Civil rights pioneer, librarian E. J. Josey dies at 85
American Libraries Editor in Chief Leonard Kniffel writes: “Elonnie Junius Josey, better known as E. J., died July 3 in Washington, North Carolina, at age 85. E. J. Josey was born January 20, 1924. By 1984 he had reached the pinnacle of his profession, becoming the second African-American president of ALA (Clara Jones was the first, in 1976) after devoting his professional life to fighting the racism that permeated American society. Those of us who had the privilege of knowing E. J. knew him to be a fighter.” ALA President Jim Rettig comments on Josey’s legacy. Memorial contributions can be sent to the E. J. Josey Foundation for Justice and Peace, 526 West Second St., Washington, NC 27889....
AL Inside Scoop, July 6
Clermont County curbs service as Ohio budget battle rages
In order to plug a $1.9-million deficit left over from the FY2008 budget, the board of the Clermont County (Ohio) Public Library approved July 1 the layoff of 24 workers, effective the very next day. Additionally, trustees voted to trim service hours systemwide from 59 hours a week to 48 as of August 3, and to immediately curtail CCPL-funded outreach services and programming, and to suspend construction work on a multimillion-dollar Union Township branch....
American Libraries Online, July 8
Chicago plays host to national library leaders
As job seekers, families, and students rely on free library resources, more than 25,000 library leaders and library supporters will gather July 9–15 at Chicago’s McCormick Place West to discuss the challenges facing U.S. libraries caused by increased usage during tough economic times. Other issues include the surge in library use, the changing role of libraries, technology, bandwidth challenges, literacy, and issues affecting school libraries....
Recession drives membership numbers downward
By any measure, ALA’s membership retention level has always been enviable. But the other shoe has dropped in the nation’s economic deep recession, as May figures show. With ALA Publishing Department revenue already in decline, membership dues revenue at $4.3 million is under budget by $127,000, or 2.8%. The number of new and renewing members has declined from 67,827 to 65,437, or –3.52%....
AL Inside Scoop, July 7
Median librarian salary slightly up, mean slightly down
Analysis of data from more than 1,179 public and academic libraries shows that the mean salary for librarians with ALA-accredited master’s degrees decreased less than 1% from 2008, down only $100 to $58,860. The median salary was $54,500, or 2% higher than 2008. Salaries ranged from $22,000 to $256,800. Results from the 2009 edition of the ALA-APA Salary Survey: Librarian—Public and Academic are available in two ways: immediately for subscribers to the ALA-APA Library Salary Database and in print from the ALA Store....
Copyright “Lucy Booth” at Member Pavilion
Members of the Copyright Advisory Network and OITP Copyright Committee will answer questions at the Copyright “Lucy Booth” at ALA Annual Conference inside the Member Pavilion on July 11–12. Come by to chat about hot copyright issues and check out useful tools such as the Public Domain slider, Section 108 spinner, and some new tools....
District Dispatch, July 7
E-Participation Task Force report
The RUSA E-Participation Task Force was formed in anticipation of reduced member attendance at ALA Midwinter Meetings. Its July 2 status report concludes, in part: “ALA and RUSA will have to make choices. The Task Force understands that Midwinter is an important revenue source for both ALA and RUSA, but most organizations do not have face-to-face meetings except for boards. In essence, RUSA (and other ALA division) members are paying additional costs, significant ones in many cases due to the travel requirements, for the privilege of doing committee work.” The report will go to the ALA Executive Board at Annual Conference....
RUSA E-Participation Task Force Status Report, July 2
Attend Annual Conference virtually
This year ALA is offering a Virtual Conference, 10 interactive web sessions that will take place July 13–14 at the end of ALA Annual Conference. The programs were selected from offerings at Annual and are among the most interesting and relevant to libraries of all types. All full registrants to Annual Conference will have access to these sessions; those not attending in person can register for the Virtual Conference online through the ALA website....
Conference Connect tips
Jenny Levine writes: “Back in January, I got an early taste of the power of ALA Connect during ALA’s Midwinter Meeting while the Website Advisory Committee was beta testing it. I found the site to be a huge help, so I want to share some tips as we all head to Annual because if you’re lucky enough to have a laptop or web-enabled cell phone with you at #ala2009, Connect can be both useful and fun.”...
ITTS Update, July 7
Play ball at Annual Conference
The Campaign for America’s Libraries and the Public Programs Office will host “Pride and Passion: The African American Baseball Experience” on July 11 at McCormick Place West. The program features a distinguished panel of speakers, including authors Lawrence R. Hogan, Sharon Robinson, and Kadir Nelson. Following the program, author Phil Bildner and author/illustrator Loren Long of the children’s series “Sluggers” will be signing ALA Graphics’ new Sluggers posters (above)....
OCLC Inclusion Initiative at Spectrum Leadership Institute
The OCLC Inclusion Initiative will be a sponsor of the Professional Options Fair at the 2009 Spectrum Leadership Institute, held July 8–10 during ALA Annual Conference in Chicago. The Spectrum Leadership Institute provides three days of leadership programming for the current class of Spectrum Scholars. The Professional Options Fair offers attendees an opportunity to discuss careers in various areas of librarianship....
Diversity and Outreach Fair participants
The Office for Literacy and Outreach Services Advisory Committee has announced the librarians and organizations selected to participate in the 2009 Diversity and Outreach Fair at Annual Conference in Chicago. The Fair will take place 3–5 p.m., July 11, at McCormick Place West in the Special Events Area. This annual event celebrates extraordinary examples of diversity and equity of access in America’s libraries....
