Book pilfered in Civil War returned to Washington and Lee
Nearly 145 years after it was taken by a Union soldier during a raid on Lexington, Virginia, a book on the Napoleonic Wars has found its way back to the special collections department of Washington and Lee University. Charles S. Gates, of the 54th Pennsylvania Infantry, pilfered it from Washington College, as it was then called, on June 11, 1864, when Union Gen. David Hunter raided the town and burned the neighboring Virginia Military Institute. The volume was returned to the Leyburn Library by Lake Forest (Ill.) College Handball Coach Mike Dau in February....
American Libraries Online, Apr. 17
Topeka woman: Relocating titles on sexuality isn’t enough
Eight weeks after barring minors from checking out four books about sexuality, the board of the Topeka and Shawnee County (Kans.) Public Library voted 6–3 on April 16 to restore the titles to unrestricted circulation but keep them where they were relocated in February—the Health Information Neighborhood collection in the library’s adult materials section. However, several days before the vote was taken, complainant Kim Borchers had declared herself dissatisfied with the books’ relocation, as well as an alternate option that would have barred patrons younger than 13 from borrowing the titles altogether....
American Libraries Online, Apr. 20
Municipal pay cuts avert San Diego branch closures
San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders’s attempt to close a $43-million budget deficit resolved on a positive note April 13 when he announced that there would be no service cuts, layoffs, or branch closures at the public library. This announcement came after community protests resulting from the mayor’s original proposal last November to temporarily shutter seven branches....
American Libraries Online, Apr. 21
Top 10 most challenged books of 2008
For the third consecutive year, Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell’s award-winning And Tango Makes Three, a children’s book about two male penguins caring for an orphaned egg, tops the ALA’s Top Ten list of the Most Frequently Challenged Books of 2008. Four books are new this year: Bless Me, Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya; Uncle Bobby’s Wedding, by Sarah S. Brannen; The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini; and Flashcards of My Life, by Charise Mericle Harper. In 2008, the Office for Intellectual Freedom received 513 reports on efforts to remove or restrict materials from school curricula and library bookshelves....
A tribute to Judith Krug
American Libraries Editor in Chief Leonard Kniffel writes this tribute to Judith Krug (on left), director of the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom, who died April 11: “Krug believed that no one has the right to tell other people what they can or cannot read. When asked where libraries should draw the line when it comes to stocking controversial material, she always had one answer: ‘The law.’ She understood that we are a nation living under the rule of law, and that creating, enforcing, or overturning the laws of the land is the single most important way to safeguard the freedom to read for all Americans.”...
AL Inside Scoop, Apr. 21
1995 interview with Judith Krug
American Libraries Senior Editor Beverly Goldberg conducted this interview in July 1995 with Judith Krug. A towering champion of free speech and vigorous opponent of censorship, Krug shared her views on threats to intellectual freedom, her influences, policies on library challenges, filtering software, and internet safety....
American Libraries 26 (Sept. 1995): 774–78
Caldwell-Stone named OIF acting director
Deborah Caldwell-Stone will serve as acting director of ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, effective immediately. Longtime OIF Director Judith Krug died April 11 after a lengthy illness. Caldwell-Stone, who will also serve as acting director of the Freedom to Read Foundation, joined OIF in October 2000, working on projects dealing with censorship and privacy in libraries. While at ALA, she has written a number of articles on privacy and confidentiality, as well as filtering....
House considers resolution on National Library Week
Reps. Paul Tonko (D-21) and Vern Ehlers (Mich.-3) presented powerful statements April 22 in support of a House resolution acknowledging and commending National Library Week. Ehlers, a long-time supporter of libraries and a sponsor of the resolution, also spoke to the importance of libraries and librarians to communities and why libraries are important to him personally. A vote was deferred until the end of the day....
District Dispatch, Apr. 22
The Senate highlights National Library Week
The U.S. Senate’s tribute to National Library Week on its homepage in mid-April brings attention to the importance of libraries and the difference libraries are making in the lives of millions of Americans. “The ALA appreciates the Senate for making note of National Library Week on its website this week and for reminding the Congress and all those who use their own libraries on a daily basis of the myriad contributions libraries make in today’s information-driven world,” ALA President Jim Rettig said....
OITP participates in Google Book settlement panel
On April 21, Alan Inouye (second from right), director of the ALA Office for Information Technology Policy, participated in a panel called “Copyright, Content, and Class Action Lawsuits: A Debate on the Google Book Search Settlement.” The talk was sponsored by the Innovation Technology and Innovation Foundation, and held at the Library of Congress. Inouye offered remarks on the proposed Google Book settlement from the library and public-interest perspective....
District Dispatch, Apr. 22
Millennial membership survey
ALA Emerging Leaders Team L (Amalia Monroe, Morgan Montgomery, Karen Keys, and Erin Dorney) would like library workers born after 1978 to spend 15–20 minutes completing a brief survey about ALA chapter membership. They are interested in finding out more about millennial generation needs and wants....
