Community outrage prompts reopening of Colton libraries
Less than a month after city administrators in Colton, California, abruptly shuttered both public libraries as part of an effort to close a $5-million budget gap, Colton Public Library is back in business. The December 1 reopening of the main library (right) came just two weeks after some 100 area residents, including library board President Pete Carrasco, voiced their displeasure to the city council about the sudden November 12 closure of the libraries and the dismissal of all 17 library staff members. The city’s only branch was slated to reopen December 3....
American Libraries Online, Dec. 2
Barbara M. Jones appointed OIF director
Barbara M. Jones has been appointed director of the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom and executive director of the Freedom to Read Foundation, effective December 14. Jones brings 25 years of active engagement on intellectual freedom issues to her new position. She currently serves as FTRF treasurer, and from 2003 to 2009 she was university librarian at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut. Her article on “Libel Tourism” appeared in the November issue of American Libraries....
ALA submits comments on broadband adoption
ALA submitted comments (PDF file) December 2 to the Federal Communications Commission regarding broadband adoption as part of the National Broadband Plan. As the FCC develops the plan, the commission is looking at the societal cost of having a large group of people who do not use the internet as well as the barriers that prevent people from using it....
District Dispatch, Dec. 2
ALA files comments on broadband stimulus
ALA filed comments (PDF file) November 30 with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration and Rural Utilities Service regarding the implementation of the Broadband Initiatives Program and Broadband Technology Opportunities Program. The comments called for increasing funding for the Public Computer Center Program, streamlining and simplifying the application and review process, and prioritizing funding for community anchor institutions....
District Dispatch, Nov. 30
Get connected @ your library
The Campaign for America’s Libraries is inviting ALA members to join its communities in ALA Connect, the home of the ALA online communities. Communities include National Library Week, Library Card Sign-up Month, and the Campaign for the World’s Libraries. ALA Connect is open to all and provides community members with an arena to post programming ideas and discuss campaign initiatives. To join, visit ALA Connect Groups and search for the community you would like to join. A discussion of promotional ideas for National Library Week 2010, using the theme “Communities thrive @ your library,” is available....
ALA participates in Decision to Learn survey
ALA is participating in a project initiated by the American Society of Association Executives called Decision to Learn. A division-stratified random sample of ALA membership has been requested to respond to the survey about formal and informal, structured or self-directed, voluntary or required learning that is directly related to professional growth or job opportunities. ALA members are encouraged to take 15 minutes to respond....
Forging innovative partnerships with communities
ALA Editions has released Librarians as Community Partners: An Outreach Handbook. As editor Carol Smallwood states in the preface, this volume is “a mosaic of 66 articles by 34 innovative librarians from across the United States who share their successful outreach activities with the reader. These previously unpublished articles by school, public, academic, and special librarians and LIS faculty convey the effectiveness of outreach and the dedication, inventiveness, and enthusiasm of librarians.”...
Writing and publishing for the busy librarian
ALA Editions has released Writing and Publishing: The Librarian’s Handbook, edited by Carol Smallwood. This practical, how-to volume offers guidance to help the time-strapped library professional effectively share information about their library through websites, blogs, and online columns; write fiction, poetry, children’s books, magazine articles, book reviews, bibliographic essays, and lists; and understand the ins and outs of self-publishing and working with literary agents....
Featured review: Sci-tech
Hansen, James. Storms of My Grandchildren: The Truth about the Coming Climate Catastrophe and Our Last Chance to Save Humanity. Dec. 2009. 320p. Bloomsbury, hardcover (978-1-60819-200-7).
Climatologist Hansen, director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and an internationally renowned global-warming expert, became even more famous when he was censored by the Bush administration. After decades of studying the role fossil fuels play in global warming and witnessing the federal government’s failure to take action to lower carbon emissions, he felt compelled to write his first book out of concern about the potentially catastrophic future facing his grandchildren. Hansen condemns governmental “greenwashing” and the undue influence of more than 2,300 energy lobbyists, and attempts to close the gap “between public perception and scientific reality” by lucidly explaining the dynamics of global warming, its acceleration, and how a slight rise in temperature can lead to disastrous consequences. He then boldly declares that the way to solve the climate crisis is to “rapidly phase out coal emissions.”...
Top 10 sci-tech books of 2009
Donna Seaman writes: “The obsessions of this stellar group of science writers—including polar bears, a missing aviator, dawn, computer programming, dogs, and antimatter—inspired a year’s worth of significant and intriguing books.”...
@ Visit Booklist Online for other reviews and much more....
The Raven returns to Boston
One of the best-kept secrets in Boston’s literary history concerns one of the most influential writers ever born there: Edgar Allan Poe. The current year marks the bicentennial of Poe’s birth. To celebrate, Boston Public Library is hosting a Poe exhibition, “The Raven in the Frog Pond: Edgar Allan Poe and the City of Boston,” December 17 through March. The exhibition presents newly uncovered information about Poe’s time in Boston and explores urban legends that have grown up around him....
