Committees are periodically formed to review the standards....
National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, Apr. 7
Digital Library Federation merges with CLIR
The board of the Council on Library and Information Resources voted April 14 to merge the Digital Library Federation into CLIR as a program of the council, starting July 1. The vote follows recommendations by a DLF review committee in March to merge the two organizations, and a unanimous vote of consent by the DLF board on April 8. With the merger, DLF’s current members will become “charter sponsors” of the DLF program at CLIR....
Council on Library and Information Resources, Apr. 14
Admissions of another sort
Mary W. George writes: “When professors assign a library project to undergraduates, just what do they expect students to learn from the research part of the experience? This is an issue I often fret about. My concern arises not from a general suspicion that students are engaging in what I call WIGWAM research (Wikipedia – Internet – Google – Without Anything More), but from what students themselves have been telling me for decades. Here are the most persistent and troubling confessions I’ve heard from students over the years, with my speculation on their cause and cure.”...
Inside Higher Ed, Apr. 13
FCC launches “transformative” inquiry on broadband
Matthew Lasar writes: “‘You may have concluded by now that I think this is a pretty big deal. It really is,’ remarked interim Federal Communications Commission Chair Michael Copps at the April 8 Open Commission meeting. Copps was talking about the agency’s Notice of Inquiry asking for feedback on how to create a National Broadband Plan. ‘If we do our job well,’ he told his audience, ‘this will be the most formative—indeed transformative—proceeding ever in the commission’s history.’ The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 requires the FCC to come up with the plan.”...
Ars Technica, Apr. 8
Library training survey
Lori Reed writes: “Calling all trainers, training coordinators, HR managers, directors, consultants, and anyone who supports the training and learning function within libraries. Please take a few minutes and complete a short, anonymous survey. Your feedback is key to developing a support group and networking resource for trainers. The deadline is April 24.”....
Library Trainer, Apr. 13
A map of the land of books
This map by German illustrator Alphons Woelfle (1938) shows the extent and the divisions of Büherland (the Land of Books). The land consists of about half-a-dozen distinct territories, most of which are explicitly named: Leserrepublik (Reader’s Republic), Vereinigte Buchhandelsstaaten (United States of Booksellers), Recensentia (a Realm for Reviewers), Makulaturia (Waste Paper Land), and Poesia (Poetry). The capital of the US of B is the city of Officina (Latin for print shop). The map can be found in the digital archives of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek....
Strange Maps, Apr. 8
Apply for Stauber literacy funding (PDF file)
The Beacon Society, an organization dedicated to supporting educational experiences involving Sherlock Holmes literature, is offering grants of up to $250 to fund projects that will introduce young people to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s fictional detective. The deadline for applications for the Jan Stauber Grant is June 1....
Beacon Society, Apr. 14
Eudora Welty collection donated to Mississippi State
The legacy of Eudora Welty (1909–2001) as a great American writer continues through her critically acclaimed books, short stories, letters, and photographs. Many of her works were left with Hunter Cole, a fellow native of Jackson, Mississippi, who knew her well. Over 40 years, his collection of Welty memorabilia grew to measure more than 35 linear feet, and it was recently donated to Mississippi State University’s Mitchell Memorial Library....
Mississippi State University, Apr. 13
NARA releases Reagan and Bush records
Some 245,763 pages of Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush presidential records opened for research April 13 at their respective libraries. The records, which as of January 20 were still pending with the George W. Bush administration, on April 10 cleared the review process established by President Obama under Executive Order 13489, signed January 21. The Reagan documents include presidential briefing papers, speechwriting research materials, and declassified foreign policy records, while the Bush papers deal with Saudi Arabia....
National Archives, Apr. 10
10 surprising former librarians
Sara Newton writes: “Appropriately enough, I’m writing today’s Quick 10 from my neighborhood public library. Since it’s National Library Week, here’s a look at 10 people who once worked amongst the bookshelves. Number 1 is Mao Zedong (right). Before he led the Communist Party of China, Mao worked as a librarian’s assistant at Peking University between 1918 and 1919.”...
Mental Floss, Apr. 13
Larry Nix writes: “Bookmarks have been a common library handout for more than a century. An ongoing purpose has been promoting reading. National Library Week and summer reading promotional materials usually include bookmarks. I've put images of some of them on a Library Bookmark web page; a nice collection of links is available at the BiblioBuffet.”...
Library History Buff, Apr. 14; BiblioBuffet
Original Librarian Trading Cards
Donna Cavallini, business development research and competitive intelligence librarian for Arnold & Porter in Washington, D.C., writes: “Being a librarian has taught me how to ask the right questions and how research is iterative. It’s taught me how databases are structured so that I can ferret out the hidden, how to piece together bits of information to build a case, and how to leave no stone unturned. I’m inquisitive by nature, but being a librarian honed my skills.” Librarians interested in appearing in this blog should contact Amy n’ the Librarians....
Original Librarian Trading Cards, Apr. 6
WIU markets “Text Me” service
Western Illinois University Libraries recently launched a “Text Me” service. When a library user finds a book, journal article, or other resource through the online catalog on the library’s website, he or she can just click on the words “Text me this call number,” enter the mobile phone number and service provider, and the call number will be sent to the individual’s mobile phone in the form of a text message. To see how Text Me works, check out the video (3:29)....