How to get involved in ALA chapters
ALA chapters (state library associations such as the Illinois Library Association) promote general library service and librarianship within their geographic areas, provide geographic representation to the ALA Council, and cooperate in the promotion of general and joint enterprises with the ALA and other library groups. ALA student chapters enhance students’ ALA membership by providing leadership and programming opportunities on their campuses....
Celebrate National Bookmobile Day next year
Bookmobiles and direct-delivery outreach services are an integral, vital part of libraries across the country. Their contribution to public life will be recognized during National Bookmobile Day on April 14, 2010, as part of National Library Week. The ALA Office for Literacy and Outreach Services and the Association for Bookmobile and Outreach Services are sponsors of National Bookmobile Day....
Judith Krug memorial video
This memorial video (8:04) to intellectual freedom legend Judith Krug, the long-time director of the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom and Freedom to Read Foundation, features messages from colleagues, interviews with Judith, and photos from throughout her career....
Featured review: Books for youth
Oaks, J. Adams. Why I Fight. Apr. 2009. 240p. Grades 8–12. Atheneum, hardcover (978-1-4169-1177-7).
Ever since he turned 12-and-a-half, Wyatt has been on the road with his cool uncle Spade, who lives by his wits and has a different “ladyfriend” in every new town they visit. For six years his uncle’s Chevy “was my house,” Wyatt tells the reader, and “all his ladyfriends was my mom.” It’s Spade’s idea that Wyatt, who is unusually tall and strong, should start bare-knuckle fighting for money, and the boy, heartbreakingly eager to please, complies, winning fight after fight . . . until the last one. Oaks’s first novel is a breathtaking debut with an unforgettable protagonist, a boy who may claim he hates the word love but is nonetheless desperately in search of it and of himself....
Historical fiction for youth
Gillian Engberg writes: “Rather than our usual practice of drawing from the past 12 months of reviews, this Top 10 list highlights the best historical-fiction youth titles published between January and April 2009. Why? Because we’ve seen such a wealth of excellent titles this year that we couldn’t decide which ones to leave off. For more outstanding recent historical fiction for youth, see the 2008 Editors’ Choice list.”...
@ Visit Booklist Online for other reviews and much more....
Top 10 reasons to attend Annual Conference
The ALA Annual Conference is always a great opportunity to learn and grow, and this year will be no exception when it returns to Chicago. With more than 20,000 librarians, a huge exhibit hall with 900 exhibitors, and more than 2,400 sessions and meetings, Annual Conference is an event not to be missed. The value of your week in Chicago will be measured by so much more than what you take back to your job. It’s also about the memories and stories you’ll have seeing friends and colleagues, taking in the city, and reacquainting yourself with what makes you happy to be a librarian. Here are just a few reasons to make plans to be with us July 9–15....
2009 ALA Annual Conference wiki
The Shedd’s Oceanarium
The Shedd Aquarium is always worth a visit, but after May 22 when its revamped and reimagined Oceanarium reopens, it will offer even more opportunities to interact with sea creatures. The new Regenstein Otter Trail and Habitat takes guests through Shedd’s rain forest to the coast; the ITW Foundation Beluga Trail winds along a rushing river that pours into a pristine estuary exhibit; Secluded Bay, the birthplace for the aquarium’s beluga calves, is better equipped for breeding efforts; and a greatly enlarged sea lion habitat features new staging areas and trainer platforms. Watch the video (2:33)....
Registration opens for Teen Read Week
YALSA launched its Teen Read Week 2009 website on April 16 (Support Teen Literature Day), opening registration and offering resources for the annual celebration of teen reading. Teen Read Week is October 18–24, with a theme of Read Beyond Reality @ your library, encouraging teens to read something out of this world, just for the fun of it. Teen Read Week is a national literacy initiative aimed at teens, their parents, librarians, educators, booksellers, and other concerned adults....
Teens’ Top Ten nominations
YALSA has announced that nominations for the annual Teens’ Top Ten are now available. YALSA encourages teens to read the 25 nominees before the national Teens’ Top Ten vote, which will take place during Teen Read Week, October 18–24. The Teens’ Top Ten is a teen choice list, in which teens nominate and choose their favorite books of the previous year. The 10 nominations that receive the most votes during Teen Read Week will be named the official Teens’ Top Ten....
New ACRL publication: Library Rx
ACRL has released Library Rx: Measuring and Treating Library Anxiety by Martina Malvasi, Catherine Rudowsky, and Jesus M. Valencia. Library Rx presents research findings on library anxiety in college and university students. There is strong evidence that library anxiety has a negative impact on undergraduate student performance. The authors review existing research on student reactions to the library environment, describe the findings of a research project on library anxiety, and present ideas for its treatment....
New FINRA unemployment resource
Public libraries can take advantage of important financial and unemployment-related information developed by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. FINRA’s Investor Alert, Job Dislocation: Making Smart Financial Choices after a Job Loss (PDF file), offers guidance and tips for the general public on maintaining financial stability during a period of unemployment. The agency is making this brochure available to public libraries for distribution to patrons in the spirit of Smart investing @ your library, the ongoing grant initiative managed as a partnership between RUSA and the FINRA Investor Education Foundation....
