Libraries for the Future ceases operations
The national nonprofit organization Libraries for the Future announced March 18 that it has ceased operations. In making the announcement Executive Director Bruce Astrein blamed the economic meltdown that has overtaken the country. Libraries for the Future was founded in 1992 and built on the vision of writer and activist Harriet Barlow and a small group of advocates to work for the perpetuation of the public library system in the United States....
American Libraries Online, Mar. 21
Baltimore mayor proposes cuts to library hours
Amid a host of proposed layoffs and city service cuts in Baltimore, Mayor Sheila Dixon suggested March 18 that the Enoch Pratt Free Library cut its branches’ operating hours. The proposed cuts, which would go into effect July 1, do not affect the Central Library but would force four branches that are currently open six days per week to be closed on either Fridays or Mondays, bringing all the branches to a five-day schedule....
American Libraries Online, Mar. 22
Philly sales tax hike would avert closings
Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter has proposed a 1% addition to the city’s sales tax over the next three years that would preserve essential services, including the 11 library branches that he had targeted for closure last year. The tax hike is part of a $3.8-billion budget proposal and a five-year plan to address the city’s fiscal crisis that also includes property tax increases....
American Libraries Online, Mar. 21
$1.6-million shortfall forces staff cuts, furloughs
Unit managers heard it the morning of March 25 for the first time as a group, when ALA Executive Director Keith Michael Fiels announced that the Association would attempt to close a projected $1.6-million shortfall in the FY2009 budget by, among other things, eliminating 10 staff positions and imposing a three-day unpaid furlough and other vacation rules on remaining staff to save a targeted $500,000 by the end of the fiscal year, August 31. Fiels hopes the Association can fill the remaining gap by tapping into ALA reserves....
AL Inside Scoop, Mar. 25
New issues brief on public library technology
The vast majority of public libraries report that providing education resources and databases for K–12 students is the internet-based service most critical to the role of the library. In the third of a series of reports related to technology access in U.S. public libraries, the ALA Office for Research and Statistics is highlighting how public library technology supports the educational and learning needs of every person in the community. “Supporting Learners in U.S. Public Libraries” (PDF file) outlines many of the resources public libraries offer learners of all ages....
Legislation will protect books from CPSIA regulation
ALA supports legislation introduced by U.S. Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-Nebr.) March 24 to amend the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act to exempt ordinary books from the lead limit within the act. In August 2008, Congress passed the law to protect children from the real dangers of toys made with lead-based paint; however, the Consumer Product Safety Commission misinterpreted it to apply to ordinary books for children 12 years of age or younger. This is a welcome step toward ensuring libraries will not be adversely affected by the law....
District Dispatch, Mar. 25
Free Jackie Robinson posters went fast
Since registration began in early March, hundreds of public and school librarians have signed up for season four of “Step Up to the Plate @ your library.” The program was developed by ALA and the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum to promote 21st-century literacy. The first 100 registrants received a Jackie Robinson History Lives poster from ALA Graphics. Step Up to the Plate @ your library will officially launch to the public during National Library Week, April 12–18....
Second inning for Pride and Passion traveling exhibit
Twenty-five additional libraries have been selected to host Pride and Passion: The African American Baseball Experience, a traveling exhibit telling the story of black baseball players in the United States over the past century and a half. All libraries selected for the tour will host the 1,000-square-foot exhibit for a period of six weeks between January 2009 and February 2013. They will receive a $2,500 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities for attendance at an exhibit-planning workshop and other expenses. The ALA Public Programs Office and the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum are sponsoring the exhibit....
The amazing travels of John Adams
In conjunction with its John Adams Unbound traveling exhibition, the Public Programs Office is having fun with die-cut John Adams bookmarks. Librarians take them along in their travels and snap pictures of Adams in various locales around the world. Recent photos include Adams having a chat with Rev. Al Sharpton, entering Mickie’s Dairy Bar in Madison, hanging out in Puerto Rico’s El Yunque Rain Forest, and visiting Thomas Jefferson’s library in the Library of Congress (right)....
Where in the World Is John Adams?
Apply to host Harry Potter’s World
Public, academic, and medical libraries can apply to host a new exhibit, Harry Potter’s World: Renaissance Science, Magic, and Medicine. The exhibit is sponsored by the ALA Public Programs Office, in cooperation with the National Library of Medicine. The exhibition explores Harry Potter’s world, its roots in Renaissance science, and the ethical questions that affected not only the wizards in J. K. Rowling’s books, but also the historical thinkers featured in the series. Applications must be received by May 1....
Washington Office participates in broadband discussion
ALA Washington Office Executive Director Emily Sheketoff took part in a recent roundtable discussion during a public meeting at the U.S. Department of Commerce. Topics included the broadband stimulus program on innovative programs and activities of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, the Agriculture Department’s Rural Utilities Service, and the Federal Communications Commission. Sheketoff took part in Session 3 on March 16....
District Dispatch, Mar. 18
Reach out to Spanish speakers
ALA Editions has released Read Me a Rhyme in Spanish and English by Rose Zertuche Treviño. The ready-made storytimes included in this unique bilingual book are a must-have for any library serving Spanish-speaking patrons. The program material originates from Latino culture, engaging those for whom the nursery rhymes are new, as well as older children for whom the rhymes are old favorites....
