The e-newsletter of the American Library Association | May 20,

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

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AL Buyers Guide

U.S. & World News

Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network club resourceTennessee schools sued for blocking gay websites
A Knox County, Tennessee, high school librarian and one of her students, as well as two secondary-school students in the Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools, became the plaintiffs May 19 in a First Amendment lawsuit against the school districts for blocking access to information about gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered issues on school computers while allowing access to anti-gay sites. The suit was filed in U.S. district court by attorneys from the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Tennessee on behalf of the four, all of whom are involved in their respective schools’ Gay-Straight Alliance Club but who cannot access the clubs’ parent website on campus workstations....
American Libraries Online, May 20

ALA News

Cover of 2007-2008 Annual ReportALA 2007–2008 Annual Report
The 2007–2008 ALA Annual Report is now available online. It features the year in review, news from the Washington Office, new partners and programs, conferences and workshops, developments at ALA Publishing, Association leadership, financials, awards and honors, and divisional highlights....

Wi-Fi at Annual Conference
ALA Executive Director Keith Michael Fiels made two announcements to staff May 20 regarding the availablility of Wi-Fi during the ALA Annual Conference. First the good news: Free Wi-Fi will be available in meeting rooms throughout the McCormick Place West convention center. Now the bad news: A price tag of $270,000 makes it impossible to provide Wi-Fi in meeting rooms at the conference hotels....
AL Inside Scoop, May 20

I Love Libraries web badgeNew and improved I Love Libraries
I Love Libraries, the ALA website for library supporters, has been redesigned. The site continues to feature news about libraries from around the country, with a focus on particular services and collections from all types of libraries. Improvements include an updated look and information about library issues in an expanded “Get Informed” section. “Share” links will let readers post their favorite stories to Facebook, MySpace, blogs, and other social networking applications....

Image of young readerHow did your Día go?
As hundreds of libraries across the country celebrated El día de los niños/El día de los libros (Children’s Day/Book Day) on April 30, a variety of English and Spanish media provided coverage of programs and events. The ALA Public Information Office worked with Día founder Pat Mora and ALSC to gather stories on how libraries enrich lives of new Americans for a segment entitled “Librarians Are Rockstars” (4:20) on National Public Radio’s Latino USA. Many listened as host Maria Hinojosa discussed the value of libraries and the critical roles librarians play in supporting literacy....

Browsing ALA ConnectA review and a rumination on ALA Connect
Emily Ford writes: “So ALA has joined the ranks of two point oh. In April, it rolled out ALA Connect; as an online networking junkie, I was intrigued and decided to log in. After my first look around the site I was a bit pessimistic, but after taking a deeper look, I have come to hope that ALA Connect will be able to reach individuals who haven’t been able to attend conferences and engage with their colleagues about ALA-centric issues. If ALA Connect can draw this constituency to use it, then the tool might mean some real changes for ALA.”...
In the Library with the Lead Pipe, May 13

Library cards—a great promotional tool
Librarians can use the value of a library card to promote their libraries. During Library Card Sign-up Month in September, ALA and libraries across the country highlight the library card as the “smartest card” in every American’s wallet. Library cards offer users a wide variety of free resources: access to computers and the internet, financial literacy skills, assistance with job searches, resources to help small businesses, DVD rentals, storytime sessions, and books....

Professionals for the Public Interest logoALA joins PftPI
ALA and the ALA–Allied Professional Association have joined a coalition of 19 national and global organizations called Professionals for the Public Interest that formally launched May 20. The organizations include associations and unions representing professionals in science, engineering, health, the arts, and human services. PftPI will engage professionals, the public, and policymakers in discussing ways to defend against external pressures that threaten the integrity of their work....
District Dispatch, May 19

Booklist Online logo

Cover of Pharaoh's BoatFeatured review: Books for youth
Weitzman, David. Pharaoh’s Boat. May 2009. 48p. Houghton, hardcover (978-0-547-05341-7).
Part mystery, part ancient history, this handsome book takes readers back in time, first to 1954, when workmen at the Great Pyramid of Giza notice a wall that seems to hide something. Then it’s back to the reign of the pharaoh Cheops, who needs a boat to take him to the afterlife. In precise yet at times almost poetic language, Weitzman explains the whys of building a vessel for the pharaoh and in amazing textual and illustrative detail shows the ways it was accomplished, from the tools used to the placement and lashing of the timbers. After the boat was finished, it was then taken apart and put in carved lime pits, the pieces carefully layered for easy reassembly by Cheops as he embarked upon his journey. It was this careful protection that allowed the preserved boat to be rediscovered in 1954 and, under the direction of the Restoration Department of the Egyptian Antiquities Service, reconstructed....

