Judge overrules Philadelphia branch closings
A Philadelphia judge has ordered Mayor Michael Nutter to halt his planned closing of 11 branches of the Free Library of Philadelphia. Court of Common Pleas Judge Idee C. Fox (right) issued the ruling December 30 in response to an emergency motion filed by three city council members who argued that the closures would violate a 1988 city ordinance requiring the mayor to obtain council approval before shutting any city-owned facility....
American Libraries Online, Jan. 5
Louisville pins upgrade hopes on stimulus funds
More than a year after the resounding defeat of a $200-million library bond issue to expand the facilities and services of the Louisville (Ky.) Free Public Library, city and library officials have unveiled a scaled-down $120-million plan (PDF file) to revitalize the library system over more than a decade. The hitch is financing, and Mayor Jerry Abramson has met with President-Elect Barack Obama regarding an initial $8.4 million to jump-start system improvements....
American Libraries Online, Jan. 5
Meet the ALA candidates
ALA presidential candidates Roberta Stevens and Kent Oliver invite Midwinter Meeting attendees to a joint reception, January 24, 5:30–7:30 p.m., in Ballroom 4 of the Hyatt Regency Denver. Members can meet both candidates and communicate their interests and concerns. The reception (with food and cash bar) is sponsored by Oliver and Stevens, along with a generous contribution from Innovative Interfaces. Don’t forget the Candidates Forum, Saturday, 11 a.m.–12 noon, Four Seasons Ballroom, Colorado Convention Center. If you can’t attend the Forum, submit a YouTube video (PDF file) asking the candidates questions by January 16. Questions from nonmembers are also welcome....
It’s been a tough start to the new year
ALA Internet Development Specialist Jenny Levine writes: “The last two weeks have been a sort of Perfect Storm of online-related problems at ALA, and as the person here who probably does the most tracking of what’s said about us online, I think I’ve pretty well heard everything you have to say about it. Now we’ve had a chance to talk about some of these things internally, and we want to update you on decisions we’ve made to try to fix some of the problems.”...
ALA Marginalia, Jan. 7
Submit a program proposal for Annual Conference
Do you have a great idea for an Annual Conference program but don’t belong to a committee or other group that can plan and produce a program? As part of ALA President Jim Rettig’s “Creating Connections” initiatives, you are invited to submit a proposal for a program to take place at the 2009 conference in Chicago. Grassroots Program proposals may be submitted through February 6....
Online tools for National Library Week
New online materials and products are available to help libraries reach out to their communities during National Library Week, April 12–18, from the Public Information Office and the Campaign for America’s Libraries. Materials are available in both English and Spanish that focus on the 2009 theme, “Worlds connect @ your library.”...
Online submissions for AL’s Library Design Showcase
You can now submit materials online for the Library Design Showcase in American Libraries’ April issue. We’ve bought a YouSendIt account to handle the very large files that this entails. As a result, sending the files will be slightly more complicated than simply sending an email—but not much. As this is something of an experiment, please share your comments, problems, or suggestions. The deadline is February 2....
AL Inside Scoop, Jan. 6
Library Support Staff Certification Program discussion
The ALA–Allied Professional Association invites live and virtual discussion of the development of the Library Support Staff Certification Program, a national, voluntary certification program for library support staff. ALA-APA will host an Open Forum at ALA Midwinter meeting in Denver on January 24 and welcomes comments on the official LSSCP blog. A Briefing Document (PDF file) for discussion at Midwinter is available online....
ALA–Allied Professional Association, Jan. 7
Get boys interested in reading
Connecting Boys with Books 2: Closing the Reading Gap by Michael Sullivan draws on the author’s more than 20 years of experience in reinvigorating the sense of excitement that boys felt when they first heard a picture book being read aloud. In this companion book to the 2003 edition, Sullivan digs even deeper, melding his own experiences as an activist with perspectives gleaned from other industry experts....
Protect patrons’ privacy
ALA Editions has released a new title, Privacy and Confidentiality Issues: A Guide for Libraries and their Lawyers, by Theresa Chmara. In this clear and concise guide, set up in an FAQ format, First Amendment attorney and litigation expert Chmara shares her decades of experience in easy-to-understand, jargon-free language. Interspersed within the questions and answers, actual court case studies lend a sense of urgency to the explanations....
