Milwaukee group seeks fiery alternative to materials challenge
Life grows more interesting by the day for officials of the West Bend (Wis.) Community Memorial Library. After four months of grappling with an evolving challenge to YA materials deemed sexually explicit by area residents Ginny and Jim Maziarka, library trustees voted 9–0 June 2 to maintain the collection as is, “without removing, relocating, labeling, or otherwise restricting access” to any titles. However, Robert C. Braun and three others are seeking the right to publicly burn or destroy the library’s copy of Baby Be-Bop. They are also demanding $120,000 in compensatory damages for being exposed to the book in a library display....
American Libraries Online, June 3
Chicago unveils historic black newspaper archive
The Chicago Public Library unveiled an archive May 27 that chronicles the history of the Chicago Defender, one of the nation’s most important African-American newspapers. The Abbott-Sengstacke Family Papers encompass the extensive personal correspondence of the newspaper’s founder, Robert S. Abbott, dating from the 1880s to the 1940s, and his nephew and publishing heir John Sengstacke (above, center), from the 1920s to the 1990s. It also contains rare early issues of the 104-year-old newspaper, business records, and some 4,000 photographs....
American Libraries Online, May 29
A fiscal tsunami for libraries
American Libraries Senior Editor Beverly Goldberg writes: “There was a time when American Libraries would cover just about every threatened library service cutback or closure that the editors got wind of. For the time being in libraryland, however, what used to be unimaginable has become all too commonplace. Several times a week, the editors see headlines and postings about yet another local governing authority looking to make ends meet by slashing library service hours, laying off staff—or even closing one or more branches. Well, the ante has risen again on what constitutes a newsworthy library crisis.”...
AL Inside Scoop, June 2
Nominating Committee seeks 2010 candidates
The Nominating Committee is looking for people to run on the 2010 spring ballot for the offices of ALA president-elect, treasurer, and councilor-at-large. The committee will select two candidates to run for president-elect, two candidates for treasurer, and no fewer than 51 candidates for the 33 at-large Council seats. All potential nominees must complete the Potential Candidate Biographical Form and submit their nominations by August 15 to any member of the committee....
ALA Island: A Second Life information center
ALA Library Reference Specialist Valerie Hawkins writes: “ALA Island is the Second Life virtual-world presence of the American Library Association. ALA Island doesn’t have traditional library resources on a variety of topics as a public library would have, but is more of a special library focused on dispensing information about ALA. It’s also a community information center that helps people become more familiar with navigating the Second Life virtual world and demonstrating its capabilities to bring together people from all over the world.”...
I Love Libraries
New member discount from Books-a-Million
ALA unveiled a new member benefit discount May 25 with book retailer Books-A-Million on both in-store and online purchases. Members can use their membership ID numbers to get 10% off online or 20% off in person at more than 220 store locations around the United States. Organizational members can use a library purchase order by contacting Books-A-Million’s Business 2 Business Department....
Help ALA create a better conference event planner
ALA Internet Development Specialist Jenny Levine writes: “At the Midwinter Website Advisory Committee meeting, a subcommittee was formed to help implement a new conference event planner in ALA Connect. This group has put together a survey to help us learn what members want improved, fixed, added, or changed about the current event planner. If you’ve ever complained about using ALA’s event planner, now’s your chance to do something about it.”...
ITTS Update, June 1
New Virtual Conference sessions
Attend Annual Conference from your desktop this year with ALA’s new Virtual Conference. ALA will offer 10 interactive, hour-long web sessions on July 13 and 14. These interactive programs—from ALA’s Washington Office, the Office for Intellectual Freedom, and several other divisions and offices—will be the next best thing to being at the conference itself. Topics include accessing stimulus money for broadband deployment, greening your library, and best customer service....
Krug awarded posthumous honorary membership
In a rare vote outside of Midwinter and Annual Conference, the ALA Council voted last month to award posthumous honorary membership to Judith F. Krug for her work in the field of intellectual freedom. Krug was the director of the Office for Intellectual Freedom and executive director of the Freedom to Read Foundation for more than 40 years. She died on April 11 after a long illness....
Using new and traditional media
Experts will be on hand at the ALA Annual Conference in Chicago to talk about how libraries can use new and traditional media. A panel on July 12 will address how to reach multicultural audiences, reaching audiences through social media, delivering library messages through radio, and using letters to the editor and op-eds. Speakers include Tom McNamee, Dave Baum, Eric Friedenwald-Fishman, Kevin Kirkpatrick, George Eberhart, and Megan Humphrey....
Cooking Pavilion to heat up conference exhibits
New this year at Annual Conference, the Cooking Pavilion will feature a variety of chefs preparing recipes and signing autographs on the exhibit floor July 11 and 13. Barbecue experts, a pair of kid-sister chefs, a master mixologist, and a gourmet pizza executive will highlight the pavilion. Visit the exhibit hall for displays of the latest cookbooks and live cooking presentations on the demonstration stage. Learn the art of slow-cooking from barbecue experts Gary Wiviott and Colleen Rush, authors of Low & Slow: Mastering the Art of Barbecue in Five Easy Lessons....
