The e-newsletter of the American Library Association | January 28,

U.S. & World News
ALA News
AL Focus
Booklist Online
Division News
Round Table News
Seen Online
Tech Talk
Actions & Answers

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AL Buyers Guide

U.S. & World News

Obama relaxes secrecy regulations
The day after becoming the 44th president of the United States, Barack Obama issued two directives that encourage government agencies to release federal and presidential information to the public. “In the face of doubt, openness prevails,” Obama declared January 21 in a memo urging agencies to comply with the Freedom of Information Act. He also issued an Executive Order on Presidential Records that makes the final decision on withholding information located in the records of the incumbent president subject to review by the U.S. attorney general, White House counsel, and the courts....
American Libraries Online, Jan. 26

Troubled Sacramento library undertakes 302 reforms
The interim director of the Sacramento (Calif.) Public Library has released a list of 302 reforms he plans to implement in the wake of recent charges of mismanagement and financial improprieties. Phil Batchelor, who succeeded Anne Marie Gold after her December 1 retirement, called the roster of changes “ambitious but doable.” He told American Libraries that he expects 71% of the changes will be in effect by June, in time for the planned hiring of a new director....
American Libraries Online, Jan. 27

ALA News

ALA urges library exemption from Consumer Product Safety Act
ALA filed comments (PDF file) January 26 with the Consumer Product Safety Commission, urging it to issue a notification confirming that the new lead limits under the Consumer Product Safety Act do not apply to library books and related materials. Under the act, passed by Congress in August, children’s products are required to undergo stringent testing for lead and phthalates. Currently, the CPSC general counsel is interpreting the law to apply to ordinary, paper-based books for children 12 years of age or younger, so that all such books would have to be tested for lead content. Librarians wishing to explain their position to the CPSC should contact Tom Moore at (301) 504-7902....

FINRA Investor Education Foundation logoFINRA, ALA award $882,000 in grants to support financial literacy
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Investor Education Foundation and ALA awarded $882,000 in grant money January 24 to 12 public libraries and library networks for the purpose of giving patrons greater access to unbiased investing information and resources. The grants, administered by RUSA and FINRA/IEF, are part of ALA’s Smart Investing @ your library campaign. The Loveland (Colo.) Public Library received $32,000, with which it plans to expand its Money Talks program to provide free advice on an array of financial topics....
Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Jan. 24; Loveland (Colo.) Reporter-Herald, Jan. 25

Muhammad Yunus. Photo courtesy of ALA CognotesMuhammad Yunus on defeating poverty
Leonard Kniffel writes: “Could ALA President Jim Rettig have picked a better speaker for this Midwinter President’s Program than Muhammad Yunus? With American capitalism failing at numerous levels, on January 25 the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner and author of Banker to the Poor: Micro-Lending and the Battle Against World Poverty told the amazing story about his crusade to end world poverty with a lending system that defies the traditional notion of how banks do business.”...
AL Inside Scoop, Jan. 27

Jim Sheeler. Photo courtesy of ALA CognotesJim Sheeler inspires at Arthur Curley lecture
Jim Sheeler, the 2006 Pulitzer Prize winner for his feature articles in Denver’s Rocky Mountain News covering the impact of the Iraq War on Colorado military families, delivered the 10th annual Arthur Curley Memorial Lecture January 24. He presented vignettes from his book, Final Salute: A Story of Unfinished Lives, and said he came to know and understand the families he’s covered in a very personal way....
ALA Cognotes, Jan. 25, p. 1, 3

Leigh Rubin. Photo courtesy of ALA CognotesGood humor man opens Sunrise Speaker series
Kay Ikuta writes: “Bright and early January 24, H. W. Wilson presented cartoonist Leigh Rubin at the Sunrise Speaker series. Often described as a ‘sit-down’ comedian who just makes people laugh, he is the creator of the single-panel cartoon Rubes, which appears in hundreds of newspapers around the country.”...
ALA Cognotes, Jan. 25, p. 1

Panelists included (L-R) Karen Coyle, digital librarian and consultant; Dan Clancy, engineering director for the Google Book Search Project; Laura Quilter, librarian and attorney at law; and Paul Courant, dean of libraries at the University of Michigan. Photo by Tim VolmerGoogle search settlement discussion
A panel of representatives from Google and the library community spoke before a standing-room-only audience during an open discussion on the proposed Google Book Search settlement agreement January 24. The lively discussion, hosted by the Committee on Legislation’s Copyright Subcommittee and moderated by Subcommittee Chair Nancy Kranich, addressed the recent settlement and the question of what’s in it for libraries....
District Dispatch, Jan. 27

Lon Dickerson, Jefferson Parish (La.) Library, at the Membership Town Hall said that money is desperately needed to help bring back library branches devastated by Hurricane Katrina. Photo by George M. EberhartMembership Town Hall
Greg Landgraf writes: “The full breadth of ALA’s membership was on display at the well-attended and generally upbeat Membership Town Hall meeting sponsored by ALA’s Executive Board and Membership Meeting Committee. Dozens of members offered their voices on the topic ‘What Do Library Staff Want President Obama to Know?’ Members asked ALA President Jim Rettig to remind the president of the needs of libraries of all types, from public, academic, and school libraries to those serving more specialized populations like military, tribal, or federal libraries.”...
AL Inside Scoop, Jan. 25

