The e-newsletter of the American Library Association | December 23,

U.S. & World News
ALA News
Booklist Online
Boston Update
Division News
Seen Online
Tech Talk
Actions & Answers

SirsiDynix ad

AL Buyers Guide

U.S. & World News

Stephen AbramStephen Abram to leave SirsiDynix
SirsiDynix announced December 18 that Stephen Abram, who has been vice president of innovation since 2004, will leave the company December 31 but will “continue to be a resource for the SirsiDynix Institute and for SirsiDynix User Groups, among other programs in the future.” In a phone interview, Abram told American Libraries that he was leaving SirsiDynix to take a position at Gale Cengage Learning as vice president for strategic partnerships and markets....
American Libraries Online, Dec. 18

Facebook, stop invading my privacyPrivacy groups complain to FTC about Facebook
Concerned about protecting the privacy of library patrons and other individuals who have Facebook accounts, ALA has joined nine other organizations in filing a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission regarding Facebook’s recent changes to its policies. The December 17 complaint (PDF file) written by the Electronic Privacy Information Center contends that changes to users’ privacy settings in actuality “disclose personal information to the public [and] violate user expectations, diminish user privacy, and contradict Facebook’s own representations.”...
American Libraries Online, Dec. 23

Broadband USA bannerLibraries get broadband stimulus grants
Libraries in six states are among the beneficiaries of the first round of awards from the $7.2-billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act broadband grant and loan programs. The initial $183 million in awards, going to 18 broadband projects in 17 states, was announced by Vice President Joseph Biden December 17 and detailed in a National Economic Council report (PDF file) issued the same day. Altogether, $2 billion will be released by early March, according to a White House press release....
American Libraries Online, Dec. 21; White House, Dec. 17

What the demise of Kirkus Reviews portends for libraries
American Libraries Editor in Chief Leonard Kniffel writes: “It’s my understanding that Kirkus Reviews had fewer than 2,000 subscribers when it folded this month, but the venerable publication was still influential and a credible source of information about the quality of writing being peddled by the book industry in America. Publishers still used Kirkus blurbs on their dust jackets and some librarians still used the reviews as a selection tool. But let’s face it, many of us were more than a little amused by literary agent Ira Silverberg’s remark when the news broke: ‘Hearing about their closing reminded me that they were still publishing.’”...
AL Inside Scoop, Dec. 18; Kirkus Reviews, Dec. 15

ALA News

Yohannes GebregeorgisEthiopia Reads founder to keynote President’s Program
Yohannes Gebregeorgis (right), founder and executive director of Ethiopia Reads, will serve as keynote speaker for the President’s Program at the ALA Midwinter Meeting, January 17, at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. Ethiopia Reads encourages a love of reading by establishing children’s and youth libraries in Ethiopia, free distribution of books to children, and multilingual publishing. Gebregeorgis was selected as one of CNN’s Top 10 Heroes in 2008....

Library groups raise Google Book Search pricing concerns
ALA, ACRL, and the Association of Research Libraries sent a letter (PDF file) to the U.S. Department of Justice December 15 asking for ongoing judicial oversight of the Google Book Search settlement, if approved. The library associations urge the DOJ to request the court to review the pricing of the institutional subscriptions to ensure that the economic objectives set forth in the settlement agreement are met....
District Dispatch, Dec. 17

2010 ALA Annual Conference logoALA Annual Conference registration opens January 4
Registration for the 2010 ALA Annual Conference will open January 4. The conference will be held in Washington, D.C., June 24–29. Participants can register online through the ALA website, by fax, or by mail. Hotel reservations can also be made at this time. Attendees must be registered for the annual conference before they can make a hotel reservation....

Toni Morrison. Photo by Timothy Greenfield-SandersToni Morrison to headline Annual Conference Opening Session
ALA will kick off its 2010 Annual Conference in Washington, D.C., with acclaimed author Toni Morrison (right) speaking at the Opening General Session June 26, sponsored by Simon and Schuster. Her titles include The Bluest Eye, Song of Solomon, and Beloved, which won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1988. She won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1993....

Present a poster session at Annual Conference
Proposals for poster sessions at the 2010 ALA Annual Conference in Washington, D.C., will be accepted until January 1. An application form is available online. The poster sessions will be held June 26–28 at the Washington Convention Center. Contact Candace Benefiel for further information. Applicants will be notified by March 2....

National Library Week 2010Connect with National Library Week
Looking for new ideas for promoting your library during National Library Week? ALA has the tools to help you connect with your library. The Campaign for America’s Libraries is now hosting a National Library Week community in ALA Connect. Its mission is to create an open discussion space for ALA members to communicate their ideas and develop new ways to celebrate and promote National Library Week in all types of libraries....

ALA membership stats: A positive trend
Associate Executive Director for Communications Cathleen Bourdon sent ALA staff a welcome seasonal greeting December 23—namely a report on membership statistics that helps mitigate some of the doom and gloom. Year-to-date membership transactions for FY2010 are ahead of the same quarter in FY2009 by +9.1%, she said. This positive trend is largely due to a record-setting AASL National Conference and the opening of registration for both Midwinter 2010 and the 2010 PLA National Conference....
AL Inside Scoop, Dec. 23

Continuing membership
ALA offers all members who have been active, paid members for at least 25 uninterrupted years the opportunity to receive ongoing free membership upon retirement as Continuing Members. This special membership is ALA’s way of thanking members for their years of dedication and service to the library community. ALA is proud to serve those who have served the longest. Once you become a Continuing Member, that status will never be taken away....

Major membership database update planned
ALA has been experiencing slowness with its iMIS Membership System over the past several weeks due to increased use. iMIS is the Association’s membership management system and database, and is central to functions such as renewal. Over the next two weeks, ALA will be installing new hardware, an upgraded operating system, and new SQL versions to improve performance. If you experience slowness logging into the website, registering for an event, renewing your membership, or making a donation, please try again later....
ITTS Update, Dec. 22

DollarDays logoALA members save with DollarDays
ALA and DollarDays International are announcing a new member-benefits program. ALA members now have the added benefit of free shipping and no minimum order on more than 55,000 wholesale and closeout products from the low-cost provider. ALA organizational members also have the opportunity to participate in the DollarDays Wish List Program. Visit the ALA DollarDays website to register your library....