ALA TechSource bloggers at Annual
Annual is just around the corner. ALA TechSource bloggers discuss what they are most looking forward to this year in the Windy City. Jason Griffey writes: “ALA Annual is always a blur of activity, and it’s sad to say that while I tend to overplan like crazy, it usually takes me days after I get back before I really know what the most valuable part of the whole Annual experience was. There’s a whole lot to look forward to this year, from the first ALA Annual Unconference to some great speakers.” Check the Conference wiki for other bloggers and tweeters....
ALA TechSource, July 2
Intellectual freedom programs at Annual
Office for Intellectual Freedom Program Coordinator Jen Hammond writes: “We’ve blogged about all of our programs coming up for ALA Annual Conference in Chicago. Here you will find them listed chronologically, with time and room number, and a brief description.”...
OIF Blog, July 7
FTRF gala at the Art Institute of Chicago
The Freedom to Read Foundation will celebrate its 40th anniversary at a gala dinner on July 12 in Chicago at the new Modern Wing of the Art Institute of Chicago. The event will honor the FTRF’s visionary founder Judith Krug and Chicago’s McCormick Freedom Museum, which strives to educate the public about the Bill of Rights and individual freedoms....
Forsman’s jewelry returns to Annual
In case you missed her last year, Carolyn Forsman is back! Please visit Booth 3431 in the exhibits area at ALA Annual Conference in Chicago to check out her new designs. Her famous Banned Books bracelets are now joined by necklaces, pins, flashing spike rings, glowing necklaces, peace symbol jewelry, and newspaper headline pins. Proceeds from her sales go to support the important work of the Freedom to Read Foundation....
OIF Blog, July 7
Public awareness and media relations programs
Some of the nation’s media experts will participate in a series of informative programs at ALA Annual Conference in Chicago, including “PR Forum: Breaking through the message clutter @ your library” and “Media training: How to do business with the media and win.”...
Featured review: Adult books
Brandreth, Gyles. Oscar Wilde and the Dead Man’s Smile. Sept. 2009. Touchstone, paperback (978-1-4165-3485-3).
Brandreth has enjoyed considerable critical success for his two previous mysteries starring Oscar Wilde as a late-Victorian-era sleuth: Oscar Wilde and a Death of No Importance (2008) and Oscar Wilde and a Game Called Murder (2008). This series offers a wonderful counterpoint to the slew of contemporary mysteries that reanimate Sherlock Holmes (often as clumsily as Dr. Frankenstein assembled his monster). It comes as a shock to think of the aesthete Wilde as a detective, but Brandreth easily shows how the writer’s quickness of mind could lend itself to deductive brilliance. The latest in the series is much more expansive than the first two, encompassing 1882 through 1883, the year of Wilde’s American tour and its aftermath in Paris. This wide range seems more of an excuse to work in Wilde biography and witticisms than part of the mystery, which doesn’t come into play until far into the book....
Launch party for Bill Ott’s Back Page
Keir Graff writes: “Everyone coming to Chicago for the ALA Annual Conference undoubtedly has a full schedule already, but here’s a late-breaking, must-attend event—a launch party, sponsored by Time Out Chicago, for Booklist Editor and Publisher Bill Ott’s brand-new book, The Back Page. The event will be in Pritzker Park, State and Van Buren Streets, 5–7 p.m., July 12....
Likely Stories, July 8
Booklist rolls out reference blog
Booklist Online has added Points of Reference to its growing family of blogs. Mary Ellen Quinn and a team of front-line experts from academic, public, and school libraries post about reference sources and trends in reference publishing and services. The categories of posts cover print and web resources, current news, reference classics, technology, and general “At the Reference Desk” issues....
@ Visit Booklist Online for other reviews and much more....
High-altitude thrills on the Sears Tower Ledge
The Ledge has brought an exhilarating new experience to the Sears Tower since it opened July 2. At 1,353 feet up, the Ledge’s glass boxes extend out 4.3 feet from the skyscraper’s Skydeck on the 103rd floor, providing never-before-seen views of the city. The inspiration for the Ledge came from hundreds of forehead prints visitors left behind on Skydeck windows every week. Opened in 1974, the Skydeck attracts more than 1.3-million visitors annually who can enjoy views of up to 50 miles and four states. Watch the video (1:39). Best compilation of photos is on the Daily Mail site....
Sears Tower; Chicago Tribune, July 1; YouTube, July 1; Daily Mail (U.K.), July 3
Chicago’s new wave of microbreweries
It’s just shy of 5 p.m. on a sunny spring Friday in Chicago, and the intimate front room of Michael and Louise’s Hopleaf Bar at 5148 N. Clark Street is already packed, the decibel level growing. Creative types mix with professionals; young women in stylish jeans and sweaters rub elbows with older guys who look as if they’ve been hitting this bar as long as they’ve been hitting on the ladies. This is a bar that starts rolling early and doesn’t stop until last call. And it’s all about beer....
New York Times, June 28
Visit the Public Enemies locations
Sitting in darkened theaters to watch Johnny Depp in Public Enemies, Chicagoans will recognize some of the three-dozen city locations featured in the film, as well as the many other scenes shot in Indiana, Wisconsin, and downstate Illinois. Visit some on your own: the Biograph Theater, the Uptown National Bank Building, the Aragon ballroom, or the Pittsfield building....