Date change for Los Angeles Lawyers for Libraries
ALA will present a Lawyers for Libraries training institute February 27 in Los Angeles. The previously announced date was February 20. The Lawyers for Libraries Institute is primarily intended to equip attorneys with tools they need to effectively defend the First Amendment in libraries....
Featured review: Media
Meyer, L. A. Curse of the Blue Tattoo: Being an Account of the Misadventures of Jacky Faber, Midshipman and Fine Lady. Read by Katherine Kellgren. Aug. 2008. 14hr. Listen and Live, CD (978-1-59316-134-7).
Kellgren continues her tour de force portrayal of Mary “Jacky” Faber in this stand-alone sequel to Bloody Jack, a 2008 Odyssey Award Honor title. After it is discovered that Jacky has been disguising herself as a boy, she is forced to leave her shipmates and true love behind to enter the Lawson Peabody School for Young Girls in Boston, plunging her into melodramatic escapades. Mean girls and a malevolent headmistress block her path to becoming a proper lady, while stereotypical characters provide colorful Dickensian subplots involving murder and madness. Kellgren voices Jacky’s Cockney patois with such historical accuracy that listeners are pulled into the early 19th century, breathlessly entranced by Jacky’s heart-on-her-sleeve, knife-in-her-bosom exploits....
Booklist’s 2008 Top of the List winners
Booklist has announced its 19th 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 2008. The Top of the List picks are featured in the special combined January 1 and 15 issue, as well as on Booklist Online....
The Book Links Lasting Connections list for 2008
Book Links magazine’s January issue contains its annual annotated Lasting Connections list (PDF file), spotlighting the editors’ selections of the 30 best 2008 picture books, novels and informational titles for libraries and classrooms. Lasting Connections is considered an essential collection development tool for children’s librarians, school library media specialists, and K–8 educators....
@ Visit Booklist Online for other reviews and much more....
SuperShuttle from the airport
ALA has partnered with SuperShuttle to serve the needs of its attendees traveling to Denver for the Midwinter Meeting. SuperShuttle is offering discounts on round trip travel to and from the Denver International Airport (DIA) and the hotels in the ALA block: $22 one way and $36 round trip using the special ALA online discount code LET6A. For more information go to the discount information page (PDF file)....
Denver dining guide
Locals rate the restaurants, from Ted’s Montana Grill (love that buffalo meatloaf!) to the Rock Bottom Brewery....
Internet use grows at meetings
Until recently, travelers attending conferences had simple internet needs. They would check email messages and look up information on the Web or connect to the home office. Now, meetings are likely to include streaming video and online interaction. Back in their rooms, travelers are downloading movies and logging onto peer-to-peer networks. Event organizers and hotels and conference centers are struggling to keep up and prevent internet gridlock....
New York Times, Dec. 29
Knowledge Quest goes online
AASL members can now access current and archived copies of Knowledge Quest online to print or save in a PDF format. The site also offers searchable full-text articles and can be accessed through member login on the Knowledge Quest page. Published five times a year, the magazine offers information on the development of school library media programs and services....
ACRL on web design
ACRL has released a new publication, Design Talk: Understanding the Roles of Usability Practitioners, Web Designers, and Web Developers in User-Centered Web Design, by Brenda Reeb, coordinator of the web usability program at the University of Rochester Libraries. Design Talk focuses on the interactions between the various roles in website development and delineates the scope of responsibilities and activities of usability practitioners, designers, and developers....
ACRL’s spring e-learning schedule
ACRL offers a wide variety of online learning opportunities in spring 2009 to meet the demands of your schedule and budget. ACRL online seminars are asynchronous, multiweek courses delivered through Moodle. Seven are scheduled for January through April. Full details and registration information are available on the ACRL website....
Interface welcomes new format and editor
ASCLA members looking for division news can now find it both in their email inboxes and online. Beginning with the December 2008 issue, the ASCLA newsletter Interface has shifted to a completely digital format. In addition to increasing access to content for members using assistive devices, this change introduces blog-like features that allow members to comment on and discuss the articles. Emily Inlow-Hood, the new editor, has shepherded the publication through its transition....
YALSA Teens and Technology Institute
YALSA will offer a full-day institute on using technology to reach teens in libraries on March 2 at the Wyoming Seminary College Preparatory School in Kingston, Pennsylvania. Participants will explore how teen literacies in such areas as reading, writing, and communicating are expanding and changing via technologies like chat, IM, blogs, text messaging, and wikis. Save $10 by signing up before February 1....