Toby Barlow to speak at RUSA breakfast
Toby Barlow, author of Sharp Teeth, is slated to speak about his spellbinding werewolf novel at the RUSA Literary Tastes Breakfast at ALA Annual Conference in Chicago, July 12. Sharp Teeth was the top horror selection for the 2009 Reading List, a RUSA award that annually highlights the best titles in genre fiction that merit attention from both adult readers and librarians....
Williams, Needham to speak at ASCLA President’s Program
Joan Frye Williams and George Needham will discuss issues of interest to all types of librarians at this year’s ASCLA President’s Program, “Revitalizing the Library Experience,” on July 12 in conjunction with ALA’s Annual Conference in Chicago. In a stimulating and fast-paced presentation, Williams and Needham will tackle emerging issues affecting all library environments and employees—from the rural library to the large library system employee, to the information broker....
ASCLA seeks proposals for 2010 conference
ASCLA is now accepting proposals for programs at the 2010 ALA Annual Conference in Washington, D.C. Division members are invited to submit proposals that cover developing trends in accessibility; library networks, co-ops, and consortia; state library agencies; prison libraries and library services to incarcerated youth; library consulting; and special populations, including libraries and library services for the blind, deaf, and hard of hearing. The deadline is May 15....
ACRL sets 2009 legislative agenda
The ACRL board of directors recently adopted its annual legislative agenda, with objectives for legislative action at the national level that affects the welfare of academic and research libraries. The eight-point agenda was formulated in time for National Library Legislative Day, to be held May 11–12 in Washington, D.C. The committee sought input from the ACRL Scholarly Communications and Copyright Committees, ACRL leaders, and the ALA Washington Office....
PLA workshop on serving diverse populations
To help public librarians learn how to effectively serve diverse populations, PLA is offering an intensive two-day workshop designed to teach these practical skills in Houston, Texas, August 6–7. Participants will learn how to identify the challenges of these groups and assess the library’s readiness to work with them, develop a culturally responsive library-services plan that addresses specific community needs, and develop marketing messages that connect with these populations....
Be a Better Manager on PLAspace
A new group, Be a Better Manager, has joined PLAspace. This community is a perfect place for managers and managers-to-be to discuss their questions, workplace situations, and solutions. Group members can also give insight about formal and informal professional development opportunities (blogs, workshops, courses, programs, books, and journals) that have helped them make good decisions....
PSAs for School Library Media Month
As spokesperson for School Library Media Month, best-selling author James Patterson is the voice behind public service announcements promoting the work of school library media specialists in schools across the country. The PSAs are available for downloading in MP3 format in lengths of 10, 15, and 20 seconds....
2009 Arbuthnot Honor Lecture
Author Walter Dean Myers (center) delivered the 2009 May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture April 18 at the Langston Hughes Library of the Children’s Defense Fund Alex Haley Farm in Clinton, Tennessee. CDF Founder and President Marian Wright Edelman gave the welcome. The local host of the event was Theresa Venable, librarian of the Langston Hughes Library....
ALSC award podcasts
Hear about the 2009 ALSC book and media awards from the committee chairs themselves through new podcasts by Sarah Long, the executive director of the North Suburban Library System in Wheeling, Illinois. The podcasts are available on the Library Beat website and feature interviews about the Newbery Award (15:23) with Committee Chair Rose Treviño, the Caldecott Award (16:29) with Committee Chair Nell Colburn, and the Carnegie Award (18:11) with Committee Chair Margaret Tice....
ALSC Blog, Apr. 20; Library Beat
Moline celebrates National Library Week kaleidoscopically
As the winner of the 2009 Scholastic Library Publishing National Library Week Grant for its public awareness campaign, the Moline (Ill.) Public Library had the opportunity to celebrate the week in style.
The library’s campaign was inspired by local artist Thomas Chouteau’s “River of Life” kaleidoscope (above) and promoted its connection with the community by creating a series of community kaleidoscope programs throughout the entire year. Check out the library’s video PSA (0:32)....
National Library Legislative Day travel grants
ACRL has chosen 11 winners of the 2009 National Library Legislative Day travel grants. Reflecting ACRL President Erika Linke’s focus on legislative advocacy, the division awarded $250 grants to 11 ACRL legislative advocates to travel to Washington, D.C., May 11–12. During NLLD, library staff and supporters from around the country converge on Capitol Hill to meet with their federal representatives to advocate for libraries....
Elizabeth Strout wins 2009 Pulitzer for fiction
Olive Kitteridge, a set of linked stories about a gruff, 60-something school teacher in a coastal town in Maine, is the work that has won its author, Elizabeth Strout, the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for fiction. The 13 linked stories also serve as microcosms of small-town life, with its gossip, small kindnesses, and everyday tragedies. The full list of Pulitzer winners is here....
Christian Science Monitor, Apr. 20
2009 Indies Choice Book Awards
The American Booksellers Association has announced the winners of the inaugural Indies Choice Book Awards. Formerly the Book Sense Book of the Year Awards, the new Indies Choice Book Awards reflect the spirit of independent bookstores nationwide through new categories and a broader range of winners and honor books. Winner in the fiction category is The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows (Dial Press)....