Booklist Online logo

Cover of Shades of GreyFeatured review: Adult fiction
Fforde, Jasper. Shades of Grey: The Road to High Saffron. Jan. 2010. 400p. Viking, hardcover (978-0-670-01963-2).
In Eddie Russett’s world, color is destiny. People’s perceptions of color, once tested, determine their rank in the Colortocracy, with primes ruling “bastard” colors and everyone lording it over the prole-like grays. No one can see more than their own color, and no one knows why—but there are many unknowns ever since Something Happened, followed by the deFacting and successive Great Leaps Backward. Due to an infraction against the Collective’s rule-bound bureaucracy, Eddie is sent to East Carmine, in the Outer Fringes, where manners are shockingly poor, to conduct a month-long chair census. In short order, he falls in love, runs afoul of the local prefects, learns a terrible secret, and is eaten by a carnivorous tree. This series starter combines the dire warnings of Brave New World and 1984 with the devolutionary visions of A Canticle for Leibowitz and Riddley Walker....

Cover of Too Much Happiness2009 Top of the List selections
Booklist has announced its 20th annual Top of the List winners. The eight winning titles were chosen from the annual Editors’ Choice selections as the best books and media of 2009. Two short story masters are included in this year’s list: Alice Munro for her collection Too Much Happiness, and John Cheever as the subject of Blake Bailey’s landmark biography Cheever. Other winners reflect both hot genres and artistic innovation. The Top of the List picks are featured in the special combined January 1 and 15 issue of Booklist, which includes the complete annotated Editors’ Choice lists for adult books, adult books for young adults, books for youth, reference sources, and media....

He Reads graphicGifts for the non-reading man
David Wright writes: “Ladies, you want to get your man a book for the holidays because you’d like him to read more, which is to say you’d like him to read more like you. Buying books for anyone is tricky business, but don’t make it worse by trying to improve us, OK? We’ve already told you the precise titles we need to fill gaps in our personal library of contemporary architecture or the Marvel universe, but if you insist on surprising us, here are some titles to consider.”...

She Reads graphicBooks for bandit queens
Kaite Mediatore Stover writes: “I can never afford to give the kinds of gifts I want to bestow on friends, which is why they all get books. But this year I thought I’d give my favorite bandit queens books that represent what I’d like to give if I had the cash. Only with books can I begin to show the love, admiration, and appreciation I have for these treasured females. Thoughts do count, between and outside the covers.”...

@ Visit Booklist Online for other reviews and much more....

Boston Update

J. Anthony Lukas in Common Ground writes: "Some called it a chicken coop, a Mayan cistern, or Disneyland East, but [the New City Hall] was a symbol of the bold, imaginative Boston they were trying to build."A reader’s guide to literary Boston
For more than 350 years, dozens of authors have written about Boston. John Winthrop, the first governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony, envisioned it in 1630 as a shining “city on a hill.” Oliver Wendell Holmes called the State House in 1858 the “hub of the Solar System” (which Bostonians adapted to “hub of the universe”). The city’s rich written heritage still flourishes, with fictional characters riding the Red Line, scouting the Big Dig, and plotting murder at the old Boston Garden. Use this map as a starting point....
Boston Globe

Hotels and the ADA: Information for deaf and hard of hearing travelers
If you are traveling this holiday season, you may want to be aware of what services hotels are required to provide you under the Americans with Disabilities Act. A hotel must provide a TTY on request for use in guest rooms. Visual-notification devices for alerting deaf and hard-of-hearing guests to incoming telephone calls and door knocks/doorbells are required for a certain number of guest rooms, so be sure to ask for one when placing a reservation....
Speak Up Librarian, Dec. 20

Child care at Midwinter
ALA will reimburse the charges expended on childcare in the amount of $25 per day per child to a maximum of $50 per day per family to any fully registered parent for each day of the Midwinter Meeting week, January 15–19. This covers only childcare in the parent’s hotel room or other residence in Boston and does not include charges for children’s food and transportation or gratuities and transportation for the sitter. Reimbursement forms will be available at the ALA Registration Desk....

Division News

Still from Operation Teen Book Drop 2010 videoOperation Teen Book Drop 2010
Stephanie Kuenn writes: “YALSA will again work with Readergirlz and Guys Lit Wire in 2010 for another iteration of Operation Teen Book Drop. The initiative will take place on Support Teen Literature Day, April 15. Over the past two years, Operation TBD has put 20,000 books for teens into pediatric hospitals in the United States and Canada. This year, Operation TBD will coordinate donations to tribal libraries and schools by joining forces with If I Can Read, I Can Do Anything, a national book club for Native American children, a project directed by former ALA President Loriene Roy.” Watch the Readergirlz video (2:29)....
YALSA Blog, Dec. 16; YouTube, Dec. 10

Applications due for YA Literature Symposium stipends
Librarians and SLIS students could win a stipend for up to $1,000 to cover travel to the next Young Adult Literature Symposium in Albuquerque, New Mexico, November 5–7, 2010, sponsored by YALSA. Applications can be downloaded and sent electronically by midnight Central Time, January 4....