Washington Update: from left, Ken Gordon, Stephanie Vance, Ken Wiggins, Emily SheketoffAdvocating in a tough economy
Leonard Kniffel writes: “The ALA Washington Office Update January 24 offered Midwinter Meeting goers an opportunity to connect in person with Washington Office staffers. Lynne Bradley, director of the Office of Government Relations, noted that on the Hill, traditional library issues are still on the agenda, but with a new twist. Appropriations will be extremely competitive in the current economic climate, and it’s important for librarians, with more voices than ever, to make the case for libraries as the best bang for the buck.”...
AL Inside Scoop, Jan. 24

A group of 106 Emerging Leaders gather for a fast track to ALA and professional leadership. Photo courtesy of ALA CognotesEmerging Leaders meet
Karen Keys writes: “The Emerging Leaders program focuses on getting new leadership on the fast track to become involved in ALA. In its third year, the program has identified and offered opportunities to approximately 325 leadership-inclined members. At its all-day meeting in Denver January 23, the group discovered that most of them have been ALA members for two to five years. Leslie Burger, past president and the program’s founder, joked, ‘So you’re all new to the organization; you haven’t been tainted.’”...
PLA Blog, Jan. 24

Cover of Winter 2009 American Libraries digital supplementDid you miss American Libraries’ digital supplement?
It was emailed in mid-January, but you can read it at the link above. It’s a 37-page Winter 2009 issue, hosted on ZMags and powered by page-turning software. Features include: discovering high-tech, high-touch LIS opportunities; ALA continuing education resources; ALA-accredited master’s programs; and three views on service learning in library education....

OITP’s new Section 108 spinnerSection 108 spinner online
Section 108 of the U.S. Copyright code allows libraries and archives, under certain circumstances, to make reproductions of copyrighted materials without the permission of the copyright holder. ALA’s Office for Information Technology Policy has released a new Section 108 spinner, a useful tool that can help determine whether a particular reproduction is covered by the 108 exemption. The Section 108 spinner is available online, along with OITP’s Public Domain slider....
District Dispatch, Jan. 23

AL Focus

Loriene Roy moderates the 2009 Presidential Candidates Forum2009 ALA Presidential Candidates Forum
ALA Presidential Candidates Kenton Oliver and Roberta Stevens responded to member questions at the Presidential Candidates Forum (39:45) held January 24 at the ALA Midwinter Meeting in Denver. ALA Immediate Past-President Loriene Roy (right) moderated the forum. Questions included: How soon can ALA gain connections with the Obama administration? How can you attract young members and develop young leaders?...

Booklist Online logo

Cover of FlygirlFeatured review: Books for youth
Smith, Sherri L. Flygirl. Jan. 2009. 288p. Putnam, hardcover. Grades 7–10 (978-0-399-24709-5).
This breakthrough title adds a new story to the shelves of World War II books. Here, the enemy is not just a foreign threat; it is also prejudice—of both race and gender—here at home. In 1941, black high-school graduate Ida Mae Jones, 18, worries about her soldier brother, who is on the front, and longs to fight for her country, too. Her late dad taught her to fly a crop-dusting plane, and when the U.S. starts the WASP (Women Airforce Service Program), she is determined to join up. The slights against women are constant, as is racial prejudice, including the n word. Ida Mae is so light-skinned that she can pass as white, which means leaving her family and friends and creating a new identity....

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

Division News

YALSA Preconference: Serving diverse teens
Nick Franklin writes: “Providing adequate, friendly service to new Americans has always been a central goal of public libraries, but we can now look at it as a mission of mutual understanding and learning and, above all, helping immigrant teens preserve their sense of identity while still being active participants in their new homeland. This was overall message of the three presentations at the YALSA Preconference January 23 given by Jennifer Velasquez, Vicki Emery, and Oesei Akoto Baffour.”...
PLA Blog, Jan. 24

Cover of Cherry HeavenLiveblogging YALSA’s Best Books for Young Adults teen session
Teen readers and others got together January 25 in Denver, physically and virtually, to discuss recent young adult titles. View the comments to see what people thought about L. J. Adlington’s Cherry Heaven (right, “Really, really deeply creepy, but in a good way”) or Joseph Bruchac’s March Toward the Thunder (“Why does every military book have a girl dressed like a boy?”)....
YALSA Blog, Jan. 25

Jack Martin booktalking Freak ShowYALSA mixer and tech playground
Kelly Czarnecki writes: “Things really got rockin’ by the time the America’s Best Booktalkers were up for their performances: a cover song from Leona Lewis’s ‘Bleeding Love’ to introduce Ophelia by Lisa Klein, then a description of Stargirl so good we knew who she was before the booktalker revealed the title. Chris Shoemaker was the fantastic emcee for the event. A democratic vote took place via Twitter and the winner was Jack Martin (right) for booktalking Freak Show by James St. James.”...
YALSA Blog, Jan. 27

School librarians envision their future
In a lively discussion, AASL members tackled strategic planning January 23 in a day-long meeting. Paul D. Meyer, principal partner of Tecker Consultants, helped attendees review language, vision, and values in documents developed four years ago to help drive AASL to their goals....
ALA Cognotes, Jan. 24, p. 4

ALCTS Forum on shared library data
Norman Oder writes: “In much of her presentation January 26 at the ALCTS Forum, OCLC Vice-President Karen Calhoun firmly defended the intent of OCLC’s proposed policy on record sharing, suggesting that critics in the blogosphere had an unrealistic view of the library ecosystem. In response, some panelists suggested that OCLC itself was failing to modernize.”...
Library Journal, Jan. 27