Reading aloud to children and teens
ALA Editions has released Reid’s Read-Alouds: Selections for Children and Teens by Rob Reid. Inspired by Reid’s popular column in Book Links magazine, this time-saving resource includes read-aloud passages from 200 titles and advice on how to prepare for a read-aloud....
Service learning for LIS students
More library schools are incorporating service learning into the student experience as concern grows over the relevance of a master’s degree to the professional work of librarianship. ALA Past President Loriene Roy teamed up with Kelly Jensen and Alex Hershey Meyers to bring together authors from top-tier schools to outline their programs and surrounding efforts in Service Learning, from ALA Editions....
ACRL’s 14th National Conference
In this overview (2:21) of the 2009 ACRL National Conference in Seattle, keynoter Sherman Alexie discusses a terminology conundrum, Mary K. Van Ullen explains the effect of cultural differences on teaching about plagiarism, Diane Dallis describes Indiana University’s planned research commons, and keynoter Ira Glass demonstrates how This American Life uses music to make stories come to life....
Featured review: Books for youth
Benjamin (author and illustrator). Orange. Feb. 2009. 144p. Grades 11–12. Tokyopop, paperback (978-1-4278-1463-0).
Starting with the literal and figurative bang of a falling body smashing into a car, Orange—one in Tokyopop’s new line of full-color graphic novels—tells its story in flashback through some of the most beautiful art rendered in modern manga. Orange is a girl who feels “pathetic and alone,” troubled by empty friendships with people she feels are poseurs and boyfriends who treat her poorly and make unwanted sexual advances. But a chance meeting at a crucial moment with a mysterious man who makes the ultimate romantic sacrifice brings her story back to that inevitable bang in a surprising way....
Daniel Kraus writes: “I had a ball chatting with Ingrid Law, and Gillian Engberg seemed thrilled to be talking to Ann Brashares, but for sheer frequency of giggling frivolity, it looks like Ilene Cooper has us beat. She had a pow-wow recently with author Kate DiCamillo and before it’s over they both sound like they’re about to hyperventilate from laughter. What’s so funny? You’ll have to watch and see, but I will say that DiCamillo talks extensively about the surreal experience of seeing her book The Tale of Despereaux turned into a major motion picture.”...
Likely Stories, Mar. 25
Booklist editor on Howard Stern Show
Mary Burkey writes: “It’s not every day that a mild-mannered Booklist editor earns her 15 minutes of fame. But that’s exactly what happened when Mary Frances Wilkens, long-time fan of Howard Stern’s radio show, was assigned the decidedly adult audiobook written by Stern show regular Artie Lange. When Mary Fran starred the review of Lange’s Too Fat to Fish, little did she realize that her work would catch the eye (ear?) of Stern’s radio show producers. But lo and behold, the fan became the featured guest, as Mary Fran was interviewed on the show!”...
Audiobooker, Mar. 15
@ Visit Booklist Online for other reviews and much more....
ACRL’s Strategic Thinking Guide for Academic Librarians in the New Economy (PDF file)
Kathryn Deiss and Mary Jane Petrowski write in the introduction to this new ACRL document: “This project was originally conceived as an environmental scan that would generate discussion at the ACRL 14th
National Conference in March. In the wake of dramatic economic developments, government action, and
a flood of higher education trends reports, we felt that a strategic thinking guide would better complement the
current literature. This guide considers three important drivers in the current environment and poses questions
to stimulate conversations and action in your libraries and on your campuses.”...
YALSA names WrestleMania Reading Challenge winners
Ten regional winners in grades 7–8 and 9–12 from across the United States have won a chance to compete in the WrestleMania Reading Challenge National Finals in Houston, Texas. Five regional champions from grades 5–6 will also be guests at the finals, which will be held on April 4 at the Houston Public Library. Each regional winner won a trip for two to Houston, tickets to the 25th Anniversary of WrestleMania at Reliant Stadium on April 5, and $2,000 for their sponsoring library. The Reading Challenge is sponsored by YALSA and World Wrestling Entertainment....
ALTAFF to host quiz-show fundraiser
ALTAFF and ALA Conference Services will present an evening with Wait Wait . . . Don’t Tell Me!, National Public Radio’s weekly hour-long quiz program on July 9. ALTAFF has purchased all 500 seats in Chicago’s Chase Auditorium and will pack the house with librarians and library supporters as a fundraiser for the newly established division during ALA Annual Conference. Host Peter Sagal, official scorekeeper Carl Kasell, and a panel of the nation’s foremost pundits (including Paula Poundstone) will play this witty and quirky quiz show....
Choice’s new office
On February 20, ACRL’s Choice magazine took possession of the new Liberty Square office condominium unit in downtown Middletown, Connecticut. The new three-story building has retail space on the ground floor, office rental space on the second floor, and Choice occupying the entire 7,635-square-foot third floor. Choice’s new address, effective March 23, is 575 Main Street, Suite 300, Middletown, CT 06457....
RUSA program on readers’ advisory trends
Readers’ advisory, collection development, and reference librarians interested in cutting-edge trends and possibilities in their field should attend the RUSA President’s Program, “From the Book and Beyond: Interdisciplinary Readers’ Advisory,” at the 2009 ALA Annual Conference in Chicago. The program, 1:30–3 p.m. on July 13, is the inaugural session of the Readers’ Advisory Research and Trends Forum....
