The e-newsletter of the American Library Association | May 27,

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

Sign: Read, connect, think, grow. Support Bellevue School LibrariesEducation reform won’t spare Washington school librarians
Basic education reform came to the state of Washington May 19 with the signing by Gov. Christine Gregoire of a bill (PDF file) that adds a credentialed, but not necessarily funded, teacher-librarian in every K–12 school to the definition of what constitutes a basic education. The timing was wrought with irony, however: Several weeks earlier lawmakers had responded to the nation’s ongoing economic crisis by slashing $1 billion in state aid to education for FY2010, triggering the reduction in force of several thousand teachers—among them school librarians—in Bellevue and elsewhere in Washington State....
American Libraries Online, May 27

Architectural detail from Providence Central Library, 1900Providence Central Library loses city funding
The Providence (R.I.) Public Library board approved May 21 an FY2010 operating budget for the Central Library that is devoid of any municipal support. PPL trustees announced the plan nearly a month after the 131-year-old nonprofit Providence Public Library ceded control of its nine branch libraries to the City of Providence, which in turn will hand over their management to the Providence Community Library July 1....
American Libraries Online, May 22

ALA News

Tell us how to Get a Job
In preparing a new web-based toolkit called Get a Job!, ALA is looking for stories and advice on what to do and what not to do to find employment, particularly in this economy. Employers and consultants can share words of wisdom about what a candidate has done to impress them. New employees can share their best tactics in landing a job. Email your best tips and anecdotes for possible inclusion on the website by June 5....

Chapters pass resolutions honoring Judith Krug
At least 35 ALA state and regional chapters have passed resolutions saluting “the life and legacy” of Judith F. Krug, founding director of the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom. The resolutions detail her extensive accomplishments and multitude of awards, and make special note of the “practical assistance and unstinting support” Krug provided to librarians facing challenges to intellectual freedom in their communities....
OIF Blog, May 21

New York City Guide, one of the American Guides produced by the Federal Writers' ProjectFederal Writers’ Project programming
The Public Programs Office is currently coordinating a project with 30 libraries around the United States called “Soul of a People: Writing America’s Story” on the writers and researchers of the Federal Writers’ Project
. In the 1930s, the FWP produced the renowned American Guides series (right) for each state, transcribed interviews with ordinary Americans, interviewed former slaves, and collected folktales and regional recipes. PPO has created an online Soul of a People Site Support Notebook, which any library interested in presenting programs on the Writers’ Project is welcome to use....
Programming Librarian, May 22

How do ALA Membership Meetings work?
The ALA Membership Meetings at Annual Conference are an opportunity for members to make things happen. Members can bring issues important to libraries and librarians to the floor and decide how they might be addressed within ALA. Members present can change the proposed agendas at any time, and any member may speak on any topic by standing at a microphone....

Cover of Readers' Advisory Guide to Genre FictionA fresh look at genre fiction
Joyce G. Saricks’s Readers’ Advisory Guide to Genre Fiction has just been released in a revised edition by ALA Editions. The guide supplies a way to understand the vast universe of genre fiction in an easy-to-use format. Legendary readers’ advisory expert Saricks offers groundbreaking reconsideration of the connections among genres and describes key authors and themes within 15 varied genres....

Cover of Licensing Digital ContentLicensing digital content
ALA Editions has released a second edition of Licensing Digital Content: A Practical Guide for Librarians by Lesley Ellen Harris. The new edition updates the basics of digital licensing for librarians in a plain-language approach that demystifies the process. Written from the librarian's perspective, this guide updates licensing terminology and changes in technology, and explains how to educate organizations that have signed license agreements....

Poet Jane Hirshfield will appear Saturday at noon. Photo by Nick RoszaPoets and authors LIVE! at Annual Conference
The Public Programs Office will present 25 critically-acclaimed and best-selling authors on the LIVE! @ your library Reading Stage, from noon to 4 p.m., July 11–13, in the exhibits hall at ALA Annual Conference in Chicago. Attendees are welcome to take a break from their busy conference schedules and listen to authors and poets read from and autograph their recent works. Located in the back of the 3200 aisle in the exhibits hall, the reading stage is free for all conference attendees....

Booklist Online logo

Cover of Polly's GlobalWalkFeatured review: Media
Polly’s GlobalWalk. Dec. 2008. 108 min. Newcastle, DVD.
On August 1, 1999, Polly Letofsky left Colorado on a dual mission to become the first woman to walk around the world and to raise funds for breast cancer research. Five years and 14,124 miles later, she completed her journey and raised more than $250,000. This very personal, inspiring film records Polly’s trek on a road that isn’t always smooth. The foundation she formed to support her trip falters; she is in a Muslim country (Malaysia) on 9/11 and learns about the horrific events from biased media; European countries are not as receptive as she expected. Yet support comes from surprising sources....