American Booksellers Association, Apr. 16
Seattle libraries to close for a week in August
The city of Seattle plans to close its libraries for a week during the summer because of a midyear budget shortfall, Mayor Greg Nickels announced April 17. The Seattle Public Library initially proposed shorter branch hours, but the mayor reinstated $500,000 to its budget to allow it to keep its regular hours and avoid layoffs. Library spokeswoman Andra Addison said the closure will probably be the last week of August....
Seattle Times, Apr. 18
Broward County faces branch closings
Pain and politics were on display April 21 as Broward County, Florida, commissioners settled into the tough task of figuring out how to cut $160 million in spending next year. Money-saving proposals from staff included closing all county libraries on Sundays, cutting hours, and eliminating seven smaller branches. The cuts, if approved, would run counter to voter intent: Twice in the last 11 years, voters approved expanding the county’s libraries....
Miami Herald, Apr. 22
Escondido could forgo new library to soften cuts
Aiming to avoid further cuts to vital city services, the Escondido, California, city council’s budget subcommittee decided April 21 to help close projected budget deficits over the next four years with $8.1 million previously earmarked for a new downtown library. The subcommittee said it chose the library money instead of $17 million in reserves set aside for a downtown hotel because the hotel would boost and diversify city revenue in the long term....
Escondido (Calif.) North County Times, Apr. 21
San Jose votes down porn filters
A year and a half of debate over filtering pornography out of San Jose (Calif.) Public Library computers came to a head late April 21 when the city council rejected spending money on the technology. After a lively debate that lasted hours, the council voted 7–3 to approve a proposal by the vice mayor and two councilmen that would remind computer users of existing policies to be courteous to others. Mayor Chuck Reed and council members Pete Constant and Pierluigi Oliverio were opposed, favoring filters in children’s areas....
San Jose (Calif.) Mercury News, Apr. 22
Clearwater budget squeeze versus library fans
It’s another busy afternoon at the Clearwater (Fla.) Public Library’s East branch (right). The book stacks and computer terminals are packed with people, and they don’t want to hear about a plan to move their local library three miles away. But Clearwater might not be able to afford five branches anymore. To save money, city leaders are seriously considering closing the Countryside and East branches and merging them into one large regional library between the two....
St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times, Apr. 19
Libraries take a hit in L.A. budget proposals
Public libraries and municipal arts agencies did not fare well in either the Los Angeles County budget proposal released April 20 or in the city of Los Angeles spending plan recently issued. The separate county and city public library systems each would take hits of about 10% to core operations under proposed budgets submitted by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and county administrator William Fujioka....
Los Angeles Times, Apr. 20
UC System restarts salary talks with librarians
The University of California met with a union representing about 400 UC librarians April 17 to negotiate salary and professional development funding. The meeting was the second mediated session since an impasse was declared in February, after salary negotiations between the American Federation of Teachers and the university resumed last November. Michelle Squitieri, a local representative of the union, said UC librarians want equal pay with librarians in the California State University system....
The Daily Californian (UC Berkeley), Apr. 20
Boston trims its holdings
The Boston Public Library is poised to sell or even give away a handful of items from its extensive special collection, as the landmark institution culls its vast holdings. So far, the library’s collections committee has discussed parting with three items: an early American piano, a series of large Audubon prints, and a collection of glass printing plates once used to make postcards. Library officials stressed that these discussions are not related to the city’s budget crunch....
Boston Globe, Apr. 20
Stonewall Library to reopen April 23
The Stonewall Library and Archives has been operating at its new home on Sunrise Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, since the end of January. On April 23, Stonewall Executive Director Jack Rutland will unlock the entrance to the site in the building it shares with ArtServe and Broward County Library’s Fort Lauderdale branch. The GLBT collection’s move almost didn’t happen; in 2007 former Mayor Jim Naugle tried to stop it from going to a public building....
Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) Sun Sentinel, Apr. 16
Feeling Wii in the knee?
To say that Wii injuries are an epidemic would be an overstatement, but they are proliferating along with the popular video-game system. Interviews with orthopedists and sports-medicine physicians revealed few serious injuries, but rather a phenomenon more closely resembling a spreading national ache: patients of all ages complaining of strains and swelling related to their use—and overuse—of the Wii....
New York Times, Apr. 21
School deregulation bill passes Oklahoma House
The Oklahoma House of Representatives passed April 15 the School District Empowerment Program (S.B. 834), which would deregulate education in 20% of the state’s schools. If the bill is signed into law, the State Board of Education would randomly select 20% of school districts to participate in the program, under which individual districts would be in charge of things the state now controls. The Oklahoma Library Association notes (Word file) that the bill has been amended to require certification for librarians, but the requirement is in place only if a district chooses to hire a librarian....
KTUL-TV, Tulsa, Okla.; Oklahoma Library Association
UW-Madison and the Google Books Initiative
As part of the Google Books Initiative, the University of Wisconsin–Madison Library System was the eighth library worldwide to join with Google to bring books into the digital age. The UW project, which also includes the Wisconsin Historical Society, has no direct costs because Google pays for the digitization. However, the library employs three full-time staffers to gather the books for shipping and reshelve them when they return....