Round Table News

Left to right: Francine Mathews, Mary Jane Clark, Erica Spindler, and Nancy Atherton. Photo courtesy of ALA CognotesWomen of Mystery at Midwinter
Greg Landgraf writes: “My last bloggable event of January 23 was the Exhibits Round Table Author Forum, subtitled ‘Women of Mystery’ and featuring the mystery authors Erica Spindler, Francine Mathews, Mary Jane Clark, and Nancy Atherton. I’d like to share some juicy quotes from the first half of the forum.”...
AL Inside Scoop, Jan. 23

Cover of Sharkwater DVDVideo Round Table announces 2009 Notable Videos
The VRT Notable Videos Committee has compiled its 2009 list of Notable Videos for Adults, a list of 15 outstanding programs released on video within the past two years and suitable for all libraries serving adults. Its purpose is to call attention to recent video releases that make a significant contribution to the world of video recordings. One of them is wildlife photographer Rob Stewart’s Sharkwater, a compassionate argument for understanding and protection of sharks....


From left to right, ALA President Jim Rettig, YALSA President Sarah Cornish Debraski, ALSC President Pat Scales, and Reforma President Luis Chaparro with Youth Media award winners. Photo courtesy of ALA Cognotes

Youth Media Award winners
ALA announced the top books, videos, and audiobooks for children and young adults—including the Caldecott, King, Newbery, Schneider Family, and Printz awards—January 26 at the Midwinter Meeting in Denver. The announcement was webcast (large QuickTime file) for those who could not attend. In addition, ALA celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Coretta Scott King Book Awards and introduced a new award, the William C. Morris Award. It is also the first year that the Pura Belpré Award will be given annually....

Cover of The Graveyard Book, by Neil GaimanCover of The House in the Night, by Beth Krommes

Newbery and Caldecott winners
Neil Gaiman, author of The Graveyard Book, and Beth Krommes, illustrator of The House in the Night, are the 2009 winners of the John Newbery and Randolph Caldecott Medals. The Newbery and Caldecott medals honor outstanding writing and illustration of works published in the United States during the previous year....

Cover of We Are the Ship, by Kadir NelsonCover of The Blacker the Berry, illustrated by Floyd CooperCover of Bird, by Zetta Elliott

Nelson, Cooper win Coretta Scott King Awards
Kadir Nelson, author of We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball, and Floyd Cooper, illustrator of The Blacker the Berry, are the winners of the 2009 Coretta Scott King Book Awards honoring African American authors and illustrators of outstanding books for children and young adults. Shadra Strickland, illustrator of Bird, is the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Award winner....

Cover of Just in Case, by Yuyi MoralesCover of The Surrender Tree, by Margarita Engle

Morales, Engle win Pura Belpré Awards
Yuyi Morales,  illustrator of Just in Case, and Margarita Engle, author of The Surrender Tree, are the 2009 winners of the Pura Belpré Illustrator Award and Author Award, which honor Latino authors and illustrators whose work best portrays, affirms, and celebrates the Latino cultural experience in children’s books....

Cover of Are You Ready to Play Outside? by Mo WillemsMo Willems wins Geisel Award
Author and illustrator Mo Willems is the 2009 winner of the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award for the book Are You Ready to Play Outside? The tale is simply told through the use of dialogue, which melds perfectly with uncluttered pink and grey cartoon-style illustrations. Aside from the friendship theme that appears throughout Willems’s work, he continues to create astonishing emotional depth using the simplest of facial expressions on his characters....

Cover of Jellicoe Road, by Melina MarchettaMelina Marchetta wins Printz Award
Melina Marchetta, author of Jellicoe Road, published by HarperTeen, an imprint of HarperCollins, has won the 2009 Michael L. Printz Award for excellence in young adult literature. Haunted by the past, Taylor Markham reluctantly leads the students of the Jellicoe School in their secret territory wars against the Townies and the Cadets. Marchetta’s lyrical writing evokes the Australian landscape in a suspenseful tale of raw emotion, romance, humor, and tragedy....

Cover of Catalyst, by Laurie Halse AndersonLaurie Halse Anderson honored with Edwards Award
Laurie Halse Anderson is the recipient of the 2009 Margaret A. Edwards Award honoring her significant and lasting contribution to writing for teens. The award was presented for her books, Catalyst, Fever 1793, and Speak. These gripping and exceptionally well-written novels, through various settings, time periods, and circumstances, poignantly reflect the growing and changing realities facing teens....

Cover of Beautiful Blackbird, by Ashley BryanAshley Bryan wins 2009 Wilder Award
Ashley Bryan is the winner of the 2009 Laura Ingalls Wilder Award, which honors an author or illustrator whose books have made a substantial and lasting contribution to literature for children. His numerous works include Dancing Granny, Beat the Story-Drum, Pum-Pum, and Beautiful Blackbird. Dynamic use of line marks Bryan’s varied art forms, which include chalk sketches, full-color paintings, stylized drawings, and cut-paper collages....

Cover of Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit, by Nahoko UehashiBatchelder Award honors Arthur A. Levine Books
Arthur A. Levine Books, an imprint of Scholastic, is the winner of the 2009 Mildred L. Batchelder Award for for the most outstanding children’s book originally published in a foreign language and subsequently translated into English for publication in the United States. Originally published in Japanese in 1996 as Seirei no Moribito, Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit was written by Nahoko Uehashi and translated by Cathy Hirano....