Still from Lauren Myracle videoIt’s a freakin’ Myracle
Daniel Kraus writes: “I really appreciate it when an interview becomes the funnest part of my day. Such was the case with Lauren Myracle, author of Bliss, ttyl, and the new Peace, Love, and Baby Ducks—when our time was up, I would’ve liked to have busted out the pop and Doritos and invited her to an all-day Lifetime movie marathon. I’m also a fan of her take on book challenges, something which she has become all too familiar with. In this video (3:32), she details her technique to defuse irate grown-ups, but also doesn’t deny that the attacks hurt a little, too.”...
Likely Stories, May 14; YouTube, May 6

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

Chicago Update

Exchequer Restaurant and PubChow down in Chi-town
ALA Publishing’s Rob Christopher writes: “ALA sure picked a great place for its headquarters when it moved here in 1909. Sure, the winters are terrible, and the sticky heat of a Chicago summer is enough to tax anyone’s patience, but when it comes to restaurants, Chicago has the best in the country. Think of a cuisine, any cuisine, and you can find it here; and whether you want to spend a few bucks or drop a C-note, this is your kind of town. If you didn’t have that Annual Conference to attend, you could easily spend all week eating!”...
American Libraries 40, no. 6–7 (June/July): 76–80

Art Institute of Chicago's new Modern Wing, looking up. Photo by Charles G. YoungThe Art Institute of Chicago’s new modern wing
The new wing that opened May 16 concludes a $300-million project that has been 10 years in planning, expanding the Art Institute of Chicago’s exhibition space by 35% and making it the second largest art museum in America after the Metropolitan in New York. It’s essentially a three-story pavilion that extends from the rear of the museum’s late-19th-century Beaux Arts structure. The galleries are modestly proportioned and well-lit. The arcade that forms the spine of the building is graceful, with lighting fixtures suspended on a succession of steel arms. Visitors walk along corridors above it as if hoisted by sheer sweetness and light....
The Times (U.K.), May 18

The Rainbo Club, 1150 N. Damon, features in Hemon's short story "Szmura's Room". Photo by Nick FlandroTales from the Windy City
Aleksandar Hemon was visiting a friend in the Ukrainian Village section of Chicago in 1992 when war broke out in his home town of Sarajevo. He extended his visit, eventually settling into an apartment nearby. It was in Chicago that Hemon learned how to write in English, and he still lives there. His new collection of short stories Love and Obstacles centers on an unnamed narrator who moved from Sarajevo to Chicago in 1992. Now you can visit the key places in his adopted city that influenced or inspired his fiction....
Wall Street Journal, May 8

Checking in luggage at the airportUnited to hike baggage fees
Fliers who travel to ALA Annual Conference may have to pay more to check their bags at the airport. United Airlines and US Airways are nudging up baggage fees, and analysts expect other carriers to follow. As of June 10, United Airlines plans to hike its luggage fees by $5 per bag for customers who pay for the service at the airport, charging $20 for the first bag checked and $30 for the second. Customers of United who pay the fees online will be charged the old rate: $15 for their first bag, $25 for the second....
Chicago Tribune, May 14

Placement Center is the place to be
ALA Placement/Recruitment Officer Beatrice Calvin writes: “I know that not everyone can attend the ALA Annual Conference, but for those who can, this is a great opportunity to network with people who will be your professional peers. It is also the perfect time to get quality one-on-one face time with employers. The employers who have recruitment booths onsite in the Placement Center have come to the conference specifically to recruit. This opens the doors for you to make real connections.”...
ALA Student Member Blog, May 18

Division News

SummerSlam logoJoin YALSA’s SummerSlam Reading Jam
Put a little muscle into your summer reading program by signing up for the SummerSlam Reading Jam, a pilot project from YALSA and World Wrestling Entertainment. The first 500 libraries to sign up for the project will receive 25 mini-posters from WWE (each poster is numbered). Pass them out to any patrons between the ages of 10 and 18 who check out at least two books between June 24 and July 16. Two of your patrons could win a trip for two to WWE’s SummerSlam pay-per-view event in Los Angeles this August, and your library could win $1,000 for materials for the teen and tween collection....

YALSA Blog, May 19

PLA Results Boot Camp logoApply for PLA Results Boot Camp 5
PLA is now accepting applications for its Results Boot Camp 5 on intensive library management training. This popular five-day immersion program will be held October 12–16 at the Olive 8 Hotel in Seattle, and will cover such topics as strategic planning, data-based decision-making, effective resource allocation, and other topics related to management training. Applications are due in the PLA office by September 11....

Rev up Learning @ your library logoAASL offers graduate credit for national conference
Attendees of the AASL National Conference and Exhibition in Charlotte, North Carolina, November 5–8, can receive up to two hours of graduate credit if they submit a personal reflection and a log of their time before December 1 to the University of Colorado Denver School of Education and Human Development. The fee is $60 per credit hour. Registration will be accepted until November 19....

Increase your knowledge at ALCTS preconferences
ALCTS is offering five preconferences at ALA Annual Conference in Chicago. Topics include cataloging digital media, acquiring and managing emerging media formats, RDA, and FRBR. You can register on the ALA Annual Conference website. ALCTS members pay only $199 for one day and $339 for two days. For more information, contact Julie Reese....

Registration opens for ALSC online courses
ALSC is offering three online education courses this summer. The asynchronous, multiweek courses, delivered through Moodle e-learning CMS, begin on July 20. Registration is open now through Monday, July 6. The three summer courses offered are: The Newbery Medal: Past, Present and Future; Reading Instruction and Children’s Books; and Sharing Poetry with Children. Registration information can be found on the ALSC website....