RUSA Marketing Basics registration ends soon
Librarians intimidated by marketing assignments related to their jobs or looking to perfect their marketing know-how should register for Marketing Basics for Libraries by March 30. Classes are scheduled for the following dates: April 2, 9, 16, 23, and 30, 11 a.m.–1 p.m. Central Time using the Moodle course management system....
PLA politics and networking workshop
Now more than ever, being able to navigate the political environment in your community is critical to the success of your public library. In order to help you learn the skills you need to operate effectively with your local government, PLA and the Georgia Public Library Service are offering a two-day CPLA Politics and Networking workshop June 4–5 in Decatur, Georgia....
SRRT Newsletter goes web-only
LaJuan Pringle writes: “The Social Responsibilities Round Table is undertaking a huge shift in the delivery of the SRRT Newsletter. Welcome to our first electronic-only edition of the newsletter. After a long discussion at Midwinter, we have decided that we would like to experiment with electronic delivery. What we hope to do is cut down on the expenses associated with delivering a printed newsletter to our members before our annual and midwinter meetings.”...
SRRT Newsletter, no. 166 (Mar.)
Coretta Scott King Awards founder, Mabel McKissick
Mabel R. McKissick, cofounder of the ALA Coretta Scott King Book Awards, died on March 20 at the Bridebrook Rehabilitation Center in Niantic, Connecticut. The librarian for New London (Conn.) High School from 1979 to 1990, she was 87. McKissick and Glyndon Greer were attending a library conference in New Jersey in 1969, when they determined the need to recognize African-American authors and illustrators of books for children and youth. After talking to Coretta Scott King, they received her approval to use her name on the awards, which began in 1970....
2009 L. Ray Patterson Copyright Award winner
The ALA Office for Information Technology Policy and its Copyright Advisory Subcommittee have named Jack Bernard, assistant general counsel and policy analyst at the University of Michigan, this year’s winner of the L. Ray Patterson Copyright Award. Bernard has been a pioneer in the open access movement and is shepherding the University of Michigan’s efforts to incorporate a fair use analysis into its open course initiatives....
District Dispatch, Mar. 24
Richard LeComte wins Justin Winsor Prize
The Library History Round Table has named Richard LeComte the winner of the Justin Winsor Prize for 2009. The award, $500 and a certificate, is presented annually to the author of an outstanding essay embodying original historical research on a significant subject of library history. A student in the School of Library and Information Studies at the University of Alabama, LeComte won the prize for his essay, “Writers Blocked: The Debate over Public Lending Right during the 1980s.”...
2009 Jesse H. Shera Award
The Library Research Round Table has awarded the Jesse H. Shera Award for Distinguished Published Research to Lynn Westbrook for her work on “Understanding Crisis Information Needs in Context: The Case on Intimate Partner Violence Survivor,” Library Quarterly 78, no. 3 (2008): 237–261. The study examines the role public libraries can play in providing the information needs of victims of intimate partner violence....
LJ Movers and Shakers
Movers and Shakers, which Library Journal launched in 2002 to identify librarians, vendors, and others who are “shaping the future of libraries,” is now over 400 innovators strong, with the addition of the 51 members of the Class of 2009. Together, these individuals comprise the coming generation of library leadership. They’ve embraced library technology, particularly library 2.0, “to provide exceptional service and kick-ass collections that respond to the real interest of patrons,” as one of this year’s Movers phrased it. Oh yes, and the Library Society of the World has launched its own Shovers and Makers awards for the rest of us. Declare yourself one....
Library Journal, Mar. 15; Library Society of the World, Mar. 23+
Public Library Innovation Grants
The International City/County Management Association has awarded $500,000 in grant funding to nine cities, towns, and counties to support new projects developed by local governments that utilize public libraries to address critical local needs and provide services that strengthen their communities. The Public Library Innovation Grants are funded through ICMA’s partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation....
International City/County Management Association
Syracuse awarded NEH grant for Marcel Breuer digital project
The National Endowment for the Humanities has awarded the Syracuse (N.Y.) University Library a $350,000 grant to create a digital scholarly edition of the works of Bauhaus architect Marcel Breuer. The project, entitled “Marcel Breuer, Architect: Life and Work, 1922–1955” will run from May 2009 through April 2011 and culminate in the release of a web-based edition. Breuer began donating his papers to Syracuse University Library in 1964....
Syracuse University, Mar. 19
Seamus Heaney wins David Cohen Prize
Irish poet Seamus Heaney was recognized for the “sheer scale” of his literary achievements with the £40,000 ($58,700 U.S.) David Cohen Prize. The prize, one of the most prestigious honors for living British writers, is awarded biennially for a lifetime’s excellence in literature. On receiving his prize at a March 18 ceremony at the British Library, Heaney said the award was “highly honorific.”...
The Guardian (U.K.), Mar. 18
Krasikov wins 2009 Sami Rohr Prize
The Jewish Book Council has named Sana Krasikov the 2009 recipient of the Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature. Krasikov wins the $100,000 prize for her debut short story collection, One More Year (Spiegel and Grau), based on her demonstration of a fresh vision and evidence of future potential to further contribute to the Jewish literary community....
Jewish Book Council, Mar. 24
2009 Bancroft Prize winners
The authors of three acclaimed books—a study of the 1914 massacre of striking coal miners in Colorado (right), an analysis of the impact of death and dying in the Civil War, and a reinterpretation of the Comanches in the southwestern borderland in the 18th and 19th centuries—will be awarded the Bancroft Prize for 2009, Columbia University announced. The Bancroft is awarded annually by the trustees of Columbia University to the authors of books of exceptional merit in the fields of American history, biography, and diplomacy....