Cover of March On! The Day My Brother Martin Changed the WorldCarnegie Medal goes to March On!
Paul R. Gagne and Melissa Reilly of Weston Woods Studios, producers of March On! The Day My Brother Martin Changed the World, are the 2009 recipients of the Andrew Carnegie Medal for excellence in children’s video. The video is Dr. Christine King Farris’s memory of the historic march on Washington, which took place on August 23, 1963, and her brother Martin’s preparation for and delivery of the monumental “I Have a Dream” speech....

Cover of We Are the Ship, by Kadir NelsonKadir Nelson wins 2009 Sibert Medal
Kadir Nelson, author and illustrator of We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball, was named the winner of the 2009 Robert F. Sibert Medal for the most distinguished informational book for children published in 2008. Nelson scores a home run with this fascinating and well-documented history of Negro League Baseball told in the voice of an “everyman” narrator....

2009 Alex Awards
YALSA has selected 10 adult books that will appeal to teen readers to receive the 2009 Alex Awards. The awards, sponsored by the Margaret Edwards Trust, were announced at the 2009 ALA Midwinter Meeting in Denver, January 23–28, and will appear with full annotations in the March 15 issue of Booklist magazine....

Cover of A Curse As Dark As Gold, by Elizabeth C. BunceElizabeth C. Bunce wins first-ever William C. Morris Award
A Curse Dark as Gold, written by Elizabeth C. Bunce, has been named the inaugural winner of the William C. Morris Award, which honors a book written for young adults by a first-time, previously unpublished author. At the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, Charlotte Miller strikes a bargain with the malevolent Jack Spinner, who can transform straw into gold, to save her family’s mill. The award was presented by YALSA at the Midwinter Meeting in Denver....

Cover of Sherman Alexie's The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time IndianOdyssey Award goes to Recorded Books
Recorded Books, producer of the audiobook The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, has won the second annual Odyssey Award for excellence in audiobook production. The Odyssey Award is given to the producer of the best audiobook produced for children and/or young adults. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian was written and narrated by Sherman Alexie....

Cover of Piano Starts Here: The Young Art Tatum, by Robert Andrew ParkerSchneider Family Book Award winners
Winners of the Schneider Family Book Award, which honors an author or illustrator for the artistic expression of the disability experience for child and adolescent audiences, were announced at the ALA Midwinter Meeting in Denver. Piano Starts Here: The Young Art Tatum by Robert Andrew Parker is the winner in the young children’s category; Waiting for Normal by Leslie Connor is the winner in the middle-school category; and Jerk, California by Jonathan Friesen is the winner in the teen category....

Pop Culture Universe logoPop Culture Universe wins RUSA’s Dartmouth Medal
Greenwood Publishing Group’s Pop Culture Universe database was awarded the 2009 Dartmouth Medal at the RUSA Awards Ceremony in Denver. It was the first time that an exclusively electronic reference source has won this prestigious honor. The medal is donated by Dartmouth College and awarded for the creation of the single most outstanding and significant reference work of the year....
PCU Blog, Jan. 26

Kathleen Horning. Photo by Jeff MillerKathleen T. Horning to deliver 2010 Arbuthnot Lecture
Kathleen T. Horning, director of the University of Wisconsin–Madison’s Cooperative Children’s Book Center, will deliver the 2010 May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture. Each year, an individual of distinction in the field of children’s literature is chosen to write and deliver a lecture that will make a significant contribution to the world of children’s literature. The award is administered by ALSC....

Cover of Light Fell, by Evan FallenbergFallenberg, Eskridge win Stonewall Book Awards
ALA’s Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered Round Table has announced the winners of the 2009 Stonewall Book Awards. Light Fell by Evan Fallenberg is the winner of the Barbara Gittings Book Award in Literature, and Dishonorable Passions: Sodomy Laws in America, 1861–2003 by William N. Eskridge Jr. is the winner of the Israel Fishman Book Award for Nonfiction....
ALA Cognotes, Jan. 26, p. 6

Cover of Trading Dreams at Midnight, by Diane McKinney-WhetstoneThe 2009 BCALA Literary Awards
The Black Caucus of the American Library Association announced the winners of the BCALA Literary Awards January 25 during the ALA Midwinter Meeting. The awards recognize excellence in adult fiction and nonfiction by African-American authors published in 2008, including the work of a first novelist and a citation for Outstanding Contribution to Publishing. The winner in the fiction category is Trading Dreams at Midnight by Diane McKinney-Whetstone....
ALA Cognotes, Jan. 26, p. 5

Nominate a library for the National Medal
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is seeking nominations for the National Medal for Museum and Library Service, the nation’s highest honor for exemplary museum and library community service. The medal winners will be the institutions that make the most extraordinary civic, educational, economic, environmental, and social contributions. The medal includes prizes of $10,000 to each recipient and an awards ceremony to be held in Washington, D.C. The deadline for nominations is February 17....
Institute of Museum and Library Services, Dec. 15

Seen Online

Staff prepares present of books for baby girl born at Denver PL. From KUSA-TV news reportWoman gives birth at Denver Public Library
A woman got off a bus in front of the main Denver Public Library just before it opened January 27 and asked for assistance—to deliver her baby. Security guards helped her inside the east entrance of the library and got her off to the side of the foyer, where the woman delivered a healthy girl. “That’s the first time we had a birth at the library,” DPL spokeswoman Celeste Jackson said. “It’s pretty exciting.” The library staff has already bought the baby its first set of books (above) and plans to visit the mother after her name is released. Watch the news video....
Denver Post, Jan. 27; AL Inside Scoop, Jan. 27; KUSA-TV, Denver, Jan. 27