Laura Bush at the designation of the Texas archives building as a Literary LandmarkTexas archives building named Literary Landmark
Laura Bush, a former librarian and an advocate for literature and reading, helped celebrate ALTAFF’s designation of the Lorenzo de Zavala State Archives and Library Building as a national Literary Landmark in a December 3 ceremony in front of the library across from the east wing of the Texas State Capitol. In the 100th anniversary year of the creation of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, the former first lady applauded the honor granted to the archives and library....
Austin (Tex.) American-Statesman, Dec. 4

OIF and ALTAFF offer webinars for trustees
The Office for Intellectual Freedom is partnering with ALTAFF to present three one-hour webinars in February for library trustees on the topic of controversial materials in library collections. The webinars, entitled “Controversial Materials in the Library: Supporting Intellectual Freedom in Your Community,” are intended to help trustees understand the basics of intellectual freedom in libraries....
OIF Blog, Dec. 21


Carnegie Corporation of New York President Vartan Gregorian at the awards ceremony2009 I Love My Librarian Awards ceremony
The 2009 I Love My Librarian Awards recognized 10 librarians who are making a difference in their communities in a December 3 ceremony (1:44). The award is sponsored by Carnegie Corporation of New York and the New York Times....
AL Focus, Dec. 21

Sol Gomez, I Love My Librarian Award winnerThe I Love my Librarian Award winners speak
What should users expect in a great library? The 10 winners of the 2009 I Love My Librarian award share their perspectives (3:12) on what users deserve, and how they’ve worked to achieve it....
AL Focus, Dec. 21

Morris/Nonfiction book trailer contest
YALSA seeks entrants for its Morris/Nonfiction Award Book Trailer Contest. Teens ages 13–18 can win a box of books plus a $100 gift card to a bookstore, and librarians can win $200 worth of books and materials for their library. Entrants can read the official rules and download the entry form (PDF file). All video entries must be an original work made between now and January 17, and must feature any or all of the five titles nominated for the Morris Award or the five nominees for the Nonfiction Award....

Itzabitza boxGreat Interactive Software for Kids
ALSC has selected its fall 2009 list of Great Interactive Software for Kids, which recognizes high-quality computer programs and digital media for children 14 years of age and younger. The selected products are ItzaBitza (right), Left Brain/Right Brain 2, Professor Layton and the Curious Village, and Zula World. For the annotated list, visit the ALSC website....

Some ALA awards and grants deadlines extended
The deadline has been extended to February 1 for a number of ALA awards and grants, among them the ALA Information Today Library of the Future Award, the Beta Phi Mu Award, the Equality Award, the Gale Cengage Learning Financial Development Award, the Ken Haycock Award for Promoting Librarianship, the Lippincott Award, and the Sullivan Award for Public Library Administrators Supporting Services to Children....

Joyce ValenzaBest library blog: Edublog Awards 2009
Joyce Valenza’s Never Ending Search blog is the winner in the Best Librarian/Library Blog category of the 2009 Edublog Awards. Runners-up are Bright Ideas and Library Tech Musings. Winners in all categories were announced December 17. View the vote tallies on the Awards pages. A total of 532 votes were cast in this category....
Edublog Awards

Eimear McGuinnessIrish librarian scoops national short story award
Eimear McGuinness, who works in the Longford County (Ireland) Library, received a third-prize award in a recently held national short story competition. Titled “Seeing is Believing” by Gloria Hunter (McGuinness’s pen name), the story tells the tale of two sisters who set out on a journey to prove an injustice, only to find that one of them is on the receiving end of the plot. Eimear’s story was submitted for the Varilux Short Story Competition, which invited writers to create a story about seeing something for the first time—with the eye, the mind, the imagination, or the spirit....
Longford (Ireland) Leader, Dec. 17

StoryTubes logoStoryTubes 2010 contest
StoryTubes is the public-library-sponsored, two-minute-or-shorter, my-favorite-book online contest. Kids across the United States and in Nova Scotia are invited to participate. Partner libraries provide the staff time and expertise to administer the contest. Top prizes will be awarded by a panel of judges, who will consider performance, script, creativity, and other factors. Entries will be accepted from January 20 to February 28....

Native American Library Services grants
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is accepting applications for the 2010 Native American Library Services Basic Grants program. Federally recognized tribes and Alaska Native villages and corporations may apply for these grants by March 1 in either the Basic or the Basic with Education/Assessment Option categories....
Institute of Museum and Library Services, Dec. 17

Seen Online

Google France logoFrench court rules against Google Books project
Google suffered a blow December 18 when a French court ordered the search engine company to stop digitizing copyrighted French books. The Paris court ruled that the Google Books project violates the country’s copyright laws. The decision came after a three-year battle between Google and a group of powerful French publishers, including the prestigious Le Seuil publishing house. Google France will appeal the ruling....
Los Angeles Times, Dec. 18

Colbert Nation: Spyvate SectorPatriot Act renewal delayed
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has rejected a Senate plan to include amendments to the Patriot Act in a larger Pentagon funding bill. The decision, announced at a closed-door leadership meeting December 14, has forced Democrats to go with a backup plan of extending the Patriot Act until February 28. When Congress resumes in January for the second session of the 111th Congress, the ALA Washington Office will continue its efforts to seek reform to this legislation. Stephen Colbert offered a whimsical alternative in his December 16 report....
Politico, Dec. 16; District Dispatch, Dec. 18; Colbert Nation, Dec. 16

Pasadena schools to downsize libraries
Facing a projected budget deficit of about $20 million over the next two school years and what officials say are likely layoffs of teachers, administrators, librarians, and other employees, Pasadena (Calif.) United School District leaders are portraying a future with less of nearly everything. School board members this past week approved a preliminary plan of cuts, including closing school libraries to save about $1.4 million....
Pasadena (Calif.) Star-News, Dec. 19

Houston Public Library Public Relations Manager Sandra FernandezHouston librarian recovering after beating by patron
A librarian at the Robinson-Westchase branch of the Houston Public Library is recovering after being attacked December 16 by an angry patron. Police say 23-year-old Nigel Mandela Harper was acting unruly so the librarian asked him to be quiet and gave him a polite warning. According to an eyewitness, Harper punched the woman, threw her to the ground, and stomped on her. News sources did not name the librarian, who is in her 50s....
KHOU-TV, Houston, Dec. 18

Ex-library treasurer pleads not guilty to embezzling
Prosecutors still are looking into whether a former treasurer at the Erwin Library and Institute in Boonville, New York, may have stolen money from anyone else while allegedly embezzling more than $280,000 from the library. Lawrence Recor pleaded not guilty December 21 in Oneida County Court to charges of second-degree grand larceny and 27 counts of first-degree falsifying of business records. He was first arrested in July after he allegedly wrote dozens of unauthorized checks from the library account to his former accounting business from June 2005 to January 2008....
Utica (N.Y.) Observer-Dispatch, Dec. 21

