Denver bibliophile’s bedbugs take a bite out of ILL service
Denver Public Library has destroyed 31 books and fumigated four areas of its central library after a bedbug infestation (right) caused, ironically, by a patron dedicated to preserving classic literature. The contaminated books, which are rare works that were borrowed from DPL through interlibrary loan, had been checked out by Roger Goffeney, a retired poet and minister, who volunteers for the online collection Project Gutenberg. However, in early September library staff discovered bugs, their larvae, and droppings inside books returned by Goffeney....
American Libraries Online, Sept. 30; KFSN-TV, Fresno, Calif., Sept. 24
Salinas draws 15,000 to its centennial
In just four hours, 15,000 people gathered September 27 at the three branches of Salinas (Calif.) Public Library—John Steinbeck, El Gabilan, and César Chávez—for a simultaneous celebration of the library’s 100th birthday that included entertainment, a read-out, birthday cake, and the sealing of a time capsule. Library Director Elizabeth Martinez told American Libraries that the success of the event “just tells me how grateful the people are that the library is back.”...
American Libraries Online, Sept. 30
Even Banned Books Week has its detractors
Kevin Melrose writes: “I wasn’t sure what I was going to write about Banned Books Week until I read this somewhat-maddening column in the Wall Street Journal that paints ALA as a well-funded, reactionary bully attempting to silence ‘a few unorganized, law-abiding parents.’ What really irked me, though, is this: Without a hint of irony, the author tsk-tsks ALA’s use of ‘loose language,’ then asserts that books aren’t truly banned in this country because if you can’t find a title at the local library or bookstore, you can always track it down elsewhere.”...
Robot 6, Sept. 28; Wall Street Journal, Sept. 25
The Google Books settlement in a nutshell
The Association of Research Libraries, ALA, and ACRL have prepared The Google Books Settlement: Who Is Filing And What Are They Saying? (PDF file) to summarize in a few pages of charts some key information about the hundreds of filings that have been submitted to the federal district court presiding over the Google Books litigation. The charts are meant to give the reader a general idea of who the filers are and what they are saying about the settlement. In response to these filings, there is a chance the proposed agreement will change substantially....
District Dispatch, Sept. 29
Midwinter Meeting registration opens October 1
The first day of registration for the 2010 ALA Midwinter Meeting is October 1. Registration for the meeting, to be held January 15–19 in Boston, will open at 9 a.m. Central Time. Participants can register online, by fax, or by mail. Hotel reservations can also be made at this time. Attendees must be registered for the meeting before they can make a hotel reservation. Advance registration, available until December 4, will ensure the lowest rates....
Sunrise Speaker Series features Gilbert, Gawande
Elizabeth Gilbert (right), author of the New York Times bestseller Eat, Pray, Love, will kick off the 2010 Sunrise Speaker Series January 16 during the ALA Midwinter Meeting. On January 17, author and surgeon Atul Gawande will talk about his most recent book, Better: A Surgeon’s Notes on Performance....
Update on ALA’s strategic plan
ALA President Camila A. Alire writes: “The weekend of September 11, a group comprised of the ALA board members, division leaders, round table representatives, and senior staff met in Itasca, Illinois, to begin the development of ALA’s new strategic plan. The new plan’s goals and objectives will set the Association’s strategic directions through 2015. For the last six months, work has been underway to gather member input and information on the changing environment for libraries, librarians, and the association.”...
MemberBlog, Sept. 22
A tight financial outlook
American Libraries Editor in Chief Leonard Kniffel writes: “ALA Executive Director Keith Michael Fiels met with staff in late September for a frank assessment of the financial outlook for the Association. On everyone’s mind was what the recession means to libraries and how it will affect our work at ALA. Fiels indicated that information on ALA’s year-end performance for 2009 and updated 2010 projections will not be available until October, when final-close adjustments have been made and following the fall meetings of the Budget Analysis and Review Committee and the Executive Board.”...
AL Inside Scoop, Sept. 30
USA Patriot Act watch
Issues surrounding the USA Patriot Act and related privacy and surveillance laws are of utmost importance to the library community. Since the swift passage of this bill, ALA has focused primarily on Section 215 because of its potential to provide law enforcement with access to confidential library records and another investigative tool that has even less legal review, National Security Letters. ALA has consistently sought reforms to the act and other surveillance laws in order to protect library patrons and the general public from abuse of these investigative tools....
