The e-newsletter of the American Library Association | May 6,

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

SirsiDynix ad

AL Buyers Guide

U.S. & World News

The cell in which David Hicks, an Australian Guantanamo Bay prisoner, was detainedGuantanamo records to be preserved
New York University’s Tamiment Library and Seton Hall University’s Center for Policy and Research have announced a project to document, preserve, and provide access to legal records and other documents of the Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp. The materials will include lawyers’ files, oral histories of the attorneys and detainees, Department of Defense websites, photographs and videotapes, and electronic records, as well as records relating to the rules governing enemy combatants, prisoner interrogation, and the government’s representation of battlefield capture....
American Libraries Online, May 6

Dismissal of Wisconsin board members draws national censure
ALA has joined publishing and free-speech groups in condemning the West Bend, Wisconsin, common council for not reappointing four library board members after they failed to act on a citizens group’s call to restrict the availability of sexually explicit books. At its April 21 meeting, the council voted 5–3 to reject Mayor Kristine Deiss’s recommendation to reappoint the four library board members whose terms were concluding: Mary Reilly-Kliss, Tom Fitz, James Pouros, and Alderman Nick Dobberstein....
American Libraries Online, May 4

Lexington Director Imhoff: Scrutiny of finances inaccurate
“There is a situation going on in Lexington [Kentucky],” said Kathleen Imhoff, CEO of the city’s public library, characterizing an inflammatory article published April 26 in the Lexington Herald-Leader as inaccurate, slanted, and damaging to the library and to her reputation. The article links Imhoff’s credit-card history to a credit-card scandal at Lexington’s Blue Grass Airport that led to the resignation of top managers and a criminal investigation. “Many things are mischaracterized” in the article, Imhoff said, much of it provided by Edward Maley, whom she said is a disgruntled former employee....
American Libraries Online, May 4

Children use computers at the San Jose Public Library's Pearl Avenue branchSan José city council defers filter mandate
A debate over the mandating of blocking software for children’s area computers at San José (Calif.) Public Library reached a watershed moment April 21 when the city council voted 7–3 against appropriating $90,000 to purchase filters systemwide. “We can use this money to keep our library hours longer,” council member Tina Morrill argued before the vote. Library Director Jane Light said that the council instead chose to have the library display the acceptable-use policy on every public internet workstation’s login page....
American Libraries Online, May 1

College of Charleston library raveAcademic libraries become all the rave
University students headed to their campus libraries en masse the week before exams at the end of April, but not just to study: At the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the University of Kentucky in Lexington, the College of Charleston, South Carolina (above), and the University of Tennessee in Chattanooga, students used blogs, Facebook, text messaging, and Twitter to coordinate “impromptu” flash raves....
American Libraries Online, May 1

Calcasieu Parish overwhelmingly renews library tax
Voters of Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana, approved a 10-year renewal of a 5.99-mill property tax that provides 93% of the Calcasieu Parish Public Library’s $7.3-million annual budget. The renewal passed with more than 91% approval—a yes vote that CPPL Director Michael Sawyer said “is unheard of in my world.”...
American Libraries Online, May 4

ALA News

Roberta StevensRoberta Stevens elected ALA president
Roberta Stevens, outreach projects and partnerships officer at the Library of Congress and project manager for the National Book Festival, has been elected president of ALA for the 2010–2011 term, defeating Kenton L. Oliver, executive director of the Stark County District Library in Canton, Ohio. She will become president-elect in July 2009, and will assume the ALA presidency in July 2010. Stevens is currently completing her three-year term on the ALA Executive Board and as a member of its Finance and Audit Committee....

Councilors elected
Thirty-three members have been elected ALA councilors-at-large for three-year terms. The terms begin at the conclusion of the 2009 ALA Annual Conference in Chicago and extend through the end of the 2012 Annual Conference in Anaheim, California....

Librarian arm patch from Ars TechnicaALA urges vigorous oversight of Google Book Search settlement
ALA, ACRL, and the Association of Research Libraries filed comments May 4 with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York for the judge to consider in his ruling on the proposed Google Book Search settlement. The groups asked the judge to exercise vigorous oversight of the interpretation and implementation of the settlement to ensure the broadest possible benefit from the services the settlement enables. Although the settlement has the potential to provide public access to millions of books, many of its features could compromise fundamental library values. Ars Technica has more details....

Funding and Technology Access Study logoPublic libraries challenged to meet patron needs for internet
With growing demand for public internet services and Wi-Fi access, nearly 60% of U.S. public libraries report internet connection speeds are insufficient to meet patron demand at some point in the day, according to the 2008–2009 Public Library Funding and Technology Access Study. Nationally one in five libraries reports connection speeds less than 1.5 mbps (T1), and the disparity between urban libraries and their rural counterparts is pronounced....

ProQuest logoWin a trip to Annual, courtesy of ProQuest
In response to shrinking library budgets that have reduced or even eliminated conference travel, ProQuest is conducting a random drawing sponsoring a professional librarian’s travel to the 2009 ALA Annual Conference in Chicago. Registration, airfare, lodging, a $500 gift card, and a ticket to the Scholarship Bash are all included. To enter, eligible applicants should complete the brief online entry form before midnight on May 10....

Take part in Legislative Day without leaving home
With less than one week to go until National Library Legislative Day, May 11–12, it’s important to know that you don’t have to be in Washington, D.C., to make a difference. For those of you who are unable to travel to Washington, there are several ways to participate in the activities. For the first time, you will be able to follow the meetings on the Hill via Twitter and call your legislators as the meetings progress. Follow Twitter updates from @ala_ogr so you can get in on the action....
District Dispatch, May 4

ALA commends Senators Lieberman, McCain
ALA sent letters May 4 to Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.) and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), thanking them for introducing S. Res. 118, legislation to allow no-fee public access to taxpayer-funded Congressional Research Service reports. The CRS produces well-researched and balanced reports on a wide variety of current issues affecting our citizens and country. Unfortunately, CRS reports are not systematically made freely available to the public through the Federal Depository Library Program....