CPLA graduates three, adds 11 candidates
The Certified Public Library Administrator Program Certification Review Committee granted certification to three CPLA candidates who are now officially certified public library administrators. In addition, the committee approved 11 new candidates in its spring review. CPLA now has 12 graduates and 122 candidates representing public libraries of all sizes across the nation....
Emerging Leaders poster session
The ALA 2009 class of Emerging Leaders will showcase its final projects at a poster session July 10 during the ALA Annual Conference in Chicago. Since the Midwinter Meeting, the Emerging Leader groups have been working on projects related to ALA or a professional concern, supported by ALA staff and member mentors from the profession....
A survey of ALA Emerging Leaders
Kim Leeder writes: “If you want to start a passionate conversation, ask past Emerging Leaders about their experience in the ALA Emerging Leaders program. If you talk to any of the roughly 300 participants so far, you are likely to find that they have a powerful opinion on the subject. Some loved it, some hated it, and some express profoundly mixed feelings. Very few are neutral. In this post I will be exploring those differing responses from past Emerging Leaders as part of a critique of the high-profile program.”...
In the Library with the Lead Pipe, May 27
Feedback wanted on Library Education Task Force report
The Committee on Accreditation invites you to respond to the Final Report of the Presidential Task Force on Library Education (PDF file) issued January 13 to the ALA Executive Board. COA will present its response to the Executive Board at the 2009 ALA Annual Conference in Chicago. Comments are also invited on the 2008 Standards for Accreditation....
COA Standards Review, May 15
Featured review: Reference
The Times Comprehensive Atlas of the World, 12th ed. Nov. 2008. 544p. HarperCollins, hardcover (978-0-06-146450-8).
Geographical information published by Bartholomew has a long history, beginning in 1797, when George Bartholomew apprenticed as an engraver in Edinburgh, Scotland. His son John Bartholomew was also an apprentice in the same business and established his own company in 1826. For more than 175 years, Bartholomew has been at the pinnacle for producing quality maps and atlases. Until 2008, when the fifth John Bartholomew died, there was always a Bartholomew as cartographic director of the company (which became part of HarperCollins in 1989). It was this John Bartholomew who began publishing the classic Times Comprehensive Atlas of the World in 1967. The 12th edition of the atlas first appeared in 2007 and was reprinted in the United States in 2008, with some changes....
Focus on the Pop Culture Universe database
Mary Ellen Quinn writes: “The announcement of the winner of the 2009 Dartmouth Medal marked a milestone in the medal’s 35-year history. For the first time (and some might say it’s about time), the prestigious medal, bestowed each year on ‘a reference work of outstanding quality and significance,’ was awarded to an electronic database, Pop Culture Universe. PCU was a Greenwood database when it launched but an ABC-CLIO database by the time the Dartmouth award was announced. In October 2008, ABC-CLIO acquired a perpetual license to all Greenwood imprints and publications. The Reference Books Bulletin review of PCU noted its ‘fun vibe’—and according to Scott Wich, editorial manager for popular culture at ABC-CLIO, ‘It couldn’t have been more fun to work on.’”...
T. A. Barron: Not insane
Daniel Kraus writes: “In my interview (4:13) with fantasy scribe T. A. Barron, he tells how, when he quit his venture-capital job to write books, a partner tried to refer him to a therapist. Many striving writers face similar reactions when they make the plunge, and no wonder: It can be a quixotic quest, and all too often the would-be author ends up gristle in the windmill. But, woo boy, not Barron. He’s finishing up Book Three in the Merlin’s Dragon trilogy, the last in a staggering 12-volume cycle of Merlin books.”...
Likely Stories, May 27
@ Visit Booklist Online for other reviews and much more....
Get a Google Earth view of Chicago
The John Hancock Observatory offers one of the best aerial views of the city from the sixth tallest skyscraper in the United States and the fourth tallest in Chicago (the Sears/Willis Tower, Trump Tower, and the Aon Center are bigger). Open daily from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., it also features an open-air skywalk, a history wall, and the Café Espression coffee bar....
John Hancock Observatory
The Oriental Institute Museum
The University of Chicago’s Oriental Institute Museum is a world-renowned showcase for the history, art, and archaeology of the ancient Near East. The museum displays objects recovered by Oriental Institute excavations in permanent galleries devoted to ancient Egypt, Nubia, Persia, Mesopotamia, Syria, Anatolia, and the ancient site of Megiddo, as well as rotating special exhibits. Currently on exhibit is “The Life of Meresamun: A Temple Singer in Ancient Egypt,” which focuses on the life of a priestess-musician in Egypt in about the year 800 B.C....