Recruit a new YALSA member and win a Flip Ultra
All current YALSA members who recruit a new member to YALSA between January 23 and March 23 will be entered into a drawing to win a free Flip Ultra video camera for themselves and their new recruit. To enter, members should visit the 2009 Member Drive website and download the special membership form that will be posted on January 23....
ALA youth media awards, January 26
Join thousands as ALA unveils the best of the best in children’s and young adult literature and media at the 2009 Youth Media Awards presentation during the ALA Midwinter Meeting, January 23–28, in Denver. The award announcements will take place at 7:45 a.m. Mountain Time (doors open at 7:30 a.m.) January 26 in the Four Seasons Ballroom at the Colorado Convention Center....
Nominations sought for the Madison Awards
ALA is seeking nominations for two awards to honor individuals or groups who have championed, protected, and promoted public access to government information and the public’s right to know—the James Madison Award and the Eileen Cooke State and Local Madison Award. Nominations should be submitted to Jessica McGilvray at the ALA Washington Office no later than February 2....
District Dispatch, Jan. 5
Great Stories CLUB grants awarded
The Public Programs Office and YALSA announced that 237 libraries have been selected to receive Great Stories CLUB grants to support book discussion programs targeting troubled teens. See the full list here. Among those sites selected, 53 will additionally receive small cash grants to support program-related expenses. Funding was provided for this program by Oprah’s Angel Network....
Nominate someone for a Bartlett Award
The Richard C. Bartlett Environmental Education Award is presented annually to an outstanding educator who has successfully integrated environmental education into his or her daily education programs. The National Environmental Education Foundation established the award in 2007 and provides $5,000 to the winners to continue their work in environmental education. Deadline for nominations is February 13....
National Environmental Education Foundation
Couch Potato champ, second straight year
Stan Friedman, senior librarian at Condé Nast Publications in New York City, captured his second straight title December 29 in ESPN’s Ultimate Couch Potato Competition, spending nearly 19 hours reclining in front of the TV. He outlasted three challengers to defend his crown at the second annual showdown in the ESPN Zone restaurant in Times Square....
New York Daily News, Jan. 1
The library—a recession sanctuary
Senior Obama advisor David Axelrod said support for libraries is still part of the president-elect’s stimulus package, “refurbishing the nation’s classrooms and labs and libraries so our kids can compete.” That is, if the libraries first avoid being trampled. Library systems across the nation face cuts and closures at the very moment they have become recession sanctuaries. CBS news anchor Katie Couric (above) agrees that libraries are helping Americans save money. In fact, libraries are shining so brightly that the nation’s politicians must keep their lights flickering. Obama says he wants to link all libraries to the internet, but you cannot connect them if the doors are locked....
Boston Globe, Jan. 3; Couric Notebook, Dec. 31
Markets down, libraries up
In the profession, it’s called the “Librarian’s Axiom,” and it goes like this: “Public libraries prosper when the country is experiencing economic stringency.” In an article published in the Fall/Winter 1986 Public Library Quarterly, Atlanta University SLIS Professor Stephen E. James noted that the relationship between library usage and economic conditions has been discussed within the industry for more than 100 years. The effect was observed as early as 1880 in the Annual Report of the Chicago Public Library and later during the Great Depression that followed the stock market crash of 1929. Fast forward 80 years, and the effect is manifesting itself again....
Jacksonville (Fla.) Financial News and Daily Record, Jan. 7
Massachusetts libraries host inauguration parties
Some Bay State libraries are hosting parties on January 20 where people can gather to watch a new chapter open in American history: the inauguration of Barack Obama as president of the United States. Officials at libraries in Boston, Watertown, Lexington, Barnstable, and Andover say they are happy to provide a place for people to gather around televisions to share the day’s events. Some are planning additional activities, including parties and games for kids....
Boston Globe, Jan. 7
Kayaker paddles 1,000 miles for the library
78-year-old Dick Wheeler has finished his 1,000-mile coastal kayaking adventure to raise money for the Wareham (Mass.) Free Library. He began his “paddlethon” around Cape Cod’s coastline on October 11, completing his mission on December 13. Wheeler has raised nearly $50,000 for the library, which faces losing its state certification after it was forced to reduce hours to 25 per week September 15 when its budget was cut by $200,000. Read about Wheeler’s experiences on his Paddlethon blog....