Studying young minds
For much of the last century, educators and many scientists believed that children could not learn math at all before the age of 5, that their brains simply were not ready. But recent research has turned that assumption on its head—that, and a host of other conventional wisdom about geometry, reading, language, and self-control in class. The findings, mostly from a branch of research called cognitive neuroscience, are helping to clarify when young brains are best able to grasp fundamental concepts....
New York Times, Dec. 20

Cover of And Tango Makes ThreeNorth Kansas City keeps Tango
The North Kansas City (Mo.) School Board voted December 21 to keep a children’s book in school libraries despite the concerns of a parent. Board members decided to retain the book And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell in a 3–2 decision after more than an hour of discussion. However, they also agreed to place the elementary library card catalog online so that parents can view which materials are in their child’s library and decide whether they would like to request any individual restrictions for their child....
Kansas City (Mo.) Star, Dec. 22

Cover of Ann Coulter's If Democrats Had Any Brains, They'd Be RepublicansHate-speech tag irks Mount Prospect patron
Mike Alaimo thinks Ann Coulter should know what’s going on with her books at the Mount Prospect (Ill.) Public Library. Early in December, Alaimo was scrolling through his library’s online catalog when he came across a list of books by Ann Coulter; someone had tagged “hate speech” on virtually every listing. In July, the library started a new cataloging system that allows readers to tag books with terms they think other readers might find useful, said Library Director Marilyn Genther....
Arlington Heights (Ill.) Daily Herald, Dec. 18

George W. Bush Library warehouse in Lewisville, TexasBehind the scenes at the Bush Library
Eight years of American history is meticulously cataloged, wrapped, stored, and guarded in a climate-controlled warehouse in Lewisville, Texas. Welcome to the Bush White House, where there’s even wood flooring from the Oval Office and chairs from the press room. It will all eventually move to the $300-million George W. Bush Presidential Library opening at Southern Methodist University in 2013. For now, archivists are cataloging the massive collection of documents and museum pieces stored in the 60,000-square-foot facility managed by the National Archives and Records Administration....
Fort Worth (Tex.) Star-Telegram, Dec. 16

Security breach at NC community college libraries
(PDF file)
The North Carolina Community College System office began notifying nearly 51,000 library users from 25 community colleges that a security breach occurred August 23 on a computer server containing their personal information, including Social Security or driver’s license numbers. The breach was discovered the following day. All reviews and investigations indicate that no personal information was accessed by the intruder, but the Social Security numbers of 38,500 library patrons were stored on the server at the time....
NC Community Colleges, Dec. 17

Beaverton volunteer spends 90th birthday at the library
Phyllis Davis spent her 90th birthday at the library where she has worked or volunteered for the past 65 years. “I can’t think of any place else, really, what else I would be doing,” Davis said December 14, taking a break from her job putting the finishing touches on books before they hit the Beaverton (Oreg.) City Library shelves. “It just seems to suit my abilities, my interests.”...
Portland Oregonian, Dec. 16

Fairfax County ends Ask a Librarian
The Fairfax County (Va.) Public Library will end its popular online Ask a Librarian program to help offset a $4-million budget gap, officials said, making them the first library system in the Washington region to stop such a service. Librarians at Fairfax’s 23 branches answered about 9,300 questions last year, said Director of Internet Services Lydia Patrick....
Washington Post, Dec. 16

Matteo Ricci's 1602 world mapMatteo Ricci map coming to Minnesota
One of the world’s rarest maps—a massive print from 1602 showing the world with China as its center—will soon be on permanent display at the University of Minnesota. The James Ford Bell Trust announced that it has acquired Matteo Ricci’s “Impossible Black Tulip,” the first map in Chinese to show the Americas, from a London books and maps dealer for $1 million. Only six copies of the map remain. The Library of Congress will display the map for the first time in North America on January 12....
Minnesota Public Radio, Dec. 16

San Diego Public Library's Wangenheim RoomSan Diego’s Wangenheim Room
Those who stumble into the Wangenheim Room on the third floor of the San Diego (Calif.) Central Library are often momentarily dazed and then can’t help but be enchanted, feeling as though they are being transported back in time to a well-appointed private library from the 19th century. Architect Rob Quigley intends to recreate the wood-paneled room in the proposed new downtown library, a $185-million domed edifice that the City Council put out for construction bids in October....
San Diego (Calif.) Union-Tribune, Dec. 21

Frank Zappa statueBaltimore branch to get Frank Zappa bust
After more than a year of deliberation, city officials have decided to place a bust of the late Baltimore-born musician Frank Zappa at the Southeast Anchor branch of the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Highlandtown. The commission considered several sites for the statue, but Zappa’s mother, Rose Marie Colimore, was a librarian, and his wife Gail lobbied to have the bust placed near a city library. Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon proclaimed December 21 (Zappa’s birthday) as Frank Zappa Day....
Baltimore Sun, Dec. 17; Associated Press, Dec. 21

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Tech Talk

Welcome to Fennec logoWill the mobile web kill off app stores?
Brian X. Chen writes: “Mozilla, creator of Firefox, claims that its new browser for smartphones will contribute to the death of smartphone app stores. Scheduled to begin appearing on devices at the end of this year, the Firefox mobile browser, code-named Fennec, will be packed with features to make it the closest thing yet to a real, desktop-class browser. Mozilla claims it will have the fastest JavaScript engine of any mobile browser, allowing developers to produce HTML- and JavaScript-coded apps for Fennec rather than for multiple smartphone platforms.”...
Wired: Gadget Lab, Dec. 18

Servers in the cloudSecurity in the cloud
David Talbot writes: “In 2006, when Amazon introduced the Elastic Compute Cloud, it was a watershed event in the quest to transform computing into a ubiquitous utility, like electricity. But it also posed a potential threat. What Amazon hasn’t solved—what nobody has yet solved—is the security problem inherent in the size and structure of clouds. Cloud computing is rapidly changing the way we use computers. Even slow-moving government agencies are getting into the act.”...
Technology Review, Jan./Feb.