Chicago Tribune, July 2
Segedin at the Byron Roche Gallery
Chicago artist Leopold Segedin has been painting scenes of Chicago for more than 60 years. His painting, L Platform I (1988) graced the cover of the June 1–15 issue of Booklist magazine. An exhibiting artist since 1947, Segedin has a show of new work that will be on exhibit at the Byron Roche Gallery, 750 N. Franklin, Suite 201, through Saturday, July 11....
Byron Roche Gallery
Teaching Literary Research
ACRL has published a new title, Teaching Literary Research: Challenges in a Changing Environment, a collection of essays by librarians and English faculty that explore the relationship between information literacy and literary research. Edited by Kathleen A. Johnson and Steven R. Harris, the book’s essays provide an expanded exploration of teaching research skills to students at a variety of levels, undergraduate through graduate....
ALSC oral histories feature legendary school librarians
The first two transcriptions of oral history interviews with luminaries from ALSC will go live on July 15. Interviews with Margaret Kimmel and Ruth Gordon will be available on the members-only side of the ALSC website. Kimmel was ALSC president in 1980–1981, and Gordon has had a multifaceted career in library service to children and children’s literature. Oral history interviews with Mimi Kayden and Peggy Sullivan are scheduled to go online by Midwinter 2010....
ALSC to offer second William C. Morris Seminar
ALSC seeks applications for its second biennial “William C. Morris Seminar: Book Evaluation Training,” to be held January 15, 2010, prior to the ALA Midwinter Meeting in Boston. This invitational seminar is intended to train and mentor ALSC members in the group evaluation process and children’s media evaluation techniques. Applications must be received by September 8....
Advocacy 401 from ALTAFF
ALTAFF’s Legislation and Advocacy committees will present Advocacy 401, a down-to-earth, practical discussion of how to make LSTA reauthorization happen, 10:30 a.m.–noon, July 12, at the Hyatt Regency Chicago. Melanie Anderson and Kristin Murphy, both of the ALA Washington Office, will tell the audience what LSTA is all about, what the reauthorization will mean, and what steps are needed to ensure that this legislation passes....
Historic maps on the web and in Second Life
If you are interested in maps, cartography, genealogy, history, or social sciences, join the Map and Geography Round Table, 3:30–5:30 p.m., July 11, at the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place, as David Rumsey of Cartography Associates presents “Giving Maps a Second Life with Digital Technologies.” Using imaging software, GIS, and popular applications like Google Earth and Second Life, Rumsey has given new life to old maps....
Map and Geography Round Table
Spectrum Scholarship winners announced
The ALA Office for Diversity has chosen its 2009 Spectrum Scholars. The Spectrum Scholarship program provides $5,000 scholarships to American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian, Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, and Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander students pursuing graduate degrees in library and information studies. This year’s 50 scholarships bring the number awarded since 1997 to a total of 608....
60 years of the National Book Awards
Richard Davies writes: “For six decades, the National Book Awards, which are organized by the National Book Foundation, has acclaimed the cream of the literary crop, and now it intends to celebrate its 60th anniversary with a campaign to select the best book from its long list of fiction winners. In all, there are 77 books on the list because there was a change in format and name during the 1980s where multiple awards were handed out. AbeBooks.com is an official partner for the Best of the National Book Awards and they would like to hear your opinions about the contenders.”...
AbeBooks.com; National Book Foundation
Inaugural Arkansas poetry prize
Poet Michael Walsh has won the University of Arkansas Press’s inaugural $5,000 Miller Williams Poetry Prize for his poetry collection, The Dirt Riddles. The book will be published in the spring of 2010. Walsh will give a featured reading at the 2010 Arkansas Festival of Writers, sponsored by the university’s Programs in Creative Writing and Translation....
University of Arkansas Press, July 1
BBC Samuel Johnson Prize
A book about a life-long obsession with whales inspired by the literary classic Moby-Dick has won the UK’s most prestigious nonfiction prize. Leviathan, or The Whale by Philip Hoare was named the 2009 winner of the £20,000 ($32,350 U.S.) BBC Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction on July 1. Travelling around the globe and taking the reader deep into the whale’s domain, Hoare sheds light on our perennial fascination with whales....
Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction, July 1
2009 Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest winners
Since 1982, the English Department at San Jose State University has sponsored the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, a whimsical literary competition that challenges entrants to compose the opening sentence to the worst of all possible novels. The contest was inspired by Edward Bulwer-Lytton (1803–1873), the originator of the first line, “It was a dark and stormy night,” in Paul Clifford (1830). The 2009 first-place winner is David McKenzie, a quality systems consultant and writer from Federal Way, Washington....
Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest
Chicago libraries are important as ever
Chicago Public Library Commissioner Mary Dempsey and ALA President Jim Rettig write: “As more than 20,000 librarians and library supporters arrive in Chicago for the ALA Annual Conference July 9–15, libraries remain among the city’s treasured institutions. In fact, libraries in Chicago and nationwide are playing a highly visible, vital role in American life as the recession drags on and people look for sources of free, effective help in a time of crisis. Chicago’s public library is also doing its part to help residents avoid potholes in the long road to economic recovery.”...
Chicago Sun-Times, July 6
Libraries think outside the book in Denver
In a world that increasingly skips paper in favor of pixels, libraries are reinventing themselves. They are transforming into community centers and job banks. They are lending electronically and marketing in ways that dare their commercial bookselling counterparts to stay competitive. They’re even offering to let folks come in and play video games. The Denver Post offers a good outline of these “new” library services....
