New Colorado facility becomes first carbon-positive library
Thanks to solar panels, a geothermal heating and cooling system, and a gift of carbon-offset credits, Rangeview Library District’s new Anythink Brighton, Colorado, branch is believed to be the first carbon-positive library in the United States. The building, which opened in September, offsets 167,620 pounds of carbon dioxide—16% more than it is anticipated to use annually....
American Libraries Online, Dec. 12
Staff shortages stymie service stability in Philly
Attrition, layoffs, and budget cuts have been plaguing the Free Library of Philadelphia’s 54 branches since the fall, making it difficult for the system’s reduced workforce to maintain five-day-a-week service in the neighborhoods. “The library is critically short-staffed,” Friends Director Amy Dougherty said in the December 14 Philadelphia Daily News. “Librarians [are] completely stressed out. They wake up not knowing what branches they’re going to that day.”...
American Libraries Online, Dec. 15
Dupree in Afghanistan
Blue-eyed octogenarian and information advocate Nancy Hatch Dupree (right) is a rare bright spot in Afghanistan today. But the impact of her work can only be fully appreciated in its brutally unglamorous context. The National Archive of Afghanistan is plagued by preservation challenges, with no heat, electricity, or climate control, and an infestation of insects that are destroying the collections. And there is almost no publishing industry. But despite all odds, Dupree has dedicated a lifetime to documenting and preserving Afghanistan’s cultural heritage, spearheading an effort to develop the Afghan Center at Kabul University....
American Libraries, Jan./Feb.
ALA asks for library positions in jobs bill
The ALA Washington Office has prepared a proposal (PDF file) to include jobs for librarians in the Jobs for Main Street Act, which was taken up on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives December 16. The bill, which bypassed the standard procedure of introduction and passage in committee, calls for immediate action by library supporters. See the background (PDF file) on the bill....
District Dispatch, Dec. 16
Midwinter Meeting Event Planner
The 2010 Midwinter Meeting schedule (PDF file) with room assignments is now available. The Event Planner is also open to fully registered attendees, who will be able to create a personalized agenda and search for meetings, programs, and events. To log in, use the email address you provided when you registered and the generic password “ala.” If you are having any problems with the Event Planner or with logging in, contact Karee Williams....
U.S. copyright statement at WIPO
The Library Copyright Alliance strongly supports the statement (PDF file) made December 15 by Justin Hughes (right), head of the U.S. delegation at the session of the World Intellectual Property Organization Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights in Geneva, Switzerland. Hughes expressed support for library-endorsed international copyright policies during his speech on copyright exceptions and limitations for persons with print disabilities. Carrie Russell, Director of the ALA Program on Public Access to Information, said Hughes’s statement demonstrates that leadership in the White House is maintaining its emphasis on the importance of ensuring access for all....
District Dispatch, Dec. 16
Featured review: Online reference
Grzimek’s Animal Life. Oct. Gale.
Grzimek’s has long been a standout on the reference shelves. Bernhard Grzimek (1909–1987) served as director of the Frankfurt Zoo for more than 30 years, and when the original 13-volume Grzimek’s Animal Life Encyclopedia was published in the U.S. in the 1970s, it distinguished itself from older animal encyclopedias by dealing with behavior and conservation rather than just appearance and habitat. In 1989 McGraw-Hill published a substantial revision of the four volumes of Grzimek’s that dealt with mammals, and many librarians fondly remember Grzimek’s Encyclopedia of Mammals for its illustrations as much as for its content. Gale undertook a revision of the complete set, and the new Grzimek’s Animal Life Encyclopedia was published in 17 volumes beginning in 2002. Now, Gale has taken Grzimek’s online and added videos, audio clips, interactive tools, and links to periodicals ranging from Field and Stream to the Journal of Orthoptera Research, real-time news, and websites....
Merle Jacob writes: “Libraries Unlimited has added a new and very needed book to its Real Stories Series for nonfiction readers’ advisory. This one organizes and analyzes the biography genre, the most popular nonfiction subject in libraries. Only third-person biographies are covered; another entry in the series will be covering autobiographies, memoirs, and letters. Author Rick Roche found titles by looking at small and medium-sized public library collections, reference books, review journals, and book-review blogs and internet sites, but a title’s inclusion in Real Lives Revealed is based on interest, readability, publishing date (2000–2008), length, and availability in libraries. Because of these criteria, many older biographies and classic titles are not included.”...
Gold in the stacks
Booklist Editor Bill Ott writes: “It’s best-books-of-the-year time, but I have a problem. Many of my favorite titles of 2009—Dara Horn’s All Other Days, Michael Malone’s The Four Corners of the Sky, Mark Frost’s Game Six, and Wil Haygood’s Sweet Thunder, for example—have already been celebrated in my American Libraries column. So that leaves me looking beyond the borders of 2009. It’s easy to focus only on what’s new. Every librarian knows, on the other hand, that the stacks are full of gold—books that need only a readers’ advisor to give them new life. I’m especially fond of The Woman and the Ape (1996, above), an audacious mix of fantasy, fable, myth, and love story.”...
American Libraries Online, Dec. 15
@ Visit Booklist Online for other reviews and much more....
Where to eat in Boston
Betsy Clarke and Jessica Snow write: “Welcome to Boston, ALA attendees! The city has a world of mouth-watering restaurants to sate every palate. Boston is made up of distinct neighborhoods that each offer a view into the life of Bostonians, and this guide is arranged that way as well. The city is compact and walkable, and it has a good public transportation system of subways and bus lines to get you to whichever neighborhood you choose to dine in. Bon appétit!”...
American Libraries, Jan./Feb.