RedLaser logo and statsWorldCat in RedLaser iPhone app
Bob Robertson-Boyd writes: “Thanks to some quick footwork by a few of OCLC’s staff and the guys at Occipital, the company behind the iPhone app RedLaser, libraries now appear within the mobile apps item search pages. RedLaser users can scan a book and see the libraries near them that have that book. Then they can click to one of those libraries and get hours, phone numbers, and driving directions.”...
WorldCat Blog, Dec. 22

Video interview embedded in blogHow to produce video interviews for your blog using Skype
Francisco Rosales writes: “Bloggers are taking video interviews to the next level. Why not? It’s a great way to engage your visitors and make them stay a little longer. Are you asking yourself whether this is hard to put together? Here’s what you need: webcam, screen capture software, Skype, basic video editing software, and a video sharing website.”...
Socialmouths, Dec. 21

JiWire free Wi-Fi finderFinding free Wi-Fi
Gina Trapani writes: “You’re out and about for the holidays with your laptop and you’re in need of some fast internet connectivity. Here are some tried and true ways to find and get free Wi-Fi. You can find some free Wi-Fi love at the local public library, Barnes and Noble, McDonald’s, the airport (sometimes), a university campus, independent coffee shop, or hotel lobby (sometimes). Your Wi-Fi enabled smartphone can scan for nearby networks using its built-in antenna, but a few apps let you search near your location or another location, too.”...
Lifehacker, Aug. 19

Lock and keyHow to get and install an SSL/TLS certificate
Glenn Fleishman writes: “Anyone operating a server on any scale should want a digital certificate to encrypt data between clients and services, whether for personal, office, or public use. With so many people accessing networks over Wi-Fi or other untrusted networks for an increasing number of different kinds of services, encryption is a must. While I recommend VPNs, they aren’t always the practical, affordable, or correct solution. For remote email access, SSL/TLS is simpler and more straightforward, and you don’t have to compromise on protection in the process.”...
Ars Technica, Dec. 20

Still from Let's Enhance videoCan you enhance that?
Duncan Robson has compiled this homage (1:43) to computer enhancement in TV dramas that demonstrates the ubiquity of this plot device, despite the fact that such techniques have limited functionality, especially in low-resolution images and videos....
YouTube, Dec. 13


The e-book, the e-reader, and the future of reading
Jeremy Manore, an 18-year-old from central New Jersey, subscribes to several magazines and reads books constantly—John Steinbeck and F. Scott Fitzgerald are among his favorite writers. When he came home from the elite Cushing Academy in Massachusetts for Thanksgiving, Jeremy brought three books to read. But he wasn’t carting heavy volumes in a backpack. Instead, he’d checked out a Kindle from the Cushing school library and downloaded the books he wanted to read....
Christian Science Monitor, Dec. 21

An e-book buyer’s guide to privacy
Ed Bayley writes: “E-readers possess the ability to report back substantial information about their users’ reading habits and locations to the corporations that sell them. And yet none of the major e-reader manufacturers have explained to consumers in clear, unequivocal language what data is being collected about them and why. As a first step towards addressing these problems, the Electronic Frontier Foundation has created a first draft of a buyer’s guide to e-book privacy.”...
Electronic Frontier Foundation Deeplinks Blog, Dec. 21

OverDrive Media Console for AndroidOverDrive releases Android audiobook app
OverDrive, a distributor of audiobooks and e-books to libraries and retailers, announced the beta release December 21 of an audiobook app that enables Android smartphone and device owners to wirelessly download digital audiobooks. OverDrive’s audiobook app for Android is compatible with MP3 audiobooks from more than 10,000 libraries and major online retailers, including Barnes & Noble, BooksOnBoard, and Borders. To download, visit the OverDrive website....
OverDrive, Dec. 21

The Collecting Children’s Books blog reports that The Graveyard Book was being stripped of its Newbery Medal2009 children’s lit: The year in miscellanea
Travis Jonker writes: “It’s time to take a trip back and look at the year that was in children’s lit miscellanea.” He covers such events as the best children’s lit April Fools joke (right), the picture-book cover trend of the year, the marketing technique of the year, the most explosive combination of things librarians love, and the most off-putting cookbook of 2009....
100 Scope Notes, Dec. 22

Opening spread of Ulysses designed by Ernst Reichl, 1934Ulysses: Fast track to 1934 bestseller
Martha Scotford writes: “Imagine you’re a big American publisher, and there’s a book infamous for its subject and language that you want to publish. But first, you have to go up against the U.S. government to prove it should no longer be banned. And, given the publicity of the court case, you want the book in bookstores as soon as it’s legal. This describes the situation facing Random House in 1933 as they waited to publish James Joyce’s Ulysses, which had not been allowed into the U.S. for 12 years. How they got the ban dropped and delivered the book at just the right moment is a short tale of legal, design, and production choreography.”...
Observatory: Design Observer, Dec. 21

In spite of the rain, bibliophiles wandered along la Avenida Corrientes. Photo from El ClarinBookstore Night in Buenos Aires
On December 19–21, Buenos Aires held its annual Noche de las Librerías—Bookstore Night—blocking off some of its biggest thoroughfares for a special evening devoted to the city’s many book lovers. Brian Byrnes has this story from a big bash in honor of books....
NPR Morning Edition, Dec. 21; El Clarín (Buenos Aires), Dec. 19

In 2000, J.K. Rowling changed from an up-and-coming author into a worldwide literary superstar. As her fame grew, her book tours became shorter. Today, any book signed by Rowling has instant value. A signed first edition of Order of the Phoenix sold for $7,657 on AbeBooks in 2007.35 most collectible books of the decade
Richard Davies writes: “AbeBooks has compiled a list of the most collectible books published between 2000 and 2009. Classify these books as hypermodern first editions. It usually takes a long time, sometimes decades, for a book’s value to be determined, but these treasures became collectible in a hurry. Some became desirable on a wave of popularity, others were propelled toward greatness after winning awards, some were acclaimed by literary critics, others were initially self-published, and several emerged from the rough and tumble of politics.”...