Exploratorium showcases school library best practices
AASL is making available its lineup for the annual Exploratorium at its 14th National Conference and Exhibition, with more than 90 individual learning stations. The Exploratorium will be held November 5 and is open to all conference registrants. This two-hour educational session will showcase best practices from the school library media community. Discounted early bird registration is now open....
LITA National Forum registration opens
Registration is open for the 2009 LITA National Forum “Open & Mobile,” to be held October 1–4 at the Hilton City Center, Salt Lake City. Keynote sessions include speakers Joan Lippincott, David Weinberger, and Liz Lawley. Lippincott will discuss what roles libraries can and should play in delivering content for mobile devices, developing services for mobile device users, and configuring physical spaces to respond to their needs....
19 new Great Web Sites for Kids
ALSC has placed 19 new websites on its Great Web Sites for Kids list. Great Web Sites for Kids are those considered the best for ages birth to 14, outstanding in both content and conception. As applied to websites for young people, “great” should be thought to include sites of especially commendable quality that reflect and encourage young people’s interests in exemplary ways....
ALSC Blog, June 3
LITA scholarship winners
LITA has announced the winners of annual scholarships it sponsors jointly with three organizations—Informata.com, LSSI, and OCLC. The winners are Nicholas Taylor (University of Maryland), Diane Kay Doctor (University of Washington), and Victoria Chu (University of British Columbia). Criteria for the scholarships include previous academic excellence, evidence of leadership potential, and a commitment to a career in library automation and information technology....
San Antonio trustee named ULC Urban Player
San Antonio (Tex.) Public Library Board Chair Jean Brady is the first trustee ever to receive the Urban Libraries Council’s Urban Player Award. She will be honored at the ULC annual meeting in Chicago July 10 for her role in earning greater recognition for the library in San Antonio and the resulting consolidated effort to create a sustainable funding base. The Urban Player Award is presented each year to the individual who most profoundly demonstrates library and community leadership....
Urban Libraries Council, May 5
2009 Miriam Braverman Memorial Prize
The Progressive Librarians Guild has awarded Sarah Clark the Miriam Braverman Memorial Prize for her essay “Marketing the Library? Why Librarians Should Focus on Stewardship and Advocacy.” Clark is enrolled in the Department of Information Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. The prize is awarded annually for the best essay written by an LIS student on an aspect of the social responsibilities of libraries and librarians....
Progressive Librarians Guild, June 1
2009 Audie Awards (PDF file)
The Audio Publishers Association announced the winners of the 2009 Audies at a formal Gala at the New-York Historical Society on May 29 in New York City. The Audies are the only awards program in the United States honoring spoken-word entertainment. Newbery Medal winner The Graveyard Book, written and read by Neil Gaiman, won the coveted Audiobook of the Year award. The title earned this recognition for its combination of original musical composition, superb production, and effective social media marketing. Reviews of all the winners and finalists are here....
Audio Publishers Association, May 29
Another prize for The Hemingses
Historian and author Annette Gordon-Reed has won a literary Triple Crown with her remarkable The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family, her 798-page exploration of Thomas Jefferson and the family of slaves with whom he became intimately involved. The book has won the National Book Award, the Pulitzer Prize, and, on May 28, the $50,000 George Washington Book Prize, given annually to the “most important new book about America’s founding era.”...
Washington Post, May 29
Geoff Dyer wins P. G. Wodehouse Prize
Geoff Dyer has won the P. G. Wodehouse Prize for comic fiction for Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi, a raucous novel full of profanities that was hailed by the judges as summoning up the “spirit of Wodehouse.” A pair of twinned novellas, the book tells of two 40-something men, both looking for love and existential meaning—one at the Venice Art Biennale, one on the banks of the Ganges in Varanasi....
The Guardian (U.K.), May 29
11th Annual International Latino Book Awards
The 2009 Latino Book Awards were presented during BookExpo America on May 28, at the Javits Center in New York City. The awards honor literary excellence in a variety of categories. This year four new categories were added, including Best Young Adult Sports or Recreation, Best Gift Book, a general fiction category, Best Popular Fiction, and Best Graphic Novel....
Latino Book and Family Festival, May 28
Leeds and Lincolnshire YAs choose their favorite books
Students aged 9–16 in Leeds, England, voted for their favorite reads and came up with Jenny Downham’s Before I Die, Sophie McKenzie’s Blood Ties, and Matt Haig’s Shadow Forest. Lads and lasses in Lincolnshire similarly selected Cathy Cassidy’s Sundae Girl and Chris Riddell’s Ottoline and the Yellow Cat....
Leeds Book Awards, May 19; Lincolnshire County Council, May 13
Obama orders secrecy review
President Obama directed National Security Adviser James L. Jones and senior cabinet officials May 27 to examine whether the government keeps too much information secret. Officials representing a broad swath of government agencies will review procedures for labeling and sharing sensitive information. Obama also proposed a National Declassification Center to streamline procedures for releasing classified information, when appropriate, under the guidance of the Archivist of the United States....