District Dispatch, Sept. 24
Congress, FCC listening to libraries on broadband
As the ALA Washington Office continues its ongoing strategy to inform Congress and the NTIA of the benefits of investing in broadband stimulus funding for libraries, it is seeing very public evidence that the message is resonating. On September 17, the Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, and the Internet held an oversight hearing that examined the views of the FCC Commissioners on the national broadband plan....
District Dispatch, Sept. 25
LSSC course proposals wanted
On October 1, the ALA–Allied Professional Association will begin accepting applications from education providers interested in offering courses for candidates in the Library Support Staff Certification program. The LSSC is the first national, voluntary certification program for library support staff. Potential providers should submit an application (Word file), a course syllabus, a description of the course’s teaching methods and assessment plan, and the instructor’s résumé....
Inaugural Reader’s Digest Make It Matter Day
Libraries across the country will play an important role in celebrating the cause of reading during Make It Matter Day, sponsored by Reader’s Digest magazine. On October 3, more than 100 events will be held on this national volunteer day of reading, writing, and learning in support of literacy and education....
Why join ALA? Two pros, two cons
Boise State University Reference Librarian Kim Leeder weighs the pros and cons of joining ALA in this short video (1:01). On the plus side: meeting people and contributing to the profession. On the minus side: conference costs and the bigness of ALA....
YouTube, Sept. 28
Surveying the state of children’s library services
ALA Editions has released Twenty-First-Century Kids, Twenty-First-Century Librarians by Virginia A. Walter. Inspired by a new generation of librarians and children, Walter reconsiders the legacy passed on by the matriarchs of children’s services and examines more recent trends and challenges growing out of changes in educational philosophy and information technology....
Greece promotes public libraries with “@ your library”
The Association of Greek Librarians and Information Scientists showcased the “@ your library” brand at the recent 2009 IFLA Conference in Milan, Italy. George Glossiotis, vice-president of the association, presented a report on Greece’s use of the brand and how it can promote public libraries. He also distributed calendars created for librarians that use an “@ your library” slogan for the opening page of each month....
2009 Banned Books Read-Out
Each of the top 10 most challenged books were represented at the 2009 Banned Books Read-Out, which kicked off Banned Books Week September 26 at Chicago’s Bughouse Square (across the street from the Newberry Library.) This video (2:00) features ALA President Camila Alire, authors Cecily von Ziegesar (right, Gossip Girl) and Lauren Myracle (ttyl), and a reading from Chicago Public Library’s Teen Volume Reader’s Theatre troupe....
Featured review: Adult books
Brown, Dan. The Lost Symbol. Sept. 2009. 528p. Doubleday, hardcover. 978-0-385-50422-5.
A mysterious clue leading to a series of puzzles; a ruthless villain who will stop at nothing; ancient secrets; mysterious organizations that link past to present—Brown has taken the elements that made The Da Vinci Code a success and reworked them in this long-anticipated sequel. Robert Langdon, the symbologist hero of Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons, is lured to Washington, D.C., where he believes he is to give a speech. Instead, he finds that an old friend has been abducted. Only Langdon can unlock the hidden mysteries that can save his friend’s life. Brown combines Freemasons, the Institute of Noetic Sciences, Albrecht Dürer, and various other ingredients to create a story that could be a mishmash but never quite loses cohesiveness. Readers who found the previous Langdon novels to be excessively wordy and much too slowly paced will level the same criticisms here, and Brown really needs to cool it with the amateurish overuse of exclamation marks, italics, and sentence-ending punctuation like “?!” On the other hand, you can’t deny that he knows how to put together an intriguing, if emotionally uninvolving, story....
Top 10 business books of 2009
Brad Hooper writes: “In our perennial effort to help librarians maintain a wide-ranging business collection, we offer below 10 outstanding titles reviewed in Booklist over the past year that are worthy of inclusion in, and guaranteed to expand the range of, any public library business collection. Here’s one: Crude World: The Violent Twilight of Oil, by Peter Maass. Knopf, 978-1-4000-4169-5. The author shows how an oil-based economy that undergoes booms and busts is neither a reliable nor a healthy solution for creating long-term sustainable growth.”...
Top 10 travel books of 2009
Brad Hooper writes: “Now, don’t stop booking flights and hotel rooms to nice destinations once you’ve savored the armchair delights of the following books, reviewed in Booklist over the past year. Armchair should always be mixed with actual. For example, this one: Ancient Shore: Dispatches from Naples, by Shirley Hazzard and Francis Steegmuller. Univ. of Chicago, 978-0-226-32201-8. By two famous authors, this book speaks to how blessed they felt about their time spent in Naples and the indelible impressions with which the city left them.”...