Boston Public Library, Dec. 1
Boston Children’s Museum
For over 90 years, the Boston Children’s Museum at 308 Congress Street has served as a leader in Boston and within the museum community. The museum exists to help children understand and enjoy the world in which they live. It is a private, nonprofit, educational institution that is recognized internationally as a research and development center and pacesetter for children’s exhibitions, educational programs, and curriculum. The museum focuses on three key areas of expertise: visitor programs, teacher resources, and early childhood education. A special exhibit during Midwinter will be “Top Secret: Mission Toy.”...
Boston Children’s Museum
ACRL partners with HighWire Press
ACRL has announced a new partnership with HighWire Press, a division of the Stanford University Libraries, to provide online hosting of College and Research Libraries, College and Research Libraries News, RBM, and Choice Review Online. The move from the ALA website to the HighWire platform will provide a number of benefits—improved search capabilities both within and across publications, increased Web 2.0 functionality, and online access for individual and institutional nonmember subscribers....
ACRL Insider, Dec. 1
ALCTS working group on romanization
The ALCTS Non-English Access Working Group on Romanization has created a draft report on the use of romanized data in bibliographic and authority records, whether romanization is still needed, and whether two different MARC21 models for multiscript records can coexist in one catalog. Comments are invited by December 8....
Advance rates for ASCLA accessibility workshop
Registration rates will rise after December 4 for “Breaking Down Barriers: Best Practices in Universal Design for Libraries,” a half-day workshop sponsored by ASCLA and held in conjunction with the 2010 ALA Midwinter Meeting.
Library directors, trustees, Friends, and leaders interested in low-cost, high-impact ways to make a library fully accessible should attend this event. Register at the Midwinter website....
Proposals for 2011 Annual Conference
The ALSC Program Coordinating Committee is now accepting proposals for innovative, creative programs that have broad appeal for the ALA Annual Conference to be held June 24–27, 2011, in New Orleans. The committee is looking for a wide range of topics, such as advocacy, multiculturalism, administration and management, early literacy, research, partnerships, best practices, programming, outreach, and technology. Proposal forms are on the ALSC website. The deadline is April 30....
ALSC Blog, Nov. 29
RUSA achievement awards
RUSA offers many annual achievement awards, and the nomination period for most of them will be closing December 15.
The division is accepting nominations for 13 awards and grants to be presented at next summer’s ALA Annual Conference in Washington, D.C....
ALTAFF accepting applications for Trustee awards
ALTAFF is accepting applications for the Gale Outstanding Trustee Conference Grant, the Trustee Citation, and the Major Benefactors Award. Applications are due December 15.
The conference grant enables a public library trustee to attend ALA Annual Conference. A grant of $850 is awarded annually to a public library trustee who has demonstrated excellence in support of his or her public library....
2010 ASCLA Century Scholarship
LIS students with access needs are encouraged to apply (login required) for the 2010 ASCLA Century Scholarship, a one-time $2,500 award that funds necessary services or accommodations to enable the winner to complete a master’s or doctoral program in the field.
The scholarship is an initiative of ASCLA, its Library Service to Special Populations Section, and the Library Service to People with Visual or Physical Disabilities Forum....
Guadalajara Librarian of the Year
Helen Ladrón de Guevara Cox, advisor for the New Public Library of the State of Jalisco in Guadalajara, Mexico, and president of the Public Library Section of the Asociación Mexicana de Bibliotecarios, was named Librarian of the Year at the Guadalajara International Book Fair December 2. An ALA member, Guevara also founded the Historical Archives of Jalisco and has headed the Institute Library at the University of Guadalajara....
Guadalajara International Book Fair
2009 Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award
The Assembly on Literature for Adolescents, an independent assembly of the National Council of Teachers of English, presented the 2009 Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award and $5,000 to Steve Kluger for My Most Excellent Year: A Novel of Love, Mary Poppins, and Fenway Park (Dial, 2008). The award honors a book most relevant to adolescents that has enjoyed a wide and appreciative teenage audience....
2009 Bad Sex in Fiction Award
Jonathan Littell has won the 17th annual Literary Review Bad Sex in Fiction Award, for his World War II novel The Kindly Ones (Harper, 2009). The awards were announced at a lavish ceremony November 30 at the In and Out (Naval and Military) Club in London. The Kindly Ones, originally published in French, won the Prix Goncourt in 2006. Littell clinched the award with one “mythologically inspired passage” and another that compared a sexual climax to “a jolt that emptied my head like a spoon scraping the inside of a soft-boiled egg.”...
Bloomberg, Dec. 1
2009 Writers’ Trust Fiction Award
Annabel Lyon won the $25,000 Writers’ Trust Fiction Award November 24 for her debut novel The Golden Mean, a tale of Greek philosopher Aristotle’s stint as a tutor to a young Alexander the Great. The Writers’ Trust of Canada is a charitable organization that grants awards in various categories annually. The Golden Mean was the only book to be shortlisted for all three Canadian literary awards this fall (the others being the Scotiabank Giller Prize and the Governor General’s Literary Award)....