Washington Post, May 28
Book challenges on the rise
The box of books that media specialist Diane Chen stumbled onto in her library at the John F. Kennedy Middle School in Antioch, Tennessee, was simply labeled, “Inappropriate to Shelf.” She wondered, “Are they worn out? Is there something wrong with them? Are they potentially hazardous chemical journals for would-be-terrorists?” None of the above. Scared that the books—such as The American Heritage Dictionary, The Pit and the Pendulum by Edgar Allen Poe, and The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger—could trigger a book challenge, a former employee had pulled them off the shelves....
Nashville Tennessean, May 31
Peoria branch expansion stymied by cemetery
If discovering 150-year-old corpses isn’t creepy enough, the potential price tag for digging them up is causing a fright among members of the Peoria (Ill.) Public Library board. A potential $400,000-plus cost to dig up and remove bodies and artifacts near the Lincoln branch now has some wondering if the entire $4.5-million expansion project is affordable. Apparently some graves were never removed from the site, which served as the city cemetery from 1842 to 1875; bones turned up in 1910 when the branch was built. Midwest Archaeological Research Services will begin excavations June 8....
Peoria (Ill.) Journal Star, May 28; Peoria Public Library
Nine-year-old girl begs Bloomberg to stop library cuts
A 9-year-old Brooklyn girl has penned an impassioned plea to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg to save the Brooklyn Public Library as the latest round of budget cuts threatens to reduce service to just 25 hours a week—the lowest level since the city’s fiscal crisis in the 1970s. The mayor’s proposal would slash the library budget by $17.5 million (21%) and give borough residents the fewest library hours in the city. When Aliah Gilkes Richardson heard that, she decided to take action....
New York Daily News, May 29
Another library abandons DDC
As part of its customers-first philosophy, the Rangeview Library District in Northglenn, Colorado, is replacing the Dewey Decimal Classification with its own WordThink system. The new method was generated from a book-industry standard for organizing materials. Materials are arranged by simple categories like history and science instead of a numeric system. The district’s new Bennett branch opened May 30 with the new organization in place, and by the end of the year all Rangeview branches will use WordThink....
Business Wire, June 2
Pennsylvania library funding threatened
As Pennsylvania grapples with a struggling national economy, Education Secretary Gerald L. Zahorchak said the state senate’s proposed appropriations bill (S.B. 850), crafted by the Republican majority, would shortchange children. The education provisions call for a 50% reduction ($37 million) in public library funding for fiscal year 2009–2010, compared with Gov. Edward Rendell’s proposed 5.1% cut (H.B. 1419). Meanwhile, library access programs—including the Access PA Power Library, the statewide card, and interlibrary loan—were also targets of both proposals....
Pennsylvania Dept. of Education, May 28; Pottsville (Pa.) Republican and Herald, May 21; Pennsylvania Library Association, May 5
Boston Public Library faces layoffs
Facing looming budget cuts, the president of Boston Public Library expects to eliminate 13 full-time staffers, with most of the cuts to affect the main library. BPL President Amy Ryan said in late May she is expecting about $1.2 million less from the city in fiscal 2010, and she expects a bigger cut to come from the state....
Allston/Brighton (Mass.) TAB, May 28
Seattle revises its library rules
Seattle Public Library officials clarified (video, 2:07) several rules of conduct (PDF file) and beefed up others May 27 in a reasonable attempt to improve the customer experience. They range from simple alterations—like redefining the violation for “sleeping” to “appear to be sleeping”—to more serious matters, like kicking out repeat offenders for up to two years. Patrons have seen many examples of bad behavior, especially at the Central Library. A local reporter found that security guards have already ejected 432 patrons in the first four months of 2009 for offenses like assault, drug dealing, intoxication, and lewd conduct....
Seattle Times, June 1; KING-TV, Seattle, May 27; Seattle Public Library; KIRO-TV, May 27
Skilled, blue collar, and suddenly destitute
This is what Todd Yoder knew about homeless people: They are mentally ill, dope fiends, drunks. Then in February, Yoder found himself without work, and he has since learned much more. The Clearwater (Fla.) Public Library saved him. There, he found a clean bathroom, shelter, and internet service that allowed him to communicate with potential employers, his son, and his parents. He discovered Clearwater’s Homeless Emergency Project on the library’s internet....
St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times, May 31
Library staff adopts baby elephant
Employees at the the Thomas Ford Memorial Library in Western Springs, Illinois, recently pooled some of their personal finances and donated $100 to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, dedicated to saving orphaned elephants in Kenya. With their donation, the library has adopted Tassia, an 11-month-old African elephant that was rescued by trust volunteers after his family was killed by ivory poachers in March....