ARTS guide to Boston (PDF file)
The ACRL Art Section has put together a selective guide to cultural attractions and events in the Boston area for the benefit of Midwinter attendees. It covers the areas of Downtown/Old West End, The Fenway/Kenmore Square, Cambridge, South Boston, Columbia Point, and Back Bay, and offers suggestions on art museums, galleries, architecture, film, theatre, music, dance, and arts centers....
Boston Public Library’s Author Talk series
Join the Boston Public Library in welcoming a talented group of authors to its 2010 Author Talk series taking place during the Midwinter Meeting. Toby Lester (right, The Fourth Part of the World) will tell the story of the Waldseemüller map of 1507 at 6 p.m. on January 14. National Book Award–winning author Ha Jin (A Good Fall) and George Saunders (The Braindead Megaphone) will read selections from their books at 1:30 p.m. on January 17....
Boston Public Library
Amtrak discount for Midwinter
Amtrak offers a 10% discount off the lowest available rail fare to Boston January 12–22. The package includes travel up to three days prior to the meeting start date and three days following the last day. To book your reservation call Amtrak at (800) 872-7245 or contact your travel agent. Refer to Convention Fare Code X98Y-968 when making your reservation; a 10% discount has been approved. When calling, you need to say “operator” or “agent” during the automated calling to be referred to a live agent....
AASL 14th National Conference video recap
AASL’s closing session in Charlotte in November featured a video (3:34) capturing the fun and excitement of the four days of conference. See your colleagues and get a glimpse of what lies in store for AASL attendees in Minneapolis in 2011....
YouTube, Dec. 15
Register for RUSA preconferences
Registration for RUSA’s 2010 preconferences, held prior to the Annual Conference in Washington, D.C., will open January 4. Events will address topics such as genealogy reference, the present state and future path of reference services, and how to use interlibrary loan statistics to make business decisions. Advance registration is $140 for RUSA members, $155 for ALA members, $175 for nonmembers, and $120 for student and retired members....
Issues facing sci-tech librarians (PDF file)
Join the ACRL Science and Technology Section Hot Topics Discussion Group for a lively discussion of issues facing academic science and technology librarians, January 16, at the Midwinter Meeting in Boston. To spark the conversation they will start with a presentation by William Mischo and Mary Schlembach from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s
Grainger Engineering Library Information Center....
Midwinter social for reference and user services librarians
Kick off the Midwinter Meeting in style with the RUSA Membership Social, an opportunity to eat, drink, network, and learn more about RUSA.
The social, held January 15 in the Rooftop Ballroom at the Omni Parker House, is open to all current RUSA members, friends of RUSA, and those attendees interested in learning more. RUSA leadership and longtime members will be on hand to answer questions about ways to get involved with the division, which serves a broad range of library professionals....
Registration open for ALSC winter courses
Registration is now open for ALSC winter online courses, which begin February 1 and last four to six weeks. Space is limited. The course selections are: Connecting with Tween Readers; Information Literacy—From Preschool to High School; The Newbery Medal: Past, Present and Future; Reading Instruction and Children’s Books; and Series Programming for Elementary School Age. Discounted rates are available for ALSC members....
Photoessay: I Love My Librarian Awards 2009
Ten librarians were recognized for their outstanding service December 3 as the 2009 winners of the Carnegie Corporation of New York/New York Times I Love My Librarian award. The winners were selected by more than 3,200 library users from academic, public, and school libraries nationwide. The award—now a collaborative program of the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the New York Times, and ALA—will continue through 2012....
American Libraries Online, Dec. 16
2010 YALSA Nonfiction Award finalists
YALSA has selected five books as finalists for the 2010 Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults, which honors the best nonfiction books written for young adults between November 1, 2008, and October 31, 2009. This is the first time the awards have been announced. YALSA will name the 2010 winner at the Youth Media Awards on January 18, during the ALA Midwinter Meeting in Boston....
YALSA nominated for Edublog Award
The Edublog Awards nominated the YALSA Blog for Best Group Edublog of 2009.
Anyone can vote, until midnight Eastern Time December 16. YALSA’s blog could win a one-year subscription to Edublogs Campus software and a 10-seat Elluminate web-video conference room for one year....
Cincinnati library wins Ohio Auditor’s Award
The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County received an Ohio Auditor’s 2008 Making Your Tax Dollars Count Award. Ohio Auditor Mary Taylor bestowed the award to the top 5% of finance directors in the State. Recipients were honored for their careful spending, accurate fiscal recording, and efficiency....
Cincinnati Enquirer, Dec. 11
Contra Costa wins grant for “Snap & Go” technology
The Contra Costa County (Calif.) Library has been awarded a $60,000 Bay Area Library and Information Systems innovation grant to create a mobile platform that will push new and existing library content and services into the hands of cell phone users. The “Snap & Go” project will allow county residents with mobile phones and a library card to access library materials, enhanced content, and manage their accounts without having to visit a library building or gain access to a computer....
Contra Costa County (Calif.) Library, Dec. 14
2009 Educational Writers Award
The combined talents of illustrator Nick Sharratt, writer Steve Alton, and Designer Sally Symes have won the 2009 Educational Writers Award for their Gooey, Chewy, Rumble, Plop Book (published in the U.S. by Dial, 2007). The award was presented December 3 at the All Party Writers Group Christmas Reception hosted by Member of Parliament Janet Anderson of the U.K. House of Commons. The award celebrates educational writing that encourages students to read widely and build up their understanding of a subject beyond the requirements of exam specifications....
PRNewswire, Dec. 4
Congress clears the way to fund LSTA
The U.S. Senate passed omnibus legislation December 13 that included the Labor, HHS, and Education appropriations, clearing the bill for the President’s signature. The final version, which passed the House a few days before, included a slight increase for Library Services and Technology Act funding. LSTA was appropriated $213.5 million for FY2010, a 0.63% increase over FY2009....