Hermann Goering on the cover of the first Look magazine, February 1937First issues of popular magazines
Steven Lomazow writes: “When I started collecting magazines nearly 40 years ago, my goal was to get the first issue of every major American magazine ever published, especially ones that you find on your newsstand today. Spending a ridiculous but highly enjoyable amount of time towards accomplishing that task, I’ve been fairly successful. So, by the miracle of the modern hard drive, I am bringing a hearty sampling to you today.”...
Magazine History, Dec. 19

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Actions & Answers

Number of virtual worlds by frequency of explicit content, chart from FTC reportFTC: Explicit content in virtual worlds leaves minors at risk
The Federal Trade Commission issued a report December 10 that examines the incidence of sexually and violently explicit content in online virtual worlds. The congressionally mandated report, Virtual Worlds and Kids: Mapping the Risks (PDF file), urges operators of virtual worlds to take a number of steps to keep explicit content away from children and teens, and recommends that parents familiarize themselves with the virtual worlds their kids visit....
Federal Trade Commission, Dec. 10

Public Library Use, 1997-2007, Per Capita Visits in the U.S.Service trends in public libraries, 1997–2007
The Institute of Museum and Library Services has released a new research brief, Service Trends in U.S. Public Libraries, 1997–2007 (PDF file). The brief identifies important changes libraries have made to address patron needs in an increasingly internet-centric environment and explores service differences in urban and rural communities. A comparison of more than 11 years of Public Library Survey data suggests that service changes in U.S. public libraries are having an impact on visitation and circulation, as record numbers of people now use public libraries nationwide....
Institute of Museum and Library Services, Dec. 22

CIBER Global Library Survey results
The CIBER research group at University College London released the final report for its global library survey that concerns challenges, trends, and best practices during tough economic times. Cosponsored by the Charleston Conference, Baker & Taylor’s YBP Library Services, and ebrary, the survey was completed by 835 institutions around the world. Anyone may receive a complimentary copy of the final report by registering on the ebrary website. Allen McKiel, dean of library and media services at Western Oregon University, will lead an interactive presentation of the final results at the ALA Midwinter Meeting on January 16....
Business Wire, Dec. 21

Ithaka S+R logoReport on the Federal Depository Library Program
A report released December 17 from Ithaka S+R, Documents for a Digital Democracy: A Model for the Federal Depository Library Program in the 21st Century (PDF file), examines the essential role of the Federal Library Depository Program and how the transition of government information from print to digital impacts the program’s long-term approach and sustainability. Commissioned by the Association of Research Libraries and the Chief Officers of State Library Agencies, the changes articulated in the report are urgently needed as FDLP and other libraries strive to ensure long-term, no-fee public access to government information....
Ithaka S+R, Dec. 17

Google explosion
Jason Griffey writes: “The last quarter of 2009 has seen an absolute explosion of Google features, acquisitions, and apps. Here’s a summary of the developments that I think have the most significance for libraries and librarians.”...
ALA TechSource blog, Dec. 21

St. Paul to launch Mobile Workplace Computer Lab
The Saint Paul (Minn.) Public Library will launch a Mobile Workplace project with a $300,000 grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The project features two components—a mobile service delivery van that will regularly visit community partner locations to offer job search assistance and computer training; and multilingual cultural liaisons who will ensure that services are offered in high-priority languages, including Spanish, Hmong, and Somali, with outreach to specific cultural communities....
Friends of the St. Paul (Minn.) Public Library, Dec. 21

Hit learners with a quick shot of fun and creativity by using any of these e-learning hacksAdd pizzazz to online presentations
Jay Turner writes: “Designing e-learning is my creative passion. I’ve taken scores of self-paced e-learning courses over the years, and I’m often astonished by how static and dull most of these presentations are. However, smart uses of multimedia in online courses can help capture attention, which is fundamental to facilitating the learning process. Here you’ll find some of my favorite hacks for adding pizzazz to online presentations.”...
ALA Learning, Dec. 21

Peter LorLongshots reaches 200th podcast
One of the library world’s longest-running podcasts, Longshots, is celebrating the broadcast of its 200th episode, an interview with Peter Lor (right), former National Librarian of South Africa, who talks about how libraries have played a part in post-apartheid culture. The weekly podcast explores the world of libraries through brief interviews with key library figures and library supporters from all walks of life. Longshots is hosted by Sarah Long, executive director of the North Suburban Library System, and past president of ALA....
North Suburban Library System, Dec. 22

Sweet 16 things I learned in librarianship in 2009
Buffy Hamilton writes: “In response to Aaron Tay’s December 21 tweet, here is my top sweet 16 list of things I have learned, in no particular ranking or order, in 2009 (and am continuing to learn into 2010). While I am sure there are other ideas that may be escaping me right now, this list is representative of the ‘big ideas’ that have profoundly influenced my practice this year.”...
The Unquiet Librarian, Dec. 22

Office of War Information poster, 1940s, from National ArchivesHow do you say no?
Emily Ford writes: “The ability to say no to taking on a new project at work or another committee appointment is directly related to mental wellness and a healthy work/life balance. Many of us have a hard time saying no and can accumulate too much work and responsibility. The quandary remains that if you’re good at what you do you’ll be asked to take on projects and commitments. In order to maintain balance, we need to learn how to say no. And that takes a tremendous amount of emotional intelligence, leadership, and let’s face it, guts.”...
In the Library with the Lead Pipe, Dec. 16

Listen/Observe. Patron: Why can't I send you a text? Reference Librarian: That gives me an idea!Put up your antennae
Steven Bell writes: “Continuous improvement is an often sought-after goal in libraries. We may be doing good things for our community, but resting on our laurels is no formula for future success. It’s important to keep exploring for new ways to enhance the library experience for the end user. A simple way to do that is by making sure we are skilled practitioners of listening and observing.”...
Designing Better Libraries, Dec. 18