The Daily Cardinal (UW-Madison), Apr. 16
Gun drama as accused Folio thief arrives at court
Dressed as Che Guevara, the man accused of stealing a priceless first edition of Shakespeare’s works from Durham University triggered a gun drama when he arrived at court April 14. The eccentric Raymond Scott made his dramatic entrance at Consett Magistrates Court in County Durham, England, charged with three counts of theft and three of handling stolen goods. Scott was stopped by staff after trying to enter the court with a handgun and a rifle....
Sunderland (U.K.) Echo, Apr. 15
Gloucester libraries criticized for playing music
Visitors to libraries in Gloucestershire, England, must now endure pop music being played as managers seek to boost the appeal of their services to younger users. The libraries are equipped with sound systems to provide background music because “libraries are not just about books anymore,” organizers claim. However, the move has been condemned as totally inappropriate by critics, who believe that libraries are the last bastion of hush in an increasingly noisy world....
The Telegraph (U.K.), Apr. 20
Go back to the Top
Top 10 unlocked smartphones
Freedom of choice—that’s the biggest advantage of buying an unlocked phone. You’re not bound to a carrier, and you have some pretty enticing choices when it comes to a handset. Reviews here include the RIM BlackBerry Bold, the Nokia E71, the Palm Treo Pro, and the Samsung Innov8....
PC World, Apr. 20
22 ways to make your iPhone a better camera
Michael Muchmore writes: “One of the few disappointments in the
is its camera. It’s just 2 megapixels, has no video capability, and performs poorly in low light and with moving subjects. Add to the list of missing features zoom, burst mode, timer, and white balance. Luckily, there are apps that address most of these issues and some picture-taking techniques that also can help you mitigate the iPhone camera’s shortcomings.”...
PC Magazine, Apr. 17
Should governments build iPhone apps?
Marshall Kirkpatrick writes: “The State of Utah has released the first iPhone app by a state government, and it is pretty impressive. In addition to the directory of departments and services available through the Utah.gov app (iTunes link) there’s also a second app available called the Utah Professional License Lookup. But is building an app for a device owned by the relatively well-to-do really a good priority?”...
ReadWriteWeb, Apr. 16
Behind the scenes with Windows 7
Jessica Mintz writes: “To design Windows 7, Microsoft analyzed billions of pieces of data. It studied exactly what PC users do in front of their screens. It tallied hundreds of thousands of Windows surveys. It got feedback from people all over the world who tried different versions of the software. As a result, every change or new feature in Windows 7 comes with a back story. Here is a sampling of things you’ll see in the next operating system and explanations of how each came about.”...
Associated Press, Apr. 19
In defense of web-design eye candy
Stephen P. Anderson writes: “We’ve all seen arguments in the design community that dismiss the role of beauty in visual interfaces, insisting that good designers base their choices strictly on matters of branding or basic design principles. Lost in these discussions is an understanding of the powerful role aesthetics play in shaping how we come to know, feel, and respond. If we shift the conversation away from graphical elements and instead focus on aesthetics, we learn that this distinction between how something looks and how it works is somewhat artificial.”...
A List Apart, Apr. 21
Google launches Profile Results
Danny Sullivan writes: “Ever searched for yourself on Google and come away dissatisfied, especially if someone else you share a name with seems to dominate the results? Ever looked for someone else and been disappointed that you couldn’t find the person you wanted? Google’s new Profile Results that launched April 21 aims to correct both problems. Now Google Profile pages are being promoted as a way for people to tell the world who they are and, to some degree, being offered as a way for people to claim their identity in Google’s main search results.”...
Search Engine Land, Apr. 21
How to track social media analytics
Ben Parr writes: “Social media websites have become an increasingly important source of website traffic. This creates a massive demand for statistical data related to social media. Where are users coming from? What topics excite them? These are questions that, when answered, can be the difference between a successful website and a failed social media campaign. But social media analytics is young, and not many people know where to start.”...
Mashable, Apr. 19
On being PLNtrenched
Joyce Valenza writes: “I want all my colleagues to have them. I speak about them with awe and admiration at conferences. And I probably browbeat those who are without them into being with them. But lately, when I wake up in the middle of the night, I find that I am thinking about my PLN (that is, my professional—or personal—learning network). I confess. I am hyperconnected. And being hyperconnected is both a blessing and a curse.”...
NeverEndingSearch, Apr. 11
Twitter directly from your brain
“Go Badgers” isn’t an unusual message to get from the University of Wisconsin at Madison—particularly when it’s a status update from Twitter, the texting service that limits users to 140 characters at a time. The unusual thing about this message is how it got to Twitter in the first place: via brain waves. University of Wisconsin doctoral student Adam Wilson’s cheer is among the first direct brain-to-Twitter messages ever sent—and it points the way to better communication systems for paralyzed patients who have to cope with the conditions faced by physicist Stephen Hawking....