Columbia University, Mar. 19
2009 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award
The 2009 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award has been awarded to the Tamer Institute for Community Education, a nonprofit organization that stimulates Palestinian children’s and young adults’ love of reading in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The award of 5 million kronor ($6.8 million U.S.) is granted by the Swedish government for the publishing or promotion of children’s literature....
Libraries stressed, yet needed more than ever
Alicia Caldwell writes: “Not long ago, on a Sunday afternoon, my son and I pulled into the parking lot of Denver’s Schlessman Family Branch Library. I was surprised by what I saw. The place was like Best Buy during Christmas week. We had to hunt for a parking space and, when we got inside, it was wall-to-wall people. The recession is driving people back to libraries, which prognosticators had not long ago written off as another likely victim of the digital age.”...
Denver Post, Mar. 22
Well, maybe not Shakespeare
Katherine Duncan-Jones writes: “A claim by the eminent Shakespearean Stanley Wells that a Jacobean painting (left) from the family collection of Alec Cobbe, long held in Ireland, is a life portrait of Shakespeare, has been widely publicized. But the man portrayed, with his elaborate lace collar and gold-embroidered doublet, appears far too grand and courtier-like to be Shakespeare. In early March, Tarnya Cooper, the 16th-century curator at the National Portrait Gallery, declared herself very skeptical about Wells’s claim, and remarked that ‘if anything . . . both works [one in the Folger Shakespeare Library and the Cobbe portrait] are more likely to represent the courtier Sir Thomas Overbury (right).’”...
Times Literary Supplement, Mar. 18
Camera catches New Haven art bandit
A thief allegedly slipped a painting under his jacket to feed his heroin habit—not knowing that the public library’s cameras were rolling and his string of remarkable art heists was about to end. Police said the thief, an unidentified 53-year-old man, ripped off 39 paintings from New Haven, Connecticut, venues, including $40,000 in art from Yale’s Slifka Center and the Free Public Library. The paintings were recovered during a weekend bust on an area home, where a second man had allegedly been fencing the art in exchange for bags of heroin....
New Haven (Conn.) Independent, Mar. 23; New Haven (Conn.) Register, Mar. 24
Topeka’s problem is not unique
Camille Wood is assistant director of the Nampa (Idaho) Public Library, which restricted two sex-related books in June 2008 and then placed the books back on the shelf after the American Civil Liberties Union threatened a lawsuit. One of those books (The Joy of Gay Sex) is among four that the Topeka and Shawnee County (Kans.) Public Library’s board of trustees voted 5–3 in favor of restricting minors’ access to. Trustees and the library’s legal counsel spent an hour and a half in executive session March 19 discussing the decision....
Topeka (Kans.) Capital-Journal, Mar. 21
Vermont libraries have more than books
At least one Vermont library (the Martha Canfield Library in Arlington) has a skeleton in its stacks. But it’s nothing to hide. In fact, patrons can check out the plastic bones and take them home, along with a model of a human torso and a variety of human and animal X-rays. Library users can check out everything from practical items such as garden tools and snowshoes to whimsical things such as puppets and children’s costumes....
Rutland (Vt.) Herald, Mar. 22
Vampire book missing after parent complains
A parent’s complaint over sexual content in Mormon author Stephenie Meyer’s fourth novel, Breaking Dawn, coincided with the book’s temporary absence from the library at Brockbank Junior High in Magna, Utah. Officials at the school purchased copies of the book some time ago, but as of March 18 hadn’t placed them on library shelves. Principal Terri Van Winkle would not say whether the delay stemmed from a parent’s complaint about a honeymoon scene in which sex is implied between the central characters Bella and Edward....
Salt Lake Tribune, Mar. 19
Wind to power KU’s Anschutz Library
Wind will generate the electricity needed next year to power the Anschutz Library at University of Kansas in Lawrence. The Student Environmental Advisory Board this month began buying wind power credits from Westar Energy to offset fossil-fuel power to the library. A 2007 Student Senate initiative, approved by more than a 90% margin, calls for students to pay $1.25 a semester toward the goal of KU obtaining 20% of its energy from sustainable sources by 2020....
Topeka (Kans.) Capital-Journal, Mar. 23
Roosevelt Public Library embezzlement charge
The Roosevelt (N.Y.) Public Library’s former board president has been arrested on charges she stole $47,000 from the library to pay for airplane tickets, car repairs, and groceries. Natalie Connor pleaded not guilty at her March 23 arraignment and is due back in court April 10. The Nassau District Attorney’s office charged that from May 2007 through June 2008, Connor embezzled $47,278 of the $48,000 the foundation collected through fundraising....
Long Island (N.Y.) Newsday, Mar. 25
Brooklyn Public Library transfers guard for harassment
The Brooklyn Public Library has transferred a security guard who twice chastised a new mother for breastfeeding her baby at the Flatlands branch. The library has also apologized to the woman, Danielle Glanvill, who had contacted the New York Civil Liberties Union about the harassment. The library’s general counsel responded in a March 16 letter, reiterating its support for women’s breastfeeding rights and outlining its efforts to address the mistake....