Brockton (Mass.) Enterprise, Dec. 29; Paddlethon to Save the Wareham Free Library
New York libraries could lose state aid
Libraries in New York are bracing for a proposed 18% cut in state aid. If the budget passes, library aid levels will be at a 15-year low. “All of our libraries are seeing a big boom in business,” said Fayetteville (N.Y.) Free Library Director Sue Considine, which means as usage goes up, so does the cost for doing business. Due to the increased need for library services, the New York Board of Regents approved 55 library charters this year. Four new public library districts were formed, and 318,588 formerly unserved New Yorkers now have a local public library....
Fayetteville (N.Y.) Eagle Bulletin, Dec. 31
Troy library cuts echo statewide trend
The Troy (N.Y.) Public Library’s decision to close its Lansingburgh (right) and Sycaway branches is part of a statewide trend to reduce services as libraries see their funding shrink. The two Troy branches will shut February 2 and seven employees will be dismissed to deal with a 17% cut in the 2009 budget. Elsewhere, libraries in Westchester County and in the Rome and Rochester suburbs are trimming their Sunday hours....
Albany (N.Y.) Times Union, Jan. 7
New Jersey libraries face budget crunch, cuts
New Jersey’s worsening economic picture is affecting many community libraries. The state has libraries in about 245 communities, according to New Jersey Library Association Executive Director Patricia Tumulty, who said municipalities are mandated to fund them according to a state formula that works out to about $33 in taxpayer funds for every $100,000 of a home’s value. Shortfalls are now causing many libraries to cut back hours, days of operation, book budgets, or staff positions, but the Newark Public Library board decided January 2 to keep its Roseville branch (above) open, pending further review of the city’s 2009 budget....
Associated Press, Jan. 2
Bush data threatens to overload National Archives
The National Archives has put into effect an emergency plan to handle electronic records from the Bush White House amid growing doubts about whether its new $144-million computer system can cope with the vast quantities of digital data it will receive when President Bush leaves office on January 20. The electronic record of the Bush years is about 50 times as large as that left by the Clinton White House in 2001, archives officials estimate. Under federal law, the government has “complete ownership, possession, and control” of presidential and vice-presidential records....
New York Times, Dec. 27
FCC drops filtering from free broadband plan
FCC Chairman Kevin Martin has revised his proposal to roll out a free (and smut-free) wireless broadband service. In an effort to corral more votes, Martin has already circulated a new version of the plan, one that removes the controversial porn-filtering requirement. The agency has scheduled another Open Commission meeting for January 15 to discuss the revision....
Ars Technica, Dec. 29
An all-nighter at the library
Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Mellon University joined a growing number of campuses whose libraries are keeping themselves relevant in the laptop age by running at least part of their operation round-the-clock and by making other changes to the services they offer. In a fall test, the average number of students in the library overnight at any given hour was twice the target, and it was enough to justify making the hours permanent for students who will begin the spring semester....
Pittsburgh (Pa.) Post-Gazette, Jan. 4
DVD claimed inappropriate for library
A retired sociology professor wants to have a film he regards as pornographic removed from the shelves of the Town ’N Country Regional Public Library in Tampa, Florida. Frank DeAngelis said he didn’t know what to expect when he checked out The Films of James Broughton but was shocked to see naked men engaging in various sexual acts. Linda Gillon, manager of programming for the Hillsborough County Department of Library Services, suggested he file a complaint. Broughton (1913–1999) was a poet, playwright, and avant-garde filmmaker....
Tampa (Fla.) Tribune, Dec. 25
LC to collect sermons for inauguration
Inauguration-week sermons will be preserved to highlight Barack Obama’s rise to power in an unprecedented quest by the Library of Congress to capture this transfer of power for future generations. The library’s American Folklife Center is asking churches, synagogues, and mosques for copies of sermons or speeches that focus on the significance of the inauguration of Obama as the country’s first black president....