Booklist May 15 coverBook Links May coverBook Links to become Booklist supplement
Book Links magazine is on the move; starting in October it will be published as a quarterly print supplement to Booklist, at no additional cost to subscribers, rather than as a stand-alone magazine. Book Links’ editorial focus and original content, popular for nearly 20 years, will continue to fulfill the mission of connecting children with books and related media. Book Links content will also appear in Booklist Online, further enriching the site and database as a resource for school and youth librarians....

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

Chicago Update

27 things to do before a conference
Chris Brogan writes: “If you’re attending an event over the next several months, you might give some thought to a quick checklist that might help you better accomplish your goals. I’ll list a bunch of ideas, and you can just narrow it down to what you think works best for you. I should note that this post presumes we’re talking about more modern conferences and/or events where people might be even vaguely connected to the internet.” (Yes, that includes ALA Annual Conference.)...
Chris Brogan, Mar. 13

One-third scale replica of Daniel Chester French's statue of the Republic, which stood in the great basin at the World's Columbian ExpositionChicago Architecture Foundation tours
The Chicago Architecture Foundation offers some of the best tours in the city that are dedicated to increasing the public’s understanding of architecture and design. There are many available around the Annual Conference dates, so plan ahead and book early. The Devil in the White City Companion Bus Tour, based on Erik Larson’s bestselling book about the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893, is offered on July 7 and 9, while walking tours and the popular river cruise take place every day....
Chicago Architecture Foundation

Marshall Field Jr. Mansion, Prarie Avenue District, ChicagoChicago ghost tours
Folklore and history come alive as native Chicago ghost hunters lead you on an intriguing excursion through haunted Chicago, searching for Resurrection Mary, Al Capone, John Dillinger, and dozens of other Windy City ghosts. The tour is based on the work of lifelong Chicagoan, historian, and paranormal researcher Ursula Bielski—author of six books on ghostly Chicago, including Chicago Haunts. Summer tours run Tuesday through Saturday at 7 p.m. and meet at 600 N. Clark Street....
Chicago Hauntings Tours

Division News

Gail A. KennedyGail Kennedy elected LLAMA president
Gail A. Kennedy, director of the Lucille Little Fine Arts Library at the University of Kentucky, has been elected vice-president/president-elect of LLAMA. Active in the division’s Buildings and Equipment Section, Kennedy currently chairs the Interior Design Awards Committee and was a mentor for new librarians in LLAMA’s mentoring program....

RUSA events at Annual Conference
A comprehensive guide to RUSA programming and events at the upcoming ALA Annual Conference in Chicago is now available for download (PDF file). The guide lists all RUSA preconferences and programs, including the popular Literary Tastes Breakfast....

ACRL sets strategic priorities
The ACRL board of directors has adopted a set of six strategic priorities designed to continue the association’s forward progress over the next five years. At the recent ACRL 14th National Conference in Seattle, the board reviewed the Charting Our Future: ACRL Strategic Plan 2020 document, taking into consideration progress to date, member needs, and external factors. As a result, the board identified six strategic objectives as priorities for 2009–2013....

Cover of The Kaleidoscopic ConcernThe Kaleidoscopic Concern
ACRL has released a new digital publication, The Kaleidoscopic Concern by Kaetrena D. Davis-Kendrick. This annotated bibliography on racial and ethnic diversity in librarianship focuses on such areas of study as gender issues and white privilege with regard to racial minority and ethnic librarians. It can be downloaded for free from the ACRL website....

ACRL Springboard Event graphicACRL Springboard Event
ACRL is offering its second annual Springboard Event—a live, interactive webcast free of charge to ACRL members—from 12:00 noon to 1:15 p.m. Central time, June 3. Clifford Lynch, director of the Coalition for Networked Information, will share “some things that keep me awake at night,” including cultural memory in an age of economic instability and the migration of vast amounts of personal history and activity to the digital environment. Register online by May 29....

Author events at the AASL conference
One of the most requested things at AASL conferences has been more author events. Taking place November 5–8 in Charlotte, North Carolina, this year’s National Conference will feature “The Pit Stop,” with more than 20 regional authors on hand to mingle with participants. Guests will have the opportunity to talk one-on-one with the authors, hear plans for their newest books, and perhaps get some inspiration or advice for penning their own best-sellers....

So Much To See, So Much To Do logo in lime green and blueALSC Kids! campaign also targets tweens
Phase two of the ALSC Kids! @ your library public awareness campaign, which officially launches July 12, focuses on tools to help librarians promote library services to kids in Grades 5–8. All campaign resources are free and available for download....