Chestertown (N.Y.) North Country Gazette, Mar. 23
Henderson shutters a branch
The Henderson (Nev.) District Public Libraries board of directors unanimously voted March 19 to permanently close the Pittman branch in an effort to trim costs against declining revenues. Executive Director Tom Fay said the system will maintain a small collection and continue to offer literacy programs and other services at the Boys and Girls Club in the same building, while looking for a larger, permanent site for the branch to move into when financially possible....
Las Vegas (Nev.) Sun, Mar. 19
Smoothie sale brings bucks for New Orleans branch
18-year-old Stephen Riley of Little Rock, Arkansas, has found time to raise money for a place he remembers fondly—the Robert E. Smith branch of the New Orleans Public Library. When he was in elementary school in New Orleans, Riley visited the Smith library many times. Last fall he started Bucks for Books, a fundraising effort for the Smith branch, which has netted more than $3,500. He also planned and held a smoothie sale fundraiser at his school in November....
Arkansas Catholic, Mar. 14
Plan would limit prison library books
A broad swath of religious organizations and civil liberties groups—often on opposite sides of contentious issues—have joined together to condemn a proposed rule that they say would prohibit some religious texts in federal penitentiary libraries. The Bureau of Prisons in January proposed that “materials that could incite, promote, or otherwise suggest the commission of violence or criminal activity” may be excluded from chapel libraries. An alliance of religious and political groups opposed the rule during the open comments period, which ended March 17....
New York Times, Mar. 17
Wyoming’s mudflap girl still a hit
The Wyoming State Library has conducted other targeted marketing efforts, but none has taken on a life of its own like the library mudflap girl. Launched in the fall of 2007, the six-month campaign featured the silhouette of a nude woman reading a book—a toned-down variation of the image commonly seen on truck mudflaps. The campaign drew complaints from critics who said the library shouldn’t objectify women in its promotional materials. But mudflap girl T-shirts and other paraphernalia continue to sell online, and the topic still pops up in blogs and at library conferences....
Associated Press, Mar. 23
Go back to the Top
10 annoying habits of a geeky spouse
Matt Blum writes: “A sizable part of every successful marriage is learning to live with those things each other does that annoy you. It’s safe to say that geeks have some habits that we think are awesome, but that non-geeks find a little less awesome.
My wife is not as much of a geek as I am, so I asked her for some help putting together a list of 10 things geeks do that annoy their spouses. She was perhaps a little too enthusiastic about helping out, but here are the results.”...
Geekdad, Mar. 13
Gaming in the clouds
OnLive, a Palo Alto, California–based startup, wants to do away with gaming consoles, game resellers, and the need to buy expensive graphics chips. On March 24, the company announced a service that lets any computer run the sorts of graphics-intensive video games traditionally reserved for high-end systems. Games can also be played on a TV using an add-on device. The idea is to separate games from consoles or desktop computers, says Steve Perlman, founder and CEO of OnLive....
Technology Review, Mar. 24
The women of XML
Kurt Kagle writes: “March 24, designated Ada Lovelace Day in honor of the woman recognized by many to have been the first software programmer, is a day to recognize women in programming. I find that in the XML community there are a number of highly intelligent, technologically passionate, and hard-working women that more than deserve to be recognized. I present this list with no particular ordering in mind; they have all pushed the boundaries of XML in their own unique ways.”...
O’Reilly Broadcast, Mar. 24
The elegance of imperfection in web design
David Sherwin writes: “When I try to think of a paradigm for pursuing elegance through imperfection, the Japanese concept of wabi-sabi comes to mind. Leonard Koren, in his book Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets, and Philosophers (Imperfect, 2008), describes the following material qualities of wabi-sabi: asymmetry, asperity, simplicity, modesty, intimacy, and the suggestion of a natural process. The most successful designs infuse these considerations at every stage, from idea to finished product.”...
A List Apart, Mar. 24
Got an hour? Create a server in the cloud
Lidija Davis writes: “On March 23, blog and RSS pioneer Dave Winer announced EC2 for Poets, a step-by-step guide to creating a server on Amazon’s EC2 cloud server. His how-to guide is so easy to understand that we had our own server up and running within an hour. Sure, it may not seem like much, but for this writer, it was an amazing coup. ‘It’s time to stop thinking about these servers as being things for geeks and start thinking about them as things for people with ideas,’ Winer said.”...
ReadWriteWeb, Mar. 21
Lost Chicagoan found in the library
Alice Schreyer writes: “I have been delighted
to see that Neil Harris’s The Chicagoan: A Lost Magazine
of the Jazz Age splendidly illustrates the role of serendipity in the research process. Upon its
publication by University of Chicago Press in the fall of 2008,
the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, the Chronicle of
Higher Education, and other periodicals embraced the book—to a degree unusual for a publication by a university press—and shared its story with library patrons near and far.”...
Illinois Library Association Reporter 27, no. 2 (Apr.): 12–15
Regional English dictionary closes in on Z
Meandering its merry way through new submissions such as “whiffle-minded,” “whirligust,” “whistle punk,” and “williwags,” the Dictionary of American Regional English project is now tantalizingly close to completing a mission more than four decades in the making. DARE received a two-year, $295,000 boost from the National Science Foundation this year that will help not only close the book on the fifth DARE volume—covering Si through Z—but lead the project into an influential second life as an online resource....
University of Wisconsin-Madison, Mar. 23
UM Press to merge operations with library
Officials announced plans March 20 to merge the University of Michigan Press with the University Library in an effort to reinforce the school’s mission of efficiently publishing scholarly texts while transitioning into the digital age. Under the new plan, Dean of Libraries Paul Courant will oversee the Press, which will focus on the production and dissemination of primarily digital monographs....