District Dispatch, Dec. 16
Warnings mount as Ohio budget clock ticks
Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland says he will call the state legislature back to Columbus on Christmas day if necessary if it recesses for the holidays without reaching agreement on how to resolve the budget deadlock. The administration released a new analysis December 15 of how failing to shore up the budget could cost higher education more than $600 million over the next 18 months. Ohio colleges and universities could expect a 15% cut in state aid in the fiscal year ending June 30 and up to 17% the following year. The Ohio Library Council urges action....
Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch, Dec. 16; Ohio Library Council
France to digitize its literary works
French President Nicolas Sarkozy pledged nearly $1.1 billion December 14 toward the computer scanning of French literary works, audiovisual archives, and historical documents, an announcement that underscored his government’s desire to maintain control over the country’s cultural heritage. Sarkozy said the money pledged will finance a public-private partnership that will digitize the nation’s cultural works. The money is expected to go to boosting Gallica, France’s own book-scanning project linked to Europeana, the EU’s digital library. Others suspect that the partnership could also involve Google....
New York Times, Dec. 14; The Telegraph (U.K.), Dec. 14
Laurie Halse Anderson reflects on book challenges
For Laurie Halse Anderson, another season of book-ban attempts has come and gone. The author of many books for children and young adults, Anderson is moving into a writer’s cottage, built by her husband, in the woods in Oswego County, New York. But the start of this school year saw six banning challenges of her books Twisted and Speak in schools in Pennsylvania, Indiana, Kentucky, and California....
Syracuse (N.Y.) Post-Standard, Dec. 13
Anaheim city schools cut library positions
Anaheim, California, school trustees voted unanimously December 14 to cut about $9.7 million from their 2010–11 spending plan, mostly by eliminating 136 jobs—including 12 librarian positions. District officials said they need to trim $9.6 million more in coming weeks. Librarian Kathy Heard told the school board that students would suffer by not having libraries adequately staffed....
Orange County (Calif.) Register, Dec. 14
Boca Raton pastor demands library nativity scene
Pastor and talk-show host Rev. Mark Boykin is upset about what he saw at the Boca Raton (Fla.) Public Library: The holiday display has a menorah (right) and other decorations, but no nativity scene. The library lobby has a gorgeous Christmas tree, but Boykin said that has nothing to do with his faith. He said he will be donating a nativity scene to the display, and he’s not backing down....
WPBF-TV, West Palm Beach, Fla., Dec. 15
Patrons owe Pittsburgh library $1 million in late fees
Thousands of Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh patrons who owe late fees are nickel-and-diming the library system to the tune of more than $1 million. The library system collected $350,000 in fines last year, but, at any given time, patrons owe the Carnegie about three times that, said Sheila Jackson, assistant director for main library services. As of December 11, the library system was owed $1.5 million in fines for overdue or lost books, DVDs, and other materials. The library board approved raising late fees on books to 30 cents, from 25 cents, beginning January 1....
Pittsburgh (Pa.) Tribune-Review, Dec. 15–16
Norwell selectmen face angry library supporters
Norwell selectmen faced an angry crowd of more than 60 library supporters December 14 who feared that the Norwell (Mass.) Public Library could close, and were upset about how they learned the news. Under an idea that was discussed recently by Hanover officials, Norwell’s library would close and the town would pay Hanover to use its new library. Norwell library trustees heard about this through Hanover, and not from Norwell selectmen, who claimed they were not planning to close the library, but because the town is facing a budget deficit of at least $2 million next year, all avenues of savings are being considered....
Boston Globe, Dec. 15
Chicago’s St. Mark Gospel is a forgery
Scholars and scientists have peered closely at the blotchy parchment pages of the University of Chicago’s Gospel of St. Mark and declared the tiny, hand-written, hand-illustrated book a fake. The findings are to be published early next year in Novum Testamentum. The manuscript, written in Greek and purchased by the university in the 1930s, originally was believed to have been written as early as the 14th century. But strong suspicions that it might not be nearly so old surfaced in 1989. Carbon dating, advanced microscope technology, and good sleuthing uncovered a faker’s crafty handiwork....
Chicago Sun-Times, Dec. 16
Gourmet’s famine is NYU’s feast
Nancy Mattoon writes: “When publisher Condé Nast sliced Gourmet magazine from its lineup in October, foodies nationwide mourned the passing of a culinary standby. But at least one librarian saw the magazine’s starvation as a chance to pluck a prize plum. Marvin J. Taylor, director of New York University’s Fales Library, told the New York Times he ‘got on the horn immediately.’ Even if the magazine was toast, the remaining crumbs could beef up his mushrooming Food and Cookery Collection (on the third floor of Bobst Library).”...
Seattle Post-Intelligencer: Book Patrol, Dec. 16; New York Times, Dec. 15
Music collecting in an age of downloading
Jeremy Eichler writes: “As I haul boxes of CDs down to a basement room, I’ve been thinking not only about the virtues of high-tech listening but also about what’s been lost in our headlong sprint into the digital future. This is not a Luddite’s lament, or a cri de coeur about the significantly reduced audio quality of those compressed MP3 files. I love having more music at arm’s reach than ever before, I love taking it with me wherever I go. But I do find myself wondering why, exactly, collecting music now means so much less.”...
Boston Globe, Dec. 13
Boulder library circulates energy meters
Residents can check out one of the city’s 18 new Kill-A-Watt energy meters from the Boulder (Colo.) Public Library to monitor the electricity demands of such home appliances as refrigerators, cell phone chargers, and televisions. Users can keep it for up to three weeks. The Kill-A-Watt meters can measure electricity use over time and come up with an average rate of use, or they can measure the instant increase in demand. The Denver Public Library has a similar program....