Candace ParkerCandace Parker, chair of Library Card Sign-up Month
Olympic Gold Medalist and 2008 WNBA Rookie of the Year Candace Parker will let Americans know that a library card is the “smartest card” in every wallet. As Honorary Chair of Library Card Sign-up Month in September, Parker will be featured in print and radio public service announcements. ALA will place the PSAs in magazines and on radio stations across the country. They are available for free download to libraries looking to promote Library Card Sign-up Month locally....

Cover of Implementing for ResultsImplementing a library strategic plan
ALA Editions has just released Implementing for Results by Sandra Nelson. For nearly two decades, the PLA Results Series has been the definitive resource for practical everyday management. This latest addition is a follow-up to Strategic Planning for Results and offers tips to help determine which activities effectively support goals and objectives, tools for staff to prepare and effectively communicate change, and necessary steps for reviewing current and potential library activities....

AL Focus

2009 Annual Conference preview videoWhat people like about Annual Conference
Produced by ALA Conference Services, this video (1:55) features many ALA members discussing the value of Annual Conference—and the benefits of holding it in Chicago. Annual Conference this year is July 9–15....

Booklist Online logo

Cover of Daily Life Through World History in Primary DocumentsFeatured review: Reference
Morris, Lawrence, ed. Daily Life through World History in Primary Documents. Dec. 2008. 1,083p. Greenwood, hardcover (978-0-313-33898-4).
This thematically arranged, expansive reference work seeks to cover the much-treaded ground of primary resource collections. What sets this attempt apart in a crowded field, however, is its subject matter: daily life. Understanding what everyday life was like for the masses of humanity provides us with a level of context and perspective not possible with a narrow focus on political elites. The current set attempts to rectify this by presenting readers with a balanced social and cultural cross section of authors and subjects from the ancient Sumerians to the intellectual and social world of the present. Although documents from the greats—such as Hammurabi and Benjamin Franklin—still make the cut, the inclusion of a wide variety of sources and authors from around the world merits attention. Examples include a letter from one Egyptian official to another about travel arrangements for a Roman politician, an inventory of the household goods and agricultural produce of one of Charlemagne’s estates, and a poem written by a Japanese soldier in 1944. Each of the three volumes (The Ancient World, The Middle Ages and Renaissance, and The Modern World) begins with a chronology of the era covered as well as a clear, concise historical overview....

Still from We Read EverythingWe read everything
Keir Graff writes: “I’ve often written about what we do at Booklist and how we do it, about our recommend-only policy, the staggering volume of books we review, and the people we’re reviewing for. But, until now, I never had a visual aid. Fortunately, Books for Youth Associate Editor Daniel Kraus, who in his spare time writes novels and makes documentary films, was able to play Cecil B. DeMille to my Charlie Kaufman. It was fun to take a day off from reading to make a commercial about reading (1:08). Can you name any of these Booklisters?”...
Likely Stories, May 6

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

Chicago Update

Blue Line subway train at the Jackson stationTips for getting around
Chicago offers the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), convenient and easy-to-use bus and elevated/subway train lines. Cash fares are $2.25 per person, and discount visitor passes are sold at various sales outlets throughout the city. Taxis are numerous and easy to use. Free trolleys travel between Navy Pier and State Street along Grand and Illinois. Free shuttle buses, sponsored by Gale Cengage Learning, will operate between all participating hotels and McCormick Place West during Annual Conference. Service will also be provided for attendees with disabilities....

Class of '67, 1984, oil on canvas, Charlie ShobeNational Vietnam Veterans Art Museum
Not far from McCormick Place is the National Vietnam Veterans Art Museum at 1801 S. Indiana Avenue. The museum collects, preserves, and exhibits art inspired by combat and created by veterans. A rare art collection assembled by a group of Vietnam veterans in 1981 has blossomed into the world’s only museum with a permanent collection focusing on the subject of war from an artistic perspective....
National Vietnam Veterans Art Museum

Branch 27 signDine in a former Chicago Public Library branch
M. Kathleen Pratt writes: “Possibility lives in libraries, so it’s fitting that Cary Michael and Howard Natinsky, owners of the Branch 27 restaurant at 1371 W. Chicago Avenue, saw something in the corner West Town building that was once home to the city’s 27th Ward library. They transformed a brick and terra-cotta shell from the turn of last century into a rustic, comfortable eatery for the turn of this century. Branch 27 is a neighborhood place, and the goal is to please all who come this way.”...
Metromix Chicago, Apr. 8

Division News

Cover of Informing InnovationsInforming Innovation
ACRL has published a new title, Informing Innovation: Tracking Student Interest in Emerging Library Technologies at Ohio University, by Char Booth. The volume examines one institution’s efforts to move away from “technolust” and toward a culture of assessment in developing and implementing technology initiatives. Booth presents findings from a study investigating the convergence of students and libraries with emerging information, communication, and academic tools. This title is also available as a free download....

AASL seeks presenters for 2010
AASL is seeking presenter proposals for the 2010 Annual Conference. The conference will be held June 24–30 in Washington, D.C. The deadline is May 31. Proposal submissions will be accepted for concurrent sessions or half- to full-day preconference professional development programs. Program content must address at least one of three areas of responsibility: learning and teaching, information access, or program administration, as identified in Information Power: Building Partnerships for Learning....