Eloise MayNew Arapahoe branch named after Eloise May
Arapahoe Library District Executive Director Eloise May will be honored by having the district’s newest branch named after her. The Eloise May Library, at South Parker Road and East Florida Avenue in Denver, will open February 21. May is being honored for her 37 years of leadership and service....
Denver Post, Jan. 23

College endowments loss is worst drop since 1970s
The value of university endowments fell about 23% on average in the five months that ended November 30, according to two newly released reports. The steep declines are forcing colleges and universities across the country to contemplate wage freezes, layoffs, and a halt to construction projects. The drop found by the reports is the biggest in the value of college and university endowments since the mid-1970s....
New York Times, Jan. 26

Berkeley Public Library in nuclear dispute
The Berkeley (Calif.) Public Library is facing a showdown with the city’s Peace and Justice Commission over whether a service contract for the book check-out system violates the city’s nuclear-free ordinance. The dispute centers on a five-year contract the library wants to sign with 3M to service five scanning machines. But 3M refused to sign a nuclear-free disclosure form as required by the Nuclear Free Berkeley Act passed by voters in 1986....
San Francisco Chronicle, Jan. 27

Darby (Pa.) Free LibraryDarby Free Library faces the ax
The Darby (Pa.) Free Library, in continuous operation since it was founded by Quaker townsmen in 1743, will be forced to close its doors at year’s end unless it can find a generous donor. Director Susan Borders said the library has been using interest from its endowment to close a funding gap, but in recent years it has been dipping into the endowment itself—about $20,000 a year—to cover operating expenses and capital improvements. “We’re on the chopping block,” Borders said....
Philadelphia Daily News, Jan. 22

Nora Navra branch before Hurricane KatrinaNew Orleans branches to be rebuilt this spring
Five New Orleans libraries shuttered since Hurricane Katrina will be replaced by new buildings with construction beginning in April, a city official told the city council January 21. Recovery Program Manager Randy Richardson said construction would begin on a new Algiers Regional Library by April and that others to be redeveloped include the New Orleans East, Norman Mayer, Robert E. Smith, and Nora Navra (above, pre-Katrina) branches....
WWL-TV, New Orleans, Jan. 21

Philadelphia branch cuts = students will wind up with nothing
Though Philadelphia’s public library services recently landed on the chopping block, the city’s public school students have watched school library services dwindle for years. Today, more than half of the district’s 281 schools have no library staff. In one region, it’s up to 78%. It’s a worsening problem....
Philadelphia Inquirer, Jan. 26

Open Our Libraries graphic used by Josephine Community LibrariesJosephine County branch reopens
A ceremony held January 23 celebrated the newly reopened Grants Pass branch in Josephine County, Oregon. An advocacy group, Josephine Community Libraries, expects to reopen the county’s three other branches—in Illinois Valley, Williams, and Wolf Creek—by year’s end. Two years ago, Josephine and neighboring Jackson County closed their libraries after losing federal timber payments. So a small group of citizens formed something unique in Oregon: a private nonprofit to run public libraries....
Portland Oregonian, Jan. 23

Not your father’s censorship (subscription required)
Harry Lewis writes: “With almost everything digitized, new communication technologies have led to a global proliferation of censorship agents, methods, and rationales. Ironically for the American pioneers who expected the internet to foster unprecedented information freedom, its rapid and ubiquitous adoption has created a flexible and effective mechanism for thought control. In America the distorting lens of censorship can be adjusted to satisfy various tastes.”...
Chronicle of Higher Education, Jan. 16

Cover of Bruce Springsteen's Born to Run, said to be an Obama favoriteInside the White House Record Library
When Barack Obama moved into the White House on January 20, he gained access to five chefs, a private bowling alley, and a killer collection of classic LPs. Stored in the basement of the executive mansion is the official White House Record Library: several hundred LPs that include landmark albums in rock, punk, cult classics, and disco....
Rolling Stone, Jan. 23

Aerial view of renovated Bancroft Library, UC BerkeleyRenovated Bancroft Library reopens
After a nearly four-year hiatus, the University of California, Berkeley’s Bancroft Library reopened January 20 at its freshly renovated location adjacent to Doe Memorial Library. The $64-million renovation included a seismic retrofit, climate-controlled storage for rare materials, additional gallery space for exhibitions, and complete interior remodeling....
Daily Californian, Jan. 26

Librarians become unofficial job counselors
The downward economy is putting more stress on libraries. Popular movies and books now have wait lists, the unemployed are in line for computers to work on résumés, and some librarians are even acting as unofficial job counselors. Day to Day co-host Madeleine Brand talks with Linda Yoder, director of the Nappanee (Ind.) Public Library, in this recent broadcast (3:03)....
Day to Day (National Public Radio), Jan. 23

Former page leaves Santa Ana library $123,000
A $123,000 donation from the estate of a woman who was once laid off from her job as a part-time page at the library is being used to create a TeenSpace designed by teens in the basement of the Santa Ana (Calif.) Public Library. A grand-opening ceremony January 24 honored Estella R. Shulse, who worked in the library in the 1990s until her job was eliminated in a round of budget cuts. She left her entire estate to the library when she died a few years ago....
Santa Ana (Calif.) Orange County Register, Jan. 22

Title page of The Poems of OssianParanormal group investigates DePauw University library
A group of investigators from Hoosier State Paranormal entered the Roy West Library at DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana, and headed up to the second floor where a very special book is locked away in the Archives and Special Collections area. Among the books donated by Gov. James Whitcomb (1795–1852) is one purported to be haunted: The Poems of Ossian, the Son of Fingal, a set of poems that the Scottish poet James Macpherson claimed to have translated from ancient Gaelic sources....
Greencastle (Ind.) Banner Graphic, Jan. 26

Still from video of Magna Carta's arrival at the Reagan LibraryMagna Carta at the Reagan Presidential Library
Hundreds of visitors came to see the Magna Carta on January 23, its first day on display at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California. The 1215 charter, the first document forced onto an English King by a group of his subjects, is the main attraction of the library exhibit, “Magna Carta: The Essence of Democracy,” which runs through June 20. The document, one of four copies extant, is on loan from the Lincoln Cathedral, in Lincoln, England....