Boulder (Colo.) Daily Camera, Dec. 14
A trip to Bountiful library’s used bookstore
Bountiful (Utah) Elementary School Librarian Sheri Thompson would love to keep her shelves stocked with new books. But she is on a shoestring budget, so she discovered a creative way to generate a few extra bucks: She opened a used bookstore inside the school’s library. The store offers titles for children and adults, as well as an eclectic array of treasures, which Thompson found in the basement, affectionately known by the Bountiful Elementary community as “our dungeon.”...
Salt Lake Tribune, Dec. 9
Delaware develops joint catalog
Most of Delaware’s libraries are linking their catalogs into a database that now totals one million items and will top 2 million when the unification project is finished. The Delaware Library Catalog will allow residents with library cards to easily get material sent to their local libraries from elsewhere in the state. State Librarian Annie Norman said that the merger takes advantage of economies of scale to develop deep and varied collections....
New Castle (Del.) News Journal, Dec. 10
The Conshohocken Gingerbread Library
For its December 13 Winter Solstice Celebration, Conshohocken (Pa.) Free Library Friends member Jen Borovicka designed and baked a striking gingerbread replica of the 152-year-old Victorian Gothic Revival building that will be raffled off as a fundraiser. Borovicka estimates it took 30 to 40 hours to make the edible library—finished in rolled fondant and decorator’s frosting and embellished with sweet strings of faux Christmas lights and a red-bowed wreath....
Fort Washington (Pa.) Montgomery News, Dec. 9
Broken Bow settles spat over cat
A cat fight over the longtime feline resident of the Broken Bow (Nebr.) Public Library has been averted. The fur began flying after a November 24 city council meeting when Councilman Doug Smith said two constituents could not visit the library because of the cat. But City Administrator Tony Tolstedt said that after learning about the role that TLC (Top Library Cat) has played at the library over the past decade and of his widespread support, he’s all for the cat. Library Director Joan Birnie said she would try to accommodate anyone with allergies by moving the cat into a back room....
Omaha (Nebr.) World-Herald, Dec. 3
Heirloom dollhouse donated to branch library
Parker Armstrong led a busy life as a U.S. Navy vice admiral in 1977 when he began building a large three-story dollhouse in his spare time. After his death six years ago, his widow Jean decided to donate it to the Ponte Vedra Beach branch of the St. Johns County (Fla.) Public Library. Some 60 people attended the dedication December 9. The library Friends group custom-built a Plexiglas case for the dollhouse, and installed a circuit to light its electrified rooms....
Jacksonville (Fla.) Times-Union, Dec. 13
Another overdue book: 99 years
There was no spring in his step as Stanley Dudek approached the entrance to the New Bedford (Mass.) Public Library December 14 with a book tucked under his arm. Dudek was returning it on behalf of his deceased mother, and he was feeling a tad nervous because the book was 99 years, seven months, and 12 days overdue. Facts I Ought to Know about the Government of My Country by William H. Bartlett should have been returned to the library on May 2, 1910....
New Bedford (Mass.) Standard-Times, Dec. 15
Medway Public Library recertified
After nearly three years without it, Medway (Mass.) Public Library regained its certification in early December from the state Board of Library Commissioners. Budget woes forced the library to lay off workers and cut hours to make ends meet, but it lost its certification in February 2007. A state grant in 2008, a municipal budget increase in 2009, and donations secured by the Friends group allowed the library to stay open for the required 32 hours per week and obtain the minimum amount of books and materials....
Milford (Mass.) Daily News, Dec. 9
BBC and British Library to build digital archive
The BBC and the British Library are collaborating on a digital technology project to open up their archives and give the public greater online access to a vast cultural treasure trove. Under a memorandum of understanding signed December 11, the two institutions will provide greater digital access to both the British Library’s archive of more than 150 million items collected over the past 250 years and nearly one million hours of TV and radio output from the BBC, which has been broadcasting since 1922....
The Guardian (U.K.), Dec. 11
Medical library unveiled on Saipan
The first hospital library equipped with new computers and medical books opened December 1 at the Commonwealth Health Center in Saipan, capital of the U.S. Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. The facility was built using a portion of a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which awarded the Ayuda Foundation $390,000, split among eight recipients in the Pacific region....
Saipan Tribune, Dec. 2
Go back to the Top
Google’s augmented reality stickers
Michael Clarke writes: “The New York Times reported earlier this week that Google is shipping out stickers with QR Codes (sophisticated bar codes that are easily recognized by cameras) that can be affixed to physical objects like storefront windows. A cell phone with a camera, a web browser, and the right software can then read the sticker and link, via the mobile web, to a new places page in Google Maps that aggregates information about that location. The idea of connecting physical objects to online data about those objects is a very good one with many applications. However, the technology already exists to accomplish much the same thing without the need for stickers.”...
Scholarly Kitchen, Dec. 11; New York Times, Dec. 7
How to restore your privacy on Facebook
Ryan Tate writes: “Facebook’s privacy rollback is especially terrible because it’s so hard to reverse. Settings are so bewildering that even Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has fiddled with his two or three times this month. The social network is defaulting most people to share their private content widely with strangers, in an obvious bid to grow traffic and to compete more directly with Twitter. Then there’s the content the company is trying to take from you and make entirely public. So here’s a guide to reprivatizing your profile.”...
Gawker, Dec. 15
Viruses that leave victims red in the Facebook
Malicious programs are rampaging through websites like Facebook and Twitter, spreading themselves by taking over people’s accounts and sending out messages to all of their friends and followers. The result is that people are inadvertently telling their coworkers and loved ones how to raise their IQs or make money instantly, or urging them to watch an awesome new video in which they star....