Cosmic Log, Apr. 20; NITRO Lablog, Apr. 20
E-readers and libraries
The release of the Kindle 2 has set off a firestorm of speculation about how e-readers are going to transform (or destroy) the publishing industry. If widely adopted, they have the potential to allow libraries new ways to house and circulate materials. But could there be downsides as well? Jason Griffey, Tom Peters, and Cindi Trainor weigh in with their predictions on how e-readers are going to change librarianship in coming years....
ALA TechSource blog, Apr. 21
BookSwim: Netflix for books?
Peter Glaskowsky writes: “A new web-based rental service called BookSwim describes itself as Netflix for books. After checking it out, that seems to be a fair enough summary. The pricing doesn’t seem to be quite as good a deal as Netflix; the fees are slightly higher and the average price of books is somewhat lower than for movies. BookSwim now offers a subscription with three books out at a time for $19.98 per month; it plans go up to 11 books at a time for $39.94 per month.”...
Speeds and Feeds, Apr. 21
Mark Twain in magazines
Steven Lomazow writes: “Having just acquired an extremely rare periodical that contains 12 early Mark Twain appearances, it is an excellent time to present a short treatise about the magazine appearances of America’s foremost humorist. I believe that my collection now contains the best representation of Twain periodicals in private hands. Twain’s first appearance was way back when he was 16, in Benjamin Shillaber’s Carpet Bag in 1852. His original work was published in magazines 178 times in a few dozen different publications, some posthumously. Most notable is the earliest excerpt of Huckleberry Finn in December 1884 in The Century.”...
Magazine History: A Collector’s Blog, Mar. 26
Longing for great lost works
Stephen Marche writes: “On World Book Day (April 23) I always find myself thinking about the books that don’t exist more than the ones that do. The silence makes the missing books even more attractive. We are left to impose our own Shakespeare into the vacuums of his rumored plays Cardenio and Love’s Labour’s Won. Maybe that is why I am so addicted to lists of phantom texts and consumed Stuart Kelly’s wonderful Book of Lost Books, published in 2005, at a single sitting. The main fun is deciding which text you would have back from oblivion if you could pick only one.”...
Wall Street Journal, Apr. 18
Earliest-known publisher’s jacket discovered
A dust jacket belonging to Friendship’s Offering for 1830 (London: Smith, Elder, & Co., 1829) is apparently the earliest on record. Discovered in March in the archives of Oxford’s Bodleian Library by Michael Turner, it no longer is on the book it originally covered, but folded and bound with booktrade ephemera. Despite the lack of the publisher’s name, it is clear from this jacket that the potential for advertising on dust jackets was recognized from their inception....
19th Century Dust Jackets, Apr. 6
Google News Timeline
On April 20, Google unveiled a new experimental product called Google News Timeline that displays news and related search results on an interactive timeline. It offers interesting possibilities for exploring stories, especially older ones, that are largely hidden in newspaper and magazine archives. It is also a powerful way to view trends in culture and society or the careers of famous people. The service includes current stories gathered by Google News, as well as archival news; scanned newspapers, magazines, and books; blog posts; sports scores; and media like music and movies....
New York Times, Apr. 21
Nancy goes to the library
Finally, after 76 years as a comic-strip character, the wily 8-year-old Nancy discovers the library. The current Nancy artists, Guy and Brad Gilchrist, show Nancy finding out about all the free things that a public library offers....
Nancy, Apr. 19
Warner DVD movies on demand
Mark Harris writes: “All cinephiles are hostages to what we can and cannot see. The ‘everything’ that we imagine is available on DVD is a tiny fraction of the ‘everything’ that actually exists. The recent launch of the Warner Archive Collection could well portend a revolution; it’s DVD on demand. Go to the archive and browse the titles. Click on the ones you want, and for $19.95 apiece, they’ll burn a DVD-R and ship you the movie in a standard plastic case with cover art.”...
Slate, Apr. 21
NextGens and Boomers: Bridging the gap
Laurel Tarulli writes: “Are you a Boomer or New Gener? Where do your biases fall? Whichever you are, biases work both ways. As a NextGener, you don’t want to be looked at as a wet-behind-the-ears-you-have-so-much-to-learn librarian. But as a Boomer, you don’t want to be seen as a washed-up-your-career-is-over librarian. So how do we meet in the middle? And how do these biases present themselves in the workplace?”...
The Cataloguing Librarian, Apr. 16
NELINET to join Lyrasis
The boards of directors of NELINET and Lyrasis have approved a resolution to recommend that NELINET join Lyrasis. Together, the two organizations will comprise the largest membership collaborative of its kind, serving more than 4,500 libraries and cultural-heritage institutions in New England, the Mid-Atlantic, and the Southeastern United States. Lyrasis was created from the merger of two well-established regional library networks, PALINET and SOLINET....
NELINET, Apr. 16
Mobile connectivity and engagement on the rise
Some 39% of Americans have positive and improving attitudes about their mobile communication devices, which in turn draws them further into engagement with digital resources on both wireless and wireline platforms, according to a Pew Internet and American Life Project survey. Those who plug into the information and communications world while on-the-go are notably more active in many aspects of digital life than those who are wired to the internet or the 14% of Americans who are off the grid entirely....