ASCLA guide to programming and events at Annual
ASCLA has released a comprehensive guide (PDF file) to the division’s activities at ALA Annual Conference in Chicago, including preconferences, programs, discussion groups, and special events. The guide features the two 2009 preconferences hosted by ASCLA: “Be My Guest—Customer Service from the Best” and “After the Grant Runs Out: Funding Collaborative Digitization.”...

Round Table News

FBI Laboratory logoInterview with an FBI librarian
Federal and Armed Forces Library Round Table member Rebecca Kennedy recently interviewed FBI Laboratory Supervisory Librarian Jane Killian: “The FBI Laboratory Library is a vital component of the lab’s Quality Assurance and Training Unit. Library personnel support investigations by furnishing relevant technical information and a collection of reference materials that presently includes more than 8,000 scientific books and 400 periodical subscriptions. Staff members ‘provide forensic examinations, technical support, expert witness testimony, and training to federal, state, and local law agencies.’” Look for Killian’s program, “Real Life Forensics: Like on Numb3rs, CSI, and NCIS,” July 12 at ALA Annual Conference in Chicago....
FAFLRT President blog, May 7


Alanna Natanson and Karen MacPherson at the Takoma Park Maryland Library. Photo by Julie Wiatt, Takoma Voice2009 John Phillip Immroth Award
Karen MacPherson (right), children and youth services coordinator at Takoma Park Maryland Library, and Alanna Natanson (left), a middle-school student in Takoma Park, have been named recipients of the John Phillip Immroth Memorial Award, presented by the ALA Intellectual Freedom Round Table. The award honors intellectual freedom fighters in and outside the library profession who have demonstrated remarkable personal courage in resisting censorship....

Sen. Barbara BoxerALTAFF awards 2009 Public Service Award
ALTAFF awarded its 2009 Public Service Award to Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) during National Library Legislative Day activities in Washington, D.C., in May. Boxer was selected for her lead in staving off a proposed closure of the Environmental Protection Agency’s libraries. The Public Service Award is given annually to a legislator who has been especially supportive of libraries....

Shirly Ann Bruursema2009 ALTAFF Trustee Citation
ALTAFF has named Shirley Ann Bruursema (right) and David H. Goldsmith as 2009 Trustee Citation award winners. The Trustee Citation honors the best contributions and efforts of the estimated 60,000 American citizens who serve on library boards. Bruursema is chairperson of the Kent District Library in Comstock Park, Michigan. Goldsmith served on the Prince George’s County (Md.) Memorial Library board for 17 years and currently serves on the board of the Baltimore County Public Library....

Thirty AASL members receive travel grants
Thirty members of AASL will receive a $750 travel grant to attend their first AASL National Conference. The grants are sponsored by Bound to Stay Bound Books. The AASL 14th National Conference and Exhibition will be held in Charlotte, North Carolina, November 5–8....

Cover of ThirteenChildren’s Choice Book Awards
In honor of Children’s Book Week, May 11–17, the Children’s Book Council announced the winners of the Children’s Choice Book Awards after 220,000 online ballots from kids (and some adults) across the country were counted. Lauren Myracle’s Thirteen (Dutton, 2008) was the pick in the 5th to 6th Grade category, while Stephenie Meyer was chosen Author of the Year....
Children’s Book Council

Cover of Wonderful BloodCaroline Bynum wins Grundler Prize
Western Michigan University has awarded the prestigious Grundler Prize to Caroline Walker Bynum, noted academic and theoretical scholar at the Institute for Advanced Study, for her book Wonderful Blood: Theology and Practice in Late Medieval Northern Germany and Beyond (University of Pennsylvania, 2007). The prize was awarded during the 44th International Congress on Medieval Studies, May 7–10. Bynum argues in her book that Christ’s blood, as both object and symbol, was central to late medieval art, literature, pious practice, and theology....
Western Michigan University, May 18

Cover of SissinghurstAdam Nicolson wins Ondaatje Prize
Adam Nicolson’s unsentimental study of his family castle Sissinghurst has won the Royal Society of Literature’s Ondaatje prize, awarded to a work of literature deemed to have most successfully evoked “the spirit of a place.” Sissinghurst: An Unfinished History is Nicolson’s memoir of his family home, from its origins as a medieval manor, to the creation by his grandparents Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicolson of its world-famous garden, and Nicolson’s own attempts to restore the estate to its glory days....
The Guardian (U.K.), May 19

Cover of The SlapChristos Tsiolkas wins the Commonwealth Prize
Australian author Christos Tsiolkas won the 2009 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for his gritty portrayal of Melbourne suburbia, The Slap. The $20,000 prize was announced at the Auckland Writers and Readers Festival May 16. Pakistani author Mohammed Hanif won the $10,000 Best First Book prize for his novel of political intrigue, A Case of Exploding Mangoes....
Brisbane (Qld.) Times, May 17

Sparky Awards logo, plus "Enter now"Host your own Sparky awards
The Sparky Awards is a contest that recognizes the best new short videos on the value of sharing, and aims to broaden the discussion of access to scholarly research by inviting college students to express their views creatively. This year, students may submit their entries to local contests as well as the national one. Set a deadline that works for you, sometime in advance of the national deadline on December 6; name a panel of judges who will help attract attention on your campus; offer your own prizes; and register here....
Sparky Awards