New York Times, Dec. 13
Decentralizing your web services
David Lee King writes: “People aren’t visiting our websites (well, not in droves, anyway). They are going to other places, like Facebook. If you have a Facebook page, check out your page demographics. (Facebook provides some basic stats on Facebook page visitors.) Who’s your main audience in Facebook? Doing anything for that group of patrons already? If so, you might think of taking it one step further, and pointing them directly to the Facebook page.”...
David Lee King, Dec. 9
PC Magazine Editors’ Choice printers
M. David Stone writes: “The key division between categories for general-purpose printers is between office printers, home printers, and printers that can serve as home printers or SoHo (small office or home office) printers or both. For each of these, we have separate categories for single-function and multifunction printers, and for office printers, we have separate categories for monochrome and color. Here’s a list of printers that earned an Editors’ Choice designation in 2009, with their categories identified.”...
PC Magazine, Dec. 16
Five higher ed tech trends to watch
Bridget McCrea writes: “Nearly all aspects of college are being handled in some way by the applications, hardware, and gadgets that help institutions work more efficiently.
Don’t expect much of that to change in 2010 as more technology is developed and introduced to the higher education market. To make your trend-spotting activities easier, we spoke with some higher education technology experts and came up with these five top tech trends to watch in the new year.”...
Campus Technology, Dec. 9
Kirkus Reviews folds
The book industry got another taste of the apocalypse with the news that Kirkus Reviews, the venerable prepublication book review journal, was closing. Founded in 1933, Kirkus churned out nearly 5,000 reviews a year, often used by librarians and booksellers when deciding how to stock their shelves. Neilsen Business Media told employees at a December 10 meeting that they, along with sister magazine Editor & Publisher, would not be included in the sale of the company’s publications. (According to preliminary numbers from MediaFinder.com, 367 U.S periodicals shut down in 2009, fewer than the 526 that disappeared in 2008.) Booklist Online Editor Keir Graff comments on the effect of the loss on Booklist....
New York Times, Dec. 11; School Library Journal, Dec. 11; Crain’s New York Business, Dec. 11; Edward Champion’s Reluctant Habits, Dec. 11
The endless first chapter
Michelle Slatalla writes: “I used to read books all the time. But now? The last book I read was John Galsworthy’s Forsyte Saga, which I finished more than a month ago. I don’t really believe that one day reading will disappear entirely or that my children will never learn to think analytically. But I do believe this: I need books. Then I thought of the advice that YALSA President Linda Braun had given me a few days earlier, and I remembered why I like the 21st century so much.”...
New York Times, Dec. 7
Best comics for kids, 2009
Katherine Dacey writes: “Best-of lists can be fiercely difficult to compose, as even the most voracious reader can miss a great title or favor certain genres over others. That’s why we at Good Comics for Kids assembled a crack team of reviewers to ensure that our list reflected the depth and breadth of 2009’s best kid-friendly offerings. We divided the list into three broad categories of best comics for young readers, tweens, and teens.”...
Good Comics for Kids, Dec. 8
20 best SF books of the decade
Annalee Newitz writes: “After much mulling and culling, we’ve come up with our list of the 20 best books of the decade. The list is weighted towards science fiction, but does have healthy doses of fantasy and horror. And a few surprises. In deciding which would make the list and which wouldn’t, we weighed not only our opinions, but also those of the critical community at large—looking at how each book was received by reviewers for mainstream publications as well as science fiction magazines.”...
io9, Dec. 11
Should publishers delay e-book releases?
Nathan Bransford writes: “More big news in the ever-evolving e-book landscape as two publishers (Hachette and Simon & Schuster) told the Wall Street Journal that they would be delaying the e-book release of some of their important upcoming titles, HarperCollins told the New York Times that they would delay 5–10 titles a month, and Macmillan said they would delay on a case-by-case basis. Why are publishers doing this?”...
Nathan Bransford: Literary Agent, Dec. 10; Wall Street Journal, Dec. 9; New York Times, Dec. 9
10 biggest challenges e-books face
Abhi writes: “As we enter the golden age of e-readers we may very well see an unthinkable transition—in the next 5–10 years e-books might end up selling more units than physical books. The Kindle has already led to a situation where Amazon sells 48 e-books for every 100 physical books (when both are available). But e-books are a giant mess. There’s a wide gulf between how readers, publishers, e-reader companies, and e-book sellers see them. Here are the biggest challenges.”...
Kindle Review, Dec. 13
Steve Kolowich writes: “Can an information source that is free also be reliable? Or does the price of content always reflect its value? Encyclopedia Britannica, the genre’s sturdiest brand, has been marginalized in the Internet Age by Wikipedia and Google—tools it dismisses as untrustworthy. Quality, Britannica says, comes at a price. Meanwhile, a number of academic institutions are quietly trying to do what Britannica and others say can’t be done: build online encyclopedias that are rigorous, scholarly, and free to access.”...
Inside Higher Ed, Dec. 14
Bookshare adds digital textbooks for print-challenged students
Students who are blind, have low vision, or have a learning disability that requires computer-generated speech and highlighted text soon will have more resources after publisher Flat World Knowledge announced December 14 that it will make its content available to Bookshare, the largest web-based library for people with print disabilities. Bookshare will add 11 new digital textbooks to its online library, which has been bolstered in the past year by contributions from colleges and universities hoping to bring reading material to students who can’t see standard print or can’t turn a page....
eSchool News, Dec. 15
Top 10 books of 1709
Jill Lapore writes: “Something north of 150,000 books were published in 2009. That number daunted me, so I got to thinking of a year, three centuries ago, when, in all of the British mainland colonies, only 31 books were printed (if you discount a handful of broadsheets, proclamations, and volumes of laws). The pickings are slim—and grim—but here are my Top Ten Books of 1709.” Number 9 is the Massachusetts Psalter (right), a book of psalms translated into Algonquian and set into type by a Nipmuc Indian named James Printer, whose fonts were discovered in 2008 during an archaeological dig in Harvard Yard....