Toronto Globe and Mail, Nov. 25
Scottish Children’s Books Awards
The winners of the 2009 Royal Mail Awards for Scottish Children’s Books were announced in Edinburgh November 24. This is Scotland’s largest children’s book prize and is voted for exclusively by some 30,000 Scottish children themselves. The winner of the Early Years category (1–7 years) was John Fardell for Manfred the Baddie. Lari Don’s First Aid for Fairies and Other Fabled Beasts won in the Younger Readers category (8–11 years), and Keith Gray’s Ostrich Boys won in the Older Readers section (12–16 years)....
Scottish Book Trust, Nov. 25
2009 John Llewellyn Rhys Prize
29-year-old Evie Wyld has won the 2009 John Llewellyn Rhys Prize for her book After the Fire, a Still Small Voice (Pantheon, 2009). The novel is set in eastern Australia and tells a story of fathers and sons, their wars, and the things that they will never know about each other. The prize rewards the best work of literature (fiction, nonfiction, poetry, drama) by a U.K. or Commonwealth writer aged 35 or under. It is awarded in honor of the writer John Llewellyn Rhys, who was killed in action in the Second World War....
Booktrust, Nov. 30
Colleges urged to defend free speech
Citing the recent decision by Yale University Press to remove all images of Muhammad from a scholarly book in response to fears their publication would trigger violence, a long list of academic and free-speech groups called on colleges and universities November 30 “to exercise moral and intellectual leadership” and stand up for free expression. A joint statement issued by the groups characterizes Yale’s decision as one of several recent developments that “suggest that our longstanding commitment to the free exchange of ideas is in peril of falling victim to a spreading fear of violence.”...
Chronicle of Higher Education, Nov. 30; American Association of University Professors
Publishers can now set limits in Google News
Google announced December 1 it will let publishers set a daily limit on the number of articles readers can view for free through the Google News search engine. The change, which will let publishers limit readers to five free articles per day, comes as news executives step up their war of words against Google. Senior Business Product Manager Josh Cohen writes: “If you’re a Google user, this means that you may start to see a registration page after you’ve clicked through to more than five articles on the website of a publisher using the First Click Free program in a day.” For a Dr. Seuss version of the backstory, see Sam Gustin’s “How the Grinch Stole Google News.”...
Dow Jones Newswires, Dec. 1; Google News Blog, Dec. 1; Daily Finance, Nov. 26
The future of journalism in an internet world
Nate Anderson writes: “The war between old media titans and scrappy internet upstarts heated up December 1 as the Federal Trade Commission rounded up journalists of all stripes for a two-day conference on the future of journalism. It wasn’t long before the gloves came off—and were replaced by Nightmare on Elm Street slasher claws. It’s clear that major fault lines still exist between content producers like the Wall Street Journal (a News Corp. paper now) and aggregators (like the Huffington Post) who squeeze much of the value from content by excerpting its most vital bits.”...
Ars Technica, Dec. 1
Bloomberg closes Business Week library
Now that Bloomberg owns Business Week, having bought it from McGraw-Hill, it has laid off about 100 staff people. One casualty was the library. According to Stephen Baker, who wrote one of the seminal articles on the importance of blogging in the corporate world, published in Business Week, reporters are being advised to take their research needs to Google. That is, for any reporters who are left....
Online Insider, Nov. 25; The Numerati, Nov. 23
New Hampshire Political Library lets staff go
The New Hampshire Political Library in Concord has laid off its paid staff due to financial difficulties but will continue to operate, though board members are still figuring out what its priorities will be. Board Chairman Terry Shumaker said the library “has been around in various forms with and without staff” since it was founded in 1997. The political library is most active about the time of the New Hampshire primary, hosting candidates, holding educational events, collecting an archive of primary-related material, and serving as a resource for journalists, researchers, and candidates....
Concord (N.H.) Monitor, Dec. 1
Pittsburgh approves $600,000 to help libraries
Pittsburgh City Council today cast a final vote to dedicate $600,000 to the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh system, in advance of a December 14 meeting of the library board that could postpone the planned closing of four branches and the merger of two others. The money comes from a fund the city uses to pay for vehicle fuel. A dip in fuel prices has left that fund with excess cash, which Council President Doug Shields eyed as a temporary fix for the library’s budget gap....
Pittsburgh (Pa.) Post-Gazette, Dec. 1
Fire rips through Cliffside Park library
The Cliffside Park (N.J.) Public Library could be closed for two weeks after a fire tore through the building November 30, causing extensive damage to books and two offices inside. Library officials said they still were assessing damage to the library, which is one of the busiest in Bergen County. Library Director Ana Chelariu said the collection of borough high school yearbooks dating back to 1928, along with the library’s magazines and opera CDs, were ruined, but the local history room was unscathed. Investigators believe a transformer outside the building exploded, possibly setting an electrical panel on fire....