@ Visit Booklist Online for other reviews and much more....
AASL National Conference:
Registration is now open for the virtual component to the AASL 14th National Conference and Exhibition, November 5–8 in Charlotte, North Carolina. “b there—Your Virtual Track Pass” will offer both national conference attendees and non-attendees a chance to connect virtually. Register on the AASL website....
2009 RBMS Preconference: Electronic files
ACRL’s Rare Books and Manuscripts Section, with the help of OCLC, has posted online selected presentations and documents (including audio) from its 50th annual preconference. Cornell University’s Oya Y. Rieger presented a paper on preservation and large-scale digitization, which is available as both an MP3 file and a PDF file....
ASCLA Midwinter institute on consulting
Librarians looking to strike out on their own in the library profession, or those library professionals approaching retirement and seeking a flexible way to maintain employment, won’t want to miss “Assembling a Consulting Toolkit: What You Need to Know to Become a Successful Library Consultant” in Boston January 15. The day-long institute is designed to prepare participants to begin—or advance—a successful consulting career. Register by January 8....
Universal design best practices at 2010 ASCLA Midwinter Institute
Maximizing the library experience for all patrons, including those with functional differences, is a challenging endeavor—one that libraries can get help with by attending “Breaking Down Barriers: Best Practices in Universal Design for Libraries,” an institute sponsored by ASCLA at the 2010 Midwinter Meeting in Boston. This intensive half-day event January 15 was assembled through a partnership between ASCLA and the Institute for Human-Centered Design....
LLAMA fall webinar series
LLAMA is offering three interactive webinars designed to meet the needs of experienced leaders and managers at the dean, director, department head, and branch manager levels. Each of the 60–90-minute programs will feature library consultant Pat Wagner of Pattern Research. Find the full details here....
Leads from LLAMA, Sept. 29
YALSA seeks presenters for continuing education
YALSA is seeking instructors for 2010 and 2011 to design and deliver curriculum for face-to-face institutes and online courses on the following topics: advocating for teen services, incorporating youth participation into teen services, readers’ advisory, and innovative teen programming. Interested instructors should submit a proposal (RTF file) by October 30....
YALSA needs a blog manager
YALSA will launch a new blog focused on young adult literature in 2010 and is looking for a member to manage it. The blog will focus solely on young adult literature. The member manager will lead an advisory board that prepares content for the blog and solicits content from the YALSA community....
Exhibits Round Table Author Forum
Best-selling authors will gather in Boston at the ALA Midwinter Meeting for the ALA Exhibits Round Table Author Forum. Eric Van Lustbader, Chuck Hogan, Tracy Chevalier, and Julie Powell will share their experiences in taking a bestseller to the big screen. Sponsored by ALA and Exhibits Round Table, the forum will be held January 15....
Serve on the Depository Library Council
The Government Documents Round Table is soliciting nominations for documents librarians to serve on the Depository Library Council to the Public Printer. GODORT will forward nominations to the Government Printing Office. The deadline to apply or nominate is December 1....
The ALA Publishing Committee provides a grant of up to $5,000 for the preparation of print or electronic reading lists, indexes, or other guides to library resources that promote reading or the use of library resources at any type of library. Applications must be received by November 6....
Calloway pounds pavement to support Spectrum
Gregory Calloway, ALA associate executive director of finance, is in training to run the Chicago Marathon for the fifth time. His efforts will once again raise funds for ALA’s Spectrum Scholarship Program and contribute to the Spectrum Presidential Initiative, which hopes to generate $1 million in contributions to Spectrum. The Spectrum Presidential Initiative is a 2009–2010 campaign developed by ALA President Camila Alire, Past President Jim Rettig, and President-Elect Roberta Stevens....
Virginia Boucher Award nominations
RUSA is actively seeking outstanding interlibrary loan and document delivery librarians as nominees for its 2010 Virginia Boucher–OCLC Distinguished ILL Librarian Award. The award honors a librarian for outstanding professional achievement, leadership, and contributions to the interlibrary loan and document delivery field. Nominations (PDF file) must be received by December 15....