Greg Hayton. Photo by Tom VogelCanadian librarian wins architectural honor
Greg Hayton will be the first librarian to ever win an Advocate for Architecture Award from the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada. The chief executive officer of the Cambridge (Ont.) Library and Galleries will receive the award June 20 in Montreal. Hayton was praised for his work in promoting such public buildings as the Hespeler library branch and as cocreator of the Design at Riverside gallery at the University of Waterloo....
Royal Architectural Institute of Canada

Florida Gulf Coast University Library entranceFirm wins construction award for FGCU library
Ajax Building Corporation has received an “Excellence in Construction Award” from an industry group for its 2007 work on the expansion and renovation of the Florida Gulf Coast University Library in Fort Myers—a waterfront complex that already has received separate accolades in design and construction. The Gulf Coast Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors presented Ajax its award in the Institutional Renovations category....
Tallahassee (Fla.) Democrat, May 18

Seen Online

Hard drive from Clinton administration missing
The National Archives lost a computer hard drive containing a terabyte of sensitive data from the Clinton administration, including Social Security numbers, addresses, and Secret Service and White House operating procedures, congressional officials said May 19. Other information includes logs of events, social gatherings, and political records. Officials said the drive was removed from a storage area in the College Park facility sometime between October and March to a workspace that was accessible to many archive employees and visitors....
Washington Post, May 20

Electronic Copyright Office logoCopyright backlog at LC
A serious logjam in the U.S. Copyright Office at the Library of Congress has created a growing mountain of paper applications, more than the staff can process. Like the marching buckets of water in The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, the envelopes just keep coming, threatening to flood the operation. The problem has tripled the processing time for a copyright from 6 to 18 months, and delays are expected to get worse. The library’s inspector general has warned that the backlog threatens the integrity of the U.S. copyright system....
Washington Post, May 19

Brewster Kahle: Google aims to privatize libraries
Open Content Alliance Director Bewster Kahle writes: “A ruling is expected shortly on a proposed settlement of lawsuits filed against Google in 2005 by groups claiming that Google’s book-scanning project violated copyright. If approved, it would produce not one but two court-sanctioned monopolies. Google will have permission to bring under its sole control information that has been accessible through public institutions for centuries. In essence, Google will be privatizing our libraries.” Meanwhile, the University of Michigan signed an expanded agreement (PDF file) with Google May 19 that allows the library to strengthen its preservation efforts and increase the public’s access to books....
Washington Post, May 19; University of Michigan, May 20

Is Google waging a library PR campaign?
Washington Office Associate Director Corey Williams writes: “Recently, Google representatives have initiated contact with members of the library community to explain, from their perspective, the proposed Google Book Search settlement agreement that was recently reached among Google, the Association of American Publishers, and the Authors Guild. Specifically, Google is reaching out to library leaders, likely in response to an increase in interest in the community and the press about the concerns libraries have raised in response to the proposed private settlement agreement.”...
District Dispatch, May 14

Josephine Community Libraries logoJosephine County libraries reopen
Libraries in Josephine County, Oregon, began reopening May 20 under an outsourcing plan that operates the system at about half the cost—and for about half the previous hours. The county has enough money to keep them open for up to three years, but beyond that there is much uncertainty about funding. Leaving a trail of two failed levies in 2006 and 2007 behind them, library supporters say they’ve got a tough road ahead as they gear up to persuade voters to keep all 15 branches open into the future....
Medford (Oreg.) Mail Tribune, May 18

Shelly Powell serves up books and DVDs to drive-up patrons at Largo (Fla.) Public LibraryDrive-through circ at Largo
Patrons of the Largo (Fla.) Public Library can order books the same way they do their banking and order their food—from their cars. Library Clerk Shelly Powell (right) can serve patrons who drive up with a book, or they can leave one with her. They can also check out DVDs, pay fines, and sign up for a library card without ever going inside. Library Director Casey McPhee thought of the idea, and it has become a big success. Watch the video version (1:44)....
Bay News 9, St. Petersburg, Fla., May 18

University of San Francisco selling rare books to pay the bills
The University of San Francisco administration has undertaken a plan to protect itself from being further affected by the recession, though some faculty members are skeptical. The possibility of selling items from the Donahue Rare Book Room in the Gleeson Library garnered the strongest responses from faculty members. Apparently some auction sales have already taken place. Stephen J. Gertz, Nicholas Basbanes, and Jeremy Dibbell weigh in on the controversy....
USF Foghorn, Apr. 30; Book Hunter’s Holiday, May 13; Book Patrol, May 14; Fine Books & Collections, May 16; PhiloBiblos, May 13–14

Butte County libraries safe
Supporters of the Butte County (Calif.) Library are hearing welcome news, even though it isn’t all they could hope for. On May 13, the county announced that additional cuts targeting the library system won’t be necessary. Sang Kim, deputy Butte County administrative officer, said new revenue coming from a number of sources has sharply reduced the need for additional countywide layoffs. Chico Supervisor Maureen Kirk said she had never seen lobbying like this on a single issue....
Chico (Calif.) Enterprise Record, May 14, 17

Unused e-rate funding totals billions
About $5 billion of the estimated $19.5 billion in e-rate funds committed to schools and libraries from 1998 to 2006 were never used, according to a March report (PDF file) from the GAO. In some cases, funds were not claimed because applicants’ needs changed from the time they applied until it was time to file a Form 486, which releases the funding. In other cases, the actual expenses that applicants incurred were less than the amount of funding they had applied for. Often, the sheer complexity of the program caused them to leave money on the table....
eSchool News, May 14