Ventura County (Calif.) Star, Jan. 24

Bowling Green wedded to innovative fundraising
Friends of the Bowling Green (Mo.) Library hope a little love will help fill the bookcases. The group hosted its first-ever bridal show January 24 at the Pike County Fairgrounds, with proceeds from booth rentals slated to buy new library materials. “We were trying to come up with something original to the area,” said librarian Pat Moore. “It seems like you have to go to Quincy or Columbia or St. Louis to a bridal show, so we thought this would be a good way to showcase some local businesses.”...
Hannibal (Mo.) Courier-Post, Jan. 21

Beulah students benefit from brief book ban
The author of a book banned for four days from the Beulah (N. Dak.) High School library said the incident made him think about North Dakota for the first time. John Berendt, the New York author of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, followed every word in the local newspapers. He plans to send a signed copy of the book to the three high school girls who showed up at the January 19 school board meeting to defend their right to read the book....
Bismarck (N. Dak.) Tribune, Jan. 22

Go back to the Top

Tech Talk

Karen Schneider talking about open source and forking, with Kevin Hererra liveblogging on the left and Jason Griffey recording, tweeting, and streaming video on the right. Photo by Cindi TrainorLITA’s Top Tech Trends
Greg Landgraf writes: “LITA’s traditional Top Tech Trends discussion played to a standing-room-only crowd January 25, although the event was briefly delayed by a fire alarm. Participants focused on four topics: the management of open-source software, the growth of geolocational technologies, linked data, and the effect of the economy on technology choices in libraries. The LITA Blog liveblogged the session, and the session was also streamed.”...
AL Inside Scoop, Jan. 25; LITA Blog, Jan. 25;

The view from the top
Add-on product demand has increased because ILS vendors have not kept up with what libraries want, asserted Rob McGee of RMG Consultants, at the 19th annual “View from the Top” seminar at the ALA Midwinter Meeting in Denver. This situation is “similar to the early days when libraries came up with their own solutions,” said McGee, emceeing a panel of presidents and CEOs from top library vendors....
AL Inside Scoop, Jan. 24

View from a Garmin nuvi 755T GPS unitHow to find the right GPS
Corinne Iozzio writes: “Now that gas prices have come back down to earth, it’s a lot easier to get back behind the wheel. So, whether that means you’re commuting to work again or you’re finally taking that road trip, a GPS device can help keep you on track. Today’s navigators, though, can do a lot more than just get you from point A to point B. Depending on the unit you choose, it can help you sidestep traffic, find a great new restaurant, or even make hands-free cell-phone calls.”...
PC Magazine, Jan. 22

Evaluating an image with black and white lines. From Edmund OpticsHow to evaluate a scanner (PDF file)
Derek Jenkins writes: “Choosing a scanner to scan books or microfilm documents can be a daunting task. The industry has scanners available from a few thousand dollars to more than $100,000. In many ways, your budget drives your selection, but buying the wrong machine could prove a waste of money and cause your project to be both late and tarnished with unacceptable image quality. Here are my evaluation criteria.”...
IImage Retrieval, Inc., Sept. 18


Art Spiegelman at the Alexander Street Press breakfast. Photo by George M. EberhartArt Spiegelman on comics
Comics artist and graphic novelist Art Spiegelman spoke on “What the %@!* Happened to Comics?” January 25 at the Alexander Street Press customer appreciation breakfast during the ALA Midwinter Meeting. “Everything I know I learned from comics,” he said. “I learned about sex from Betty and Veronica. I learned about politics from Pogo. And I learned about everything else from Mad magazine. I studied Mad the same way some kids studied the Talmud.”
Alexander Street Press

James L. Swanson and Honest Abe (John Mason) at the reception. Photo by Marie SlimAssassination scholar meets his subject
Author and researcher James L. Swanson (Manhunt, 2006) was interviewed by none other than Abraham Lincoln (played by Scholastic’s Director of Library and Educational Marketing John Mason) at a January 24 reception to celebrate the publication of Swanson’s new YA book, Chasing Lincoln’s Killer (Scholastic, 2009). Swanson told how he had become fascinated with the Lincoln assassination at an early age and has amassed an enormous collection that includes a lock of Lincoln’s hair snipped by Secretary of War Edwin Stanton on the 16th president’s deathbed.