Associated Press, Jan. 2
Lincoln Presidential Library adds Union soldier’s letters
The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library in Springfield, Illinois, has acquired the notes and letters of William Wylie, a corporal with the 58th Illinois Infantry during the Civil War. Library officials say Wyllie’s wartime accounts are some of the most detailed they have encountered. Although the library is nowhere near finished cataloging the collection, which they’ve been negotiating to purchase for years, they say his observations already are filling gaps in history....
Springfield (Ill.) Journal-Register, Dec. 27
D.C. libraries to crack down on sleepers
District of Columbia Public Library Director Ginnie Cooper has announced new rules that, starting February 1, will prohibit sleeping in the libraries or carrying more than two bags into any of the branches—rules designed to discourage the homeless from camping out at tables where readers and researchers might want to work. Cooper says the rules will make the libraries more welcoming for all. Sleeping, generally, “isn’t an activity we encourage.”...
Washington Post, Dec. 29–30
Hathaway’s winning streak at an end
Milt Hathaway, librarian at Eastern View High School in Culpeper, Virginia, lost on Jeopardy December 22 by only $1, but he didn’t leave empty-handed. His two previous appearances netted him $70,002, as well as a comment from game-show host Alex Trebek: “It is quite obvious that our champion, Milt, has spent just as much time reading those books as sorting them in the library.”...
Culpeper (Va.) Star-Exponent, Dec. 23
Law librarian accused of burglary
The longtime law librarian at the Santa Maria (Calif.) Law Library is facing felony charges for allegedly burglarizing the residence of an attorney in Solvang, California, and stealing firearms and jewelry. The Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office filed charges of first-degree residential burglary and grand theft firearm December 23 against Stephen Zaharias, who is due in court January 13 to be formally charged....
Lompoc (Calif.) Record, Jan. 3
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Top Twitter tools in 2009
You have probably heard something about the new microblogging platform, Twitter, and how Twitter has taken the online world by storm. The phenomenon has even spawned a new lingo, with your new tweeps (followers) tweeting (making posts) you and discussing the state of the Twitterverse. While Twitter is pretty easy to use, there’s an overwhelming amount of Twitter tools, plug-ins, and apps being developed to support it. Here are some promising ones....
Social Networking Blog, Dec. 29
Google Book Search’s treasure trove
Ever since Google began scanning printed books four years ago, scholars have been able to tap a trove of information that had been locked away in libraries and antiquarian bookstores. According to Dan Clancy, engineering director for Google Book Search, every month users view at least 10 pages of more than half of the one million out-of-copyright books that Google has scanned into its servers. But some scholars worry that Google users are more likely to search for narrow information than to read at length....
New York Times, Jan. 4
50 most beautiful icon sets created in 2008
Icons are everywhere. In most designs, they are used to make websites and blogs more attractive, but they can decorate desktops and iPhones as well. Here are 50 superb free icon sets from the past year, in various formats....
Noupe, Dec. 9
19 cool gadgets for your office
The office can be a cold, hard, unfeeling, life-sucking place to spend your working days, but then again you don’t have to live in Dilbertsville. For all the stigma surrounding the office, you’re getting a unique opportunity to interact with people and your environment. Here are 19 gadgets that will help turn your four walls into a techie heaven, like this USB coffee warmer (right)....
The Hottest Gadgets, Sept. 16
Lerner pulls Angel Girl
Oprah Winfrey once dubbed it the “greatest love story” she had ever heard: a boy held at a Nazi concentration camp and a girl on the outside who tossed him apples to keep him alive. They eventually married and grew old together. But historians suspected some key facts, and in late December Herman Rosenblat acknowledged that the story of how he met his wife was made up. Berkley Books immediately canceled publication of Rosenblat’s memoir, Angel at the Fence, which was set to be released in February. And Laurie Friedman’s Angel Girl, a children’s book inspired by Rosenblat, was pulled December 30 by Lerner Publishing....
CNN, Dec. 30; Lansing (Mich.) State Journal, Dec. 30; School Library Journal, Dec. 30
2008 OverDrive eBook statistics
Digital media company OverDrive reported that readers at more than 8,500 OverDrive network libraries worldwide made Stephenie Meyer’s YA novel Twilight the most downloaded audiobook and eBook of the year. In 2008, library patrons viewed 237 million website pages looking to download media, a 76% rise over last year....