Pew Internet and American Life Project, Mar. 25
Online catalogs: What users and librarians want
In 2008, OCLC conducted focus groups, administered a pop-up survey on WorldCat, and conducted a web-based survey of librarians worldwide to find and compare the data-quality expectations of catalog end users and librarians. The results are now available online (PDF file). The findings indicate, among other things, that although library catalogs are often thought of as discovery tools, the catalog’s delivery-related information is just as important to end users....
Digital archives that disappear
Scott Jaschik writes: “As digital archives have become more important and more popular, there are varying schools of thought among scholars about how best to guarantee that they will be around for good. The fate of Paper of Record, a digital archive of early newspapers with a particularly strong collection from Mexico, may be cited in the years ahead as an example of the dangers of purchase by a large entity. Paper of Record was purchased (secretly) by Google in 2006, and shortly after Google took over management of the site, late last year, the archive disappeared from view.”...
Inside Higher Ed, Apr. 22; AHA Today, Apr. 17
Best Buy community grants
Through its Community Grants program, each Best Buy territory across the United States annually supports nonprofit organizations that offer programs and services providing opportunities for young teens related to education, life skills, leadership skills, or relationship development. This year, the Best Buy Children’s Foundation will grant $1 million to qualifying organizations. Applications will be accepted between May 15 and June 15....
Lawyers, librarians, clergy, and coaches
Scott Walter writes: “Both Inside Higher Ed and the Chronicle point to a new report (PDF file) by the Center for College Affordability and Productivity on ‘Trends in the Higher Education Workforce’ that notes that the number of support staff positions have increased far more rapidly over the past 20 years than has the number of instructional positions. This, it is suggested, ‘reflects unproductive spending by academe.’ I see echoes in this report of the 2006 debate in school library circles over the 65% solution, the question of whether school librarians should be counted as instructional staff.”...
ACRLog, Apr. 20; Inside Higher Ed, Apr. 20; Chronicle of Higher Education, Apr. 24
Larry Nix writes: “Library buttons are a common device used by libraries to promote library services and programs. They are also used by professional library associations to promote conferences and activities. Over the years I have collected hundreds of library-related buttons. I’ve selected a few to include on a Library Buttons page.”...
Library History Buff Blog, Apr. 16
12 steps for coping with book-group interruptions
Neil Hollands writes: “Interruptions are the bane of many book groups, a chronic problem that can destroy the flow of discussion, create ill will between readers, and distract the group from its most important points. I’ll start with suggestions that should cure a minor interruption problem and slowly raise the response level. Let’s hope you don’t have to resort to step 12.” Make sure you link to part two....
Book Group Buzz, Apr. 15, 21
Tips for deciphering old Germanic scripts
Peter Doerling writes: “Sütterlinschrift, or ‘old German hand,’ is a script created by the Berlin graphic artist Ludwig Sütterlin (1865–1917) that was taught from 1915 to 1941 in German schools. Sütterlin script is rarely written precisely, since it occurs almost only in handwriting. Even an experienced reader must first get used to the specific handwriting before the text can become understandable.” Doerling provides a short primer in the script, along with tips and tricks for recognizing variants, examples in different hands, and comparisons of the Sütterlin alphabet to other 17th- to 19th-century letters (lower-case and upper-case)....
Old German Writings
The Dewey Decimal Rap
Scott “Scooter” Hayes, a literacy consultant, may be the only New Hanover County (N.C.) Public Library staffer who stars in his own rap video (4:14). Clad in a hoodie, dark glasses, and a blond wig, he hip-hops his way through an explanation of how the Dewey Decimal system can help readers find information on subjects as disparate as sharks, Italian recipes, and history’s most famous shipwreck. His catchy tune illustrates how far Hayes will go to make learning fun....
Wilmington (N.C.) Star-News, Apr. 14; YouTube, Mar. 10
Facebook manners and you
Do you have good Facebook manners? Timmy and Alice don’t. Watch their bad behavior to learn the do’s and don’ts of Facebook breakups. Rule #2, Don’t post embarrassing photographs of other people; and Rule #5, Don’t start hate groups. Produced by Your Tango Instructional Films....
YouTube, Apr. 15
Go back to the Top
ALA Annual Conference, Chicago, July 9–15. Tours are provided by Accent on Arrangements; advance registration and payment are strongly recommended. The deadline for advance registration is June 19. You may find out more about the tours here and you have the option of registering online or sending in the registration form. Onsite registration will only be on a space-available basis.
Developing a Compensation Plan for Your Library (2d ed.), by Paula M. Singer and Laura L. Francisco, offers a new analysis of emerging workforce trends. The authors tackle the new challenges facing administrators and human-resource planners such as the retirement of Baby Boomers, determining the compensation value of an MLS, and how to retain your organization’s high-performing employees. NEW! From ALA Editions.
2009 Library Design Showcase
A Greener Library, A Greener You
Building Science 101
Meeting Students’ Need States
LSTA funding. Please contact your senators and ask them sign the “Dear Colleague” letter (PDF file) being circulated by Sens. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) in support of funding for the Library Services and Technology Act and the Improving Literacy Through School Libraries Program. The deadline to sign the letter is May 5. The letter requests (PDF file) that the Senate include $300 million for LSTA and $100 million for the Improving Literary program for FY 2010.