Bergen (N.J.) Record, Nov. 30
Library to stay open during furlough or lose certification
The town council of Charlton, Massachusetts, decided not to close its public library during an employee furlough after state Board of Library Commissioners said doing so would terminate its certification. The town had decided to close the library from December 21 to January 4 to give clerical employees a two-week paid vacation in lieu of a 5% wage increase. Library Director Cheryl Hansen said she and an assistant director would keep the library open six hours a day to retain certification....
Worcester (Mass.) Telegram and Gazette, Nov. 27
Darby Free Library still at risk
In Darby Borough, Pennsylvania, where the number of families living below the poverty line is twice the national average, a few dollars mean a lot. Yet officials, facing the possible closing of the historic library founded in 1743, say they are committed to keeping it open, even if taxes go up. At a time when libraries in Philadelphia and across the state are cutting hours and staff, Darby hopes to patch the library’s $30,000 budget deficit, which was widened by a 20.8% cut in state funding this year....
Philadelphia Inquirer, Nov. 30
New law would force British Library to return missal
A 12th-century missal could become the first item from a British national museum to be returned to its rightful owners under a new law governing looted artifacts. The Benevento Missal, which was stolen from a cathedral in southern Italy soon after the Allies bombed the city during World War II, has been in the collection of the British Library since 1947. After a change in the law, it could be back in Italy within months....
The Times (U.K.), Dec. 1
A Christmas rewrite, as Dickens edits Dickens
What secrets lie entombed beneath the thick scribbles that Charles Dickens made as he wrote, and rewrote, the 66 pages of “A Christmas Carol” in 1843? The manuscript of this classic holiday ghost story, written in six weeks to raise much-needed cash, is housed at the Morgan Library and Museum in Manhattan, where it bears all of Dickens’s additions and subtractions in his own hand. This year the Morgan agreed to allow the New York Times to photograph and display the entire handwritten manuscript online. Readers are invited to examine high-resolution images and submit what they think is the most interesting edit in the work....
New York Times, Dec. 1
Birds and planes blend at Playa Vista
Two silk-screened windows at the Playa Vista branch of the Los Angeles Public Library are the latest work of artist Anne Marie Karlsen, who took her cues from the building’s location. The relatively new library sits on land formerly occupied by Hughes Airport and close to Ballona Wetlands, on a flight path for migrating birds. Also mindful of digital design offices that have sprouted in the area, she eventually came up with a plan for “Flyway” that incorporates digital technology....
Los Angeles Times Culture Monster, Nov. 30
Cornell libraries consider merging
At the beginning of December, Cornell University’s Physical Sciences Library closed, a victim of last semester’s 5% budget cut. But there may be others. A library task force suggests closing some of the 18 existing library facilities in an effort to organize physical spaces around disciplines rather than colleges. Its report outlines such scenarios as reducing the number of libraries to nine or reorganizing the library around only four central spaces....
Cornell Daily Sun, Nov. 30
Hodge defends library modernization review
U.K. Culture Minister Margaret Hodge faced skeptical press questioning at the December 1 launch of the paper, Empower, Inform, Enrich (PDF file), the latest phase of the Libraries Modernisation Review that began in October 2008. Unveiling the paper at the John Harvard Library in Southwark, London, Hodge described it as “the very last phase of what has been a long consultation” and said she hoped readers would find the essays stimulating, in which senior figures in the library world, publishers, and authors offer their vision for British libraries....
The Bookseller, Dec. 1; U.K. Department for Culture, Media, and Sport, Dec. 1
British phone booth converted to book kiosk
When villagers in Westbury-sub-Mendip in Somerset, England, found out that British Telecom was sponsoring a contest for creative uses of the phone booths it was decommissioning, Janet Fisher suggested converting theirs to a book exchange kiosk. “We used to have a mobile library here which called once a week on a Monday,” she said, “but that ceased a few months ago so it was missed and we’re all readers around here.” The booth cost them £1, but they won £500 in the contest....
BBC Somerset, Nov. 23; Westbury-sub-Mendip village announcements
Trekking librarian reaches another peak
Rosemary Dunstan, manager of the Sonning Common Library in South Oxfordshire, England, has completed her latest charity challenge by trekking seven hours a day through Nepal. The 53-year-old spent five days climbing some of the highest peaks in the world to raise money for the Institute of Cancer Research. Dunstan has previously been dog sledding in Lapland, trekked to the Mt. Everest base camp, and completed the Summer Solstice marathon in Iceland....