Western Springs (Ill.) The Doings, May 18
Former Lynn library trustee’s tenure defended
An attorney for a former Lynn (Mass.) Public Library board member with a spotty attendance record argued May 26 that his client had no obligation to attend board meetings in order to earn pension credit. The attorney made the argument to the Lynn retirement board, which is attempting to rescind the pension of 60-year-old Linda Bassett and recover about $20,000 in payments she has received. Bassett last attended a meeting in March 1984, even though she claimed credit through September 1986....
Boston Globe, May 27
Wells library reopens one year after fire
The Athens County Public Library’s Wells branch in Albany, Ohio, held a grand reopening May 9 in its remodeled building nearly one year after it was badly damaged in a fire set by vandals. It now has a new, more inviting interior—though its collection of books, magazines, and visual media remains a little sparse compared to pre-fire days. The library interior was damaged to the tune of more than $700,000 on June 14, 2008, when four Albany boys threw a firecracker into the book drop, which started a fire inside the building....
Athens (Ohio) News, June 1
Iowa court approves verdict in Des Moines library abduction
A divided Iowa Supreme Court on May 29 upheld the conviction of a man who in 2005 kidnapped and sexually abused a 2-year-old girl at the old central library in downtown Des Moines. James Effler Jr. will continue serving a life sentence at the state penitentiary. But the court’s decision raised questions about how police handled the case....
Des Moines (Iowa) Register, May 30
Go back to the Top
Motion-sensitive gaming controllers
Forget the console wars. We’re in the motion-sensitive controller wars. That much became clear June 2 when, following an earlier announcement by Microsoft that it was working on Project Natal (right)—an impressive and complex full-body, hands-free motion-sensitive control system—both Nintendo and Sony revealed plans for new, advanced systems of their own. It’s abundantly clear that what’s really going on here is an aggressive play by each of the three companies to make their offerings more palatable to mainstream audiences....
Gaming and Culture, June 2–3
How to buy a cell phone
Sascha Segan writes: “These days, smartphones get all the buzz, but the vast majority of handsets sold in the United States are actually feature phones: camera phones, music phones, rugged phones, messaging phones, or just plain voice phones. Unlike smartphones, feature phones are a matter of ‘what you see is what you get.’ They are typically less expensive than smartphones, are available in a much wider range of shapes and sizes, and work on a broader range of plans, including prepaid options. Ready to find your phone? Here’s what you should consider before you start shopping.”...
PC Magazine, May 29
Facebook Groups and Pages
Howard Greenstein writes: “Should I create a Group or launch a Page? It’s the eternal question that gets asked as often as ‘What is Twitter?’ at introductory social media training classes. Ever since Facebook launched its Pages product as part of a larger advertising strategy (along with the ill-fated Beacon) in November 2007, there has been confusion over which to use. Because Groups and Pages have an overlapping feature set, even senior social media marketing consultants are sometimes stumped as to what to tell their clients.”...
Mashable, May 27
Lifehacker’s essential free Windows downloads
Kevin Purdy writes: “Today we are bundling all the best free downloads for new computer owners, reinstallers, would-be geeks, or anyone who wants to save time installing the best stuff out there. This is our 2009 Lifehacker Pack for Windows computers—a single, handy list that we think improves the lives of Windows users. We’re also providing a utility to download some or all of these applications at once.”...
Lifehacker, June 1
Linux “desktop” version still too geeky?
Matt Asay writes: “Companies like Intel, Canonical, and Novell are desperately trying to make Linux-based PCs easier to use. Unfortunately, as Ubuntu fan Steven Rosenberg points out, there are often far too many decisions a lay user must make to just to get Linux to work. Rosenberg was struggling to play music on his Ubuntu machine, and struggled because of Canonical’s efforts to balance ease of use with free-software purists’ desire to have no proprietary codecs. The result is a mess.”...
The Open Road, May 27; Click, May 26
Preview shortened URLs in Firefox
Tom Merritt writes: “Shortened URLs are often used in email, Twitter, and other places to shorten a long URL into a much more convenient version. But there’s a security risk there: You don’t know where that URL is going. It could be a malicious website that hijacks your computer and installs a Trojan and keylogger, and you never even know. You just think the site’s broken. But with a Firefox plug-in called bit.ly preview, you can see the whole URL eithout having to go there.”...
Cnet TV Blog, May 26
10 best digital resources for 2009
Shonda Brisco writes: “School Library Journal’s second annual ‘best of’ list looks at products reviewed between June 2008 and the present. The past year saw many excellent and innovative projects—and narrowing them down to a top-10 list wasn’t easy. As we prepare for the next school year—or as public libraries develop the budget for a new fiscal year—these are the products for children and teens you should be advocating to add to your digital collection.”...
School Library Journal, June 1
Top 100 picture books poll results
Betsy Bird writes: “And now, in order and with linkety goodness intact, I bring to you the results of the Top 100 Picture Book Poll of 2009. Each link should go to the blog post where it was featured (even if the numbers don’t always perfectly correspond). At the end of the post is the bibliography of sources I used in the course of this poll’s posting.” At the top of the list is Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are (1963)....