OverDrive, Jan. 6
20 reasons why 2009 will be the year of the eBook
Chris Andrews writes: “This eBook industry that we are talking about here, which will grow significantly over the coming year, has been emerging for the last two years. It includes a whole new generation of technology specifically designed to enhance the experience of reading an eBook. 2009 will become the year of the eBook. Here, in no particular order, is why.”...
Gutenberg.com, Jan. 1
Best science fiction books of 2008
2008 was an amazing year for science fiction novels, with Neal Stephenson’s Anathem hitting bestseller lists and critics going crazy over slavery tale Liberation by Brian Francis Slattery and cyborg fantasy Alchemy of Stone by Ekaterina Sedia. Here are 11 of the year’s best science fiction novels, with links to reviews—as well as several interviews with the authors....
io9, Dec. 31
Trends in the humanities (subscription required)
The American Academy of Arts and Sciences unveiled the prototype January 7 of its long-awaited Humanities Indicators project. Patterned after the Science and Engineering Indicators generated every two years by the National Science Board, the Humanities Indicators deliver a bonanza of statistics on almost every aspect of humanities education, employment, and research. Among the data: Americans are far less likely now than they were in 1972 to want books banned from libraries because of controversial subject matter....
Chronicle of Higher Education, Jan. 7
25 more films added to LC film registry
Librarian of Congress James H. Billington named 25 important motion pictures—classics and genres from every era of American filmmaking—to the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress, including The Asphalt Jungle, Deliverance, A Face in the Crowd, The Invisible Man, Sergeant York, and The Terminator. Spanning the period 1910–1989, this year’s selections bring the number of motion pictures in the registry to 500....
Library of Congress, Dec. 30
Top 10 most literate U.S. cities
Residents of Minneapolis and Seattle are the most bookish and well-read, according to results from a survey released in December of the most literate American cities. The survey focused on 69 U.S. cities with populations of 250,000 or above. John W. Miller, president of Central Connecticut State University, chose six key indicators to rank literacy. These included newspaper circulation, number of bookstores, library resources, periodical publishing resources, educational attainment, and internet resources....
LiveScience, Dec. 27
Hennepin County and Minneapolis merge websites
Beginning January 5, Hennepin County (Minn.) Library has a single, consolidated public website to reflect the January 2008 merger of Minneapolis and suburban Hennepin libraries. However, the unified website will include separate Minneapolis and suburban Hennepin County library catalogs until there is a single catalog system, scheduled for late 2009....
Hennepin County (Minn.) Library, Dec. 18
Drexel opens library school branch in Sacramento
Drexel University welcomed its first students in Sacramento, California, January 5 as its Center for Graduate Studies began classes in four of nine master’s programs slated to start this year—one of them library and information science. The center’s classrooms have been outfitted with $1 million in state-of-the-art technology that makes classes available on the Web and via podcast....
Drexel University , Jan. 5
Newark trustee selected for Obama transition team
Newark (N.J.) Public Library trustee and Urban Libraries Council board member Clement Alexander Price (right) has been named to President-Elect Barack Obama’s Transition Team. Price is chairing the transition team for the National Endowment for the Humanities that will help select the next leader of the NEH....
Urban Libraries Council, Dec. 5
The future(?) of cataloging
Cliff Landis writes: “My biggest fear was confirmed recently while having lunch with a friend, who is wrapping up her MLIS degree and had never heard of RDA or FRBR. Library schools should be equipping their students to evaluate and make tough decisions regarding formats, standards, and techniques of description. All it takes is a single mistake in a cataloging record to ensure that an item is lost to its user forever. Catalogers: Take it from a reference librarian—what you do is important.”...
clifflandis.net, Dec. 23
North Carolina offers African-American history resource
Now available in the State Library of North Carolina’s digital repository are profiles of early African-American schools, churches, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and other institutions from the pages of An Era of Progress and Promise. Written in 1910 by William Newton Hartshorn, the 444-page book is a seminal work that was referenced by influential figures including W. E. B. Du Bois and Booker T. Washington....
North Carolina Dept. of Cultural Resources, Dec. 29
Ask-a-Librarian services need a reboot
David Lee King writes: “What would you say if I told you that some libraries discriminate against a certain type of customer? That some customers, because of the way they asked a question, were purposefully pushed to the back of the line, told to wait 2–3 days for an answer, and that they couldn’t get an answer to some of their burning questions because they’re ‘that kind’ of customer? You’d be furious. But take a peek at these email and chat reference policies. In essence, they are discriminating.”...