Nominations for Shores/ABC-CLIO award
RUSA seeks nominations for its 2010 Louis Shores/ABC-CLIO Award, presented to a librarian, individual, group, editor, review medium, or organization for extraordinary contribution to the book/media reviewing process. Nominations (PDF file) must be received by December 15....
RUSA ILL mentoring award
Nominations are sought for the RUSA 2010 STARS/Atlas Systems Mentoring Award, an ALA Conference travel grant designated for those who are new to the field of interlibrary loan. The grant offers $1,000 to fund travel expenses associated with attending the ALA Annual Conference. The recipient must be a library practitioner who has worked in the field of interlibrary loan/document delivery or electronic reserves for less than two years. Nominations (PDF file) must be received by December 15....
AASL awards and grants
AASL’s awards program will offer more than $50,000 in awards in 2010 to AASL members. The division’s 10 awards recognize excellence and showcase best practices in the school library media field in categories that include research, collaboration, leadership, and innovation. The 2010 applications can be viewed and downloaded here....
Deadline extended for National Library Week Grant
The deadline for the Scholastic Library Publishing National Library Week grant has been extended to November 6. U.S. libraries of all types are invited to apply for a $3,000 grant that will be awarded to the best public-awareness campaign that promotes the theme “Communities thrive @ your library” during National Library Week, April 11–17, 2010. The grant application is an electronic form....
IMLS awards 51 National Leadership Grants
The Institute of Museum and Library Services has awarded National Leadership Grants totaling $17.9 million to 51 institutions. Projects by these institutions will advance the ability of museums and libraries to preserve culture, heritage, and knowledge while enhancing learning. Recipients include the King County (Wash.) Library System, Washington University Libraries, OCLC/WebJunction, the University of Guam Library, and the WGBH Educational Foundation....
Institute of Museum and Library Services, Sept. 24
School librarian wins sunflower-growing contest
Burrowmoor Primary School in March, Cambridgeshire, has won a set of five NEO 2 classroom computers in a U.K.-wide sunflower-growing competition. School Librarian Audrey Morton (holding the computer) managed to grow a sunflower three meters (9 feet, 11 inches) tall. The Watch Them Grow competition was sponsored by Renaissance Learning UK. Prizes were awarded for the tallest and widest sunflowers....
Cambs Times, Sept. 28
2009 Great Book Group reads
Mary Ellen Quinn writes: “October is National Reading Group Month. This program of the Women’s National Book Association was launched in 2007 to promote reading groups and to celebrate the joy of shared reading. Book Group Buzz is thrilled to be chosen by the WNBA as a National Reading Group Month partner. Here’s the 2009 list of Great Group Reads chosen by the National Reading Group Month Selection Committee.”...
Book Group Buzz, Sept. 29
Aleksandar Hemon wins first St. Francis College Literary Prize
The jury for the first-ever St. Francis College Literary Prize has selected Aleksandar Hemon for his book, Love and Obstacles (Riverhead, 2009) as the winner of the $50,000 award, one of the richest literary prizes in the United States. Hemon, raised in Sarajevo and now residing in Chicago, wrote his first work in English in 1995. He was awarded the prize at the opening night party for the Brooklyn Book Festival, September 12....
St. Francis College, Sept. 12
Avi wins Beacon of Freedom Award
Newbery Award–winning author Avi will accept the 2009 Beacon of Freedom Award for his novel Iron Thunder (Hyperion, 2007), about the 1862 Battle of Hampton Roads between the USS Monitor and CSS Virginia, at Williamsburg (Va.) Regional Library October 16. The award is presented annually to an author who introduces American history to children in a historically accurate and engaging manner....
Williamsburg (Va.) Regional Library, Sept. 28
Malott Prize for Recording Community Activism
The first winner of the new biannual Gene E. and Adele R. Malott Prize for Recording Community Activism is Bruce Barcott for The Last Flight of the Scarlet Macaw: One Woman’s Fight to Save the World's Most Beautiful Bird (Random House, 2008). The Malott Prize recognizes both significant grassroots activists and the authors, journalists, and film makers who cover them; however, the basis for the prize is for the quality of the writing or film....
Langum Charitable Trust, Sept. 26
Sunburst Awards for Canadian Literature of the Fantastic
The Sunburst Award committee has announced its 2009 winners: The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson (Random House) in the adult category, and Little Brother by Cory Doctorow (Tor) in the young adult category. The awards are given to Canadian writers who have published a speculative fiction novel or book-length collection any time during the previous calendar year....