Western Illinois University, Apr. 9
EW’s favorite libraries and librarians
Margaret Lyons writes: “Happy National Library Week! To help celebrate, I’m going to organize information in a logical, easy-to-understand way. And oh yeah, present to you, PopWatchers, some awesome pop references to libraries and librarians.” With YouTube excerpts from The Music Man (1962), The Breakfast Club (1985), Ghostbusters (1984), and Party Girl (1994) (1:27). Parker Posey as Mary, library clerk: “Why are we wasting our time with the Dewey Decimal System when yours is so much easier?”...
Entertainment Weekly, Apr. 13
Go back to the Top
ALA Annual Conference, Chicago, July 9–15. On the evening of July 9, Wait Wait . . . Don’t Tell Me!, the National Public Radio weekly hour-long quiz program sponsored by ALTAFF in partnership with Conference Services will feature host Peter Sagal, official scorekeeper Carl Kasell, and a panel of the nation’s foremost pundits, including Paula Poundstone, who will play this witty and quirky weekly quiz show during a live taping at the Chase Auditorium.
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2009 Library Design Showcase
A Greener Library, A Greener You
Building Science 101
Meeting Students’ Need States
Librarian, Multinational Force and Observers, El Gorah, Sinai, Egypt. The Multinational Force and Observers, the independent international peacekeeping organization responsible for supervising implementation of the security provisions of the Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty, seeks an experienced library professional to oversee proper functioning of the two libraries and provide library support services to 28 remote site locations for a multinational military and civilian force of approximately 1700 people in the Sinai Desert. A two-year renewable unaccompanied status contract including housing, meals, and recreational facilities is offered....
Digital Library of the Week
Seeking Michigan, launched in March by the state’s Department of History, Arts, and Libraries, is a growing collection of digitized documents, maps, films, images, oral histories, and artifacts that creatively tells the stories of Michigan’s families, homes, businesses, communities, and landscapes. Its first major accomplishment was the addition of some 1 million death records covering the years 1897 through 1920; these records are indexed by name, death date, location, and age. Other special collections include more than 100,000 pages of Civil War documents; some 10,000 photographs; a variety of Michigan sheet music; background on the state’s 44 governors; Works Progress Administration data on land and buildings throughout rural Michigan; photographs and postcards of 120 lighthouses and life-saving stations in the state; and thousands of maps in the state archives. The Library of Michigan and Archives of Michigan began work on this site in 2008.
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.
“When [best-selling author Elizabeth Berg] became a writer, it was a dream of hers to have a ‘real book in a real library’ that would be read by no one she knew. When it really happened, she was the first to check it out, she said. She was nervous that someone would think it was tacky to borrow her own book. But the librarian hadn’t even noticed who she was and told her that she was checking out a good book by a new author. Berg couldn’t believe the librarian already had read the book and enjoyed it... [Now, her 84-year-old] mother brings the librarians big tins of pralines each Christmas. Berg said her mother once told her, ‘If it weren’t for libraries, so many would not read at all—and look where they’d be.’”
—Lori Van Ingen’s profile of Elizabeth Berg, author of Durable Goods and Joy School, who was speaker at a National Library Week Author Luncheon April 14 at the Eden Resort Inn, Lancaster (Pa.) Intelligencer Journal, Apr. 15.
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the ALA Librarian
Q. My library is looking to start offering a virtual reference service. Do you have any resources to help us?
A. Virtual reference, also known as digital or electronic reference, is an evolving service that libraries offer. ALA has a fact sheet that offers a selection of articles, web resources, and some vendor information and provides an introduction to the issues to consider when contemplating the implementation of virtual reference services. From the ALA Professional Tips wiki.
@ The ALA Librarian welcomes your questions.
State privacy laws
ALA encourages all librarians, particularly those in public libraries, to work with their local legal counsel to ensure they understand state confidentiality laws so they may respond quickly to any requests from law enforcement. Forty-eight of 50 states have such laws on the books. This web page includes links to all state privacy laws regarding library records.
Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts, “Preservation Best Practices for Optimal Collections Care,” The Wistar Institute, Philadelphia.
USENIX, Symposium on Networked Systems Design and Implementation, Boston Park Plaza Hotel and Towers.
Celebration of Latino Children’s Literature Conference, University of South Carolina, College of Education, Columbia.
ARMA Utah–Salt Lake Chapter, Rocky Mountain SharePoint Conference, Sandy, Utah. “Leveraging SharePoint for Cost-Effective Electronic Document Management.”
NFAIS, “Social Media and the Future of Scholarly Communication,” PALINET Headquarters, Philadelphia.
Amigos Library Services, Member Conference, Crowne Plaza Hotel North Dallas-Addison, Texas. “Navigating the Now.”
Second World Congress: Information and Knowledge: Technology Issues, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
ACRL New England Chapter, Spring Conference, College of the Holy Cross, Hogan Center, Worcester, Massachusetts. “Are You Being Served? Customer Satisfaction and Library Service.”
Pres4Lib2009, a camp for library presenters and speakers, Princeton (N.J.) Public Library.
Homeland Defense Journal workshop, Jefferson Plaza Building, Arlington, Virginia. “Emergency Preparedness for Libraries.”
International m-Libraries Conference, University of British Columbia, Vancouver.
Association for Rural and Small Libraries, National Diversity in Libraries Conference, Marriott Louisville Downtown, Kentucky, “Spectrum of the Future.”
Internet Librarian International, Conference on Interlending and Document Supply, Hannover, Germany.
Ohio Library Council, Convention and Expo, Renaissance Hotel, Cleveland, Ohio. “Educating 21st-Century Leaders.”
Feb. 4–6, 2010:
Association of Writers and Illustrators for Children, Conference on Children’s Libraries, New Delhi. “Building a Book Culture.”