David Lee King, Jan. 6
An open letter to [libraries] on Twitter
Jenny Levine writes: “On Museum 2.0, Nina Simon has a blog post encouraging museums to get human on their Twitter accounts and provide more than just ‘spammy and dull’ tweets. Pretty much everything she exhorts museums to do applies to libraries as well. Actually, it’s great advice for all types of organizations, including, um, associations and the like.”...
The Shifted Librarian, Jan. 5; Museum 2.0, Dec. 30
Still waiting for those old librarians to retire
Stanley Wilder writes: “Can academic librarians afford to retire in the Bush recession? Retirement is an unusually resilient cultural behavior, and largely impervious to routine economic fluctuations. But the Bush recession is clearly not a routine fluctuation. What would delayed retirement mean to academic librarianship? The first to go would be the projections of the age profile of librarians at ARL institutions; and delayed retirements would not affect all librarians equally.”...
ACRLog, Jan. 5
Dominican officially opens children’s literature center
Dominican University in River Forest, Illinois, will dedicate its new Butler Children’s Literature Center on January 10 with a private reception featuring renowned children’s author Jon Scieszka. A “soft launch” had been held November 30. The center, established within the university’s Graduate School of Library and Information Science, is in the process of building a historical collection of the best children’s and young adult literature published nationally and internationally....
Dominican University, Dec. 17
If you feed them, they will come
Wendy Reynolds writes: “‘Will there be food?’ is the usual response to any invitation to attend a library event. Attendance always seems to be higher if it is promoted as having refreshments. In mid-December, I put a call out to my library colleagues, asking how they use food to promote library services. The responses were varied and imaginative.”...
Slaw, Jan. 4
Check out these new YA tools
Linda Braun writes: “Over the past couple of days I’ve been trying some new web tools and thinking about how to use them with teens. Both Krunchd and Zigtag give librarians a chance to connect teens to web-based resources. With Krunchd, you can group URLs on a topic and describe and tag them all at once. Zigtag allows users to create groups and share bookmarks with members of a specific group.”...
YALSA Blog, Dec. 29
Show some empathy
Brian Mathews writes: “During a customer service interaction, do we perceive people who are nice to be more competent? My hypothesis was that there would be a strong correlation in LibQUAL+ data between ‘knowledgeable’ and ‘caring’ or ‘courteousness.’ I was partially correct. I looked at the undergraduate data from 84 schools (mostly ARL) and ran the correlation formula on the perception ratings for all of the customer-service questions. Here is what I got back.”...
The Ubiquitous Librarian, Jan. 6
Is your blog hot?
HotStuff 2.0 is an automated blog developed by Dave Pattern, library systems manager at the University of Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, U.K. RSS feeds from 300 library-related blogs are collated on a daily basis and analyzed in order to discover popular topics. Every day, a blog post is generated that focuses on a single word that has seen a marked increase in usage over the last few days. A Word Wheel image shows the strength of the links between that word and others with a similar increase in usage. A Hot or Not? list rates each blog for picking up the popular words....
“I was doomed to be a librarian”
Betsy Bird (right), New York Public Library children’s librarian and School Library Journal blogger, says she “was the kind of kid who would go through the family videos and create a cataloging system” in this podcast interview (10:40) with Mark Blevis at the 2008 KidLit Bloggers’ Conference in Portland last September. Bird talks about her experience on the ALSC Newbery Award Selection Committee and her blogging exploits....
Just One More Book, Jan. 5
MommyCast visits the Library of Congress
Gretchen (far right) from MommyCast, a weekly webcast that discusses all aspects of parenting, visits the Library of Congress interactive exhibit Creating the United States and recommends it as a wonderful learning experience for kids. She interviews LC Director of Educational Outreach Elizabeth Ridgway (left), Curator Gerry Gawalt, and children having fun with the exhibit....
MommyCast, July 1
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ALA Midwinter Meeting, Denver, January 23–28. Cognotes is the daily paper of the ALA Midwinter Meeting and Annual Conference. At Midwinter, Cognotes is published Friday–Monday, with a Highlights issue mailed to all ALA members following the meeting.
Registration for the 2009 Annual Conference in Chicago, July 9–15, is now open. Find out how to register.