Michigan Daily, Mar. 23; University of Michigan Press blog, Mar. 23
Sherlock Holmes in science fiction
Alasdair Wilkins writes: “Sherlock Holmes wasn’t the first master detective (that honor probably goes to Edgar Allan Poe’s Auguste Dupin, who in his first case worked out the murderer was a knife-wielding orangutan), but his exploits pretty much perfected the genre. But who says Holmes doesn’t have a place in science fiction as well? We explore some of the Victorian sleuth’s most fantastic adventures.”...
io9, Mar. 22
Sony to offer Google-scanned public-domain eBooks
Sony Electronics has struck a deal with Google to distribute half a million titles through the Sony eBook Store—for free. The books, all published before 1923, were digitized as part of the Google Book Search program. Sony will offer them alongside the 100,000 or so books still under copyright that it sells through its eBook store. To access the public-domain books, owners of Sony’s PRS-505 or PRS-700 readers will need to install the eBook Library Software for PCs and create an account on the eBook Store....
PC World, Mar. 19
Fujitsu’s new color eBook
Josh Quittner writes: “Japanese tech company Fujitsu has released the world’s first color e-reader, the FLEPia. It renders text as cleanly as a printed page, displays 260,000 colors, weighs three-quarters of a pound, and is connected to the net via WiFi. It costs $1,000, a price tag that’s probably three times too high, which is typical for products aimed at early adopters.” Currently it is sold only in Japan....
Time, Mar. 19
New FOIA rules are official
Since 2001, the rule of thumb for government agencies responding to Freedom of Information Act requests has been “when in doubt, leave it out.” A month after the September 11 attacks, a directive from then–Attorney General John Ashcroft urged agencies to carefully consider all possible grounds for withholding information before making disclosures. On March 19, Attorney General Eric Holder reversed that order, instructing executive branch officials that “an agency should not withhold information simply because it may do so legally.” ALA President Jim Rettig commented that the new guidelines will restore the commitment of the United States to open government....
Ars Technica, Mar. 20; District Dispatch, Mar. 20
The top 10 most wanted government documents
The Center for Democracy and Technology and OpenTheGovernment.org have jointly released a report outlining the most sought-after government documents and information. The report, Show Us the Data: The Most Wanted Government Documents (PDF file), is based on the findings of an interactive website that allowed users to identify unclassified government documents and information they most wanted access to. The report details the top 10 documents and provides recommendations on ways to make all government information easily accessible....
Center for Democracy and Technology, Mar. 20
Federal librarians envision use of physical space
The Federal Library and Information Center Committee has published the final report (PDF file) of its Special Project on Planning for Library Spaces (a project of the Libraries and Emerging Technologies Working Group). The report was conceived as a response to the closing of the EPA libraries, where the federal agency had anticipated that space for a collection was no longer needed....
FAFLRT President blog, Mar. 23
NARA seeks alternative presidential library model
The National Archives and Records Administration is asking for comments by interested organizations and individuals for cost-effective ways to modify the present system for archiving and providing public access to presidential records. Suggestions should be emailed by April 17....
National Archives and Records Administration, Mar. 24
The economics of book digitization
Brewster Kahle writes: “Digitizing books still has some challenges, but I believe the economics of it are clear. Nonetheless, some misunderstandings persist. I’d like to review some of the most basic facts about book digitization that I’ve learned over the past seven or so years. Most attention is paid to the cost of scanning (photographing the pages and processing them), but I cannot emphasize enough that the greatest costs of building a digital library are those borne by the brick-and-mortar libraries.”...
Open Content Alliance blog, Mar. 22
Healthfinder.gov tutorial for librarians
Librarians looking for a credible and easy-to-use health promotion and wellness online resource for their customers should visit Healthfinder.gov. This is a National Health Information Center website full of personalized health information and tools presented in an easy-to-read format with simple navigation. The site has been recognized as a key consumer resource for finding the best government and nonprofit health information on the internet. NHIC has created a tutorial specifically for librarians....
SLA asks governor for library plan
The Special Libraries Association sent a letter (PDF file) to Gov. Edward G. Rendell on March 17 expressing strong concern over the proposed 50% budget cut for the State Library of Pennsylvania. The letter acknowledges the recession and the need for tough decisions, but opposes the downsizing or diminution of library services until a detailed plan is produced and vetted by qualified information and policy experts....
SLA Public Policy Connections, Mar. 24
Talking to faculty about questionable assignments
Ellie Collier writes: “Every semester there is at least one student assignment that comes across my reference desk that makes me throw my hands up in exasperation. What do you do after that student walks in with an assignment in hand that you know just isn’t fair to them? Until a few months ago, I never even considered the possibility of talking to faculty about their assignments. I remember both the assignment that opened my eyes to that possibility and the one that was my personal tipping point.”...
In the Library with the Lead Pipe, Mar. 18
You be the World Book judge
World Book introduced its first Spinescape in 1999, and this year you can vote for your favorite from among the top four finalists. The winning Spinescape will appear across the 22-volume spine of the 2010 edition of the encyclopedia, which will be on sale in August 2009. Readers can vote online through April 3....