The busy Zablocki branch is one of several libraries rumored to be under consideration for closingMilwaukee mulls closings
Milwaukee Public Library trustees are studying whether to replace some existing neighborhood libraries with fewer and larger regional libraries, buttressed by a network of computer centers and tiny “express” libraries in supermarkets or coffee shops. They say a new approach would provide the same service at a lower cost. But many library patrons are likely to resist any change to the 13-branch system they have grown to love. In early May, a rumor that library closings were under discussion was enough to lead three aldermen to hold a news conference denouncing the idea....
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, May 16

Conley branch of the Muncie Public LibraryMuncie branch to close
On May 18, despite pleas from members of the city’s black community, the Muncie (Ind.) Public Library board of trustees repeated a vote it had taken in November, to close both the Vivian Conley branch (right) and the Local History and Genealogy Center on June 1. Long-time users of the branch held a protest May 16 to call attention to the potential closing of the branch, named after a late Muncie community activist. The library has already cut 20 full-time positions in 2008 and 2009 to deal with a shrunken budget and has cut hours at all branches. But staff say it is not enough....
Muncie (Ind.) Star Press, May 19

UCLA settles with Tasered student
The University of California, Los Angeles, said May 15 that it would pay $220,000 to settle a civil rights lawsuit filed by a student who in November 2006 was repeatedly stunned with a Taser gun by campus police after he refused to show his identification or leave the UCLA library. UCLA’s acting chancellor brought in a police accountability expert, who found that the action against Mostafa Tabatabainejad had violated department rules....
Los Angeles Times, May 15

Fire in Lorain County Law Library
A fire that broke out at the Lorain County Administration Building in Elyria, Ohio, caused $200,000–$300,000 in damage, burning part of the county law library and permeating smoke throughout the five-floor building. A blazing garbage can spread fire to the building May 16 around 10:30 p.m. The 37-year-old building does not have sprinklers because they were not required by the fire code when it was built. Some law books and shelving burned, but most of the internal damage was from smoke. The library could reopen in July....
Lorain (Ohio) Morning Journal, May 17; Elyria (Ohio) Chronicle-Telegram, May 17, 19

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Tech Talk

Palm PreOn call: A summer of cell phones
Kent German writes: “Though summer is always a busy time for new cell phone releases, so far the summer of 2009 is shaping up to be a doozy. We expect a full load of new handsets over the next three months with June being an especially hectic time for high-profile models—including the long-awaited Palm Pre (right), on sale June 6 for $200. To help you keep track of the news, here’s a handy list.”...
Dialed In, May 19; PC World, May 19

Microsoft Windows VistaThe 10 biggest tech failures of the last decade
Douglas A. McIntyre writes: “Several of the best-funded and most-publicized tech launches of the last 10 years have ended in failure. To make the list, a product had to be widely recognized and widely available to customers. It had to be aimed at a large global market. Finally, it had to clearly miss the mark of living up to the potential that its creators expected, and that the public and press were lead to believe was possible.”...
Time, May 15

Wolfram Alpha logoNew search engines supplement Google
Some sites, like Twine and hakia, try to personalize searches, separating out results you would find interesting based on your web use. Searchme offers an iTunes-like interface that lets users shuffle through photos and images. Kosmix bundles information by type—from Twitter, Facebook, blogs, the government—to make it easier to consume. Wolfram Alpha is more of an enormous calculator than a search: It crunches data to come up with query answers that may not exist online until you search for them....
CNN, May 12

Twikini for Windows MobileThe ultimate Twitter toolkit
Kyle Monson writes: “Want to be a Twitter ninja? Hordes of new users are joining and dreaming up new uses for it. As they do so, Twitter is maturing into a viable alternative not just to blog platforms but to RSS readers, news aggregators, media-sharing services, and communication tools. All you have to do to unleash the full power of Twitter is follow the right users and have the right tools handy. Familiarize yourself with these powerful Twitter tools and add the relevant ones to your arsenal to become a Master Tweeter.”...
PC Magazine, May 18

Deep Blue, the IBM computer that won a six-game match against chess champion Garry Kasparov in 1997.Nine classic games computers have ruined
Michael Marshall writes: “If we ever manage to build a working quantum computer, the first killer app might be online poker. Thanks to the counterintuitive rules of quantum mechanics, players will be able to use mind-boggling strategies like betting and folding simultaneously. Poker wouldn’t be the first game to have been revolutionized by computers. Artificial intelligence researchers have taught computers to play a wide range of strategic games well enough to compete with skillful human players—and in a few cases, they’ve beaten them convincingly.”...
New Scientist, May 18

Plantronics Voyager ProThe top five Bluetooth headsets
Jamie Lendino writes: “Bluetooth headset designs just keep getting better and better. For the past couple of years, new models have been smaller, less obtrusive, and much more fashionable than their predecessors. The only problem: They still sounded tinny and robotic. The latest round of products we’ve seen has finally changed that. All of the top-rated units now have effective noise cancellation and wind suppression—so walking on the street on a windy day or driving with the window down isn’t an issue.”...
PC Magazine, May 13