YALSA’s 2010 symposium theme
YALSA has chosen “Beyond Good Intentions: Diversity, Literature, and Teens” as the theme for its 2010 Young Adult Literature Symposium, sponsored in part by the William C. Morris Endowment. In addition, the division has opened its call for preconference proposals, program proposals, and paper presentations for the symposium, which will take place in Albuquerque, New Mexico, November 5–7, 2010....

A YALSA online chat on the economy
Join YALSA on June 9 for a discussion about the impact of the recession on library workers who serve teens and how the association might provide support to its members in this economic climate. YALSA President Sarah Debraski will convene the discussion at 8:00 p.m. Eastern time in YALSA’s space on ALA Connect. YALSA members can log in to Connect using their regular ALA website username and password....
YALSA Blog, May 22

Learning 4 Life logoArchived L4L webinars available
AASL’s popular L4L webinars are now available for purchase in archived format. The webinars, offered in April during School Library Media Month, are part of Learning4Life, the division’s national initiative to implement “Standards for the 21st-Century Learner” and “Empowering Learners: Guidelines for School Library Media Programs.” If purchased before July 1, AASL will offer a buy three, get one free deal....

Round Table News

David CohenEMIERT cofounder turns 100
David Cohen, professor emeritus at the Queens College Graduate School of Library and Information Studies and 2007 ALA Honorary Member, turned 100 years old on May 24. He was cofounder of the Ethnic Material and Information Exchange Round Table, founding editor of the EMIE Bulletin, and sponsor of the EMIERT David Cohen Multicultural Award....

Librarian, May 21; Queens (N.Y.) Gazette, Apr. 15


Cover of China on Paper2009 RBMS Leab Exhibition Awards
The ACRL Rare Books and Manuscripts Section has selected five winners and one honorable mention for the 2009 Katharine Kyes Leab and Daniel J. Leab American Book Prices Current Exhibition Awards. The awards, funded by an endowment established by the Leabs, recognize outstanding exhibition catalogues issued by American or Canadian institutions. The Division One (expensive) winner is China on Paper: European and Chinese Works from the Late Sixteenth to the Early Nineteenth Century, submitted by the Getty Research Institute....

Andrea Sevetson is the 2009 winner of GODORT's James Bennett Childs Award2009 GODORT awards
The Government Documents Round Table presents three major awards to recognize achievements by documents librarians, a research grant designed to encourage participation in professional study or publication, and a scholarship for those pursuing a library science degree. This year’s winners are Andrea Sevetson (right), Daniel Cornwall, Eleanor Chase, Aimée Quinn, and Justin Joque....

Ann Manning Fiegen2009 BRASS Emerald Research Award winner
Ann Manning Fiegen, business librarian at California State University, San Marcos, has been selected as a recipient of the 2009 Emerald Research Award. Administered by the RUSA Business Reference and Services Section and sponsored by Emerald Publishing Group, the grant provides $5,000 in support of proposed research in the field of business reference. Fiegen proposed a systematic literature review of research methods and best practices for business instruction in academic libraries....

Books for Babies grants awarded
In partnership with Nordstrom, ALTAFF has awarded 10 grants for $500 each to match $1,000 raised by selected Friends of the Library groups, women’s groups, libraries, and other nonprofit organizations for purchasing Books for Babies kits from ALTAFF. A total of 2,025 English kits and 325 Spanish kits will be distributed to parents of newborns through these grants. An additional 10 matching grants will be awarded in October with an application deadline of October 1....

LITA Student Writing Award winner
T. Michael Silver, currently enrolled in the School of Library and Information Studies at the University of Alberta, has been named the winner of the 2009 LITA Ex Libris Student Writing Award. Silver’s paper, entitled “Monitoring Network and Service Availability with Open-Source Software,” describes a network monitoring system that automatically alerts library systems administrators if a service interruption occurs....

Alice MunroAlice Munro wins 2009 Man Booker Prize
Canadian short-story author Alice Munro has emerged victorious from a clash of the world’s literary giants to win the £60,000 ($94,900 U.S.) Man Booker International prize. The 77-year-old writer was picked from a lineup of towering international talent that included V. S. Naipaul, Mario Vargas Llosa, Peter Carey, and Joyce Carol Oates. The prize is granted once every two years in recognition of a living author who has made an outstanding contribution to world literature. Munro’s spare, quiet stories of small-town life have won her a host of literary awards....
The Guardian (U.K.), May 27