New Yorker: The Book Bench, Dec. 7
Best book covers of 2009, part 3
Joseph Sullivan writes: “This third and final list of favorite covers from independent booksellers was selected by hometown favorite The Book Table in Oak Park, Illinois. They’ve chosen some wonderful covers from small, university, and foreign publishers, so help me out with the credits if you can. Again, as in past weeks, there’s a poll at the bottom. Vote for your favorite.” See also parts one and two....
Book Design Review, Dec. 13
Gates Foundation: Libraries need more cash for broadband
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation told the Federal Communications Commission December 9 (PDF file) that the government should spend more money on high-speed internet upgrades for public libraries and schools. The FCC should make it easier to apply, too. The main conduit for upgrade support comes from the FCC’s Universal Service Fund E-Rate program, but there are concerns that the application process is too complicated and the cap is set far too low....
Ars Technica, Dec. 14
SLA name will stay
Voting in record numbers, SLA members failed to approve a proposal to change the organization’s name to the Association for Strategic Knowledge Professionals. Half of those members eligible to vote participated in the referendum, with 2,071 voting yes and 3,225 voting no. The name-change proposal stemmed from the findings of the Alignment Project, a two-year research effort aimed at understanding the value of the information and knowledge professional in today’s marketplace....
SLA Blog, Dec. 10
Google’s new personalized search results
Danny Sullivan writes: “On December 4, Google made the biggest change that has ever happened in search engines, and the world largely yawned. Maybe Google timed its announcement that it was personalizing everyone’s search results just right, so few would notice. Maybe no one really understood how significant the change was. Whatever the reason, it deserves much more attention than it has received so far. The days of normal search results that everyone sees are now over. Personalized results are the ‘new normal,’ and the change is going to shift the search world and society in general in unpredictable ways.”...
Search Engine Land, Dec. 7
Buffalo library school helps set up patient library
The University at Buffalo Department of Library and Informational Studies has joined forces with staff volunteers from the Western New York Children’s Psychiatric Center to open a new patient library at the hospital’s West Seneca facility. The new library, aided by a $5,000 grant from the Laura Bush Foundation, provides services to seriously emotionally disturbed children and adolescents from the eight counties of Western New York....
University at Buffalo, Dec. 11
UNC library school Prague Summer Seminar
The University of North Carolina School of Information and Library Science is offering a seminar on libraries and librarianship in the Czech Republic, May 23–June 5. International programs are open to all students and professionals, not just students at UNC Chapel Hill. Cosponsored by Charles University in Prague, the seminar is available for academic credit. Register by March 1....
University of North Carolina SILS
Brand Perception 2.0
Meredith Farkas writes: “Many librarians have tried to play a role in educating young adults about developing a presence on social networking sites. They have warned teens that nothing online ever really disappears and that compromising photographs or derogatory posts can impact their future job prospects. Online identity is built upon all of the things we have put online and the things people have posted about us. Online identity isn’t something we should only be concerned about as individuals. Organizations are now looking at how their brands are perceived online.”...
American Libraries, Jan./Feb.
Ryerson University mobile device survey
Ryerson University Library in Toronto ran a survey in November to help them make informed decisions about providing library services via mobile device and to see how the mobile landscape was evolving. The results showed what types of devices were in use, what they were being used for, what services students might want on their next device, and what mobile library services users were interested in seeing. Some 66% of undergrads had a smartphone, 79% said free Wi-Fi was very important, but more than half were unaware of the mobile services the library offered....
Ryerson University Library
Texting, tweeting are GR8 teaching tools
According to a University of Illinois expert in media literacy, not only are critics who argue that texting is synonymous with literary degradation wrong, they also often overlook the bigger role that both texting and tweeting could play in education and research. Library and Information Science Professor Carol L. Tilley says that schools and libraries should consider embracing texting and tweeting as a means of engagement rather than simply outlawing it. For example, students could text reference questions to school librarians without having to ask for a hall pass or having to wait until lunch. Another study shows that social media is also beneficial for community college students....
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign GSLIS, Dec. 10; Lancaster (Pa.) Eagle-Gazette, Dec. 6
Cornell partners with Internet Archive
Cornell University Library is sharing tens of thousands of digitized books with the Internet Archive. The new collaboration repurposes nearly 80,000 books that the Library has already digitized in-house or through its partnership with Microsoft and Kirtas Technologies. All the books are in the public domain, printed before 1923 mainly in the United States. They cover a host of subject areas, including American history, English literature, astronomy, food and wine, general engineering, and the history of science....
Cornell University Library, Dec. 15
The first American Christmas picture book
Diann Benti writes: “The American Antiquarian Society’s The Children’s Friend: A New Year’s Present is one of just two known copies of this 1821 pamphlet. Fifteen centimeters tall and eight pages deep, the paper-covered volume stood little chance of survival in the hands of generations of American children. In 1897, the society received it as the childhood book of one of its presidents, Stephen Salisbury III. What makes this little book so important? Put simply, it is believed to be the first American Christmas picture book.”...
Past Is Present, Dec. 7, 14
Summary of objections to the Google Books Settlement (PDF file)
The New York Law School’s Public-Interest Book Search Initiative has released this summary of the objections raised to the original proposed settlement in the Authors Guild v. Google litigation: “We identified 76 distinct issues, which we grouped into 11 categories. This report briefly summarizes each issue, provides an illustrative quotation from a filing with the court, and indicates any related changes in the amended settlement.”...
Public-Interest Book Search Initiative, Dec.