Denver Post, July 7
German science librarian was 1971 plane-crash survivor
Juliane Diller is not someone you’d expect to attract attention. Plainly dressed and wearing prescription glasses, she sits behind her desk at the Zoologische Staatssammlung München in Munich, Germany, where she is the chief librarian. But when she was 17, Diller was the sole survivor of LANSA Flight 508, which was hit by lightning and exploded two miles in the air above the Peruvian rainforest on December 24, 1971. Watch the video interview (1:55)....
CNN, July 2
Jackson funeral shown at Pratt Library
As millions watched the Michael Jackson memorial on TV around the world July 7, hundreds of people gathered at the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore, where the memorial was streamed live on big screens. It was a part of history they couldn’t miss. The library says part of the reason it decided to simulcast the memorial service is the increase in Jackson’s popularity since his death. All of his CDs and books are checked out....
WJZ-TV, Baltimore, July 7
Renovated Loudoun County branch has teen center
The Loudoun County (Va.) Public Library will have a new chill spot where teenagers can socialize and play video games—the Rust branch in Leesburg. The branch is scheduled to reopen July 11 with new features, including an enclosed teen center and expanded children’s area. It has nearly doubled in size since closing for a $10.4-million renovation in 2007....
Washington Post, July 5
Missing items in the National Archives
Researchers can find the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, and the Bill of Rights in the National Archives collections, but they won’t find the patent file for the Wright Brothers’ flying machine (right) or the maps for the first atomic bomb missions anywhere in the inventory. Some were stolen by researchers or NARA employees. Others simply disappeared without a trace. And Inspector General Paul Brachfeld is conducting a criminal investigation into a hard drive missing from the Archives that has copies of sensitive records from the Clinton administration. The list of missing items is here....
Associated Press, July 4; National Archives and Records Administration
Baseball auction may have stolen items
While the FBI examines whether some materials that were supposed to be sold at Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game auction on July 14 were stolen, a baseball historian offered evidence indicating that at least one of the items was taken from the New York Public Library’s Spalding Collection. An 1877 letter to Boston Red Stockings Manager Harry Wright (right) included in the auction was referenced in a 1956 Cornell dissertation by Harold Seymour as housed at NYPL....
New York Times, July 3, 6
New York’s new online catalog
After three years of development, the New York Public Library’s new public catalog debuted July 6. Representing for the first time the library’s combined circulating, reference, and research holdings, the new system—called The Catalog and using modules of the Innovative Interfaces Millennium system—unites the previously separate collections of the Branch Libraries, formerly found in LEO, and the Research Libraries, formerly found in CATNYP, into a single search interface. Unfortunately, the launch on July 6 met with some malfunctions, which persisted through the following day....
New York Public Library; New York Times, July 7
San Diego central library gains momentum
The proposal to build a new main library in downtown San Diego, California, picked up more momentum July 7 when city council agreed to incorporate a high school to help fund it. The San Diego Unified School District has agreed to chip in $20 million in exchange for a long-term lease of two floors of the nine-story library. The council voted 5–3 to move forward with the new school-library combination....
San Diego (Calif.) Union-Tribune, July 8
Declaration of Independence found in British Archives
A copy of the American Declaration of Independence has been discovered in Britain. The document, which is in perfect condition, is believed to be one of only 200 printed and was stumbled upon among files at the National Archives in Kew, southwest London, by an American doing research. Printed on July 4, 1776, it brings the total of known surviving copies worldwide to 26. The first official printings of the Declaration are known as Dunlaps because the name of the printer, John Dunlap, is given on each copy. A copy can be downloaded for free from the Archives site....
The Times (U.K.), July 2; National Archives
Woman sentenced in LC identity fraud
A 35-year-old Southeast Washington woman was sentenced to 2-1/2 years in federal prison for using the purloined identities of Library of Congress employees to purchase nearly $40,000 in goods. Federal prosecutors said Labiska Gibbs enlisted a relative, Library of Congress worker William Sinclair Jr., to access an internal database and give her the names, birth dates, and Social Security numbers of at least 10 employees....
Washington Post, July 6
U.S. confirms investigation of Google Books deal
The Justice Department confirmed July 2 that it was conducting an antitrust investigation into the settlement of a lawsuit that groups representing authors and publishers filed against Google. In a letter to the federal judge charged with reviewing the settlement, the Justice Department said it was reviewing concerns that the agreement could violate the Sherman Antitrust Act....
New York Times, July 2
Ousted children’s librarian sues to get job back
The former head of children’s programs at the Stonington (Conn.) Free Library is suing the library, saying officials fired her in part because she was the victim of domestic violence. Heather Gillies, who worked at the library from 2001 until 2007, filed suit in New London Superior Court. She asked the court to reinstate her to her former job and for the library to pay lost wages and benefits as well as damages and attorneys’ fees. The suit alleges that the board was motivated in part to fire her because she had filed a police report about domestic violence....
New London (Conn.) Day, July 7
World’s oldest bible published online
More than 800 surviving pages and fragments from the Codex Sinaiticus, handwritten in Greek uncials on parchment leaves in the 4th century, have been reunited. In 2008, the British Library put the Book of Psalms and St. Mark’s Gospel online, and now the remaining pages have been made free for public use for the first time. In addition to an image of the text, a Greek transcription is also provided, and (for some pages) an English, German, or Russian translation. Listen to the interview (4:08) with Scot McKendrick, the British Library’s head of Western manuscripts....