Librarian job prospects “favorable”
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released the 2010–2011 edition of its Occupational Outlook Handbook December 17. The entry for librarians is optimistic about future employment trends, remarking that “Employment of librarians is expected to grow by 8% between 2008 and 2018, which is as fast as the average for all occupations.” It also noted that the “Median annual wages of librarians in May 2008 were $52,530.”...
U.S. Department of Labor Statistics

Page from the 1866 Alabama state census for Tuscaloosa CountyState census records online
Miriam Midkiff writes: “There is a plethora of state census records now available online, something that wasn’t in existence even five years ago. How are state censuses helpful in genealogy? They were often held in the years between the decennial federal censuses, and they often contain answers to questions that aren’t normally asked in federal censuses. I decided to compile a list of state census records available at and FamilySearch. On both websites, not every county is represented for each state census available, and not every state census year is available online yet.”...
AnceStories: The Stories of My Ancestors, Dec. 13

Seven arguments for building new libraries
James LaRue writes: “Recently, one of our employees moved to the Midwest to become the director of a library whose main building was destroyed by a thousand-year flood. On the one hand, many members of the community are working to restore that library. On the other, this former employee tells me he’s hearing more and more often the refrain that building libraries just isn’t necessary. Not in the 21st century. Not in the age of the internet. I disagree.”...
Douglas County (Colo.) Libraries, Dec. 17

Council Tree branch library exterior at nightNew Council Tree branch is certified LEED Platinum
The Poudre River Public Library District in Fort Collins, Colorado, announced December 9 that its new Council Tree branch has been awarded LEED Platinum certification by the U.S. Green Building Council. The branch is the first LEED commercial interior library in the United States to receive platinum status and the second library in the nation to receive platinum. The certification was awarded for excellence in energy, lighting, water, and material efficiency as well as incorporating a variety of other sustainable strategies....
Poudre River (Colo.) Public Library District, Dec. 9

Richard LandonInterview with Special Collections Librarian Richard Landon
Richard Landon is director of the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library at the University of Toronto. He has taught courses on the history of the book and bibliography for many years in the university’s Graduate Department of English and the Faculty of Information. Bibliophile Nigel Beale talked with him (38:29) about his career, the role of a rare books librarian, Diderot’s Encyclopédie, collecting as scholarship, Darwin, Galileo, Copernicus, the future of the Thomas Fisher collection, e-books, books about books, and unpublished medieval texts....
Nigel Beale Nota Bene Books, Dec. 16

Tableau de l'Histoire Universelle depuis la Creation jusqu'a ce jour (Paris: Eug. Pick, 1858)Victorian infographics
P. K. has gathered together some intriguing informational charts from the 19th century that are housed in the David Rumsey Map Collection. On the right is a “fold-out print depicting all of human history from the time of creation (4693 B.C., Adam and Eve) up to the date of publication (1858). Vignettes of historically significant people, places, and buildings are arranged along the borders. The designer has employed a metaphorical display choice: Civilizations are presented as a series of rivers—the widths likely imply the comparative population level of each group versus the world’s population—which ‘flow’ down through history.”...
BibliOdyssey, Dec. 21

English commonplace book, early 17th century. Beinecke Library call number: Osborn b234Early modern paleography
Early Modern Paleography is a daily gallery of early modern British handwriting from the Osborn Collection of Yale University’s Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library. Beginning on January 1 and continuing each day throughout the year, Early Modern Paleography will post photographs from an early modern British manuscript, for the delight and delectation of its readers. Each week will focus on a particular manuscript or type of manuscript, ranging over the course of the year from letters to commonplace books, inventories, poetry, diaries, and account books....
Early Modern Paleography

Survey on the future of the book
The Colorado State Library’s Library Research Service has launched a 60-second survey on the “Future of the Book.” The survey asks your opinions on e-readers and how you think they will transform reading. Will e-readers be the demise of the paper book? What will libraries circulate? What is the future of the book? Tell the LRS....
Library Research Service blog, Dec. 10

Heather Ross models her library skirtHeather Ross’s amazing library skirt
Artist Heather Ross writes: “December 12 was the Modern Women of Sewing event at the New York Public Library, held as a part of its Crafternoon series. The idea behind the event was to bring attention to all of the amazing rare books that NYPL has in its cavernous, multilevel archives (known also as the stacks), specifically the books that an artist or craftsperson would find especially inspiring.” For the event, Ross made a skirt from fabric printed with a 1911 sectional illustration of the library stacks....
heatherross journal, Dec. 13

Songs for the season: Library carols
The Merry Librarian writes: “Have you ever had a bad day at the library and wished it could be brightened by song? Well, Merry happens to know a gifted lyricist who has turned three bad-day-at-the-library stories into hilarious songs set to the tunes of popular holiday music. We encourage you to sing along with us as we celebrate the season with these fun new library carols by Jennifer Stafford.”...
The Merry Librarian, Dec. 20

Lady Gaga impersonator at the Hillman Library flash mob. Still from video by Sherri HuangPittsburgh flash mob features Lady Gaga impersonator
When “Lady Gaga” began dancing on a table in the University of Pittsburgh’s Hillman Library December 17, dozens of students joined in, while others complained and moved their books. The pink-wig-donning, lingerie-clad Pitt student impersonating the pop diva strutted into the main room on the first floor of the library shortly after 10 p.m. She was one member of a small group of students who organized a flash mob in the library, two nights before finals officially end....
Pitt News, Dec. 18

Title from The Librarian ZoneSalinas Public Library wins video contest with The Librarian Zone
The Salinas (Calif.) Public Library won $10,000 in a contest sponsored by the California State Library that challenged participants to make a video explaining why fast internet service is important at the library. Submissions were judged on clarity of message, creativity, and video quality. The Librarian Zone video (2:00) was made by Bjorn Jones and Garland Thompson Jr., with appearances by Benjamin MacBean, Anthony Lacono, and Jayne Wilsey....
YouTube, Nov. 16

Still from Green Man, Blue Cat videoGreen Man, Blue Cat (satire)
Adults go wild over the latest release in the children’s picture book series, Green Man, Blue Cat, by Barclay Mitchell. Readers of all ages are hooked on the colorful illustrations and large font size. The news anchors on The Onion News Network’s Today Now! show are infected with enthusiasm (2:15) as they interview John Basil, CEO of Sunflower Books, the publisher of the series....
The Onion, Dec. 11

No AL Direct next week
AL Direct is taking a week off for the holidays. Look for a new edition on Wednesday, January 6. Have a Happy New Year!