AASL survey on economic impact
The current state of the economy has caused a spike in media inquiries on the impact of the recession on children, and AASL would like to offer reporters overall data on U.S. school library media programs, as well as some local community examples. AASL is asking all school library media specialists to take a few minutes to complete a survey on your district’s school library media programs....
AASL Blog, May 1

Audra CaplanAudra Caplan elected PLA president
Audra Caplan, director of the Harford County (Md.) Public Library, has been elected president of PLA. Caplan has been a member of PLA for more than 24 years, serving on numerous PLA, YALSA, and ALA committees, including the PLA board of directors, the YALSA board of directors, and as an ALA councilor. In addition, Caplan served as YALSA president in 2003–2004....

Lisa Janicke HinchilffeLisa Hinchliffe elected ACRL president
Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe, coordinator for information literacy services at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, has been elected president of ACRL. Lisabeth Chabot, college librarian at Ithaca College, and Ann Campion Riley, assistant director for technical services at the University of Missouri, were elected to the ACRL board of directors and will each serve a four-year term as director-at-large....

Kim PattonKim Patton elected YALSA president
YALSA members chose Kim Patton as the division’s next president. Patton has been an active YALSA member for several years, serving on the YALSA board of directors and the Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers Committee. She is the central youth services teen librarian at the Kansas City (Mo.) Public Library. She is also the coauthor with Amy Alessio of A Year of Programming for Teens....

Young Adult Literature Symposium stipends
YALSA is accepting applications for stipends to attend the 2010 Young Adult Literature Symposium, to be held November 5–7, 2010, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. One stipend will be awarded to a library worker who has worked directly with teens for 1–10 years; the other will be awarded to a student in an accredited library school program. Each stipend provides up to $1,000 to fund attendance at the symposium. Send complete applications to YALSA by January 4, 2010....

Press Play @ your library logoTeens celebrate technology in libraries
Thousands of school and public libraries throughout the country joined YALSA in celebrating Teen Tech Week 2009, March 8–14, encouraging teens to take advantage of the many technologies available to them at their libraries. More than 1,700 libraries embraced the 2009 theme, “Press Play @ your library,” by hosting an array of events and programs that encouraged teens to get connected with gaming, video, and music at the library....

Connect with small publishers at Annual Conference
YALSA recognizes that often small presses or independent publishers cannot afford to exhibit during ALA Annual Conference. This year, YALSA will be holding a program July 12 that will feature small presses and diverse publishers that normally do not exhibit. The goal of this program is to provide information to YALSA members about how to purchase books for their libraries from small presses or independent publishers....
YALSA Blog, Apr. 30

Peter ManseauAuthors at Literary Tastes Breakfast
Author Peter Manseau (right) will bring his award-winning tale Songs for the Butcher’s Daughter to life at the 2009 RUSA Literary Tastes Breakfast at ALA Annual Conference. The event will be held July 12 at the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago and features authors from the Notable Books List and the Reading List, and winners of the Sophie Brody Medal. Also appearing will be author and journalist Mark Harris, who will recount the birth of the cinematic revolution....

Cover of Directory of Curriculum Materials CentersDirectory of curriculum materials centers
ACRL’s Education and Behavioral Sciences Section has released a sixth edition of its Directory of Curriculum Materials Centers. The directory updates the fifth edition, released as a digital publication in 2001. It lists and describes curriculum materials centers or collections at institutions that responded to an electronic questionnaire sent out in the spring of 2007....


2009 Frances Henne Award
Jill Mantel, school library media specialist at Darby Creek Elementary School in Hilliard, Ohio, is the recipient of the 2009 Frances Henne Award. Mantel serves 570 students, kindergarten to 5th grade, as well as 55 staff members. Her primary goal is to increase student understanding of the state standards. With her award, Mantel hopes to attend the AASL National Conference in Charlotte, North Carolina....

Honorary member nominations open
Nominations are being accepted for ALA honorary membership, the Association’s highest honor, which is bestowed on living citizens of any country whose contributions to librarianship or a closely related field are of significant and lasting importance to the whole field of library service. Honorary members are elected for life by vote of the ALA Council upon recommendation of the ALA Executive Board. Members who wish to forward nominations must complete the online ALA honorary member nomination form (Word file) by September 1....

AASL Innovative Reading Grant
Cathleen Friedmann, school library media specialist at Metairie (La.) Park Country Day School, has received the 2009 Innovative Reading Grant, sponsored by AASL and Capstone Publishers for her project, “Reading 2.0: Attracting Middle School Readers in the 21st Century.” Friedmann said library statistics at MPCDS reflect a sharp drop in reading between 5th grade and middle school. Her project will motivate and reward 6th graders to read....

Diversity Office extends deadline for research grant proposals
The Office for Diversity has extended its deadline for proposals for its 2009 Diversity Research Grants from April 30 to May 17. Applicants must be current ALA members, and 2009 proposals must address one of three identified topics: meeting diversity goals in the context of economic challenges, librarianship in multicultural/multigenerational community building, or libraries’ multicultural involvement in social networking. Electronic submissions are preferred and should be sent as a Word document attachment....

Target logoTarget’s Early Childhood Reading grants
Target is offering reading grants to schools, libraries, and nonprofit organizations in support of weekend book clubs and after-school reading programs that foster a love of reading and encourage children, from birth through age 9, to read together with their families. Applications will be accepted through May 31 for programs taking place between October 1, 2009, and September 30, 2010. Most grants average between $1,000 and $3,000....