Title graphic for In Cold BlogTop 50 true crime blogs
Alisa Miller writes: “True crime stories have intrigued the masses for as long as crime has been around. These sites bring the detectives and their work to you through the writings on their blogs. Whether you want to read about detectives on the police force, private eyes, British detectives, true crime, or even a little bit about fictional detectives, these blogs will provide you with hours of crime and criminals.”...
e-Justice Blog, Jan. 22

EBSCO Publishing Korean health databaseMultilingual health databases
(PDF file)
EBSCO Publishing is helping libraries answer non-English-speaking patrons’ health-related questions with its new Multilingual Health Databases. These databases, in 17 different languages, contain evidence-based reports for the 200 most common health topics, written at a 3rd-to-7th-grade reading level. Each database is presented entirely in the given language, including screen wording, help, browsing, and full text....
EBSCO Publishing, Jan. 23

Brian Kenney at Dominican University, April 2007Layoffs at Reed Business Information
Sara Nelson, the editor-in-chief of Publishers Weekly, the main trade magazine for the book industry, has been laid off in a restructuring by the publication’s parent company, Reed Business Information. As a result, Brian Kenney (right), editor in chief of School Library Journal, will now be editorial director of three magazines: Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal, and Library Journal. Críticas, the twice-monthly online newsletter for reviews in English of Spanish-language titles, will suspend publication. Among those leaving LJ are long-time, valued staffers Ann Burns, book review associate editor; Ann Kim, special projects editor; Lynn Blumenstein, senior editor, Library Hotline; and Aída Bardales, Críticas senior editor....
New York Times, Jan. 26; Library Journal, Jan. 27

H. W. Wilson’s new text-to-audio tool
A new ReadSpeak feature converts full-text articles in WilsonWeb databases into audio files for immediate listening or downloading. WilsonWeb clients can listen to articles as streaming audio or save files in MP3 format to iPods and other portable devices. The new tool covers content from some 2,500 publications back as far as 15 years....
H. W. Wilson, Jan. 26

Amazon to drop Microsoft, Adobe eBook formats has notified its publisher and author clients that it plans to cease offering eBooks in the Microsoft Reader and Adobe formats. In the future, the online retailer says it plans to offer eBooks only in the Kindle format (for wireless download to its Kindle reading device) and the Mobipocket format, both of which are owned by Amazon. Amazon is asking publishers and authors to make sure the company has written permission to offer their books for sale in the Mobipocket format....
Publishers Weekly, Jan. 26

AL Buyers Guide ad

Actions & Answers

Cover of 2009 Horizon ReportThe 2009 Horizon Report
The annual Horizon Report is a collaborative effort between the New Media Consortium and the Educause Learning Initiative. Each year, the report identifies and describes six areas of emerging technology likely to have a significant impact on teaching, learning, or creative expression in higher education. Those cited this year are: mobile devices, cloud computing, geo-everything, the personal web, semantic-aware applications, and smart objects....
Educause Connect, Jan. 20

CareerOneStop logoNew Labor Department reemployment portal
The U.S. Department of Labor has announced a new CareerOneStop reemployment portal. The website is designed to provide employment, training, and financial assistance during the process of job transition. Users can find information on unemployment insurance benefits, health-care coverage, dealing with job loss, and job hunting....

Rural Assistance Center logoRural Assistance Center
A product of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Rural Initiative, the Rural Assistance Center was established in December 2002 as a health and human services portal geared toward rural communities. RAC offers extensive lists of resources on more than 70 topics, and professional librarians provide custom assistance to clients via phone and email....
Rural Assistance Center

Still from 21st Century Media Center videoMichigan video showcases media specialists
The Library of Michigan and Michigan Department of Education have created a video on the 21st Century Media Center, a collaborative effort showcasing the essential need for fully supported school library media centers with qualified staff—all for the benefit of Michigan’s K–12 students’ educational success. The video is geared toward the stakeholders who influence school library media programs in Michigan schools....
Michigan Department of History, Arts, and Libraries, Jan. 21

Partnership for 21st Century Skills graphicReport: Schools must show flexibility
Successful learning environments break through the barriers that separate schools from the real world, educators from each other, and policymakers from the communities they serve. Yet many schools perpetuate rigid schedules, inflexible facilities, and fixed boundaries between grades, disciplines, and classrooms, according to a new paper, 21st Century Learning Environments (PDF file). Some school media centers are resisting this by successfully transforming themselves into learning commons that serve as gateways to a wide variety of resources and services....
Partnership for 21st Century Skills, Jan. 23

LC receives grant to catalog African maps
The Library of Congress has received a Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources to support a project that will catalog 125,000 sheet maps of Africa. The $240,240 grant will aid in the creation of geographic coordinates for each map that will make it possible to view the coverage area of individual sheet maps using geographical browsers such as Google Earth....
Library of Congress, Jan. 21

A juvenile humpback whale in the LeMaire Channel, just off the Antarctic Peninsula. Photo courtesy of Susan SheridanBeyond Penguins and Polar Bears
Beyond Penguins and Polar Bears is a free online magazine aimed at helping elementary educators integrate science and literacy instruction through the context of the polar regions. Monthly thematic issues include professional resources, lesson plans, research on misconceptions and tools for formative assessment, stories of polar researchers, and leveled text written specifically for students. Features include the ability to translate articles into 12 different languages, a blog, and a new podcast series....
Beyond Penguins and Polar Bears

John Green reciting 50 famous last words50 famous last words in less than four minutes
Author John Green recites the last words of 50 politicians, authors, generals, Roman emperors, and others in this rapid-fire tribute to final thoughts (3:48). For example, Union Major General John Sedgwick at the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House in 1864 said, “They couldn’t hit an elephant at this dist—.”...
YouTube, Dec. 15

Go back to the Top

ALA 2009 Midwinter Meeting logo, Denver

Attendees pass by "Tail Spin" by Erick C. Johnson, part of the City and County of Denver Public Art Program, as they arrive in Lobby A
Midwinter Meeting 2009 Flickr photos

Cover of Privacy and Confidentiality Issues

Imagine receiving a subpoena requiring patron records or internet use history. What is your library’s policy? Do you know? Does your library have a policy? How big a problem is this? In Privacy and Confidentiality Issues: A Guide for Libraries and their Lawyers, Theresa Chmara, a partner with the Washington, D.C., office of Jenner and Block, shares her decades of experience in easy-to-understand, jargon-free language. NEW! From ALA Editions.