A Fuse #8 Production, May 16
BEA 2009: A few positive words
Edward Champion writes: “It has been suggested by more than a few parties that my BookExpo coverage betrays a sourpuss disposition. It has also been insinuated that I was predisposed to find negativity within this three-ring exposition. Not at all. My suspicions about BEA have more to do with whether this massive conference is presently in the right form with which to bring together multiple viewpoints. Perhaps the manner in which we unite publishers, booksellers, authors, and assorted parties needs to match the drastic manner in which the industry is changing.”...
Edward Champion’s Reluctant Habits, May 30
Google sets sights on e-books
In discussions with publishers at the annual BookExpo convention in New York, Google signaled its intent to introduce a program that would enable publishers to sell digital versions of their newest books direct to consumers through Google. The move would pit Google against Amazon.com, which is seeking to control the e-book market with the versions it sells for its Kindle reading device....
New York Times, May 31
The future of reading in a digital world
Clive Thompson writes: “Books are the last bastion of the old business model—the only major medium that still hasn’t embraced the digital age. Publishers and author advocates have generally refused to put books online for fear the content will be Napsterized. And you can understand their terror, because the publishing industry is in big financial trouble, rife with layoffs and restructurings. Literary pundits are fretting: Can books survive in this Facebooked, ADD, multichannel universe? To which I reply: Sure they can.”...
Wired, May 22
San Francisco’s new ecocard
Known for its renewable and reusable resources, San Francisco Public Library is taking its ecofriendly credentials a step further with a new environmentally conscious library card. The new ecocard is made from corn. Not only is corn a sustainable and renewable resource as opposed to traditional petroleum-based plastics, but it can also be composted in the city’s composting system....
San Francisco Public Library, May 27
Catch the Google Wave
Ben Parr writes: “Today has been dominated by news and excitement surrounding Google Wave, Google’s new real-time communication platform that will launch to the public later this year. To make sense of it all, we have compiled key information, definitions, and links related to the launch. This in-depth guide provides an overview of Google Wave, discusses the terminology associated with it, details information on applications (such as the Twitter Wave app Twave), and goes over ways to keep yourself informed.”...
Mashable, May 28
Bing vs. Google: A search results comparison
Greg Sterling writes: “Let’s just get it out of the way: No, Bing is not a Google killer. It’s also safe to say that Microsoft doesn’t see it that way either. My understanding of what Microsoft believes it has in Bing is a much more competitive product than Live Search. To provide a more concrete sense of Bing in advance of its launch, I conducted a range of basic searches that one might do in a given week and captured screens from both Google and Bing to offer a visual side-by-side comparison.” Phil Bradley has another view; more comments by Gary Price....
Search Engine Land, May 28; Phil Bradley’s Weblog, June 1; Resource Shelf, June 1
A new information science channel
John Dupuis writes: “ScienceBlogs is making a concerted effort to engage a broad range of the information science community. One step is the launch of a new Information Science channel. So far, it is a channel like any other—it features recent blog postings assigned to the category by the bloggers themselves. However, we have plans. The plans involve adding value and content to the channel beyond just the blog posts.”...
Confessions of a Science Librarian, June 2
Programming for kids with autism
Kiera Parrott writes: “Perhaps you are wondering how to do a program for children with autism. You start with some research, talk to parents and caregivers, listen to the kids, have a good sense of humor, and try, fail, and try again. Generally, the difference is in the attention to detail and the high degree of flexibility you build into the program. Mostly what counts is making a safe and fun space for both the kids and the adults to interact and lend support to each other.”...
ALSC Blog, May 31
Arts programming in a public library
Jude Schanzer writes: “We all know that libraries are no longer confined to brick and mortar. No longer can the library be looked at as only an informational and educational center. Some call us ‘community centers’ now. I say we are ‘cultural centers,’ with all that those words conjure up in our minds. Performance, visual arts, literature, history, discussion, innovative thought, and more are part and parcel of what can be found in a cultural center. Sounds like a library to me.”...
Programming Librarian, May 19, 26, June 2
10 ways to tell if you are a solo librarian
John Clark of the Hartland (Maine) Public Library wrote this for the initial issue of MLA to Z: The News-to-use-letter of the Maine Library Association, April 2007, pp. 3–4 (PDF file). You can identify with it even if you don’t work in a public library. “10. You have done story hour while simultaneously checking out books and answering a reference question over the phone.”...
OPL Plus, June 2
Help me help you: The teacher edition
Abby writes: “By popular demand: What do librarians wish teachers knew about the public library? If you’ve been tuning in lately, you know that I’ve done several posts about what librarians wish people knew about the library. Teachers and librarians working together can accomplish great things, and we have a lot of the same goals. How can teachers’ interactions with the library go even more smoothly? Here’s what we want you to know.”...