Henley (U.K.) Standard, Nov. 23
Go back to the Top
What the web is teaching our brains
Gary Small of UCLA, one of America’s leading neurologists, has written a book, iBrain: Surviving the Technological Alteration of the Modern Mind (Collins Living, 2008) that describes what he believes is the profound impact of new technology on our brains and behavior. His research indicates that internet use and web browsing has a marked effect on our brains, which, he argues, are much more changeable than most of us think, especially in the case of young people....
The Independent (U.K.), Nov. 24
Search engines as a source of learning
Search engine use is not just part of our daily routines; it is also becoming part of our learning process, according to Penn State researchers. Information Science Professors Jim Jansen and Brian Smith found that search engines are primarily used for fact checking users’ own internal knowledge, meaning that they are part of the learning process rather than simply a source for information. They also found that people’s learning styles can affect how they use search engines....
Science Daily, Nov. 27
Facebook’s big announcement: The translation
Caroline McCarthy writes: “Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg (right) put out an ‘open letter’ to the site’s massive membership December 1, explaining the revised privacy controls that are finally going into effect after being announced this summer, and additionally announcing the milestone that the site has reached 350 million active users around the world. But CEOs are notoriously deft with spin, and Zuckerberg is a clever fellow. So, luckily, CNET has translated his entire letter for you!”...
CNET News: The Social, Dec. 1
Size photos perfectly with mypictr
Sarah Houghton-Jan writes: “Check out mypictr, a webpage that helps you quickly create perfectly sized profile pictures or icons for websites and social networks. Upload any photo, then zoom and crop the image automatically to the perfect size, based on what service you need the image/icon for. Choose from all the biggies—Facebook, Twitter, Skype, YouTube. Too cool.”...
Librarian in Black, Nov. 24
61 free apps to be thankful for
Adam Pash writes: “After rounding up thousands of your suggestions, considering our own favorites, and performing a little spreadsheet magic, we’ve cooked up our own cornucopia of excellent free software and web apps we are extremely thankful for.” The apps that received the most votes were: Firefox, VLC, CCleaner, Dropbox, 7-Zip, OpenOffice.org, and Chrome....
Lifehacker, Nov. 26
RoomAtlas is awesome
Sarah Rae Trover writes: “Many sites that help you find a hotel can be a little frustrating to use. They’re either pumped full of ads or jumble results according to advertisers. RoomAtlas does away with all that, providing a simplified but impressive Google Maps-powered hotel search. You can type in an intersection, event center, or a city or street, and it will return all the results placed nicely and color-coded by price on a Google Map. Once you click through to a hotel, you can then see what the building looks like and read reviews.”...
Lifehacker, Dec. 1
Zotero and iCyte simplify citations
Reference management software has been available for more than 20 years, but those programs often were pricey and required IT know-how, whereas tools such as Zotero (a tool created by George Mason University's Center for History and New Media that allows researchers and students to drag and drop web page references into a massive, searchable database) and iCyte (a program that lets users save and share online research material in the virtual cloud) are free and made for a broader web-using audience....
eSchool News, Dec. 1
New York Times 100 notable books of 2009
The New York Times Book Review has made these selections from books reviewed since December 7, 2008, when it published its previous notables list. The ever-expanding literary universe resists generalizing, but one heartening development has been the resurgence of the short story—and of the short-story writer. Twelve collections made the fiction list, and four biographies of short-story masters are on the nonfiction list....
New York Times, Dec. 1
Heard any good books lately?
Mary Burkey writes: “Audiobooks were featured on NPR’s Morning Edition as part of the Open Mic series November 30—an awesome program featuring two of the best author/narrators, Neil Gaiman (right) and David Sedaris, both winners of the Audio Publishers Association’s Audie Award. Also part of the program were professional narrator Martin Jarvis, who narrates the audiobook of Gaiman and Terry Pratchet’s Good Omens; audiobook director Rick Harris; and Audible.com’s Don Katz. Listen to the program (7:47) or read the transcript. A lovely homage to the power of the spoken word.”...
Audiobooker, Nov. 30
NPR’s 10 best cookbooks of 2009
T. Susan Chang writes: “Cooks and bakers outdid themselves this year, clarifying flavors and streamlining their methods until they fit snugly in anybody’s kitchen. This year’s cookbook instructions are detailed and sure-handed, so you’ll feel confident even taking on those fiddly little jobs you usually leave to your good friend Joe, the Trader. With these books you can make your own bread, your own pasta, even your own Asian dumplings.”...
National Public Radio, Nov. 25
Favorite book covers of 2009, part one
Joseph Sullivan writes: “These are the selections from the staff of the WORD bookstore in Brooklyn, New York. They limited their selections to books published this year, so I was glad to see them include some YA and children’s books. There’s a poll at the bottom of the post so you can vote for your favorite. The top three vote-getting designs from this list will eventually join the other favorites from the upcoming lists in a final poll.”...