World Book, Mar. 23
Free Dr. Seuss eBooks
Kidthing is offering four Dr. Seuss eBooks free to teachers and librarians for downloading through March 31 as part of this year’s Read Across America. Educators can sign up and download the free Kidthing media player for The Cat in the Hat, Horton Hears a Who!, Green Eggs and Ham, and Hop on Pop. Visit the store and enter the code ktcode-nea5raa in the search box to check them out....
Unconferences and library camps
Walt Crawford writes: “Traditional conferences almost always include more than just formal presentations arranged months or years in advance—but such formal presentations, and the extended planning and approval process required for them, make up the core of most traditional conferences. Recently, a cluster of related alternative models for conferences have emerged in several fields, notably librarianship. The most common names for conferences using these models are Unconferences, BarCamps, and [x]Camps, where [x] is a subject or location.”...
PALINET Leadership Network
New Google search results experiments
Tony Ruscoe and Philipp Lenssen write: “Google is running an experiment in their search results, apparently shown to a portion of their users. On search results, say for the query comic books, a link in the top blue bar will read ‘Show options.’ Click it, and a side bar full of options expands to the left. One of the most interesting experiments is the ‘wonder wheel’ (right). This will show a Flash-based interactive mini app which starts with your keyword in the center, and related terms around it.”...
Google Blogoscoped, Mar. 24
Why advertising is failing on the internet
Eric Clemons writes: “There are three problems with advertising in any form, whether broadcast or online. Consumers do not trust advertising, consumers do not want to view advertising, and mostly consumers do not need advertising. Porting ads to a new medium will not solve these problems. We always knew that freedom comes at a price; perhaps the price of internet freedom and the failure of ads will be paying a fair price for the content and the experience and the recommendations that we value.”...
TechCrunch, Mar. 22
“We Shall Remain” to air beginning April 13
“We Shall Remain” is a PBS American Experience miniseries and multimedia project that establishes Indian history as an essential part of American history. Five 90-minute documentaries spanning 300 years tell the story of pivotal moments in U.S. history from the Native American perspective. A resource kit is available for downloading. Libraries can enter a drawing up to May 7 to receive a DVD of the series; email Bruce Curliss and describe a library event you are planning that coincides with the broadcast, April 13–May 11....
Public Broadcasting Service
My favorite cheap date: The library
Erin Loechner writes: “I realize this sounds very bookworm-ish of me, but my favorite cheap date was actually free—a trip to our local library. On a particularly rainy day in L.A., my date surprised me at my door with one umbrella, two library cards, and a Ziploc bag of dimes. I was totally confused as we walked down the street to a tiny library near our favorite coffee shop.”...
Glamour, Mar. 24
Legal Research Teach-In Kit
The American Association of Law Libraries has released the 2009 version of its Legal Research Teach-In Kit. The kit includes games, handouts, research guides, exercises, and PowerPoint presentations on a variety of legal research topics. The teach-in is an annual campaign launched in 1993 to encourage U.S. law librarians to share materials and ideas for legal research instruction....
American Association of Law Libraries, Mar. 23
The other digital divide
Linda Braun writes: “The title of this post is the result of a Twitter conversation that I had recently with librarians working in high schools and colleges. The other digital divide is between people who do and don’t have laptops to bring to school in order to connect to the internet, who do and don’t have needed software on home computers, and who have or don’t have family rules that make it hard to do what they need (and want) to do online. Schools and public libraries are the places that teens can and should have access to the technologies that they don’t have at home.”...
YALSA blog, Mar. 25
New IMLS data note on broadband services
The Institute of Museum and Library Services has launched a new series of data notes and research briefs to inform library and museum policy. The first data note in the series, Libraries Use Broadband to Serve High Need Communities (PDF file), was released March 19 and focuses on the role that public libraries play in providing access points to broadband services for people in urban and rural areas, and families in need....
Institute of Museum and Library Services, Mar. 19
Ex Libris and BCR offer digital preservation training
Ex Libris and BCR are partnering to offer libraries foundation training and consulting services in the field of digital preservation. The training will include an overview of digital preservation as well as courses on policy, planning, and risk assessment. The courses are available both online and in a classroom format....
BCR, Mar. 20
Nine ways to use Twitter
John C. Dvorak writes: “Disregard the hype and the haters; Twitter is a powerful platform with plenty of practical uses. More than a few computer users are befuddled by all the fuss, but I can assure you that Twitter is actually a valuable service. And because it is in the news, and because perhaps half or more than half of my readers will say ‘I don’t get it’ regarding Twitter, I thought I’d explain its usefulness. Or at least some of its usefulness.”...
PC Magazine, Mar. 23
Jenny Levine writes: “I want to highlight how some important things from just a couple of months ago are becoming impossible to find. If we’re not careful, the haystack is going to disappear, never mind the needle. Take the discussion that happened on Twitter during ALA’s Midwinter Meeting in January. The meeting had a hashtag for tracking content (#alamw09), and almost everyone used it most of the time. There was a lot going on in that tag, so much so that I thought it was a tipping point for the Association in terms of communication tools. But try to find that discussion now, and it’s almost impossible.”...
The Shifted Librarian, Mar. 24
Trouble with Twitters
Derek struggles against the pressure from his officemate Craig to Twitter his life away (4:27). From “SuperNews!” an animated sketch comedy series airing on Current TV. “You bastard! You’ve summoned the fail whale!”...