Librarian, Western History Collections, University of Oklahoma, Norman. Responsible for the general operation of the library and photographic archives. Supervises the reading room, coordinates reference services, conducts tours of the collections, and prepares exhibits. Supervises reproduction and digital conversion of photographs and sound recordings, and coordinates technical processing for books and images. Assists in collection development and maintains the photographic archives web page. Provides instruction using the holdings of the collections and supervises collections’ staff and students....
Digital Library of the Week
The World Digital Library, launched April 21, makes it possible to discover, study, and enjoy cultural treasures from around the world on one site. These treasures include, but are not limited to, manuscripts, maps, rare books, musical scores, recordings, films, prints, photographs, and architectural drawings. Items on the site may easily be browsed by place, time, topic, type of item, and contributing institution, or can be located by an open-ended search in several languages. Special features include interactive geographic clusters, a timeline, and advanced image-viewing and interpretive capabilities. Item-level descriptions and interviews with curators about featured items provide additional information. Navigation tools and content descriptions are provided in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish. Many more languages are represented in the actual books, manuscripts, maps, photographs, and other primary materials, which are provided in their original languages. The collection was developed by a team at the U.S. Library of Congress, with contributions by partner institutions in many countries; the support of UNESCO; and the financial support of a number of companies and private foundations. BibliOdyssey has a nice selection of illustrations (with descriptions) from the World Digital Library.
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.
“I have no doubt that Mr. Toast was the cleanest person I knew at the time, although he never bathed anywhere but at the library. After finishing, he always went downstairs, to the periodicals room, and read each of New York’s daily newspapers from cover to cover, like any other retiree with time to kill.”
—Novelist John Wray describing how his friend Mr. Toast taught him to bathe at the Brooklyn Heights branch of the Brooklyn (N.Y.) Public Library during a period of near-homelessness, in “How Mr. Toast Took a Bath,” New York Times, Mar. 13.
AL on Twitter? Follow American Libraries news stories, videos, and blog posts on Twitter.
Request a printed ALA Editions Spring/Summer catalog or download (PDF file) a virtual one to find out the latest titles published by the Association.
the ALA Librarian
Q. Our library is near a number of homeless shelters, and many of the people who use the shelters also use our library. Lately we have been getting complaints from some of our other patrons about body- odor problems with some of the shelter patrons. Do you have any suggestions on how we can deal with this?
A. Your library is certainly not the only one to face this issue. Issues of body odor are not limited to homeless library patrons, so you need to be careful in crafting a policy that does not single out these individuals. See our pages on policy development and sample policies for help in creating a new policy for your library. From the ALA Professional Tips wiki.
@ The ALA Librarian welcomes your questions.
Stimulus funding and construction. The most frequently asked questions by state and local officials have been about the use of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds for construction. The ALA Washington Office has issued a brief (PDF file) that provides the answers. Four states (California, Illinois, Maine, and South Dakota) have submitted applications for the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund to the U.S. Department of Education. The applications from South Dakota and Illinois were approved April 20.
Society for Imaging Science and Technology, Archiving Conference, Hilton Crystal City, Arlington, Virginia.
Enterprise 2009: The Educause Enterprise Information and Technology Conference, Indianapolis Marriott Downtown.
SciBarCamp2, Hart House, University of Toronto. SciBarCamp is a gathering of scientists, artists, and technologists for a day of talks and active discussion.
May 13–14: Rethinking Resource Sharing, OCLC Conference Center, Dublin, Ohio. “Inspiring Librarians, Empowering People.”
Association of Canadian Archivists, Annual Conference, Calgary, Alberta. “Rights, Responsibilities, Trust: Archives and Public Affairs.”
Innovative Users Group, Hilton Anaheim, California.
Society for Scholarly Publishing, Annual Meeting, Marriott Baltimore Waterfront.
May 27–30: Association for Recorded Sound Collections, Annual Conference, Liaison Capitol Hill Hotel, Washington, D.C.
BookExpo America, Jacob K. Javits Center, New York City.
International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities, Friendship Hotel, Beijing, China.
Inspiration, Innovation, and Celebration: An Entrepreneurial Conference for Librarians, Elliott University Center, University of North Carolina, Greensboro.
Digitization and Museums, Spring Hill Suites Marriott Boise ParkCenter, Boise, Idaho. Hosted by the American Association for State and Local History.
Politics and Networking, Decatur, Georgia. Certified Public Library Administrator course sponsored by PLA.
International Society for Professional Innovation Management, Annual Conference, Vienna, Austria. “The Future of Innovation.”
Association for Rural and Small Libraries, Conference, Gatlinburg, Tennessee.
LITA, National Forum, Salt Lake City, Utah. “Open and Mobile.”
Kentucky Library Association / Kentucky School Media Association / Southeastern Library Association, National Diversity in Libraries Conference, Louisville (Ky.) Marriott Downtown. “Spectrum of the Future.”
Self-Publishing Book Expo, 630 Second Ave., New York City.