Sunburst Award, Sept. 28
2009 Booktrust Early Years Awards
The British national charity
Booktrust announced the winners of its Early Years Awards at a special ceremony in London September 23. The winning books exemplify the remarkable creativity in words, design, and illustration needed to encourage young children to read. The winner of the Baby Book award was Chick by Ed Vere (Puffin); the Pre-School Award went to Oliver Who Travelled Far and Wide by Mara Bergman (Hodder Children’s Books)....
Booktrust, Sept. 23
Frank O’Connor Short Story Award
British author Simon Van Booy won the Frank O’Connor Short Story Award, now in its fifth year, for his collection, Love Begins in Winter. The Munster Literature Centre sponsors the €35,000 ($51,000 U.S.) prize, the richest award for a short story collection, and is presented at the Frank O’Connor Festival in Cork, Ireland....
Irish Examiner, Sept. 21
Why J. K. Rowling did not get a Presidential Medal
A memoir by George W. Bush’s former speechwriter claims that Bush administration officials objected to giving J. K. Rowling a Presidential Medal of Freedom on the grounds that her Harry Potter books “encouraged witchcraft.” Matt Latimer’s Speech-less: Tales of a White House Survivor reveals how politicized the medal, America’s highest civilian honor, became during the Bush administration....
The Guardian (U.K.), Sept. 29
Apply for a Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Grant
The Institute of Museum and Library Services invites proposals from libraries, archives, library agencies, associations, and consortia for the Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian grant program. Categories of funding include doctoral and master’s LIS programs, research about librarianship as a profession, and CE for library and archives staff. The deadline for applications is December 15....
Institute of Museum and Library Services, Sept. 24
Dealing with controversial titles is a challenge
Terry Lewis, Ed Irons Middle School librarian and Lubbock (Tex.) Independent School District library facilitator for secondary schools, said school librarians work hard to provide material appropriate to the ages of their readers while at the same time avoiding the censoring of ideas. That can be challenging in an environment where books can draw opposition from parents for a variety of reasons. Lewis said at least once a year a parent will request that a child not be allowed to check out a particular book....
Lubbock (Tex.) Avalanche-Journal, Sept. 27
Banned Books Week: Still needed in the United States
Joan E. Bertin and Chris Finan write: “For a country that venerates its First Amendment guarantee of freedom of speech, the United States tries to ban books with alarming frequency. Stick a pin in each place where there’s been a challenge to a school or library book, and you’ll have a map of the United States that looks like a hedgehog in need of a haircut. As the late, great, and much-censored author Kurt Vonnegut would say: And so it goes.”...
Huffington Post, Sept. 28
Know your age, find your book
Responding to a call by parents and church and community leaders concerned about provocative books available to teens at the Leesburg (Fla.) Public Library, city commissioners voted 4–1 September 28 to separate all books based on age groups. A measure to label specific books with a “mature content” warning failed 3–2. At least 43 books in the young adult section will now be reviewed for content, with the racier titles moved into a separate area in the library stairwell and labeled “HS” for a high school audience....
Orlando (Fla.) Sentinel, Sept. 28; Central Florida News 13, Sept. 28–29
Michigan lawmakers slash library budget
Michigan legislative conference committees agreed September 27 on a reduced budget for the state education department, which included a cut in library funding from the current $10 million to $6 million. Rep. Terry Brown (D-Pigeon), chair of the conference committee, was the lone no vote for the education budget. “A lot of our libraries have a difficult time existing as it is,” Brown said....
Detroit Free Press, Sept. 28
Oak Brook lays off library director, four others
Village officials laid off Oak Brook (Ill.) Library Director Meg Klinkow Hartmann and four other employees in early September as part of a “restructuring” recommended by a consulting firm, Library Associates Companies, hired to find ways to cut the library’s budget. Youth Services Librarian Sue Madorin has been named interim director. The layoffs prompted some residents to register complaints at the village board meeting September 22. The move came only a few weeks after the staff filed a petition to join the Teamsters union....
Oak Brook (Ill.) The Doings, Sept. 2, 15, 23
Group calls for reinstatement of Castleton director
The Castleton (N.Y.) Public Library board of directors fired longtime library director Darlene Miller in mid-September. Now a group of her supporters has mounted a campaign to reinstate her. The decision was said to be made as a result of a long-standing disagreement between the board of trustees and Miller over programming, but opponents of the move say they believe the library is financially struggling and officials are moving to close it....