A freebie from ebrary
Gary Price writes: “One of the most impressive freebies on the internet comes from ebrary. We’ve mentioned it before. It’s officially called ebrary Discover. Users (you don’t need to have a subscription) can search and read more than 20,000 full-text books online (recent titles) in a wide array of disciplines from a variety of publishers. The financial aspect only comes in to play if you want to print or save a page. Ebrary also offers 140 full-text searchable (and free) e-books and other ‘authoritative materials’ for information professionals in its Library and KM Center.”...
ResourceShelf, Dec. 14
Information literacy gets mobile (PDF file)
Peter Godwin writes: “How does the mobile revolution fit in with information literacy? With the
development of the iPhone and other smartphones there is now less need for websites
to have special mobile versions. But before we become too enthusiastic about mobile use, we should recognize that the variety of devices poses a serious challenge. The cost of access can also be a barrier. The following discussion explores both the delivery of information via mobile devices and
new tools that could be used in the delivery of IL.”...
Journal of Information Literacy 3, no. 2 (Dec.): 91–95
22 great photos found in presidential libraries
Jason English writes: “A few weeks ago, after stumbling across a photo of John Travolta and Princess Diana dancing at the White House, I sent our readers on a presidential library scavenger hunt. You found some fantastic photos—here are 22 of our favorites, including this one (right) of Harry Truman playing the piano for Lauren Bacall.”...
Mental Floss, Dec. 12
Scotland’s oldest book goes on display
The oldest book in Scotland is going on public display for the first time in its history. The Celtic Psalter dates from the 11th century and contains hand-written psalms in Latin, with Celtic and Pictish illustrations. It has been kept under lock and key at the University of Edinburgh and has been available to only a few scholars. Through March 14 the public will have the chance to view the book at the university library....
Medieval News, Dec. 10
IBM helps out National Archives of Egypt
Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif inaugurated a national project December 14 for the digital documentation of the National Archives of Egypt based on a sophisticated solution from IBM. The project has created one of the largest digital archives in the world, with over 25 million records, representing over 90 million documents. IBM has also helped to create an official website for the archives designed to be an educational resource for historians and researchers....
IBM, Dec. 14
Larry Nix writes: “There is an eating place in the Oberlin (Ohio) College Academic Commons called Azariah’s Café. It is named for Azariah Smith Root (1862–1927), college librarian from 1887 to 1927. Root was responsible for transforming the library at Oberlin into one of the best college libraries in the nation. Root’s original involvement with the Oberlin College Library began with a project to catalog the library’s collection in 1885 using the Dewey Decimal Classification.”...
Library History Buff, Dec. 15
Ode to a librarian
Primary-school teacher Christopher Craft writes: “Earlier today I saw a tweet that asked, ‘Can anyone name the top five industries in SC based on economic impact?’ I responded by trying to find the answer myself, but I simply could not find a ranking based on just our state. I hit up the Ask a Librarian page at the Richland County (S.C.) Public Library and fired off an email asking the question. A few short hours later, to my pleasant surprise, I received an email with not only the information, but detailed instructions on how to find it. I was floored. This goes to show me that libraries are still as crucial as ever.”...
Crucial Thought, Dec. 15
Staying professionally active
Sarah Debraski writes: “It’s no news to anyone that when library budgets get tight and cuts need to be made, one of the first things to go is the travel budget. Follow that with any continuing education budgets, then staff cuts that make even using personal time to take a day to go to a workshop difficult, and before you know it librarians can find themselves feeling isolated, cut off, and downright grouchy about it.
So how can you remain involved when you’re stuck at home?”...
YALSA Blog, Dec. 11
The 10 best console and handheld games of 2009
Brandon Boyer writes: “This list focuses on the console and handheld games that left their own strong mark on the year, but one that in most cases went mostly overlooked. This is the best collection of preadolescent royalty, retro revivalism, at least two kinds of rhythm, stretchers, scribblers, and succulents the year had to offer, and one bona-fide blockbuster that managed to rise above the rest.”...
Boing Boing, Dec. 10
Librarian in Black’s gift guide for librarians
Sarah Houghton-Jan writes: “I love Etsy, the online craft and vintage store where individual artists get to proffer their wares. Amazingly, there are thousands of library, librarian, book, and reading-themed gift options available. And you might still have time to get them before the holidays this year. So here are a few suggestions for gifts for coworkers, spouses, and those book-loving folks in your life.”...
Librarian in Black, Dec. 14
National Library of Australia Christmas Party, 2009
It would be hard to top their 2008 Thriller extravaganza (5:26), but staffers at the National Library of Australia did their best with the versatile “Can Can’t” dancers (right), marred only by poor lighting (3:33). This overview of the party (3:52) offers a glimpse of the zany costumes and activities, put on by “people who are not afraid to look ridiculous.”...
YouTube, Dec. 15
What makes a library a library?
Buffy Hamilton, librarian at the Creekview High School in Canton, Georgia, writes: “I was moved by Sarah Houghton-Jan’s post in which she asked, ‘What makes a library a library?’ I am in the process of collecting responses from librarians near and far, but I also felt it was important to throw this question out to my teens and hear their thoughts. In this first volume of responses (2:09), I found it fascinating that these 11 students primarily focused on relationships, experiences, atmosphere, and library as place.”...
The Unquiet Librarian, Dec. 10; Librarian in Black, Dec. 8
Go back to the Top
ALA Midwinter Meeting, Boston, January 15–19. Make the connections you want at the new Networking Uncommons space in the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. It’s a dedicated area where you can gather in small groups to have a quick meeting, polish your presentation, or just recharge your batteries. Tables, chairs, power strips, and a projector for general use (first come, first served) will be available, as well as some 2.0 gadgets. Meet and greet, or bring something to eat. Look for signs in Lobby B near the entrance to the Exhibit Hall and the ALA Store.