Anne Cassidy with her trophy of the Aberlemno Serpent Stone2009 Angus Book Award
Author Anne Cassidy has won the 2009 Angus Book Award for Forget Me Not (Scholastic, 2008)—a sympathetic and compelling narrative that reveals the hidden secrets behind two abductions. Cassidy was presented with her trophy, a miniature replica of the Aberlemno Serpent Stone (right), and the £500 ($800 U.S.) prize at a May 19 ceremony in Forfar, Scotland. This annual award for best new paperback YA novel written by a UK author is voted on by third-year students in Angus secondary schools....
Angus Council

Seen Online

Cover of NCES report, Basic Reading Skills and the Literacy of the America's Least Literate Adults: Results from the 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL) Supplemental StudiesBasic reading skills and adult literacy
A new report from the National Center for Education Statistics shows that about 30 million people—14% of the U.S. population 16 and older—have trouble with basic reading and writing. Of these, 7 million are considered nonliterate in English because their reading abilities are so low. Correlating factors include poverty, ethnicity, native language background, and disabilities. The findings suggest that a lack of basic reading skills (oral fluency and decoding unamiliar words) is a key problem....
Christian Science Monitor, May 7

Bill would fund internet safety education
A New Jersey lawmaker has introduced internet safety legislation that, if passed, would authorize roughly $175 million—$35 million a year for five years—for internet safety education and training to help make children, parents, and educators aware of proper online behavior and the dangers the internet poses. The School and Family Education about the Internet (SAFE Internet) Act, sponsored by Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), would create a grant program to support existing and new internet safety programs....
eSchool News, May 26

Debbie Harry Sings in French, by Meagan Brothers, was one of the titles deemed objectionableYALSA book list too salacious for Tennessee
An online list of best books for young adults chosen by ALA’s Young Adult Library Services Association has been removed from Williamson County, Tennessee, school websites for being too “salacious” for students. Every year the district puts together a recommended summer reading list, and this year Ravenwood and Brentwood high school websites included a link to the YALSA list. But at least one parent and one school board member found some selections inappropriate....
Nashville Tennessean, May 20

Binghamton school library gets a big upgrade
Elizabeth Wallace has three words to describe the old library at East Middle School in Binghamton, New York: “kind of boring.” But that was before the school used a $230,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Education to add more than 20,000 books and purchase laptop computers, furnishings, and other equipment. Now the library is a good place to do research, said the 15-year-old 8th grader. Applying for the grant was the idea of Media Specialist Gail Wellman....
Binghamton (N.Y.) Press and Sun-Bulletin, May 25

Melissa Strauss is covered with popcorn. From the news videoLibrarian transformed into human popcorn ball
Students at John Hopkins Elementary School in Jackson, Mississippi, got a sweet reward from their librarian May 21. Melissa Strauss said she promised she would “become a human popcorn ball” if students read 10 million words in library books during the school year. They did, and students poured syrup on Strauss before she rolled in a plastic pool filled with popcorn....
WAPT-TV, Jackson, Miss., May 21

Green Bay libraries proctor tests
The Brown County Library in Green Bay, Wisconsin, is now helping people take college or employment tests. It’s called proctoring when a library employee oversees the testing process, then mails the results to the college or business. The increase in unemployment and online college programs has more people taking work-aptitude tests and college exams....
Green Bay (Wis.) Press-Gazette, May 26

Towns fill budget gaps with surplus library funds
New Jersey towns scrambling to plug budget holes are dipping into a new well—their libraries’ surplus funds. Under a state law passed a year ago, they are asking municipal libraries to sign over part of their surpluses to ease the property-tax burden at a time when library use is burgeoning. But some libraries are reluctant to give up their hard-won savings, saying they need that money for new programs and unexpected expenses, especially as the recession creates greater demand for their services....
Bergen (N.J.) Record, May 22

Carrboro branch of the Orange County (N.C.) Public Library, located in the McDougle Middle SchoolCarrboro wants its branch
As county commissioners prepare to open public hearings on a budget that calls for the closing of the Carrboro branch of the Orange County (N.C.) Public Library, town aldermen are joining with library supporters to officially oppose the move. Mayor Mark Chilton said he hopes strong community support will underline the importance of the branch to the town. The county wants to close the Carrboro and Cedar Grove branches and shift employees to a new main library in downtown Hillsborough to avoid $250,000 in new personnel costs....
Carrboro (N.C.) Citizen, May 21

Iredell County saves positions, Girl Talk
Members of the Girl Talk group gathered in a private room at the Iredell County (N.C.) Public Library for what was supposed to be one of their last meetings. After county officials announced that a revenue shortfall would force budget cuts, some were concerned that the Girl Talk group’s days were numbered. The group, which meets once a week, targets girls from 11 to 17 years old. But things have now changed. County officials decided not to eliminate the 16 part-time positions that had been slated to be cut June 1....
Statesville (N.C.) Record and Landmark, May 27