The Telegraph (U.K.), July 6; All Things Considered, July 6; British Library
Hawaiian libraries brace for branch closings
Hawaii’s state library system is facing budget cuts of more than $5.7 million, nearly 20% of current spending, which could lead to the closing of branches and cutting of hours. How libraries will deal with a 20% cut cannot be decided until after legal challenges to Gov. Linda Lingle’s furlough plans for state employees are resolved, library officials said. State Librarian Richard Burns will present the plans for dealing with budget cuts at a July 9 special meeting of the state Board of Education....
Honolulu Advertiser, July 2
Oak Brook mulls privatization
Faced with declining sales tax revenue, the village of Oak Brook, Illinois, is considering a radical step to save money—privatizing its public library. Village trustees are looking at several options to cut $300,000—more than 20%—from the library’s nearly $1.4-million annual budget. Unlike most Chicago suburbs, Oak Brook does not collect property taxes for village services, but instead relies on sales taxes to support its general fund....
Arlington Heights (Ill.) Daily Herald, July 5
Go back to the Top
Serious security hole for IE users
Microsoft has taken the rare step of warning about a serious computer security vulnerability it hasn’t quite fixed yet. The vulnerability disclosed July 6 affects Internet Explorer users whose computers run the Windows XP or Windows Server 2003 operating software. It can allow hackers to remotely take control of victims’ machines after they visit a website that’s been hacked. Unfortunately, hackers have been exploiting the bug since early June, and Microsoft may have known about the breach for some 18 months. Security Watch has some quick-fix instructions until the regular patch is issued....
Associated Press, July 7; Network World, July 7; Security Watch, July 6
The 10 dumbest mistakes network managers make
Carolyn Duffy Marsan writes: “When you look at the worst corporate security breaches, it’s clear that network managers keep making the same mistakes over and over again, and that many of these mistakes are easy to avoid. In 2008, Verizon Business analyzed 90 security breaches (PDF file) that represented 285 million compromised records. What’s astonishing is how often these security breaches were the result of network managers forgetting to take obvious steps to secure their systems, particularly noncritical servers. We put together a list of the simplest steps that a network manager can take to eliminate the majority of security breaches.”...
Network World, July 5; Verizon, Apr. 15
Are desktop PCs on the way out?
John Herrman writes: “Desktop PCs have been in decline for a decade, and countless people have said their piece about it. But new evidence suggests the desktop tower’s death spiral is underway—and we’re not too broken up about it. In U.S. retail, 80% of sales are notebooks now. Put yourself in the shoes of any number of potential consumers, be it kids, adults, techies, or luddites. In virtually any scenario, a laptop is the sensible buy.”...
Gizmodo, June 29
10 useful tips for using FriendFeed
Shevonne writes: “FriendFeed is increasingly becoming a popular as a social aggregator with community features. It was one of the first to use the ‘like’ functionality that more and more websites (Facebook, Digg, Seesmic) are adopting. Additionally, FriendFeed has built a social community that allows you to quickly find an answer to any kind of question that you ask, or get to know other people who share similar interests. Here are 10 useful tips to enjoying all that FriendFeed has to offer....
MakeTechEasier, July 3
Discover the truth about your Twittering
Marshall Kirkpatrick writes: “How do you really use Twitter? Do you retweet a lot of other peoples’ content, share a lot of links, and respond to direct messages? A new service called Twit Truth will tell you the cold, hard facts about your own use of Twitter. It might sound trivial, but you could also say this service is an example of the kind of conversation data mining that will define some of the most exciting innovation in the future of the web.”...
ReadWriteWeb, July 6
10 ways to find people on Twitter
Josh Catone writes: “Twitter is all about facilitating conversations, but until you’re following some people, it’s just a blank page. Once you find people to follow and talk to, however, Twitter becomes exceptionally useful. You can share thoughts, ask questions, get updates about news, music, brands, and businesses, and discover helpful links and information. Finding good people to follow can be a bit daunting, though. Thankfully, there are a number of ways you can find people on Twitter. Here are 10 sites you can use to locate tweeps to follow.”...
Mashable, July 2
Gmail and other Google apps finally shed beta label
Beta versions, which are sandwiched between internal alpha versions and final release versions, typically have a lifespan of weeks or perhaps months. But Gmail was different. Released on April 1, 2004, it was still in beta five years and tens of millions of users later.
That changed July 7. Gmail finally shed the beta label, signaling that Google considers the product to be fully baked. Google also took three other applications—Calendar, Docs, and Talk—out of beta. So why the long wait? The official answer doesn’t entirely clarify things....
New York Times, July 7
The hazy future of web typography
Chris Foresman writes: “Web design has certainly come a long way since the first HTML files were published, and Cascading Style Sheets have given designers lots of freedom to specify typefaces, sizes, and styles for text. But most type on the web is still limited to the 10 common ‘web fonts’ commissioned and distributed by Microsoft in the late 1990s. A number of solutions have been proposed that would let developers use their preferred fonts, but getting everyone involved on the same page, so to speak, has revealed a morass of competing needs.”...
Ars Technica, July 6
15 cool laptop sleeves and bags
Nora Vega brings together her picks for the ultimate in laptop totewear, from this retro cassette-tape case (looks interesting, but durability might be an issue) to a techy high-voltage
bag, a cutesy monster sleeve, or a MacTruck case “with an ultra-tough 5052-H32 Aluminum alloy shell that’s rugged enough to drive a truck over.”...
Oddee, July 7
The library that never closes
Talk to workers at either Amazon.com or Google and you get a feeling of technological inevitability—that the printed book is a stepping stone in the evolution of information and lies ready to be devoured by its hi-tech successors. Not everybody thinks that way, however, including the Open Library—a project with an audacious goal that it hopes can bring the web and books closer together....