Perry branch of the Maricopa County (Ariz.) Library DistrictMaricopa branch wins Innovations in Reading Prize (PDF file)
The National Book Foundation has awarded its first Innovations in Reading Prizes to one individual and four organizations who are demonstrating passion, creativity, dedication, and leadership in the service of creating and sustaining a lifelong love of reading. The Perry branch (right) of the Maricopa County (Ariz.) Library District dropped the Dewey system two years ago to make their library more user-friendly. Based on customer surveys, Maricopa decided that organizing the collection into “neighborhoods,” the way bookstores are organized, was a better way to meet patron needs. As a result, circulation has doubled....
National Book Foundation, May 5

Cover of Song of Time2009 Arthur C. Clarke Award
A literary science fiction novel set in the near future in which an old woman, close to death, contemplates her life, has won this year’s Arthur C. Clarke Award for science fiction. Song of Time by Ian R. MacLeod (PS Publishing) takes place near the end of the 21st century, as an aged concert violinist, about to pass into a virtual afterlife, discovers a half-drowned man on a Cornish beach. The annual award is selected from a list of novels whose UK first edition was published in the previous calendar year....
The Guardian (U.K.), Apr. 30; Arthur C. Clarke Award

Cover of Paper Towns2009 Edgar Award winners
The Mystery Writers of America announced the Edgar Award winners April 30. The annual prize is named after Edgar Allan Poe and awarded to the best authors in the mystery genre since 1945. The Best Novel category went to C. J. Box for Blue Heaven; John Green won in the Best YA Novel category for Paper Towns; and Meg Gardiner won with China Lake for Best Paperback Original....
GalleyCat, May 1

Cover of The Cruelest Month2008 Agatha Awards
Louise Penny’s The Cruelest Month (Minotaur) has won the Agatha Award for Best Mystery Novel published in 2008. Named for writer Agatha Christie, the Agatha Awards honor mystery and crime writers who write mystery novels in the traditional method exemplified by her style. Entries must contain no explicit sex and no excessive gore or gratuitous violence, and must take place in a confined setting and contain characters who know one another....
Malice Domestic Convention

Cover of Planting the Trees of KenyaJane Addams Children’s Book Awards
The Jane Addams Peace Association announced the winners of the 2009 Jane Addams Children’s Book Awards. The awards are given annually to children’s books published the preceding year that effectively promote the cause of peace, social justice, world community, and the equality of the sexes and all races. Planting the Trees of Kenya: The Story of Wangari Maathai, written and illustrated by Claire A. Nivola (Frances Foster Books) is the winner in the Books for Younger Children Category. The Surrender Tree: Poems of Cuba’s Struggle for Freedom by Margarita Engle (Henry Holt) is the winner in the Books for Older Children Category....
Jane Addams Peace Association, Apr. 28

Seen Online

Florida library funding saved
Librarians and patrons in Florida celebrated May 3 after word came that a joint legislative budget committee put back into the budget approximately $21 million for public libraries. “You did it! The people of Florida roared—and the state’s leaders listened!” declared the Florida Library Association website (PDF file). It was good news for the St. Johns County Public Library in St. Augustine, which was looking at cutbacks to electronic resources, including databases, if the state withdrew its funding....
St. Augustine (Fla.) Record, May 4; Florida Library Association, May 4

Ann Arbor library’s millage rate may be rolled back
Two years ago, the Ann Arbor (Mich.) District Library director envisioned a day when the tax that supports the library system could be rolled back to a lower rate. That day is near: With the decision to shelve major construction at the downtown library, there’s no reason to keep the tax at its current rate, said Josie Parker, who’s led the library system since 2002. In May, the library board of directors will vote on a 2009–10 budget that would lower the tax rate from 1.92 mills to 1.55....
Ann Arbor (Mich.) News, Apr. 29

Beware: Adult FictionTremonton steps away from “cowpie” library ordinance
A red-faced Tremonton, Utah, city council has repealed a library ordinance that could have brought infamy to the city. The ordinance, passed two weeks ago, required anyone under the age of 18 to have written consent from their parents before checking out any books listed as “adult fiction.” Councilman Lyle Holmgren compared the experience to walking out in a pasture and stepping on a cowpie: “You know you’ve done something wrong the minute you did it.” Head Librarian Kim Griffiths said, “In today’s world, pornography is sold in a store that is labeled an adult book store, but in the library, the books are labeled adult fiction.”...
Ogden (Utah) Standard-Examiner, May 6

National Library of New ZealandNew Zealand library revamp scaled back
The New Zealand government is scaling back the renovation of the National Library in Wellington by cutting almost $40 million ($23.2 million U.S.) from the budget. The proposed redevelopment is not affordable in the midst of a recession, Internal Affairs Minister Richard Worth said. But doing nothing is not an option, as water leaks and failing equipment put invaluable collections at risk. The renovation will instead focus on increasing storage, fixing leaks, upgrading equipment, and replacing critical infrastructure....
Scoop (N.Z.), Apr. 29

Reduced Philadelphia branch hours
Philadelphia’s neighborhood and regional library branches are set to downsize their schedules to five days a week in July, Free Library Director Siobhan Reardon told city council during a May 5 budget hearing. Reardon said that the new schedule at 53 of the city’s 54 branches would be more stable, given reduced library staff and funding. After 100 positions were cut in January, the library has been moving staffers around daily to keep as many branches as open each day as possible. But there have been numerous closures due to staff shortages. Reardon said that the new schedule is the best option....
Philadelphia Daily News, May 6