YouTube, Mar. 16
Go back to the Top
ALA Annual Conference, Chicago, July 9–15. ALA divisions and round tables are sponsoring Conference 101 programs. These will help you plan your conference activities based on the kind of work you do or the type of library where you work. Get expert advice on programs to attend, exhibitors to visit, parties to frequent, and ways to get the most out of ALA conference.
Libraries and civic engagement
The return of Salinas Public Library
Amalgamating for advocacy
Midwinter Meeting conversations
Library Director, New Orleans Public Library. NOPL is seeking a library director who can provide leadership in rebuilding the library system post–Hurricane Katrina. This recovering library system, with a budget of $7.5 million, has launched an ambitious $30-million capital campaign to rebuild and renovate multiple branches affected by the hurricane. The director will work with a highly motivated administrative team, a staff of over 120, and report to the library board of directors in the historical urban setting of New Orleans....
Digital Library of the Week
1909 Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition. The more than 1,200 photographs from this exposition document the fair, held on the Seattle campus of the University of Washington during the summer of 1909. Images include depictions of the buildings, grounds, entertainment, and exotic attractions at the fair. The fair shaped the UW campus in ways that are visible today, creating the Rainier Vista and Drumheller Fountain. For many years, some of the former fair buildings were used by the university; today only Architecture Hall and Cunningham Hall remain. The information for the collection was researched and prepared by the UW Libraries Special Collections Division and Cataloging staff in 1999. Not all the photographs from the collection were included in this database, which consists of 655 digital images chosen from a larger group of photographic prints and postcards. The images were scanned in grayscale using a Microtek Scanmaker 9600L and saved in JPEG format. The original collection resides in the UW Libraries Special Collections Division as the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition Collection.
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.
“An adult needs a sense of childhood, and books provide that. Children need a sense of what an adult is capable of becoming, and a librarian provides that. In a world filled with cruelty, we need sense and sensibility, and the library provides that. Long live the library!”
—Endorsement from a library patron in a survey conducted jointly by the New Jersey State Library and the New Jersey Library Association, “Snapshot: One Day in the Life of New Jersey Libraries,” Feb. 19.
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April is School Library Media Month. This year, AASL is offering a webinar series designed for school library media specialists. The webinars are part of AASL’s Learning4Life, an initiative to implement Standards for the 21st-Century Learner and Empowering Learners: Guidelines for School Library Media Programs (available in mid-April) nationally. The webinars will be held at 4:30 p.m. Central Time on Wednesdays.
the ALA Librarian
Q. I have been searching for information on why students don’t like to use the library catalog to find information, and I was wondering if you had any information you could pass on. I am concerned that students at my school have to log on using their own personal account password before they can get into the catalog. This sometimes takes up to three minutes. Students end up asking the library staff for help, leave frustrated, or decide not to use the library.
A.There are several articles in the library literature that give some indications of why K–12 students don’t like using library catalogs, or at least why they prefer to ask a person for help finding a book. Whether or not there should be dedicated catalog workstations, such as those found in public libraries, in school media centers does not appear to be addressed in any of these scholarly articles. There is definitely a need to have readily accessible computers in the school library, but none of the articles address whether the computers should be standalone OPACs or not. From the ALA Professional Tips wiki.
@ The ALA Librarian welcomes your questions.
April 12–18 is National Library Week, an observance honoring the contributions of our nation’s libraries, librarians, and library workers. This year’s theme is “Worlds Connect @ your library” and will be celebrated at thousands of libraries of all types throughout the country.
American Educational Research Association, Annual Meeting, San Diego Convention Center. “Disciplined Inquiry: Education Research in the Circle of Knowledge.”
Catholic Library Association, Annual Convention, Hyatt Regency Orange County, Anaheim, California. “Leadership, Direction, Service.”
Art Libraries Society of North America, Annual Conference, Downtown Marriott, Indianapolis. “Circle City Convergence.”
Art of Storytelling workshop, Main Library, Miami-Dade (Fla.) Public Library System.
Council on Botanical and Horticultural Libraries, Annual Meeting, Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis. “Growing Green: The Role of Gardens As Models of Conservation and Sustainability.”
Association for Recorded Sound Collections, Annual Conference, Liaison Capitol Hill Hotel, Washington, D.C.
BookExpo America, Jacob J. Javits Center, New York City.
Canadian Library Association, Conference and Trade Show, Palais des Congrès de Montréal, Québec.
Association of Christian Librarians, Annual Conference, Evangel University, Springfield, Missouri. “Retool, Refresh, Return.”
American Theological Library Association, Millennium Hotel, St. Louis.
Association of Jewish Libraries, Annual Conference, Sheraton Chicago Hotel and Towers.
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.”
American Library Association, Annual Conference, McCormick Place West, Chicago.
The Who, What, and How of 21st-century Skills: Getting the Big Picture, workshop sponsored by NILRC: Network of Illinois Learning Resources in Community Colleges and National-Louis University Library, Chicago.
American Association of Law Libraries, Annual Meeting, Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Washington, D.C.
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.”
International Association of School Librarianship, Annual Conference, Abano Terme, Padua, Italy.
International Conference for Digital Libraries and the Semantic Web, University of Trento, Italy.
International Association of Aquatic and Marine Science Libraries and Information Centers, 35th Annual Conference, Brugge and Oostende, Belgium. “Confluence of Ideas: Evolving to Meet the Challenges of Global Change.”
13th European Conference on Digital Libraries, Corfu Holiday Palace, Corfu, Greece. “Digital Societies.”
Open Access Week.