The Guardian (U.K.), July 1
ACS joins the online-only model
All but a handful of the American Chemical Society journals will be going online-only next year (the exceptions are the flagship Journal of the American Chemical Society and two review-focused journals). For many of the current journals, printing costs will be reduced in the meantime by compressing them into a format where each physical page will hold two print pages. That transition will reportedly take place with the July edition of the journals....
Ars Technica, July 6
World eBook Fair
The World eBook Fair runs from July 4 to August 4. Its goal is to provide free public access to 2 million PDF e-books for one month. Sponsors include Project Gutenberg, World Public Library, Ask.com, and the Internet Archive. Afterwards, readers may continue to access about 500,000 e-books for a subscription to the World Public Library....
World eBook Fair
Book club hustlers
Francesca Mari writes: “There is a thing authors do, nervously, when they think no one is looking. They check out their numbers—online sales figures, ratings, rankings, reader reviews. Enterprising fiction writers are now marketing themselves to book groups in person, by phone, and over Skype to boost sales. The focus on book clubs has spurred the evolution of a new breed: the author-hustler, the writer who succeeds in large part because of door-to-door salesmanship. After the writing comes a new challenge, one of industriousness, perseverance, and charm.”...
The Daily Beast, July 6
The endless summer reading list
Rob Lammle writes: “If you’re anything like me, you finish your summer reading list by mid-July. To help curb your end-of-summer reading blues, here are some of the longest-running series of novels in the most popular genres: sci-fi/fantasy, romance, action/adventure, kids/YA, and mystery. If you’re so inclined, these will keep you busy until next summer.” The winner is The Executioner series, with 709 books, including spinoffs....
Mental Floss, July 7
Chris Anderson releases free Free
In his new book, Free, best-selling author and Wired editor Chris Anderson makes the compelling case that in many instances businesses can profit more from giving things away than they can by charging for them. Far more than a promotional gimmick, Free is a business strategy that may well be essential to a company’s survival. The full-text e-book is available free of charge at Scribd....
Scribd, July 6
Embarrassingly bad science-fiction book covers
Charlie Jane Anders writes: “Orbit Books is trying to create the worst science fiction book cover of all time—but they’re up against stiff competition. Orbit is seeking suggestions for a title and blurbs, so their art director can come up with the worst book cover of all time. I have great faith in the ability of the internet to spawn some truly awful science fiction book ideas. But just in case someone is lacking for inspiration, here are some truly hideous covers to make your eye-sockets bleed.”...
io9, July 6; Orbit, July 6
Not your grandmother’s library
Candace Brown writes: “In some libraries the classic scenario of a quiet repository of information still exists with only minor problems. But all too often libraries end up as the center of a tangled web of inefficiency, frustration, and despair when it comes to dealing with perplexing issues like mental illness, homelessness, substance abuse, out-of-control children, and the widespread demise of simple good manners. This treasured public institution, this vital part of our democracy, struggles with its changing patronage, public expectations, and serious challenges to its noble purpose of providing free access to all.”...
Neighborhood Life, summer
Mark Dimunation collects for America
Sarah L. Courteau writes: “Many book collectors and curators would give all their first editions for Mark Dimunation’s job. Since 1998, Dimunation has served as chief of the Library of Congress’s Rare Books and Special Collections Division. It is the largest rare book collection in North America, housed in the largest library in the world, a ‘huge theme park of materials,’ as he describes it.” In this interview, Dimunation explains why he likes his job....
Fine Books and Collections, no. 43 (July)
How the National Archives evolved over 75 years
Prologue Editor James Worsham offers an excellent overview of the National Archives’ first 75 years: “Franklin D. Roosevelt probably didn’t envision such an agency, but of all the presidents of the modern era, he was the one who was most influential in establishing the broad outlines of the agency. But decades and decades of debate, delay, and doubt preceded his signature on June 19, 1934.”...
Prologue 41, no. 2 (Summer): 10–25
Ninth National Book Festival
Bestselling authors David Baldacci, John Grisham, John Irving, Julia Alvarez, Judy Blume, Ken Burns, Gwen Ifill, and Jodi Picoult—as well as celebrity chef Paula Deen—will be among scores of authors and illustrators presenting at the 2009 National Book Festival, organized and sponsored by the Library of Congress. Now in its ninth year, this popular event celebrating the joys of reading and lifelong literacy will be held September 26 on the National Mall in Washington, D.C....
Library of Congress, July 7
How Stanford students conduct research
Chris Bourg writes: “Here are highlights from our end-of-quarter survey of first-year Stanford students in Program in Writing and Rhetoric courses. We surveyed students at the end of each quarter this year, after they finished their final research paper. Students who consulted a librarian were more likely to use (and find useful) library databases and the online class resource guide. And the more useful they found library databases, the less useful they found Google.”...
Feral Librarian, July 5
State Library of Kansas catalogs niche Wikipedia articles
Bill Sowers writes: “Wikipedia, boon or bane, is an integral part of the information lives of most internet users. I’ve read scathing articles about it by authors who, weeks later, cite it as a source of information in an email or instant message. We have cataloged about 1,000 Wikipedia articles analytically at the State Library providing links via the Kansas Library Catalog, WorldCat/OCLC, and the State Library’s consortium OPAC (ATLAS). Most all of the Wikipedia articles we’ve cataloged are concerned with Kansas, Kansans, or current topics that have few resources available via standard library resources.”...