Spokane (Wash.) Public Library logoSpokane libraries consider new cuts
Spokane is well behind most Washington cities in the hours of operation at its libraries. That service level will fall even further if the Spokane Public Library is forced to ax 4% of its budget, a proposal under consideration by city leaders. Library Director Pat Partovi said 4% of the budget amounts to about $320,000, which could mean the closure of one of the system’s three smaller branches....
Spokane (Wash.) Spokesman-Review, Apr. 27 logoStimulus aims to help close the digital divide
With more than $7 billion of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act set aside for increasing broadband access in the United States, the stimulus presents a huge opportunity for schools and communities to help close the digital divide. The stimulus package authorizes the National Telecommunications and Information Administration to implement the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program, a $4.7-billion, one-time, competitive matching-grants program. The funds are intended to expand broadband services to underserved areas, improve broadband access for public safety agencies, stimulate the economy, and create jobs....
eSchool News, May 6

Garfield Park branch of the Santa Cruz Public LibraryParents, kids worry about safety at Santa Cruz library
As Santa Cruz (Calif.) Public Library leaders consider shifting the extensive young adult collection at the Garfield Park branch (right) to the downtown flagship library to help close a $1-million deficit, patrons are wondering if downtown is safe enough for kids and families. On May 11, members of the city-county library system’s Joint Powers Board will consider the move. Acting Library Director Susan Elgin defended the safety of the Central Branch and added that moving the collection would open it to students from around the county....
Santa Cruz (Calif.) Sentinel, Apr. 28

Still from Reuters video showing Du WeishengNational Library of China’s book doctor
Sixty-year-old Du Weisheng likes to call himself a doctor whose time-ravaged patients are frail, often crumble at a touch, and sometimes get chewed by rats. Du preserves and restores books and scripts that are hundreds of years old at the National Library in Beijing, performing a job that is fast becoming as rare as the tomes he rescues. Only three universities in Beijing offer degrees in book restoration, and there are fewer than 150 people in China that still do this for a living. Watch the video (1:55)....
Reuters, May 4

Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz BibliothekLibraries profit from German stimulus plan
Germany’s museums, theaters, and libraries are benefiting from Chancellor Angela Merkel’s economic stimulus plan, using unexpected windfalls to fix leaky roofs, crumbling façades, and drafty windows. Merkel’s 82-billion euro ($107 billion U.S.) rescue package includes 13.3-billion euros, paid out through 2011, for renovating local infrastructure. Some of it will go to cultural institutions, including the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Bibliothek (right) in Hanover....
Bloomberg, Apr. 29

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Tech Talk

Google scanner patent diagramThe secret of Google’s book scanner
Maureen Clements writes: “Before Google came on the scene, book scanning was a tedious process that sometimes resulted in the death of a book. The software used to scan books required each page of the book to be flat. Anyone who has ever opened a book knows it’s next to impossible for a book to lie flat without some sort of device. It was a problem that vexed book scanners for years until Google came up with this solution.”...
As a Matter of Fact, Apr. 30

Why text messages are limited to 160 characters
In 1985, alone in his home in Bonn, Germany, Friedhelm Hillebrand sat at his typewriter, tapping out random sentences and questions on a sheet of paper. As he went along, Hillebrand counted the number of letters, numbers, punctuation marks, and spaces on the page. Each blurb ran on for a line or two and nearly always clocked in under 160 characters. That became Hillebrand’s magic number—and set the standard for one of today’s most popular forms of digital communication: text messaging....
Los Angeles Times, May 3

U.S. Senate votes available in XML
The Senate voting record is finally available in machine-readable XML format. Mashups, vote tracking, and comparison applications will now be welcomed in the front door of Congress as first-class technologies. On May 1, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) officially asked the Senate Rules Committee to make the data available, and just four days later the feed is here. Not everyone is happy about the information being made publicly available like this, however....
ReadWriteWeb, May 5

Tor videoAnonymity technology can make free speech safe
When you get to the point of putting your information on the internet, you need protection from the possibility that your computer’s digital address will be traced back to you. Maybe, at that point, you could use Tor, an open source internet anonymity system—one of several systems that encrypt data or hide the accompanying internet address, and route the data to its final destination through intermediate computers called proxies....
Technology Review, May/June

Sunset photo rated at 76.1 by ACQUINESoftware rates images aesthetically
An online photo-rating system developed at Penn State is the first publicly available tool for automatically determining the aesthetic value of an image, according to a Penn State researcher involved with the project. James Z. Wang, associate professor of information sciences and technology, is one of the principal researchers on the Aesthetic Quality Inference Engine, a system that judges the aesthetic quality of digital images. Wang said the tool is a significant first step in recognizing human emotional reaction to visual stimuli....
Penn State University, May 5


Kindle DXNew Kindle aimed at periodicals unveiled a new version of its Kindle reading device May 6 geared toward magazines, newspapers, and textbooks. The new version, called the Kindle DX, has a 9.7-inch screen, much larger than the current generation of the wireless book reader, and is priced at $489. Amazon and a few of the company’s partners are hoping that the device will appeal to students who will be able to download textbooks, and newspaper readers craving a larger screen on which to read articles. The New York Times has a review....
Washington Post, May 6; New York Times, May 6

E-books: Are they at a tipping point?
At the London Book Fair in mid-April, the publishing industry gathered to discuss the future of the business. Among the vast stands carrying the latest paperbacks was a digital zone where academics and executives explored ways in which the book industry could embrace the electronic age. The Association of American Publishers has singled out e-book sales as the fastest growing segment in the industry, with sales of traditional books declining across all major markets. The problem is that there are around 25 e-book formats in existence, and not all e-book readers are compatible with all of them....
Daily Telegraph (U.K.), Apr. 30