Abby (the) Librarian, June 1
Library thief turns friend
Kerri Price writes: “Recently, Larry—an artist, musician, and highway sign maker from Barberton, Ohio—shared with us a story from his childhood, when one encounter with a kind and understanding librarian opened up a whole new world for him. To this day, Larry remains a faithful and enthusiastic patron of his local public library, and every summer he volunteers to teach a free, four-session guitar workshop at the Barberton Public Library. Here is Larry’s story.”...
I Love Libraries
Webinar: Navigating through job loss
If many people, 45 and older, who have lost jobs recently are coming to your library to seek help, this free AARP webinar could provide some assistance. “Navigating Your Way through Job Loss,” June 11, 2–3 p.m. Eastern time, will help them create an effective job-search strategy, manage finances, and connect with others. The registration form is online....
EFF launches Teaching Copyright
As the entertainment industry promotes its new anticopying educational program to the nation’s teachers, the Electronic Frontier Foundation launched its own Teaching Copyright curriculum and website May 27 to help educators give students the real story about their digital rights and responsibilities on the internet and elsewhere. A balanced curriculum, Teaching Copyright encourages students to make full and fair use of technology that is revolutionizing learning and the exchange of information....
Electronic Frontier Foundation, May 27
Book group location
Neil Hollands writes: “In the book groups I attend, we’ve developed such a routine that our members sit in the same chair at every meeting. Woe to the newbie who parks her carcass in a spot that’s taken! If that drab public meeting room is getting you down, perhaps it’s time for a change. Take a one-meeting vacation from your usual space before some of your members take a permanent vacation from the group. Here are some ideas.”...
Book Group Buzz, May 28
Reference librarian haiku
Megan Brooks writes: “Every semester during reading period and finals, there is a protracted online discussion in which students bemoan their current state of affairs in haiku format. Yesterday, I was working at the reference desk and thought I’d jump into the foray in an attempt to drum up some business. What follows is a series of haikus I sent out over the course of the four hours I was working.”...
Librarygrrrl.net, May 17
National Library of Wales joins Flickr Commons
The National Library of Wales posted its first collection of photographs June 2 on Flickr Commons, becoming the first UK library to join the initiative. It has uploaded 100 photographs from the P. B. Abery collection, a rich selection of photographs taken between 1890 and 1940 in Radnorshire, the border area of Wales and England. Flickr Commons was launched in January 2008 to show hidden treasures from the world’s public photography archives....
National Library of Wales, June 2
U.S. national libraries to test RDA
In response to concerns about Resource Description and Access (RDA) raised by the Library of Congress Working Group on the Future of Bibliographic Control, the three U.S. national libraries—the Library of Congress, the National Library of Medicine, and the National Agricultural Library—made a commitment to the further development and completion of RDA. The libraries agreed to make a joint decision on whether or not to implement RDA, based on the results of a test of both RDA and the web product. Testers will also include the broader library community....
Library of Congress
UPCs, EANs, and ISBNs: A field guide
Jonathan Rochkind writes: “I think I’ve figured it out, and it’s actually quite simple. A UPC is just an EAN beginning with zero, with the initial 0 left off. An ISBN-13 is an EAN. So an ISBN-10, to be converted to an EAN, just needs to be converted to an ISBN-13 (including recalculating the check-digit). On top of all that, it looks like an EAN-13 is now officially called a GTIN-13. Phew. So many names for essentially the same thing.”...
Bibliographic Wilderness, May 28
Lenawee’s teen wall
The Lenawee County (Mich.) Library recently remodeled its Teen Space. To spice up the area, seven Teen Advisory Board members worked together to paint a mural on the teen wall. They started working on the project at the end of March and finished up on May 7. Lindsey Spooner, an Onsted High School student (shown on the ladder), designed the mural, and everyone worked together to transfer the drawing to the wall and paint it. The entire mural is 19 feet wide and five feet tall....
Adrian (Mich.) Daily Telegram, May 9
Top 10 pet peeves about patrons
Brian Herzog writes: “Usually I’m a pretty happy-go-lucky guy, and I really do enjoy my job. But I thought I’d share a list of the top 10 things that patrons do that can really irk me. Not that I expect every patron interaction to be perfect and wonderful, of course; these are a just few things that make bad days worse. I tried to limit this list to things unique to library patrons, and this list (which ended up being longer than I expected) is in no particular order.”...
Swiss Army Librarian, June 2
Eight library cats
Libraries are wonderful places for people who love books, and wonderful places for cats to meet book lovers. According to Gary Roma’s Library Cats Map, there are an estimated 808 documented library cats, including 301 cats who currently reside in libraries around the world. Here are profiles of seven, in addition to the world-renowned Dewey Readmore Books....