Century Plaza branch of the Broward County (Fla.) LibraryBroward County branches threatened
Budget cuts in Broward County, Florida, could mean the end of the Century Plaza branch (right) where 3,800 patrons of all ages visit each week. Century Village residents collected 1,400 signatures to protest the possible closure, one of seven branches threatened as county officials weigh a $160-million spending reduction. The 2,000-member Friends of the Broward County Library is launching a protest campaign of 10,000 postcards to commissioners about the seven threatened branches....
Fort Lauderdale South Florida Sun-Sentinel, May 26

Alvin York's machine gun in the Nahant Memorial Day paradeNahant library’s machine gun moves to Tennessee
Residents of Nahant, Massachusetts, lined the main thoroughfare May 25 for a Memorial Day parade that featured the farewell appearance of a World War I machine gun that was part of the town’s victory parade for returning soldiers in 1919. The gun, which war hero Alvin York seized from the Germans in a legendary raid behind enemy lines, was brought to Nahant by a local Army clerk who had snatched it as a souvenir. Rediscovered in the attic of the Nahant Public Library in 2003, the gun is now getting delivered to the Museum of Appalachia in Clinton, Tennessee, in return for a $10,000 donation....
Boston Globe, May 26

Robert S. Abbott, left, founder of The Chicago Defender, in 1934 with Robert Sengstacke, his nephew, who took over in 1948Chicago showcases Defender treasures
It’s the largest and most significant collection of historical materials on the nation’s black press to be acquired by any American library. The Chicago Public Library unveiled May 27 the Abbott-Sengstacke Family Papers—a rare archive providing a sweeping look into the legacy of one of the nation’s most prominent black newspapers, the Chicago Defender—spanning more than 130 years. Available to the public for the first time are some 4,000 unpublished photographs, 100 home movies, and reams of correspondence with ordinary people, politicians, and U.S. presidents by the newspaper’s founders....
Chicago Sun-Times, May 27

Stolen Andrew Jackson letter found
A stolen letter written by President Andrew Jackson in 1824 has been recovered, thanks to the keen eye of University of Tennessee Assistant Professor Tom Coens. The letter, offered for sale at an auction website, was a familiar one to Coens, who is also assistant editor of UT’s Papers of Andrew Jackson project. He had seen a copy recently when he borrowed a microfilm from the New York State Library that included the letter, one of the documents stolen by former state archivist Daniel Lorello, who is serving two to six years in prison for grand larceny....
Knoxville (Tenn.) News Sentinel, May 26

Curly Locks, by Jessie Wilcox Smith, one of a series of paintings for Good Housekeeping Magazine's Mother Goose series in 1914, has occupied a prominent place in the children's section of the Proctor Free Library since the 1940sLibrarian resigns over auctioned painting
The director of the Proctor (Vt.) Free Library has resigned after admitting to taking a 95-year-old painting from the library and selling it at auction. Trustees have decided not to press charges against Mary Brough, who sold the Jessie Wilcox Smith painting Curly Locks, part of the library’s collection since the 1940s, through an auction house for $96,600. The artwork and the proceeds were both recovered after an investigation by state police....
Rutland (Vt.) Herald, May 22

Job seekers line up at library computers
When Regina Alilat got laid off in April, it felt like the lights had gone out. Like four in every 10 Americans, Alilat has no computer at home in a country where nearly everything happens on the web. Along with thousands in the Portland, Oregon, metro area, the former administrative assistant has turned to the only place she knows where she can easily access computers for free: the Multnomah County Library. Yet the library’s computer resources are stretched thin with the rising demand....
Portland Oregonian, May 21

Fiber-optic internet for public libraries
Extending fiber-optic internet service to public libraries would help increase the demand for super-high-speed internet at home, one broadband expert says. Speaking at a May 21 forum at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, Don Means, cofounder of consulting firm Digital Village Associates, outlined his proposal to extend high-speed connectivity to all 16,500 public libraries in the country. Means said the federal e-rate program could provide libraries with start-up funding....
Broadband Census, May 21

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Tech Talk

Show the latest Google News articles on your website, based on topics you chooseGoogle offers Web Elements for easy news feeds
Google has made it easier for novice web publishers to spruce up their sites with feeds of Google’s products. Google Web Elements, unveiled May 27 at the Google I/O developer conference in San Francisco, is an easy cut-and-paste way to add a Google News feed, for example, to a web page. Eight feeds are available at first, with more possibly to come over the next several months....
Webware, May 27