70% of Kindle owners over 40?
David Carnoy writes: “Back in March, I cited a thread in’s forums discussing Kindle owners’ ages. Well, I have a little follow-up on the whole issue. Apparently, someone went ahead and tabulated 700 of the responses in that Amazon thread and broke out the numbers. We can’t call this the most scientific poll ever taken, but it’s probably a good indicator of the Kindle’s age demographic. If you add it all up, more than half the owners are over 50 and 70% are over 40.”...
Crave, Apr. 30

Metal movable typeGreener typesetting
Rick Jelliffe writes: “Consider that there may be 100 million word-processing documents printed every day. At least 1% of all documents have an extra page printed using systems that err on the side of adding space. That means a million extra pages per day generated because of default settings or algorithms. Perhaps it would be better for our typesetting software, including word processors, to default to tighter typesetting. Can we green typesetting?”...
O’Reilly Broadcast, May 2

Books for students with disabilities (subscription required)
Students with disabilities often wait weeks or months for their textbooks to be specially formatted, but now a new higher-education partnership could make these books more widely available to students by scanning them into an online library. Nonprofit company Bookshare announced April 29 that 11 colleges and universities would contribute thousands of books to students who are blind, have low vision, or are unable to turn pages, reducing duplication and proofreading costs....
eCampus News, Apr. 30

AL Buyers Guide ad

Actions & Answers

Should your library have a social media policy?
Sharlyn Lauby writes: “Social media is quickly moving from an emerging form of communication to the mainstream. So, just like in the old days when organizations had to figure out how to deal with email, now they have to figure out how to deal with Facebook and all other new media venues. Let’s talk about the Five W’s to adopting a social media policy.”...
Mashable, Apr. 27

Creative Commons logo30 places to find Creative Commons media
Sean P. Aune writes: “In this day and age, it seems everything online has a price associated with it. Luckily, there is still a large and healthy movement online for media files listed under the Creative Commons licenses. SitePoint has gathered up over 30 of the best resources online for audio, video, text, and images for finding the perfect Creative Commons–licensed item for use in your next project.”...
SitePoint, Apr. 30

Still from Jennicamlive. For $15 a month you could watch then-19-year-old Jennifer Ringley live out her life via webcamTop 15 defunct websites
The internet has become such a part of modern life that it’s almost hard to remember life before it. The web has led to some gigantic success stories: Amazon, Yahoo, iTunes, eBay, Listverse. But, as in real life, not everything has flourished online. Here are 15 defunct websites. Some failed because of the dot-com bust, others were ahead of their time, some simply disappeared, and one turned out to be a scam....
Listverse, Apr. 28

LC Authorities and Vocabularies
Jonathan Rochkind writes: “This service is awesome. Not only is it the first online free search and browse of the Library of Congress Subject Headings (with in fact a better interface than the proprietary, for-pay, online alternative I’m aware of), but it also gives you access to the data itself via both a bulk download and some limited machine-readable APIs. One of my favorite features is LCSH to LC Classification mappings. Thank you, Library of Congress.”...
Bibliographic Wilderness, Apr. 30

Survival of the fittest tag
Alexis Wichowski writes: “If information required anything to ensure its immediate survival, it would likely be these two things: First, it must be considered useful. Second, it must be findable. In the rapidly growing information environment, unidentified and unorganized content, however useful it may be, is at risk of being rendered unfindable and thus obsolete. Facing extinction, a new evolutionary adaptation in information organization has appeared—folksonomies.”...
First Monday 14, no. 5 (May 4)

Book Glutton logoBookGlutton widget: Embeddable book club
Jolie O’Dell writes: “BookGlutton, a site launched in January 2008 to allow socially enhanced online book reading, has just launched a nifty little widget. Blog and website owners can embed what amounts to a book club just about anywhere. I tried it out on my own website, and it’s pretty tight.”...
ReadWriteWeb, May 1 logoThe new Invisible Web
Joyce Valenza writes: “We are faced with a new Invisible Web. These days, when we search we miss so much of the stuff that appears in new web formats. Wikis are now an increasingly serious part our webspace, and happily we have new tools to search this wikispace exclusively. My students are just beginning to tap Twitter to identify experts and explore the dialogue in their areas of interest. A variety of search tools now allow them to search Tweets.”...
NeverEndingSearch, May 4

GovFresh logoGovFresh feed
GovFresh is a live feed of official news from U.S. government Twitter, YouTube, RSS, Facebook, and Flickr accounts, all in one place, launched May 3. It provides live feeds from the White House, the Supreme Court, the House and Senate, seven departments, six agencies, and the Democratic and Republican National Committees, with more to come. Luke Fretwell, a San Francisco–based web designer and developer, created GovFresh on his own....
Sunlight Foundation Blog, May 5

Book Group Facebook app logoFace(book) the book club
Kaite Stover writes: “Last month, I lost two dear friends from my Saturday morning book club. Briana and Christa did not want to lose touch with their other book group buddies and asked if there was some way I could keep us connected and talking about reading. Facebook made it easier for all of us. A new application called Book Clubs (what else?) was created late last year.”...
Book Group Buzz, May 5

From better to verse: Poetry for book groups
Neil Hollands writes: “A meeting about poetry is a great variation for any book group. It’s easy to prepare, an excellent last-minute substitute when the book you planned to use proves difficult to obtain, or when the reader whose turn it was to select a topic fails to appear. It’s a great choice when you need something short to read.”...
Book Group Buzz, May 1

Twitter for libraries
Sarah Milstein writes: “Information professionals know that Twitter is a fast-growing, free messaging service for people, and it’s one that libraries can make good use of without spending much time or effort. For example, a library could share all kinds of news that patrons want. Short messages can tell people about events such as readings, lectures, and book sales; newly available resources; or changes in the building hours. When appropriate, the posts can link to a library’s own website and blog for more in-depth information.”...
Computers in Libraries 29, no. 5 (May)