The Book Design Review, Nov. 30
Waldo Hunt and pop-up books: An overview
Stephen J. Gertz writes: “The pop-up or moveable book has come a long way since the groundbreaking work of Lothar Meggendorfer (1847–1925). Much of the credit for the revival of the pop-up or movable book goes to book collector and entrepreneur Waldo Hunt, who died November 6 at age 88. In 1965, Hunt created Graphics International, which produced pop-up books for Random House. In 1969, Hallmark Cards bought GI and, after producing more than 40 titles with Hallmark, Hunt left to start Intervisual Communications in Los Angeles.”...
Book Patrol, Nov. 30; Washington Post, Nov. 23
20 SF books coming out in 2010
Annalee Newitz writes: “We’ve picked out 20 sci-fi and contemporary fantasy books coming out next year that have us filled with excitement. Many publishers haven’t firmed up their winter releases for next year, so most of these books are coming in spring and summer 2010.” Included is Ian McDonald’s The Dervish House, a tale of terrorism and outlaw science from the man who penned Brasyl and River of Gods....
io9, Nov. 18
Gates Foundation to support libraries in 19 states
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation committed nearly $3.4 million in grants December 1 to bolster internet connections for libraries in Arkansas, Kansas, Massachusetts, New York, and Virginia. It also announced partnerships with 14 additional states to help public libraries compete for federal broadband stimulus funds. Nationally, libraries report that patron demand for high-speed internet access is growing faster than their ability to provide increased bandwidth. A recent ALA study reports that 60% of all libraries say their current internet speed is insufficient....
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Dec. 1
How college students seek information
Project Information Literacy released Lessons Learned: How College Students Seek Information in the Digital Age (PDF file) December 1, with findings from its large-scale student survey administered on six different U.S. campuses during Spring 2009. The study found that nearly all students used course readings and Google
first for course-related research and Google and Wikipedia for everyday life research. Most used library resources, especially scholarly databases, for course-related research,
but far fewer used library services that required interacting with librarians....
Project Information Literacy, Dec. 1
Libraries should become better with use
Aaron Schmidt writes: “I don’t think I’ve met a librarian who really values circ stats beyond being happy to report favorable ones. Everyone just seems to accept that shuffling content around and reporting the stats is the way the game is played. I’m not terribly interested in just being a content distributor. Are you? I doubt it. I’m interested in helping people accomplish tasks that support their goals. But that poses some challenges.”...
Walking Paper, Nov. 30
So you want to write about libraries?
Brett Bonfield writes: “In this article, I do my best to explain why we think we’ve been able to reach people with our blog. Although it’s hard to avoid talking about ourselves in an article that describes our experience, our motivation is to encourage our readers to produce their own experiments, not to encourage them to adopt our model. When we created In the Library with the Lead Pipe, we had to figure out a lot of things for ourselves. Because we love reading good writing about libraries, we’re sharing what we know in the hope of bringing more good library writing into the world.”...
In the Library with the Lead Pipe, Dec. 2
How to use Twitter’s new retweet feature
Josh Catone writes: “Retweeting someone used to be a completely manual process and often led to redundancy within your timeline. Twitter’s new official retweet feature fixes both of these issues. Now, instead of retweets being appended with the RT text designation, they have a special retweet icon. The new retweets are undeniably cleaner and more organized; however, it can also be somewhat jarring to see people you’re not following in your timeline, and the new retweets lack the ability to add commentary to retweets.”...
Mashable, Nov. 23
Conference humiliation: Tweeting behind your back
Marc Parry writes: “Tweckle (twek´ul) v.t. to abuse a speaker only to Twitter followers in the audience while he/she is speaking. Conference speakers beware: Twecklers are watching. They’re out for blood. Twitter is changing a staple of academic life from a one-way presentation into a real-time conversation. Flub a talk badly enough and you now risk mobilizing a scrum of digital-spitball-slinging snark-masters called twecklers.”...
Chronicle of Higher Education, Nov. 17
GWU experiments with robotic book digitization
George Washington University announced November 30 that it will use an automated system to digitize rare Middle Eastern texts from its own library and from that of Georgetown University. The KABIS III machine in the Gelman Library uses a black plastic arm to turn a page, pause as two cameras take pictures of both open pages, and then turn the page again. Air circulates through the arm of the machine, creating a gentle vacuum that can attract a page and guide it from the right side of the book to the left. The machine, purchased from Kirtas Technologies, can photograph up to 3,000 pages in an hour....
Wired Campus, Dec. 1; Kirtas Technologies
New research suggests that porn is overly demonized
Elizabeth Armstrong Moore writes: “Pornography has long been considered to be one of the main motivators of major technological inventions, from the camera to the web. Its effects on human health and sexuality have also been, and likely will always be, hotly debated. But new research out of the University of Montreal suggests that pornography is so widely digested, and with such a seemingly low correlation to pathological behavior, that it is grossly over-demonized. The research is funded by the Interdisciplinary Research Center on Family Violence and Violence Against Women.”...