Map Builder logoCreate cool maps with these apps
Don Riesinger writes: “Google Maps is dynamic. Making customized maps through the service isn’t very difficult. But there are a variety of third-party tools on the web that help you create fully customized Google Maps mashups. From Flickr geotag integration to wedding event mapping to just doodling, you can do it all.”...
Webware, May 19

Google Chrome logoNew Chrome loads JavaScript faster
Seth Rosenblatt writes: “Chrome version was touted by Google as being up to 30% faster for handling JavaScript. After using the update to the stable release extensively for the past day and running it through two JavaScript tests on two computers, it’s conclusively faster than the previous stable version of Chrome. Also new in this version of Chrome is the F11 hot key to toggle full screen mode, which drops all hints of the browser frame except for the scroll bars—but only if they’re appearing on that site in standard mode. There’s also a new form autofill.”...
Download Blog, May 22

Customized Twitter backgroundHow to create custom Twitter backgrounds
Ben Parr writes: “Since the early days of Twitter, users have had the ability to upload their own background images. If you’re new to Twitter, or just never took the time to create your own Twitter background, this guide is for you. It goes step-by-step into the rationale for creating a personalized Twitter background, takes a look at some amazing Twitter designers, and provides a list of useful Twitter design tools and resources.”...
Mashable, May 23

Obama's geek chartGeek Chart shows where you share
If you’re looking for a novel way to represent and visualize your online persona, Geek Chart takes your activity on popular sites—Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, any blog with an RSS feed, Digg, StumbleUpon, Delicious, and—and turns it into an interactive pie chart. Making a chart is free; embedding the chart in your website requires a sign-up for an account....
Lifehacker, May 23


100 Books for Understanding Contemporary Japan graphicBooks on contemporary Japan
The Nippon Foundation is donating “100 Books for Understanding Contemporary Japan” in English to 200–300 libraries throughout North America. The books cover all aspects of Japanese life—politics and international relations, literature, arts, history, society, culture, economics, and business. Academic and public libraries interested in some or all of these books should make a request by June 30....

Nippon Foundation

E-books are ugly, but it’s not the fonts
Joshua Tallent writes: “The real problem with e-book design is not the Kindle or the Mobipocket format, nor is it the lack of beautiful typography and new cover images. The real problem is how e-books on the whole are created today. The majority of publishers are not prepared to create e-books in house, so they send the PDFs off to outsourcing vendors in India. Often the out-of-house formatters will introduce errors into the e-books that were not present in the print books, or scan images with little regard for their size or resolution.”...
TeleRead, May 20

Secrets of the abstracting industry
Matthew B. Crawford writes: “In the early 1990s, I landed a job in the Bay Area writing brief summaries of academic journal articles, which were then sold on CD-ROMs to subscribing libraries. Some of this stuff was simply incomprehensible to anyone but an expert in the particular field covered by the journal. My job was structured on the supposition that in writing an abstract of an article there is a method that merely needs to be applied, and that this can be done without understanding the text. In some of the titles I was assigned, articles began with an abstract written by the author. But even in such cases I was to write my own.”...
New York Times, May 21

AL Buyers Guide ad

Actions & Answers

Transparency and open government
Four months have passed since President Obama signed a memo on transparency and open government (PDF file). On May 21, the Office of Science and Technology Policy began a process to allow the public to participate in creating recommendations that the chief technology officer of the Office of Management and Budget and the General Services Administration will make that will inform an open-government directive. An OSTP website explains the process where comments can be submitted. More than 60 open-government organizations, including ALA, had called on the administration May 18 (PDF file) to get the process going....
District Dispatch, May 22

Obamas to chair National Book Festival
President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama will serve as honorary chairs of the 2009 National Book Festival, organized and sponsored by the Library of Congress. Now in its ninth year, this popular event celebrating the joys of reading and lifelong literacy will be held on September 26 on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., between 7th and 14th Streets (rain or shine). The event is free and open to the public....
Library of Congress, May 26

Healthy teensHelp teens get a handle on their health
Joseph Wilk writes: “Whether teens have been chronically ill all their life or are just starting to get that weird tingle in the back of their throat, there are reasons to make sure that they get the kind of health care they need. Unfortunately, there are some traps that can keep them from visiting a doctor, including lack of health care and lack of inclination. A number of great online resources exist to get teens through cold season, as well as any other health issues they might be battling.”...
YALSA Blog, May 22

Queen Helina, queen of all donkeys, graced her presence at the Aurora (Colo.) Public Library for its first annual Ethiopian Children's Book Week, cosponsored by Ethiopia Reads. Photo by Emmanuel DavidMikeyas Abebe reads from Silly Mammo by Ethiopia Reads founder Yohannes Gebregeorgis during festivities at the Aurora Public Library. Photo by Emmanuel DavidEthiopia Reads in Colorado
The Aurora (Colo.) Public Library celebrated Ethiopian Children’s Book Week May 9 with a visit from Queen Helina, “queen of all donkeys” and mistress of the Donkey Mobile Library (right). Cosponsored by Ethiopia Reads, an organization that is planting children’s libraries in Ethiopia, the event featured traditional arts and crafts, face painting, a fashion show, and a dance performance representing all regions of the country....