Go back to the Top

ALA 2009 Midwinter Meeting logo

ALA Midwinter Meeting, Boston, January 15–19. For self parking at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, turn into the east side entrance off Summer Street and continue to the end of the building, turn right, and go down the ramp. At the bottom, turn left and you will see the entrance to the South Parking Lot. Shuttle buses run continuously between the lot and building entrance. Self parking is $10 all day.

Booklist webinars

Free webinar from Booklist Online: 21st Century Reference Collections, Tuesday, January 12, 4:00 Eastern Time. Join Booklist’s Mary Ellen Quinn, editor of Reference Books Bulletin, and a group of library and publishing experts as they talk about how the traditional reference collection is being transformed. Reserve a seat today. NEW! From Booklist.

In this issue
Dec. 2009

Cover of Dec. 2009 issue

Building Bridges between Students and Faculty

Buena Casa, Buena Brasa

Deployed to Iraq

Booklist Online subscription

Career Leads from
ALA Joblist logo

Director of the Center for Inquiry and Exploration. Maret School, an independent K-12 school in Washington, D.C., seeks a dynamic leader to assume leadership of an innovative programmatic initiative, the Center for Inquiry and Exploration. This newly created center seeks to infuse current research methodology into all aspects of our curriculum, concentrating especially on Grades 7 through 12. We seek an administrator with a strong understanding of the changing and evolving roles of libraries and information systems in the 21st century and a clear and compelling vision for how Maret’s facilities and faculty can more effectively train students in current research and inquiry practices....

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Digital Library of the Week

North Carolina Gov. Terry Sanford (left) with Attorney General-designate Robert F. Kennedy, January 6, 1961, during Sanford's inaugural ball. 741.26.a.4

Seeds of Change: The Daily Reflector Image Collection is one of the newest digital collections at East Carolina University’s J. Y. Joyner Library. The collection contains more than 7,000 images digitized from the photographic negatives of The Daily Reflector, the Greenville newspaper. The online collection represents only a portion of the 85,000 negatives donated by D. Jordan Whichard III, the paper’s former publisher. The majority of the photos date from 1949 to 1967 and document advances in industry, upheavals in race relations, and an increasing awareness of public health concerns. The website also has an illustrated timeline that examines the national and international events that shaped the era.

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.

Teen Tech Week 2010

Teen Tech Week 2010 will take place March 7–13. It is a national initiative meant to encourage teens to take advantage of libraries’ nonprint resources. The theme—Learn Create Share @ your library—fosters teen creativity and positions the library as a place for safe exploration of many types of technology.

Public Perception
How the World
Sees Us

I worry that libraries, even the newest ones, risk becoming fortresses buttressed by books, protecting Gutenberg’s technology for reasons of principle rather than pragmatism. Librarians need to educate themselves, and us, about the possibilities and limitations of digital books.”

—Columnist Alex Beam, hoping that libraries will loan out more e-books for users to test drive so that the hype about digital publishing will be tempered by experience, “Unbound Is Not Unbeatable,Boston Globe, Dec. 22.

Ask the ALA Librarian

Cover of Senior High Core Collection

Q. A long, long time ago, like BC (before computers), my high school librarian once showed me a professional tool she used in selecting books for the school library. It was an annotated listing of books recommended for small to medium library collections. I can’t remember what it was called, but it came out periodically, and was a large and heavy hardback book. We are trying to put together a library in my son’s school, but I can’t remember the exact title of that book. I have tried looking on eBay and places like AbeBooks to try to find old editions, but can’t seem to think of the most effective search terms that won’t net me tens of thousands of results.

A. Your high school teacher was likely using the longtime H. W. Wilson publication—whose name has changed a few times over the years—Standard Catalog for High School Libraries, which was first published in 1926. As of 2007, the title is Senior High Core Collection. This book selection professional tool, as well as several other such books published by Wilson, Libraries Unlimited, and our own ALA Editions, appears in a list, separated out by age group, at Readers’ Advisory for Children and Young Adults. You can find out if any of these books are at a public or community college library near you by using OCLC’s WorldCat, a free online database in which you can search for a book title, and then find the book’s closest library location using your own ZIP code. From the ALA Professional Tips wiki.

@ The ALA Librarian welcomes your questions.

ALA Scholarship logo

ALA and its units provide more than $300,000 in scholarships annually for study in a master’s degree in library and information studies from an ALA-accredited program, or for a master’s degree in a school library media program that meets the ALA curriculum guidelines for an NCATE-accredited unit. You can apply for a variety of scholarships through the single online application. Three references must also be supplied with the online form. The scholarship application and reference forms are available until March 1.


Jan. 16–17:
Austin Book, Paper, and Photo Show,
Norris Conference Center, Austin, Texas.

Jan. 26–27:
Web 3.0 Conference,
Mediabistro, Hyatt Regency Santa Clara, California.

Feb. 6–7:
San Francisco Antiquarian Book, Print, and Paper Fair,
San Francisco Concourse.

Mar. 3–5:
Customers of SirsiDynix User Group,
2010 Conference, Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort, Lake Buena Vista, Florida. “From Intersections to Lasting ConXions.”

Mar. 3–5:
WebWise 2010,
Hyatt Regency at the Colorado Convention Center, Denver. “Imagining the Digital Future.”

Mar. 4–7:
Alaska Library Association,
Annual Conference. Hotel Captain Cook, Anchorage. “Breaking New Trails.”

Mar. 5–6:
Virtual Worlds and Libraries Online Conference. The conference will be held online using OPAL web conferencing software, with demonstrations and tours in virtual worlds such as Second Life. Deadline for proposals is January 15.

Apr. 29–
May 2:

Greater St. Louis Book Fair,
West County Center, St. Louis.

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