CNET News: Health Tech, Dec. 1; University of Monteal, Dec. 1
LIS Online Career Fair
Alliance Library System and TAP Information Services are holding their first annual LIS Online Career Fair. Join them online in OPAL January 12 for a day of learning how to start or rejuvenate your library career in tough times. The day will kick off at 10 a.m. Central Time. The keynote speaker is Rachel Singer Gordon, who will speak on “Career Building in a Down Economy.”...
LIS Online Career Fair
Royal Society: Past, present, future
The Royal Society is offering public access to 60 of the most influential, inspiring, and intriguing papers it has published over the last 350 years, including those in the Philosophical Transactions, the oldest continuously published scientific journal in the world. Scientists and historians have chosen the articles from the 60,000 published since the journal first began in 1665. Trailblazing will make the original manuscripts available online for the first time, including Benjamin Franklin’s account of flying a kite in a storm (1752) and Stephen Hawking’s early writing on black holes (1970)....
Royal Society, Nov. 30
Rethinking restroom questions
Lorraine J. Pellack writes: “Every library that I have worked in over the last 20-plus years has had at least one staff member grumbling about how often they have to give directions to the restroom. They grumble about patrons who need lessons in reading signs and architects who evilly plan library buildings with invisible restrooms or restrooms far from the entrance. My question is this: Why grumble? This is our chance to shine, to invite people in.”...
RUSQ 49, no. 1
Grumblings from the reference desk
The Merry Librarian writes: “Reference desk workers everywhere have a love-hate thing going on with technology. And we just can’t help but hate it the most when it comes at us in the ultimate, hideous duo of telephone and computer. There’s nothing more frustrating than patrons using the reference desk as a computer help line . . . except, of course, when the patron is as stubborn as they are demanding. Then the real fun begins.”...
The Merry Librarian, Nov. 29
Ethiopia reads: Partnering for a greater good
Janet Lee writes: “Ato Yohannes, a political refugee turned U.S. citizen and children’s librarian, returned to his native Ethiopia after 19 years in the U.S. to form Ethiopia Reads, an organization that is establishing children’s libraries in Ethiopia. He soon learned that not only does it take a village to raise a child, but it takes a global village to put together the resources needed to run the organization successfully.”...
ICOSA, Nov.-Dec., pp. 128–31
Canada shares WWI images
Library and Archives Canada has posted a selection of digital images from the First World War on Flickr. The images depict the significant military efforts of Canadians during the conflict. The collection is interactive, so that visitors can comment, tag, or share content. The photos supplement a web exhibition on Canadians in World War I that LAC has posted....
Library and Archives Canada
2010 Mildly Attractive Men of SLIS calendar
Another year, another calendar to choose for your wall. The mildly attractive gentlemen attending the University of South Carolina School of Library and Information Science have gathered for your viewing pleasure throughout 2010, arranging themselves in iconic poses from the history of film. And the calendar includes important ALA and SCLA dates so you can plan the year’s conferences around a bevy of ALA-certified, grade-A guybrarians....
USC LISSA Blog, Nov. 13
A library card under the Christmas tree
Joseph Esposito writes: “Of course I have a library card, but that card is to my hometown public library. What I really want is remote access to the digital collections of the University of California. As I do not have a university affiliation, the only way I can use the digital collections is to go on campus and use a computer within the walls of the library. For the most part my research needs are one-shot questions—the need to look up a single article from a journal or a desire to check out the etymology of one word in the Oxford English Dictionary. Remote access would be a godsend—or a Santa-send. It’s mind-boggling that I cannot obtain it at any price.”...
The Scholarly Kitchen, Dec. 1
Go back to the Top
ALA Midwinter Meeting, Boston, January 15–19. Advance registration ends December 4.
Web services and service-oriented architecture (SOA) have become dominant themes in IT across many industries. Web-based computing, service orientation, and cloud computing increasingly displace the client/server approach favored by libraries in the past. In this new Library Technology Report, Opening Up Library Systems through Web Services and SOA, Marshall Breeding shows why libraries should care about Application Programming Interfaces and cuts through the myth of API hype and reality. NEW! From ALA Publishing.
Electronic Records Archivist, Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison. The Library-Archives Division of the Wisconsin Historical Society, located on the campus of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, holds a premier research collection on American history, with library holdings of three million items. The electronic records archivist works with other public-records staff in a program designed to manage public records in digital format. It supports the work of the State Archives by guiding efforts to acquire, preserve, and make accessible electronic records and other information systems from Wisconsin state and local governments and by providing direct assistance to state agency personnel in the area of managing electronic records and access systems. The work of this position involves frequent contacts with outside agencies, institutions, and the Wisconsin Public Records Board....