The wider world and the library ecosystem
Wendy Stephens writes: “It is the time of the school year when high school librarians, like teachers, are simultaneously the most proud and the most anxious. As the band strikes up Elgar, we can’t help but wonder. Have we inculcated our college-bound seniors against the temptations of cut-and-paste and other digitally mediated forms of intellectual dishonesty? Have we managed to pass along the requisite media and online information literacy skills our students will need to function in a flat and networked society?”...
AASL Blog, May 22

Wake County Libraries' manga libraryA manga library at Animazement
Lindsey Dunn writes: “Animazement is a large anime/manga con that is held each year in the Raleigh area. Last year, the Wake County (N.C.) Libraries had an outreach table where we advertised what the libraries had to offer for anime fans. This year, Animazement contacted us in early spring to ask if we wanted to sponsor their first ever manga library. Of course, we said yes. This was a great opportunity to continue our outreach to this crowd. If you have a local con, find out if you can sponsor a manga library. It’s a great outreach, and the fans will appreciate it.”...
YALSA Blog, May 25

What if the Google settlement fails?
Andrew Richard Albanese writes: “The solution to what began in 2005 as a simple copyright question is now a complex blueprint for an entirely new digital book business, a $125-million legal puzzle that involves a dizzying array of moving parts: thousands of authors, millions of titles and editions, libraries, public interest issues, murky copyright law, orphan works and even the creation of a new, central rights-granting authority in the U.S., the Book Rights Registry. One notable thing the settlement doesn’t do, however, is address the original claim in the suits—whether Google’s scanning of library books to create an online index is legal.”...
Publishers Weekly, May 25

Mugglespace social network10 cool niche social networks
Sean Ludwig writes: “Instead of joining yet another Facebook group, why not try a niche social network? There are lots of them out there for just about every interest, and they are constantly being added to. Companies have launched sites for the LGBT community, bookworms, and dog lovers. There are also services such as Ning, which allows individual users to create their own social networks—so far more than a million individual networks have been built with it. Here are 10 niches you might consider joining.”...
PC Magazine, May 25

Digital scholarly communication (PDF file)
Nancy L. Maron and K. Kirby Smith write: “The networked digital environment has enabled the creation of new works that are accessible to end users directly. The decentralized distribution of these new resources can make it difficult to fully appreciate their range and number, even for academic librarians tasked with being familiar with valuable resources across the disciplines. In spring 2008, the Association of Research Libraries engaged Ithaka to help survey the broader landscape of online resources currently in use by the scholarly community. This report describes some of the ways in which scholarly communication is occurring in a digital world.”...
Research Library Issues, no. 263 (Apr.): 10–20

Tenure in a digital era
Even as the use of electronic media has become common across fields for research and teaching, what is taken for granted among young scholars is still foreign to many of those who sit on tenure and promotion committees. So many tenure decisions have been made on the basis of assuming that a university press has a sound peer review system that tenure has been outsourced, some say. Now, new models of scholarship are forcing these committees to closely consider how they know a candidate is producing good work....
Inside Higher Ed, May 26

Go back to the Top

Demco ad

2009 ALA Annual Conference logo

ALA Annual Conference, Chicago, July 9–15. ALA will rock the Art Institute of Chicago for the 10th Anniversary Scholarship Bash, July 11, at 7:00 p.m. This is your chance to discover new works of art and visit your favorites without fighting the crowds because the building will only open to those who buy a ticket to the Bash. Don’t miss this fun interactive evening with music, food, and the most acclaimed French Impressionist collection in the United States. Tickets are $40 in advance and $45 onsite. All proceeds go toward ALA library school scholarships.

Cover of a recent Library Technology Report

ALA TechSource, publisher of Library Technology Reports and Smart Libraries newsletter, has launched a new website that gives readers unprecedented access to current and back issues. This new platform, designed and hosted by MetaPress (an EBSCO company), allows readers to purchase and download Library Technology Reports in both PDF and full-text HTML format, with all issues fully searchable. NEW! From ALA Publishing.