With more and more scholarly content available online and accessible almost anywhere, where does the traditional “brick and mortar” academic library fit in? In Creating the Customer-Driven Academic Library, Jeannette Woodward attacks these and other pressing issues facing today’s academic librarians. Her trailblazing strategies center on keeping the customer’s point of view in focus at all times. NEW! From ALA Editions.
Gaming @ your library
The Minneapolis-Hennepin merger
Testing the Web 2.0 waters
I Love My Librarian awards
Digital Services Manager, Wichita (Kans.) Public Library. Provides oversight and technical support for the maintenance, enhancement, and integration of services that make use of information technologies. Duties include working closely with the library’s assigned IT system analyst to provide oversight and support for the Polaris integrated library system, the Envisionware workstation timing and print management system, the videoconferencing services, and other technologies used to deliver library service. Management of the library’s participation in the Universal Service (e-rate) discount program, supervision of staff who develop and maintain the library’s web presence, and coordination of electronic resource subscriptions and licensing are also responsibilities of this position....
Digital Library of the Week
The South Carolina Digital Library is a collaborative effort that includes South Carolina’s schools, libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural heritage institutions. Its mission is to encourage collaborators to create, maintain, and promote digital collections that represent South Carolina’s historical and cultural resources while following state-level guidelines that are based on national standards and best practices. Participating institutions include Beaufort County Library, Clemson University, the University of South Carolina, and the College of Charleston. SCDL includes several lesson plans, among them: African Americans Seen through the Eyes of the Newsreel Cameraman, Broadsides from the Colonial Era to the Present, and Phillis Wheatley’s poetry.
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.
“The decision to close these eleven branch libraries is more than a response to a financial crisis; it changes the very foundation of our City. Two of the libraries scheduled to close, Haddinton and Holmesburg, will result in a reversion of the property back to the original grantor because of deed restrictions. No one questions the economic crisis which has rocked both the City and the Nation. However, we are a Nation of hope. A ‘crisis’ evokes something temporary. Defendants argued there were more than enough libraries in Philadelphia. ‘Philadelphia has more libraries than any other city in the country.’ Our library system is more than a century old yet in three short months an economic crisis results in permanently closing eleven branches. This court does not envy the Mayor and the tough decisions he has had to make in this financial crisis. Yet, as this court is bound to follow the law, so is the Mayor. The permanent closing of neighborhood branch libraries is changing the very structure of the Free Library of Philadelphia and not just responding to a ‘financial crisis.’”
Extract from Judge Idee C. Fox’s injunction against closing 11 branches of the Free Library of Philadelphia, Jan. 5.
The We the People Bookshelf, a collection of classic books for young readers, is a project of the National Endowment for the Humanities’ We the People program, conducted in cooperation with the ALA Public Programs Office. Each year, NEH identifies a theme important to the nation’s heritage and selects books that embody that theme to build the We the People Bookshelf. The theme for the 2008-2009 Bookshelf is “Picturing America.” Online applications will be accepted through January 30.
the ALA Librarian
Q. I am looking to expand the types of books that I read, and a friend had mentioned joining a book discussion group as a possibility. What is a book group and where can I find one?
A. Book discussion groups are offered at many public libraries, and provide a forum where readers can come together and talk about books and the reading experience. Usually each group has a number of participants who read and talk about books from a list or specific topic. Most book groups have a rotating selection of books. However, a number of cities, schools, churches, organizations, and even conferences have used the “One Book” model as a start for discussing books. These groups may meet at the same location on a regular basis, or may rotate the location, such as coffee shops, libraries, or individual homes. Booklist magazine also hosts a blog on book groups called Book Group Buzz. From the ALA Professional Tips wiki.
@ The ALA Librarian welcomes your questions.
Miami International Map Fair, Historical Museum of Southern Florida, Miami.
California International Antiquarian Book Fair, Concourse Exhibition Center, San Francisco.
Computers, Freedom, and Privacy Conference, Washington, D.C. “Creating the Future.”
NextLibrary: An International Un-conference, Aarhus University, Denmark.
16th International Conference on Learning, University of Barcelona, Spain. This conference is for anyone with an interest in, and concern for, education at any level—from early childhood, to schools, to higher education— and lifelong learning from home to school to university to the workplace.
7th International Conference on Education and Information Systems, Technologies, and Applications, Rosen Centre Hotel, Orlando, Florida.
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