Cover of New England ReviewOn the chopping block
With some university presses facing budget cuts that could effectively kill their operations, maybe it shouldn’t be a surprise. But experts on literary magazines are nonetheless surprised and worried by the announcement out of Middlebury College that it will cease sponsorship of the New England Review by 2011 if the publication doesn’t become self-supporting. The problem, according to the editor of the Review and experts on literary magazines, is that they don’t have business models that work, and so must rely on philanthropic support or the sponsorship of a college....
Inside Higher Ed, May 14

Cover of Fairy TalesScholar claims print origin for fairy tales
Ruth B. Bottigheimer, a professor at Stony Brook University in New York, disputes the idea that fairy tales were handed down orally through generations until “19th and 20th-century folklorists hearkened to peasants’ words” and they were transformed into literature by the likes of the Brothers Grimm. She points to mid-16th-century Venice as the starting point for a specific kind of fairy tale, the “rise” tale or Cinderella story, invented by Giovanni Francesco Straparola, author of the 1550 collection Le piacevoli notti (Pleasant Nights). The Chronicle has a review of her book, Fairy Tales: A New History....
The Guardian (U.K.), May 19; Chronicle of Higher Education, May 22

Scribd logoScribd morphs into e-book retailer
Scribd has been called the YouTube of the e-book world, a title earned by its fast-rising popularity and its social networking approach to digital distribution. Realizing that the Amazon Kindle and e-books are becoming a permanent fixture in our reading culture, Scribd opened May 18 a beta version of the Scribd Store, which allows users to purchase digital copies of texts from a variety of independent publishers and authors. The best part: Authors and publishers keep a hefty 80% of revenue....
PC World, May 18

Print-on-demand takes the lead
Based on preliminary figures from U.S. publishers, Bowker is projecting that traditional book publishing decreased in 2008 by 3.2%, with 275,232 new titles and editions, down from the 284,370 that were published in 2007. But despite this decline, Bowker projects that 285,394 on-demand books were produced in 2008, a staggering 132% increase over last year’s final total of 123,276 titles....
Bowker, May 19

Scene from early production of R.U.R., showing three robots on the rightWhere do robots come from?
Mark Strauss writes: “The first robots were born on January 25, 1921, the day Karel Čapek’s play R.U.R. premiered in Prague, more than 80 years before Skynet achieved sentience and declared, ‘I think, therefore you’re all toast.’ R.U.R. introduced audiences to the term ‘robot’ (from the Czech word robota, meaning labor or servitude), and gave humanity its first glimpse of a world conquered by machines.”...
io9, May 19

Cover of When Worlds Collide, by Edwin Balmer and Philip Wylie (1933)15 influential early works of apocalyptic fiction
Apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic literature involves any of the following: alien invasions, pandemics, severe natural disasters, the fall of civilization, the end of the world (“dying earth”), and massive wars. Most of the following works were influential to some degree, whether they influenced other authors or the wider genre in general, and were published between 1805 and 1945....
Listverse, May 19

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Actions & Answers

White House won’t ask for high court review of NSL gag order
The Obama administration will not ask the Supreme Court to review a 2007 district court decision that struck down Patriot Act provisions allowing the government to impose unconstitutional gag orders on recipients of national security letters. The lawsuit at issue, Doe v. Holder, was filed by the ACLU and New York Civil Liberties Union in April 2004 on behalf of an internet service provider. Because the FBI imposed a gag order on the ISP, the lawsuit was filed under seal, and even today the ACLU is prohibited from disclosing its client’s identity....
American Civil Liberties Union, May 18

FISA surveillance down, NSL requests up in 2008
During calendar year 2008, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court approved 2,083 applications (down from 2,370) for authority to conduct electronic surveillance and physical search of suspected foreign intelligence and terrorist targets under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, according to a May 14 report to Congress (PDF file) from the Justice Department. In 2008 the FBI made 24,744 national security letter requests (up from 16,804) for information concerning 7,225 different U.S. persons....
Secrecy News, May 18

NUC Manuscripts Collections logoNUC Manuscripts Collections is 50
The National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections, a cooperative cataloging program of the Library of Congress and eligible archival and manuscript repositories located throughout the United States, is celebrating its 50th anniversary in May. The catalog includes not only the MARC-standard cataloging produced by NUCMC since the mid-1980s but also cataloging produced by libraries, archives, historical societies, museums and other holders of archival and manuscript collections around the world....
Library of Congress, May 15

Charles Wallace Parker's carousel factory in Abilene, Kansas, became one of the leading U.S. companies in the carnival business. Large posters like this were used to promote the traveling shows, and are on display at the new Kansas City archivesNARA is up-to-date in Kansas City
Kimberlee N. Ried writes: “The National Archives’ Central Plains regional archives is moving into the heart of Kansas City’s cultural and historic area. Long situated in a warehouse-style facility far from the major business district of Kansas City, Missouri, the Central Plains archives is relocating to the Kansas City Crossroads District, near the city’s historic Union Station and its popular Crown Center. There, it can become a major part of the cultural life of the city as an easily accessible research center and venue for National Archives exhibits.”...
Prologue 41, no. 1 (Spring)