SLK News, July 1
Top 11 marketing tips for collaboration (PDF file)
Peggy L. Barry of Naperville (Ill.) Public Library offers some advice on partnerships in the current issue of the Illinois Library Association’s magazine. Tip #9: “Enter into a partnership with local welcome wagons, greeter groups, and realtors to include the library’s print publications in any packets that are being distributed to new residents.”...
ILA Reporter 27, no. 4 (Aug.): 10–11
IMLS analysis of state LSTA grants
The character of library services has changed dramatically with the advent of new information technologies, the continuous development of locally tailored services, and the expectations of the 21st-century library user, according to an analysis of the Grants to States program by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The report (PDF file) focuses on services provided through LSTA grants to state library agencies....
Institute of Museum and Library Services, July 1
50 useful Firefox add-ons for job seekers
While visiting countless employment sites and emailing résumés can be time-consuming and fruitless, your browser may help make the search more efficient. Firefox 3 has proven itself remarkably popular, especially thanks to the add-on feature which allows users to customize their browsers to perform a wide range task-specific functions. Check out these 50 helpful Firefox add-ons to make the job search easier....
Job Profiles, July 7
Check out Bookmaplet
Bookmaplet is a quick and easy way to get a Google Maps snapshot of an address on a website—without having to leave the page. Bookmaplet is a free “bookmarklet” resource. Simply drag “Map this address” graphic to your browser’s toolbar. Then highlight any online address, and a small window will appear that maps the location....
Scholarly email lists fight for relevance
Jeffrey R. Young writes: “Once they were hosts to lively discussions about academic style and substance, but the time of scholarly email lists has passed, meaningful posts slowing to a trickle as professors migrate to blogs, wikis, Twitter, and social networks like Facebook. That’s the argument made by T. Mills Kelly, an associate professor of history and associate director of the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University. Naturally, he first made the argument on his blog.”...
Chronicle of Higher Education, June 29
100 iPhone apps for culture snobs
For many academics, college inspires opportunities for becoming more cultured. From learning exotic languages to trying new foods to exploring literature and philosophy, the university prepares you for a life of learning and enrichment. If you feel that you’re well on your way to becoming an epic culture snob who quotes Latin while visiting the locals’ favorite coffee shop in Guam, you’ll want to check out this list of 100 awesome iPhone apps....
Online College, July 6
Steven Harris writes: “I’ve looked at WorldCat Identities a few times since it was announced in 2008, but as I look at it more, I’ve begun to think differently about it. My biggest revelation: It’s not really a biography site at all. It’s an aggregation of metadata about authors who are listed in the WorldCat database. It functions somewhat like an authority record for an author, but designed for a general audience instead of for librarians. Each author’s entry is nicely organized and easy to read.”...
Collections 2.0, July 5
Social Security numbers deduced from public data
New research shows that Social Security numbers can be predicted from publicly available birth information with a surprising degree of accuracy. By analyzing a public data set called the “Death Master File,” which contains SSNs and birth information for people who have died, computer scientists from Carnegie Mellon University discovered distinct patterns in how the numbers are assigned. In many cases, knowing the date and state of an individual’s birth was enough to predict a person’s SSN....
Wired Science, July 6
160 years of free public libraries
Larry Nix writes: “July 7 marks the 160th anniversary of the passage by the state of New Hampshire of the first general free public library law in the United States. The passage of this law in 1849 marked a major milestone in the development of the American public library. In 1872, Illinois passed a more comprehensive law allowing for the establishment of free public libraries. Both state laws served as models for other states.”...
Library History Buff Blog, July 6
Spotlight on the National Library of Vanuatu
Andrew Finegan visited the Melanesian nation of Vanuatu in June and reports on its national library: “You’d think that, with such a nice big colorful sign, you’d be visiting a huge, amazing library. On arriving there, I was asked to remove my shoes, as a measure of pest control. Clad in socks, I then stepped into the first of two small rooms. There were many fascinating and sometimes hilariously non-PC titles written by 19th- and early 20th-century missionaries.”...
Librarian Idol, July 1
First Spouses join Scholastic’s Summer Reading Challenge
Summer reading got a boost recently as 38 governor’s spouses and one state governor joined the Scholastic Summer Challenge literacy campaign as Reading Ambassadors to encourage kids to read four or more books. Twenty-eight Reading Ambassadors also hosted events in their states to speak to students, families, and teachers about the importance of summer reading. Librarians can engage in the challenge as well by logging on to explore new multimedia content about kids and reading....
Scholastic, July 8
Summer reading? Good! Assigned reading? Bad
Lisa Von Drasek writes: “Libraries have been on the forefront of summer reading for over 20 years. Children’s and Young Adult librarians have been killing themselves every summer to provide rich literary experiences. Children who read over the summer will maintain their literacy skills, perhaps even improve their comprehension and vocabulary. Reading during the summer break is good; not reading during the summer break is bad. So what’s the problem? Why are so many families filled with dread when that summer reading assignment arrives home in at the end of the school year? The key word is ‘assigned.’”...
EarlyWord: The Publisher, July 6
100 best blogs for school librarians
School librarians, whether they work small college libraries, large research universities and departments, or elementary schools, need to stay current on the latest in technology innovation, reading lists, the publishing world, e-book trends, special project and lesson ideas, and a lot more. Luckily, you don’t have to think of everything all by yourself. These 100 bloggers serve as excellent reference resources for learning about everything from library technology to young adult fiction....