Explaining Twitterspeak to others
Jeremy Toeman writes: “Never before in the history of mankind has the concept of extremely short format person-to-world shouting been possible, and we have a long way to go to until we truly understand the impact.  But in the meantime, with all the new users coming to Tweetersville, I figured I’d put together a handy-dandy guide to help explain some of the Twits you might see out there.”...
LiveDigitally, Apr. 23

I can’t imagine living without...
Linda Braun writes: “I think there is a disparity between the number of children’s librarians and teen librarians in libraries. And I do think that teens, and our communities, would be better served if there were more full-time librarians dedicated to serving teens—right alongside full-time librarians dedicated to serving children. I have used this provocative statement before, and it has engendered some interesting conversations with people about why teen librarians are not nearly as common in libraries as children’s librarians.”...
YALSA Blog, Apr. 30

Obama commemorative license plateObama license plates available for everyone
The official Barack Obama Illinois license plate is now available for purchase to everyone. These special-event license plates, which read “Illinois Salutes President Barack Obama,” are unique commemorative plates and until April 17 had been only available to owners of Illinois vehicles. The proceeds will help support the Illinois Library Association’s activities including iREAD, the summer reading program for Illinois youth....
Illinois Library Association, May 5

Obama looks to open source government
The dream of an effective and open e-government rides on the ability of government officials to emulate the Web 2.0 model in the private sector, where success stories have been built through a decentralized, crowd-sourced mode. At a conference hosted by the National Association of State CIOs, Beth Noveck, an adviser in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, appealed to her audience of government IT workers and business partners to embrace technology so that government might follow in the footsteps of Mozilla and Wikipedia to create a more collaborative relationship between citizen and government....
InternetNews, Apr. 30

French clerics are amused by a book in this WWII-era postcardNational Postcard Week
Larry Nix writes: “May 3–9 is National Postcard Week. Diana Dretske, collections coordinator for the Lake County Discovery Museum in Wauconda, Illinois, provides some background information on National Postcard Week on her blog. I have previously posted about collecting library postcards. Librarians have exchanged library postcards in the past and continue to do so today. This French postcard (right) was mailed to Ithaca, New York, through the Army Post Office near the end of World War II. One wonders what the two clerics find so funny in the library book.”...
Library History Buff Blog, May 6

Still from video showing nuclear power plantsDigital preservation and nuclear disaster
Digital Preservation Europe has released a new series of short animations introducing and explaining digital preservation problems and solutions for the general public. The first (3:19) dramatizes the importance of preserving digital information by showing Team Digital Preservation saving the world from nuclear disaster caused by the work of Team Chaos....
YouTube, May 1

Charles Dickens had his old cat's paw mounted to a letter opener for reasons we'll never understand (Berg Collection). Photo by Jen CarlsonA closer look at NYPL
Jen Carlson writes: “On May 1 we were lucky enough to spend some time in the New York Public Library’s main branch, which opened up in 1911 before the doors were unlocked to the public. Librarian David Smith and some of the other staff took us on a tour of the massive structure, from the remains of the Croton Reservoir to the Allen Room (reserved for writers with book contracts) to the room where Charles Dickens’s dead cat’s paw resides” (above, mounted on a letter opener)....
Gothamist, May 5

Matthew Stolper, professor at the Oriental Institute, examines an ancient Persian tabletPersia’s story preserved digitally
The Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago is digitally recording thousands of tablets that, as they are pieced together, tell an unusually detailed story of the Persian Empire. These ancient tablets from the palaces of Persepolis include pieces of language and art from the center of the Persian Empire, all made when it extended from India and Central Asia to Egypt and the Mediterranean. Most have texts in impressed cuneiform characters, many of them have inked texts in Aramaic writing, and almost all of the tablets have seal impressions....
University of Chicago, Apr. 28

Young Tulsa bookmobile patronOklahoma books on the move
Jenks (Okla.) High School students Alexia Dickey and Kenzie Clark filmed and edited this short documentary about the Tulsa City-County Library bookmobile service. Featured are Outreach Services Manager Brad Thomas, Library Associates Shawna Smith and Pam Watson, Bookmobile Driver Javier Valdes, and many happy patrons. The video is part of the library’s online exhibit about its bookmobile history....
Tulsa (Okla.) City-County Library

Kelly asks the public what they think of when they hear the word 'library'GPO takes to the streets
Government Printing Office staffers took to the streets of Washington, D.C., to interview the public and find out how much they know about the Federal Depository Library Program. In a series of three videos, they asked passers-by, “What is a federal depository library?” “Can you name a federal government publication?” and “What comes to mind when you hear the word ‘library’?” As evidenced by the videos, promoting the FDLP to the public is essential and necessary....
FDLP Desktop, May 1

Still from Mindspot video showing youth watching a videoMindspot: The library as a universe
Mindspot (PDF file) is a library service for young people in Aarhus, Denmark, that offers concerts, gaming events, film marathons, instruction, and many other innovative programs. This video (5:14) explains the project. Half of the group that developed it are Aarhus Public Library employees called “mindkeepers,” who talk to youth to find out what they think the library should be. The other half are staffers called “mindspotters” in charge of discovering trends and ideas....
YouTube, Apr. 20

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2009 ALA Annual Conference logo

ALA Annual Conference, Chicago, July 9–15. The 2009 ALA Annual Poster Sessions will be held July 11–13 at McCormick Place West. Abstracts are now available.