Answers to questions about teen practices
Danah Boyd writes: “Before I headed to Atlanta to do fieldwork, I asked folks who follow me on Twitter what questions I should ask teens. To all who asked questions about Twitter: Average teens don’t use Twitter. They may in the future, but they do not now. Because of Oprah and celebs, some teens are starting to hear about it, but they don’t understand it and they aren’t using it.”...
Apophenia, May 16

Danville Public Library Director Otis D. Alexander stands next to the Danville Adult Detention signDanville reaches out to ex-offenders
Otis D. Alexander (right) writes: “Many ex-offenders feel that the system has little to offer them except a strong likelihood that they will return to prison. The high rate of recidivism among former offenders would seem to bear this out. However, the Danville (Va.) Public Library is doing all that it can to assist ex-offenders in reconnecting to their communities by spreading literacy, encouraging reading, and offering referrals to the many services that are available to help them with its Institute of Information Literacy.”...
Virginia Libraries 54, no. 3–4 (July–Dec. 2008): 25–26

Facebook badgeEight essential apps for your Facebook page
Alison Driscoll writes: “Not even a year ago, Facebook was still being dismissed as a silly site intended to help college kids slack off. Indeed, that is what helped the social network take hold with a large number of users, but it has proven its worth in business and by now, nearly everyone is on board. An effective Facebook page not only attracts fans, but is sticky so that fans keep coming back and may even share the content on the page. Here are eight essential apps for your library’s Facebook page.”...
Mashable, May 13

Structure of sodium thiopental, from Common ChemistryCommon Chemistry for the general public
Chemical Abstracts Service has launched a new, free, web-based resource called Common Chemistry. This database is helpful to non-chemists and others who might know either a chemical name or a CAS Registry Number of a common everyday chemical and want to pair both pieces of information. Common Chemistry contains approximately 7,800 chemicals of widespread and general interest, as well as all 118 elements from the periodic table....
Chemical Abstracts Service, May 12

AltLaw logoFree case law on the web
Robert J. Ambrogi writes: “Free is good. But free is not necessarily equal. Here are 10 sites that provide free access to case law. Each has its peculiar strengths and weaknesses. Which is right for your research project? The answer depends on what you need.”...
Legal Technology, May 8

Who needs MARC?
Lukas Koster writes: “This week I had a nice chat with André Keyzer of the University of Groningen Library and Peter van Boheemen of Wageningen University Library (both in the Netherlands), who attended OCLC’s Amsterdam Mashathon 2009. As can be expected from library technology geeks, we got talking about bibliographic metadata formats. The question came up: What on earth could be the reason for storing bibliographic metadata in exchange formats like MARC?”..., May 15

Reception rules for a library-themed weddingHow to have a library-themed wedding
Diana Vizcarra Douglas writes: “Go ahead. Google ‘library-themed wedding’ and 90% of the context will be my wedding. Scott has had massive emails asking how this came about and I would love to share our story. We married one year ago in March, and this is the perfect way to show you how it was done. This is the post of our invites.”...
Our City Lights, Mar. 18

A dreadful meetingFive surprises in her first year with an MLIS
Cynthia Lambert writes: “One year ago next week, I received my MLIS from Rutgers University. On the eve of this anniversary, I thought I would share the top five most surprising things I have learned and comment on each. Keep in mind, all of these pertain to public libraries because that is where I work and public librarians are who I tend to socialize with. Also, these observations are not all about MPOW—they come from discussion with many different librarians from many different libraries.”...
Library Garden, May 15

Cover of The Woman's Dress for Success Book, by John Molloy (1977)Awful library books
Mary Kelly and Holly Hibner are public librarians in Michigan and cannot understand why librarians won’t weed the junk from circulating collections. Their Awful Library Books blog is a collection of the worst of public library holdings. The items featured are so old, obsolete, awful, or stupid that they are horrified that people might be actually checking these items out. No specific libraries or librarians are named to protect the guilty....
Awful Library Books

What is a group of librarians?
Stephen Abram writes: “I asked an idle question on my Facebook wall and it generated some interesting, fun, and funny responses. What do you call a group of librarians? Some of the quick suggestions were a gaggle of librarians, a collection of librarians, a shush of librarians. Warrior Librarian has multiple humorous suggestions. Wikipedia and WikiAnswers had others. How about a network of librarians?”...
Stephen’s Lighthouse, May 18; Warrior Librarian

Canadian libraries also need federal support
The Canadian Library Association announced May 15 an urgent need for further government investment in public libraries in order to build or upgrade their infrastructure. Across Canada, most cities are reporting increased demand for library services and programs. CLA underscored the need for an expanded role for the Canadian government in supporting libraries, including investment in broadband, long-term funding, and library-friendly copyright legislation....
Canadian Library Association, May 15

Euegen the Librarian on Britain's Got TalentEugene the Librarian reads poetry
A 37-year-old contestant on the UK’s popular talent show, Britain’s Got Talent, Eugene the Librarian performed successfully on the third season’s sixth audition May 16 by reciting his poetic ode to the show (3:58), which features singers, dancers, comedians, and variety acts. He received all three yes votes, although Judge Simon Cowell snidely remarked that it’s the “first time anyone like you has received a standing ovation.”...
YouTube, May 16

Carrie Donovan plugs Indiana's reference servicesJust ask the IUB Libraries
The Indiana University Libraries in Bloomington are ready to help students with anything (2:59), including finding books on swearing. Starring IUB Instructional Services Librarian Carrie Donovan, who shifts signage to the tune of “Having Trouble Remembering” by DoKashiteru....
YouTube, Apr. 27

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2009 ALA Annual Conference logo

ALA Annual Conference, Chicago, July 9–15. The Empowerment Conference for library support staff will be held July 11–12. This year’s event, themed “Who’s Da Boss: Leadership for Library Support Staff,” has been designed specifically to meet the needs of support staff who supervise others, manage departments, and want to be leaders.