In a dynamic new portrayal of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s most famous characters, Sherlock Holmes sends the intrepid Holmes and his stalwart partner Watson to bring down a new nemesis and unravel a deadly plot. This poster will inspire patrons to rediscover Doyle’s classic tales in anticipation of the film’s release December 25. NEW! From ALA Graphics.
Building Bridges between Students and Faculty
Buena Casa, Buena Brasa
Deployed to Iraq
Atyourlibrary.org is the website for ALA’s public awareness campaign—the Campaign for America’s Libraries, which promotes the value of libraries and librarians. The mission of the site is to be a catalyst that drives people to their local libraries and to encourage a long-term, vibrant relationship between communities and their libraries.
Dean of University Libraries and Archives, Emporia State University, Emporia, Kansas. Responsible for all areas of library and archive management including strategic planning, fiscal management, personnel supervision, policy and program development, collection development, public and technical services, and facilities planning. Serving as the executive director of the William Allen White Children’s Book Award is also an expected duty....
Digital Library of the Week
The David Rumsey Map Collection Database has over 21,000 maps and images online. The collection focuses on rare 18th- and 19th-century North American and South American maps and other cartographic materials. Historic maps of the World, Europe, Asia, and Africa are also represented. Popular collection categories include antique atlas, globe, school geography, maritime chart, state, county, city, pocket, wall, children’s, and manuscript maps. With Luna Imaging’s Insight software, multiple maps from different time periods can be viewed side-by-side. Viewers can also create their own collections of maps that hold particular interest by saving groups of images. Complete cataloging data accompany each image, enabling in-depth searches of the collection. Digitization of the collection began in 1996. For the first time since its launch in 1999, the website was completely redesigned and updated in 2009. A blog has been added to the site that includes entries for recent additions, news, featured maps, related sites, and videos. Over 200 historic maps from the collection can be viewed in a new browser-based version of Google Earth, and users can enter the Second Life version of the map collection directly from a dedicated Second Life portal page on the site. The collection ticker at the bottom of the home page shows the entire online map library in random order over about 10 hours. All maps can be downloaded for free directly from the site at full resolution. The larger maps generate files frequently approaching 2 GB in size; the average file size of images in the collection is 200 MB. David Rumsey is president of Cartography Associates, a digital publishing company based in San Francisco, and is chairman of Luna Imaging, a provider of enterprise software for online image collections.
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.
Staff at Loyola Marymount University’s William H. Hannon Library got creative for the holidays with their National Union Catalogue Pre-56 volumes.
“Too often a response to closing school libraries is a description of how the digital age is here and libraries are obsolete. This could not be further from the truth. We will always need the printed page. The internet provides no easy solution to the hard work of research. Librarians will tell you true research includes printed copy of standardized material, often not available on the internet.
“Taking into account the current state of the economy, many families in this area can afford neither internet access, nor the computers to give them that access. Nor are encyclopedias commonly found in today’s households. We cannot assume that public school students have home computers, much less internet access. With both parents working, a ride to the nearest public library probably is not an option for lots of students.”
—Pamella Binder, responding to news that the Bay City, Michigan, board of education is proposing to close libraries in its three secondary schools, Letter to the Editor, Bay City Times, Dec. 12.
the ALA Librarian
Q. I work for a small library in Illinois. We are interested in possibly lending (checking out for two weeks, then the book “disappears”) out e-books. We have no information at all. Can you help us, or know of anyone who can? Funds are severly limited.
A. The ALA Library has collected some information about e-books and electronic collection development that may be of assistance as you pursue this service. While there are many dedicated e-book readers available, there are also vendors who offer libraries of e-books which can be downloaded to your patrons’ computers. From the ALA Professional Tips wiki.
@ The ALA Librarian welcomes your questions.
For one year only, Library Advocacy Day will replace National Library Legislative Day. On June 29, 2010, library advocates from all 50 states and Washington, D.C., will meet at Upper Senate Park on the U.S. Capitol grounds. The event, which will begin at 11 a.m., will feature guest speakers, photo ops, and a chance to cheer on libraries. After the rally, participants will meet with their elected officials and their staffs.
Association of Research Libraries, Annual Leadership Symposium, Boston.
Google Book Search in Depth, online workshop hosted by the University of Maryland’s University College Center for Intellectual Property.
The Open Movement and Libraries, online workshop hosted by Simmons Graduate School of Library and Information Science.
Introduction to Dublin Core Metadata, online course hosted by BCR.
Encoded Archival Description, Tulane University, New Orleans. Workshop hosted by the Society of American Archivists.
National Federation of Advanced Information Services, Annual Conference, Hyatt at the Bellevue, Philadelphia.
WebWise Conference on Libraries and Museums in the Digital World, Denver Art Museum. “Imagining the Digital Future.”
Association of Architecture School Librarians, Annual Conference, New Orleans.
Music Library Association, Southern California Chapter, Annual Conference, Paradise Point Resort and Spa, San Diego, California.
DrupalCon San Francisco, Moscone Center South.
World Wide Web 2010, Raleigh Convention Center, North Carolina.
Massachusetts Library Association, Annual Conference, Hyannis Resort and Conference Center.
Asian Festival of Children’s Content, The Arts House, Singapore. Its goals are to develop, promote, and facilitate writing, illustrating, and publishing Asian children’s books.
Delaware Library Association, Annual Conference, Rollins Center at Dover Downs Hotel, Dover.
American Society for Indexing, Annual Conference, Minneapolis Marriott City Center Hotel.
American Library Association, Annual Conference, Washington, D.C.
World Library and Information Congress, 76th IFLA General Conference and Assembly, Gothenburg, Sweden. “Libraries Promoting Reading in a Multicultural, Multilingual Society.”