Digital Library of the Week
The Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States (MOLLUS) from the Massachusetts Commandery includes some 23,000 Civil War photographs hosted by the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. This collection is considered by historians the single best Civil War photograph collection in the world. Richard J. Sommers, senior historian at AHEC, said many of the images may seem familiar, having been used extensively by authors of history books and by the editors of Civil War Times, which used to be in Harrisburg. Ken Burns and his staff spent six weeks in Carlisle going through the MOLLUS collection to pull illustrations for his popular PBS series on the Civil War. The collection was built by Gen. Albert Ordway and Col. Arnold Rand. Ordway worked in Washington, D.C., and had many connections while Rand sent out cards to Civil War veterans. Much of the collection is contained in rather ornate, leather-bound, Victorian Era albums together with a handwritten card catalog that was used to help AHEC develop a searchable database of the online images. The digitization process began in early 2007 and was just opened on the website in November. AHEC has a total of 60,000 other photographs on the Civil War and 1.7 million photographs from the Mexican War to the present.
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.
“Too much time has been spent thinking about ‘libraries of the future.’ The reason for falling use is that too little attention has been given to what people have wanted in libraries of today. The balance of resources has swung too far away from the obvious daily need. The reason why use has declined is not because people have lost their desire or need for reading or what books contain or because technologies have changed, but because public libraries haven’t got what they want. And in their turn because of that have lost their reputation for being useful places to visit.”
—Richard Charkin, executive director of Bloomsbury Publishing, in Empower, Inform, Enrich (PDF file), the consultation paper published December 1 as part of the UK Libraries Modernisation Review. p. 16.
Arizona Library Association, annual conference, Glendale, Dec. 7–9, at:
Search Engine Strategies, conference and expo, Hilton Chicago, Dec. 7–11, at:
American Libraries news stories, videos, and blog posts at: amlibraries
the ALA Librarian
Q. The Spanish-speaking population in our town has doubled over the past few years. I’ve been so concerned with adding Spanish, bilingual, and ESL books and other materials to our collection, that I was taken aback when our page pointed out something very simple: All of our signage is in English! What resources do you have to help with this?
A. According to census data about 21 million people in the U.S. (or very roughly 7%) speak limited or no English—50% more than a decade ago—so it is no surprise that this trend is affecting your community. The report, Serving Non-English Speakers in U.S. Public Libraries: 2007 Analysis of Library Demographics, Services and Programs, released by the ALA Office for Research and Statistics, the Office for Literacy and Outreach Services, the Office for Diversity, and the Public Programs Office, found that the majority of libraries serving non-English speakers are in communities with fewer than 100,000 residents. That report also notes that literacy programming is an important feature of outreach. Non-English signage is just one aspect of reaching out to your changing community. Other elements to consider as you adjust your program to meet the needs of your changing community include promotion of programs in the major languages spoken, developing special language collections, offering catalog access in additional languages, and other outreach programs. From the ALA Professional Tips wiki.
@ The ALA Librarian welcomes your questions.
LIS Online Career Fair, sponsored by the Alliance Library System and TAP Information Services. An online OPAL conference. Contact: Lori Bell.
Association for Library and Information Science Education, Annual Conference, Boston.
SPARC-ACRL Forum, Sheraton Boston. “The E-book Transition: Collaborations and Innovations behind Open-Access Monographs.”
Educause Learning Initiative, Annual Meeting, Hilton Austin, Texas. “Learning Environments for a Web 2.0 World.”
Electronic Resources and Libraries conference, AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center, University of Texas at Austin.
Professional Scholarly Publishing, Annual Conference, Mayflower Hotel, Washington, D.C. “The New Reality: Disruption, Innovation, Relevance.”
Fifth Annual iConference, iHotel and Conference Center, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
ACM Third International Conference on Web Search and Data Mining, Polytechnic Institute of NYU in Brooklyn, New York.
Society of American Archivists, Records Management for Archivists, Southern Baptist Historical Library and Archives,
ACM Conference on Computer Suppported Cooperative Work, Savannah (Ga.) Marriott Riverfront.
Educause Southwest Regional Conference, Sheraton Austin Hotel, Texas. “Connect, Collaborate, Contribute.”
National Federation of Advanced Information Services, Annual Conference, Park Hyatt at the Bellevue, Philadelphia. “Redefining the Value of Information: Exploring the New Equation.”
Educause Midwest Regional Conference, InterContinental Chicago Hotel, Chicago. “Connect, Collaborate, Contribute.”
Wisconsin Educational Media and Technology Association, Spring Conference, Kalahari Conference Center, Wisconsin Dells. “Into the Wild.”
National Science Teachers Association, National Conference on Science Education, Pennsylvania Convention Center, Philadelphia. “Connecting Science Past to Science Future.”
Florida Library Association, Annual Conference, Rosen Plaza Hotel, Orlando.
National Library Week.
Off-Campus Library Services Conference, Cleveland Marriott Downtown, Cleveland, Ohio.
LOEX, Annual Conference, Hyatt Regency Hotel, Dearborn, Michigan. “Bridging and Beyond: Developing Librarian Infrastructure.”
Choose Privacy Week.
Acquisitions Institute, Timberline Lodge, Oregon.