Mental Floss, June 2; YouTube, Oct. 30, 2007
Wonder Woman, the math librarian
Diana Prince (secretly Wonder Woman) appears to be a Mathematics Library administrative assistant in this December 2, 1972, episode (9:47) of The Brady Kids. She fails to help Jen Brady (voiced by Eve Plumb) find reference sources on Euclid because she has to go rescue the crew of a foundering ship, but makes up for it by somehow taking the entire Brady crew back in time....
YouTube, Apr. 21
Branford Marsalis promotes summer reading
“I express my creativity through music, both performing and composing,” states Branford Marsalis, composer and jazz saxophonist. In a public service announcement (0:30) for the State Library and North Carolina’s summer reading program, Marsalis encourages children and teens to express themselves through reading clubs, performances, and story times at their public library’s summer reading program....
Carolina Newswire, June 3; YouTube, May 29
Go back to the Top
ALA Annual Conference, Chicago, July 9–15. Attend Annual Conference from your desktop this year with ALA’s new Virtual Conference.
American crime writer and essayist James Ellroy will be an Auditorium Speaker on July 11. His L.A. Quartet novels—The Black Dahlia, The Big Nowhere, L.A. Confidential, and White Jazz—are international best-sellers.
Are you stymied by suspense novels? Do thrillers leave you hanging? Are you flustered by fantasy, frustrated with romantic fiction, or buffaloed by Westerns? Joyce Saricks’s Readers’ Advisory Guide to Genre Fiction (2nd ed.) will let you become an expert at figuring out what your readers are seeking and show you how to match books with their interests. NEW! From ALA Editions.
Summertime in Chicago
Prescription for Financial Recovery
Librarians As Writers
Licenses and Legalities
User Engagement Librarian and Assessment Coordinator, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta. Working closely with library personnel across departmental lines, this position will maintain and creatively enhance a user engagement and assessment program that informs decision making, services, and learning spaces. Collect qualitative and quantitative data and produce interpretive reports based on them. Identify and coordinate assessment efforts. ....
Digital Library of the Week
The Smithsonian Institution Libraries’ Galaxy of Images collection includes thousands of images representing a small portion of the more than 1.5-million printed books and manuscripts in their collections. Images are browsable or searchable by keyword or topics that include the animal world, art and design, bones and fossils, history and material culture, literature, the natural world, plants and flowers, portraits, science and invention, scientific instruments and apparatus, society and culture, technology and transportation, and trade literature. The libraries encourage the use of images and other content from this website for not-for-profit educational and classroom use.
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.
“Sanctuary might be an overly serious word, but a library projects an unmistakable sense of civility and calm. Young and old come together peaceably here, rich and poor, readers of mysteries and lovers of ancient philosophy. A library is a bastion of non-judgmentalism and one of society’s great equalizers.
“This atmosphere is in no way accidental. Librarians are almost eerily aware of what goes on inside your head. They know your tastes better than you do, being trained to cut through your vague references to plot or author and put their hands on what you need.”
—Krista Ramsey, in an editorial, “What Libraries Are Worth to Us,” Cincinnati Enquirer, June 1.
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the ALA Librarian
Q. I have been approached by some older patrons about volunteering in the library. Do you have any resources that address setting up and managing a library volunteer program?
A. Volunteers of all ages can be a valuable resource for a library. Some libraries have volunteers run story hour, work the circulation desk, do fundraising activities, shelve books, provide computer assistance, and other basic tasks. There are many resources available that can assist your library with establishing and managing a library volunteer program. From the ALA Professional Tips wiki.
@ The ALA Librarian welcomes your questions.
@ your library, ALA’s website for library users, offers suggestions on sustainable living at home, how to master interview follow-ups, hip hop history, and flags around the world.
Second International Public Knowledge Project Scholarly Publishing Conference, Harbour Centre, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, B.C.
Early Book Society, 11th Biennial Conference, University of Exeter, U.K. “Accipe et Devora: Packaging, Presentation, and Consumption of MSS and Printed Books, 1350–1550.”
Systemics, Cybernetics, and Informatics, Rosen Centre Hotel, Orlando, Florida.
American Association of Law Libraries, Annual Meeting, Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Washington, D.C.
Pacific Northwest Library Association, Annual Conference, Missoula, Montana. “A Century of Cooperation, a Legacy of Leadership.”
International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions, Annual Conference, Milan. “Libraries Create Futures: Building on Cultural Heritage.”
International Conference for Digital Libraries and the Semantic Web, University of Trento, Italy.
West Virginia Library Association, Annual Conference, Snowshoe Mountain Resort.
Idaho Library Association, Annual Conference, Burley.
8th International Board on Books for Young People, Regional Conference, Q Center, St. Charles, Illinois. “Children’s Books: Where Worlds Meet.”
National Media Market, Griffin Gate Marriott Resort, Lexington, Kentucky.
American Association of School Librarians National Conference, Charlotte, North Carolina. “Rev Up Learning @ your library.”
Brick and Click Libraries, Northwest Missouri State University, Maryville.