"Yeah Baby!" Librarian Lisa German, Penn State University, pauses with a likeness of "Austin Powers, International Man of Mystery" at the NAPC booth. Photo courtesy of ALA Cognotes

Heard and overheard. “I’m just going to stand here and have a wonderful time!” said a woman near the Denver Convention Center entrance on Friday, apparently after unexpectedly meeting the latest in a string of friends. AL Associate Editor Greg Landgraf offers a collection of interesting, thought-provoking, or just amusing quotes from the Midwinter Meeting.

In this issue
January/February 2009

Cover of January/February 2009 issue

Gaming @ your library

The Minneapolis-Hennepin merger

Testing the Web 2.0 waters

I Love My Librarian awards

Career Leads from
ALA Joblist logo

Life Sciences and Bio-Inspired Technologies Collection Development Librarian, George Washington University, Washington, D.C. The Gelman Library System is seeking an enthusiastic and innovative librarian able to effectively grow and shape the collections in this field. This librarian will play a critical role in working with faculty in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences as well as in the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences to enhance and enrich the collections in biological sciences, biomedical engineering, systems biology, bioinformatics, evolutionary biology, chemistry, and forensic science....

@ More jobs...

Digital Library of the Week

A Bostonian's idea of the United States of America, by Daniel K. Wallingford (1935). G3701.A67 1935 .W3

The Norman B. Leventhal Map Center at the Boston Public Library created this website in 2006 with the goal of bringing its collection of rare maps and atlases into the hands of patrons of all ages. To date, more than 2,200 maps have been digitized and added to the site, complete with authoritative metadata. Additional maps are added on a monthly basis. With the special “zoomify” tool that accompanies each map, users are able to examine small details. The website also features teacher resources, a “maps in the news” feature, and a digital archive of all exhibits held at the Leventhal Center.

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.

Public Perception
How the World
Sees Us

“I believe that librarians are the unacknowledged legislators of the universe.”

—Author Alex Beam, A Great Idea at the Time: The Rise, Fall, and Curious Afterlife of the Great Books (Perseus Books Group, 2008), p. 204.

Ask the ALA Librarian

Summer reading and a tent

Q. With many camp registrations occurring around this time, our patrons are asking about our summer reading program. Does ALA have resources to help set up a theme for the program? Also, can you direct me to any research showing the benefits of such a program?

A. Summer reading programs have been around since the late 19th century and have proven successful in attracting children to libraries during the summer months. Research shows that kids who keep the reading habit through the long vacation do better when they return to school. While ALA does not set themes for reading programs, we do have a wide range of resources for you to tap into. Themes can be locally developed, sometimes on a statewide basis, with a number of states cooperating on common themes, for children, young adults, and adults. Here is a sampling of our resources. For more, see the ALA Professional Tips wiki.

@ The ALA Librarian welcomes your questions.


Feb. 2, 27:

PALINET webinar,
“ITI Library and Consortia Resource Collection.”

Feb. 5:
ACRL webcast,
“The Role of the Librarian in Combating Student Plagiarism.”

Feb. 15–21:
Music Library Association,
Annual Conference, Marriott Chicago Downtown.

Mar. 18–21:
Visual Resources Association,
Annual Conference, Sheraton Centre Toronto, Ontario.

Mar. 22–24:
Wisconsin Educational Media and Technology Association,
Annual Conference, Monona Terrace Convention Center, Madison. “Networking for Accountability: Weaving a Web of Best Practice.”

Mar. 24–25:
Metropolitan New York Library Council,
METRO Training Center, New York City. “Stewardship of Digital Assets” workshop.

Mar. 28–29:
Reading the World,
a conference celebrating multicultural literature for children and young adults, University of San Francisco.

Apr. 1–3:
Kansas Library Association / Mountain Plains Library Association,
Annual Conference, Hyatt Regency/Century II Convention Center, Wichita. “Libraries: Dynamic People, Places, and Ideas.”

Apr. 2:
International Children’s Book Day.

Apr. 3:
Youth Services Section, New York Library Association,
Spring Conference, The Inn on the Lake, Canandaigua.

Apr. 17–20:
Major Orchestra Librarians’ Association,
Annual Conference, Marriott at Metro Center Hotel, Washington, D.C.

Apr. 19–21:
Missouri Association of School Librarians,
Spring Conference, Tar-Tar-A, Osage Beach. “Passport to Treasures @ your library.”

Apr. 22–25:
Montana Library Association,
Annual Conference, Hilton Garden Inn, Kalispell. “Creating New Paths.”

May 12–13:
Vermont Library Conference,
Sheraton Hotel, South Burlington. “Speaking Up! Advocacy for Libraries.”

May 14–15:
Annual Membership Meeting, Georgia Tech Hotel and Conference Center, Atlanta. “The Changing World, Changing Libraries.”

May 15–20:
Medical Library Association,
Annual Meeting, Honolulu. “iFusions.”

May 27–29:
Northeast Document Conservation Center,
Westin San Diego, California. “Digital Directions: Fundamentals of Creating and Managing Digital Collections.”

June 14–17:
Special Libraries Association,
Annual Conference, Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Washington, D.C.

@ More...

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