Cole Hamels READ poster

Starting pitcher for the Philadelphia Phillies, Cole Hamels was voted MVP of both the 2008 World Series and National League Championship. Hamels and his wife Heidi are dedicated to the Hamels Foundation, which in the U.S. provides assistance to inner-city schools. An avid reader of fantasy books, in this READ poster he is holding a copy of Christopher Paolini’s Eragon. NEW! From ALA Graphics.

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

Career Leads from
ALA Joblist logo

Head Librarian, Denver Botanic Gardens. Seeking a dynamic, creative leader for its specialized botanical and horticultural library. This self-motivated individual will act on own initiative and direction to manage all library aspects to ensure the advancement of the Helen Fowler Library and the Gardens. Aspects of this position include: community relations; audience development; staff supervision; materials acquisition; resource management; technical services; reference services and circulation, including ILL; and rare book/special collections care....

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Digital Library of the Week

Cover of White Pine News, Christmas edition, 1906

The Cooperative Libraries Automated Network, operated by the Nevada State Library and Archives in Carson City, has begun digitizing its collection of state newspapers. One of the collections is the White Pine News, published in Ely from 1881 to 1906, which contains much valuable information on the copper, silver, and gold mines of the region, as well as everyday life in the Great Basin. Other papers include the Wadsworth Dispatch and the Reese River Reveille.

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

“For many people, the public library is also the visible face of the government. I’ve never been in City Hall, but I am in the library all the time. It is one functioning arm of the government that delivers a service efficiently, usually free of charge, and often with a smile and an offer of more help. Yes, librarians are NICE! Besides, when was the last time you saw a librarian being led away in handcuffs for taking bribes, fixing contracts, or fudging the books?”

—Author Kenneth C. Davis, in an editorial against New York City Mayor Bloomberg’s threatened budget cuts to the New York Public Library, “Libraries Are America’s Lifelines: Leave Them Alone,Huffington Post, May 8.

“I believe that librarians are the unacknowledged legislators of the universe. The past three years have only confirmed my view.”

—Alex Beam, in the acknowledgments to his A Great Idea at the Time: The Rise, Fall, and Curious Afterlife of the Great Books (PublicAffairs, 2008), p, 204.

American Libraries on Twitter

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

Ask the ALA Librarian

Cover of Interlibrary Loan Practices Handbook

Q. I've never done interlibrary loans before. What resources do you have that can help me?

A. Libraries in the Unites States should follow the Interlibrary Loan Code for the United States which was prepared by RUSA. ALA has prepared a Fact Sheet that gives information on the latest version of the Interlibrary Loan Code for the United States and links to where the interlibrary loan form can be downloaded as an Adobe Reader PDF file as well as a Microsoft Word file (which can be edited). It also provides guidance and a bibliography on international interlibrary loan. You may also find the short bibliography of articles and books on interlibrary loan to be of interest. From the ALA Professional Tips wiki.

@ The ALA Librarian welcomes your questions.

C&RL News May 09 cover

Rebecca Tolley-Stokes describes how academic libraries can align their customer-service models to that of top-notch online retailer Zappos, the “Amazon of shoes,” in the May 2009 issue of ACRL’s College & Research Libraries News.


June 4–5:
Managing and Preserving Archival Collections, Pittsburgh (Pa.) Athletic Association. Workshop sponsored by Conservation Center for Arts and Historic Art.

June 4–5:
Politics and Networking, Decatur, Georgia. Certified Public Library Administrator course sponsored by PLA.

June 10–12:
New York State Library Assistants’ Association, Annual Conference, Sage College, Troy.

June 12:
New England Library Association, Information Technology Section,
Spring Event, Portsmouth (N.H.) Public Library. “Building a Better Website with Content Management Systems.”

June 14–18:
Semantic Technology Conference, Fairmont Hotel, San Jose, California.

June 19:
Michigan Information Literacy Initiative,
Oakland Community College–Orchard Ridge Campus, Farmington Hills, Michigan.

June 19–20:
Open Video Conference, Vanderbilt Hall, New York University, New York City.

July 26–28:
Church and Synagogue Library Association, Annual Conference, McKinley Grand Hotel, Canton, Ohio. “Historical Paths to the Future.”

Aug. 6–7:
Serving Diverse Populations, Houston, Texas. Certified Public Library Administrator course sponsored by PLA.

Aug. 30–
Sept. 3:

First International Conference on eParticipation, Linz, Austria. Colocated with EGOV 2009.

Sept. 16–17:
Planning and Management of Buildings, Saratoga Springs, New York. Certified Public Library Administrator course sponsored by PLA.

@ More...

Emerging leaders of ALA

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