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

Education Services Librarian, Marriott Library, University of Utah, Salt Lake City. Work with the Education Services librarians and others in an ambitious program to expand information, visual, and technology literacies across the disciplines. The librarian will assist in developing and offering new and innovative ways to teach students. Librarians in Education Services have a passion for teaching and provide stimulating experiences for students as they learn to use library resources and software applications. Library instruction is provided through first year courses, course-integrated instruction across the disciplines, stand-alone workshops, research labs, in-house faculty and staff workshops, and through online resources and services....

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Digital Library of the Week

Around 1947, the famous Budweiser Clydesdale horses visited Luigi Del Frate's Palms Beer Garden and Grocery. In this photo, the businessman (on the right) poses with two of his associates with the Clydesdales in front of his business. Nicholas P. Ciotola Italians in Albuquerque Pictorial Collection, 1884-1970. 2002-020-0086

The University of New Mexico Libraries hosts New Mexico’s Digital Collections. The collections contain documents, photographs, maps, posters, art, and music. Topics include New Mexico history, water and land issues, and Latin American art and politics. Participating repositories include the Center for Southwest Research, Fray Angélico Chávez History Library, the Palace of the Governors photo archives, the Silver City Museum, and the Tamarind Institute.

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

To ask why we need libraries at all, when there is so much information available elsewhere, is about as sensible as asking if roadmaps are necessary now that there are so very many roads.”

—Jon Bing, law professor at the Norwegian Research Center for Computers and Law, University of Oslo.

American Libraries on Twitter

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

Ask the ALA Librarian

The design of the Arabian branch of the Scottsdale (Ariz.) Public Library reflects the desert slot canyons of Arizona. The main reading room is clad in acoustically absorbent perforated wood treatment that mitigates noise spillover from adjacent areas. Richard+bauer architecture

Q. Although I’m now retired, I’ve always been interested in library buildings and recall that the ALA gives an award for library buildings. I’d like to plan a cross-country trip so that I could see some of these. Can you help?

A. ALA, currently through its Library Leadership and Management Association division, has collaborated with the American Institute of Architects in presenting the Library Building Awards since the early 1950s. These awards, intended to “encourage excellence in the architectural design and planning of libraries,” are given biennially. The next competition will be in 2011. The 2009 winners were listed in the Spring 2009 American Libraries digital supplement and in a LLAMA press release (PDF file). Previous winners are listed on the LLAMA website. The winners will also be showcased at the upcoming ALA Annual Conference at a program on Monday, July 13. For others who may have to plan a library building, please see the Buildings page on this wiki and the ALA Library Fact Sheet Number 11: Building Libraries and Library Additions: A Selected Annotated Bibliography. From the ALA Professional Tips wiki.

@ The ALA Librarian welcomes your questions.

Step Up to the Plate @ your library logo

This year, libraries help remind fans what makes baseball the great American pastime with Step Up to the Plate @ your library. Step Up to the Plate teams up two American classics, baseball and libraries, to promote the importance of information literacy skills and increase awareness of the library as an essential information resource.


June 1–4:
Computers, Freedom, and Privacy Conference, George Washington University, Washington, D.C. “Creating the Future.”

June 12–14:
Historical Novel Society, North American Conference, Hyatt Regency Woodfield, Schaumburg, Illinois.

June 1417:
Special Libraries Association, Annual Conference, Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Washington, D.C.

June 16–19:
Georgia Records Association, Spring Conference, Sea Palms, St. Simons Island.

June 20–25:
Association of Seventh-day Adventist Librarians, Annual Conference, Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Michigan.

June 26:
National Federation of Advanced Information Services, Forum, Creese Student Center, Drexel University, Philadelphia. “Google, the Web, and the Future Roles of Publishers and Librarians.”

July 58:
Association of Jewish Libraries, Annual Convention, Sheraton Chicago Hotel and Towers, Chicago. “Empowering Librarians for the 21st Century.”

July 9–15:
ALA Annual Conference, McCormick Place, Chicago.

Aug. 5–7:
Pacific Northwest Library Association, Annual Conference, Missoula, Montana. “A Century of Cooperation, a Legacy of Leadership.”

Sept. 1–5:
DrupalCon Paris, Maison Internationale, Cité Internationale Universitaire de Paris.

Sept. 23–26:
North Dakota Library Association, Annual Conference, Days Hotel–Grand Dakota Lodge and Conference Center, Dickinson. “Evolution of the Library.”

Sept. 30–
Oct. 2:

West Virginia Library Association, Annual Conference, Snowshoe Mountain Resort.

Oct. 1–4:
LITA National Forum, Salt Lake City, Utah. “Open and Mobile.”

Oct. 18–24:
Teen Read Week. “Read Beyond Reality @ your library.”

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