Cover of Library Technology Reports 45, no. 3

In the April issue of Library Technology Reports, open source software expert John Houser explores the potential benefits of open source workstations for libraries. Houser explores open source implementations in several public libraries, tracking their success and exploring the implications for the profession as a whole. This LTR will help library decision makers who want to find out about alternatives to Windows-based PCs running MS Office, not only as a means of cutting costs or reducing a carbon footprint, but also as a means of providing a better experience for library customers. NEW! From ALA TechSource.

In this issue
May 2009

Cover of May 2009 issue

Judith Krug: The Freedom to Read

Family Storytime

Book Groups the Way Boys Like ’Em

ALA Book and Media Award Winners

At Your Library website

@ your library, ALA’s website for library users, offers suggestions on getting children to read, tips for young job seekers, teen reading, and fun outdoor games.

Career Leads from
ALA Joblist logo

Librarian (Geographic Information Systems), University of Maryland, College Park. Designs, implements, coordinates, and teaches workshops using ESRI’s ArcGIS; this includes developing instructional materials and collecting statistics. Provides in-depth reference for GIS as well as general reference services. Maintains GIS workstations by troubleshooting software and coordinating technical support. Recommends software purchases and upgrades. Promotes GIS services by collaborating with campus partners to expand GIS services. Teaches classes for the Libraries’ general instruction program, as well as classes requested by course faculty. Responsible for collection development, management, and access to geospatial resources from the Federal Depository Library Program, state/local governments, and commercial vendors....

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Digital Library of the Week

A 45 rpm recording of Cuando Te Acerques A Mi, performed by Nereida Acosta con La Orquesta Severino Ramos, on the Discos Meca label. DIMECA_45_014-A_

The Arhoolie Foundation’s Strachwitz Frontera Collection of Mexican and Mexican-American Recordings (the Frontera Collection) is the largest repository of Mexican and Mexican-American vernacular recordings in existence. With funding from Los Tigres del Norte Foundation, the UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center has sponsored the digitization of the first section of the collection by the Arhoolie Foundation. These performances were recorded primarily in the United States and Mexico and issued on 78 rpm phonograph recordings during the first half of the 20th century. This vast digitized collection of approximately 30,000 recordings is now available to researchers and the general public. In 2006, the Arhoolie Foundation received a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to digitize an additional 20,000 performances from the collection of 45 rpm phonograph recordings. Approximately half of these additional recordings are available (as of April 2009) with the remainder to be added to the website in the next few months. This represents less than half of the 45 rpm discs in the collection and further funding will be required to complete the project. Full access to the archive is only available to UCLA patrons, but the rest of us can listen to 50 seconds of each song, look at the record labels, and read the background information. Music is browsable by genre, subject, label, and name.

Do you know of a digital library collection that we can mention in this AL Direct feature? Tell us about it. Browse previous Digital Libraries of the Week at the I Love Libraries site.

Public Perception
How the World
Sees Us

“I should almost as soon think of giving away part of the library as to part with Comanche. He’s almost an alumnus of the institution!”

—University of Kansas Chancellor Deane W. Malott, commenting on his refusal to relinquish Comanche, the 7th Cavalry horse that survived the Battle of the Little Bighorn and which has been housed in a university museum since its death in 1891, in a letter to Smithsonian Institution Secretary Alexander Wetmore, Nov. 7, 1947.

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AL on Twitter? Follow American Libraries news stories, videos, and blog posts on Twitter.

Ask the ALA Librarian

Pupils reading

Q. How can I find out the recommended number of books per pupil in my middle school library? And are there recommended percentages for the different subject areas?

A. Over the years, ALA has moved away from prescriptive standards to output measures. For school libraries, AASL maintains the current standards. How your library supports the curriculum will affect how you build your collection and select materials for it. You’ll want to look at some of the resources on budgeting, collection development, and standards. When it comes to the distribution of the subject content of the collection, the current standards will also not be prescriptive, except to emphasize the importance of supporting the curriculum of the school and the learning objectives therein. Be sure to see Add It Up, our advocacy tool kit with research and statistics to help you make the case for libraries at every stage of youth development and education—there’s a section just for kindergarten through middle school. See more at the ALA Professional Tips wiki.

@ The ALA Librarian welcomes your questions.


May 7:
How Social is Your Web Site, webinar, Special Libraries Association.

May 13:
Usage Issues, webinar, National Information Standards Organization.

May 18–
June 5:

International Copyright Law Principles, webinar, Special Libraries Association.

May 20:
MarcEdit, a Cataloger’s Best Friend, workshop, Ohio Library Council, Columbus.

May 25–30:
Libraries in the Digital Age, Inter-University Centre, Dubrovnik and Zadar, Croatia.

May 31–
June 5:

North American Chapter, Association for Computational Linguistics–Human Language Technologies, Annual Conference, University of Colorado, Boulder.

June 6:
Proposal Writing, workshop, Simmons College, Boston.

June 15–19:
Joint Conference on Digital Libraries, AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center, Austin, Texas.

June 22–26:
World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia, and Telecommunications, Sheraton Waikiki, Hawaii.

June 25–26:
Collections Management and Practices, Jackson, Mississippi. An American Association of State and Local History workshop, hosted by the Mississippi Department of History.

July 9–15:
American Library Association, Annual Conference, McCormick Place, Chicago.

July 13–16:
World Congress in Computer Science, Computer Engineering, and Applied Computing, Las Vegas, Nevada.

July 29–30:
A Race Against Time: Preserving Our Audiovisual Media, Denver Public Library.

Aug. 9–16:
Society of American Archivists / Council of State Archivists, Annual Meeting, Hilton Austin, Texas.

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