Online College, July 7
Wikipedia: Beneath the surface
What is a wiki? How does information get into Wikipedia in the first place? Who creates it? This short animation (6:41) created by the North Carolina State University Libraries introduces students to what goes on behind the scenes so they can make the best use of the surface content....
YouTube, July 8
Lou and Andy in the library
Lou Todd and the wheelchair-bound Andy Pipkin, two characters in the BBC-TV series Little Britain, visit the Herby town library (1:29). Andy wants to take three books out of the library; two identical ones about Chinese history, and one about Chinese language and its origins, despite Lou’s suggestion of Clive King’s Stig of the Dump....
YouTube, Aug. 22, 2007
Home-made movie remakes from the childhood of a YA novelist
Daniel Kraus writes: “I work at ALA’s Booklist magazine. I make a lot of their videos. My debut young-adult novel, The Monster Variations, comes out on August 11. As a promotional tool (but mostly because it’s fun), I’ve been posting all the terrible movies I made as a teen growing up in Iowa. The blog is called Francis Ford Iowa. We remade movies we liked, including Misery (part 1 and part 2, above, 9:16), Night of the Living Dead, The Blob, and The Godfather.”...
BoingBoing, July 7
Go back to the Top
ALA Annual Conference, Chicago, July 9–15. ALA is working with NxtBook and CustomNEWS to provide digital editions of its show daily publication, Cognotes. There will also be an interactive digital component in conjunction with the Highlights issue, published after the conference.
Wanda Urbanska, an expert and consultant on sustainability and green living, will discuss how librarians can become advocates for environmental friendliness, 10:30–11:30 a.m., July 12, as part of the Annual Conference Auditorium Speaker Series. Sponsored by American Libraries.
And don’t forget the many Annual Conference parties and receptions.
Meet Booklist publications staff at ALA Annual Conference. Stop by booth #2042 Saturday–Tuesday to pick up free copies of Booklist and Book Links and get a personalized tour of Booklist Online. Save 50% on all subscriptions. NEW! From ALA Publishing.
Summertime in Chicago
Prescription for Financial Recovery
Librarians As Writers
Licenses and Legalities
IT Senior Manager, Maricopa County Library District,
Phoenix, Arizona. The library district seeks a dynamic person who will be responsible for planning, coordinating, and supervising the deployment of automated systems projects within a public library context. The IT Senior Manager directs the information and data integrity within the District, including data centers, production scheduling functions, help desk, communications networks (voice and data), library automation systems, internet portal intranet, computer hardware and software development, computer systems, operations, and disaster recovery plan....
Digital Library of the Week
The internationally recognized WorldImages database provides access to the California State University IMAGE Project. It contains almost 75,000 images, is global in coverage, and includes all areas of visual imagery. WorldImages is accessible anywhere and its images may be freely used for non-profit educational purposes. The images can be located using many search techniques, and for convenience they are organized into more than 800 portfolios which are then organized into subject groupings. A Flash player plug-in allows you to view many of the images in large size and high resolution.
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.
“Look, if you want a safe job, work in a library.”
—Moscow crime reporter Sergei Kanev recalls the dangers of his profession, including an attempted strangulation with a wire earlier this year, in “Moscow Crime Reporter, Facing His Obituary Daily,” New York Times, June 6.
AL on Twitter. Follow American Libraries news stories, videos, and blog posts on Twitter.
the ALA Librarian
Q. How should I respond to people who ask why we still need libraries in an age where everything seems to be available online?
A. The question of why libraries are needed or useful is one that has existed for many years, not just with the advent of the Digital Age. One of the more recent discussions has covered the idea of the library as “place,” sometimes referred to as a “third place”—one that is neither home nor work. A public library may be seen as more than simply a place filled with books, but rather as a community gathering place. Academic libraries have been recognizing this trend as well with the creation of the information commons, a space that encourages the sharing of ideas and information. Another way to approach this question is to look at the value of libraries. With this most recent economic downturn, there have been many reports in the news about how library usage has increased as a result. In many areas, the local public library is the only place that the public can access job listings and find applications online. From the ALA Professional Tips wiki.
@ The ALA Librarian welcomes your questions.
Forum on Earth Observations III, Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, Washington, D.C. “The Environmental Information Revolution.”
Annual Conference on Distance Teaching and Learning, Monona Terrace, Madison, Wisconsin.
Arkansas Book and Paper Show, Jacksonville.
International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions, World Library and Information Congress, Fiera Milano Convention Centre, Milan, Italy. “Libraries Create Futures: Building on Cultural Heritage.”
DrupalCon Paris, Maison Internationale, Cité Internationale Universitaire de Paris.
West Texas Book and Music Festival, Abilene.
Focusing on Photographs: Identification and Preservation, Athenaeum of Philadelphia. Course presented by the Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts.
North Dakota Library Association, Annual Conference, Days Hotel–Grand Dakota Lodge and Conference Center, Dickinson. “Evolution of the Library.”
PSP Journals Boot Camp, Grand Hyatt Denver. Course offered by the Professional and Scholarly Publishing Division of the American Association of Publishers.
LITA National Forum, Salt Lake City, Utah. “Open and Mobile.”
Marketing, Cleveland, Ohio. Certified Public Library Administrator course sponsored by PLA.
Self-Publishing Book Expo, 630 Second Ave., New York City.
Translating and the Computer 31, Congress Center, London. Hosted and run by Aslib, the Association for Information Management.
Association for Library and Information Science Education, Annual Conference, Boston Park Plaza Hotel. “Creating a Culture of Collaboration.”