Albany (N.Y.) Times-Union, Sept. 27
Reading to close three branches, bookmobile
Faced with funding cuts from the city and state, the Reading (Pa.) Public Library will shut down its bookmobile (right), close its three branches, and lay off 12 of its full-time staff before the end of the year, library officials announced September 25. The Northwest, Northeast, and Southeast branches could close as early as October. The city is discontinuing its $450,000 annual funding to the library, and state support could be cut 34–50% in a new state budget....
Reading (Pa.) Eagle, Sept. 27
Seattle libraries may slash hours
The Seattle Public Library System is facing a 23% reduction in branch hours next year under the mayor’s 2010 budget proposal. Twenty-one branches could be closed on Fridays and Sundays to meet the cost-cutting goal set by Mayor Greg Nickels. To compensate, hours would be extended at the Central Library downtown and at some larger neighborhood branches....
Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Sept. 30
Rockford board saves Lewis Lemon branch
Rockford (Ill.) Public Library’s Lewis Lemon branch (located inside the Lewis Lemon Global Studies Academy) will remain open—that’s the biggest decision that came out of the September 28 board meeting. Library employees are happy the board is listening. A round of applause came after trustees unanimously voted to delay any decisions about laying off 30 workers or cutting library hours until after they hold discussions with the AFSCME union....
WIFR-TV, Rockford, Ill., Sept. 28
Aurora group to fight library tax plan
A group of Aurora, Colorado, residents called the Colorado Union of Taxpayers is organizing opposition to a property tax increase on the November ballot that would fund the city library, saying a 40% increase is too much right now. But advocates of the tax proposal say that without it, Aurora Public Library would have no choice but to close more than half its branches. If the measure passes, it would provide approximately $12.5 million for the library system, and would free up about $3.6 million for the city’s general fund....
Denver Post, Sept. 24
A rainy National Book Festival attracts 130,000
Despite a midday deluge, book lovers turned out in record numbers for the ninth annual National Book Festival in Washington, D.C., September 26, as some 130,000 people attended readings and signings on the National Mall. The event, organized by the Library of Congress, also featured the launch of LC’s newest literacy initiative, Read.gov, with the unveiling of the yearlong online story, The Exquisite Corpse Adventure. For those who were unable to attend, the authors’ presentations are available as webcasts. Watch the Washington Post video (5:47). More photos are on Flickr....
Los Angeles Times, Sept. 28; Library of Congress, Sept. 26; Washington Post, Sept. 28
Harvard libraries must work together, Faust says
Harvard University President Drew Faust is pushing to break down traditional budgeting barriers among the school’s independent divisions, after the school lost $11 billion of endowment value last fiscal year. Harvard’s 70 libraries, for example, must work together to increase savings, she said in a September 25 speech on campus. “Curious practices have grown up as the system has grown—obstacles to sharing and coordination,” Faust said, adding that economic arrangements at the libraries discourage them from working together....
Bloomberg, Sept. 25
Childhood essay by Paul McCartney found in library
A prize-winning essay on Queen Elizabeth’s coronation by a 10-year-old Paul McCartney was found among records at Liverpool’s Central Library by Kevin Roach while he was researching a book on the Beatles songwriter. McCartney won a prize for the 300-word essay in a city council competition on May 27, 1953. Roach discovered the volume in March in a library collection marked “coronation events”....
The Times (U.K.), Sept. 28
Library access in Britain now easier
Readers in the U.K. can now borrow books from more than 4,000 public libraries regardless of where they live. The Society of Chief Librarians said members of the public in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland can simply show an existing library card or proof of address to join or use a library. Some libraries in Scotland are also considering joining the plan, which could help vacationers or those who work in a different place from where they live. The news came as Arts and Culture Minister Margaret Hodge prepared to unveil plans to modernize the public library service, which including launching a Netflix-like plan to allow users to order books or DVDs online for delivery by mail....
The Guardian (U.K.), Sept. 28; The Times (U.K.), Sept. 27
Go back to the Top
Libraries are finding better search software
Traditional online library catalogs do not always order search results by ranked relevance, and they can befuddle users with clunky interfaces. Two tech trends are changing that. First, some universities are shelling out serious money for sophisticated software that makes exploring their collections more like the easy-to-filter experience you might find in an online Sears catalog. Second, others are producing free open-source programs that tackle the same problems with no licensing fees....
Chronicle of Higher Education, Sept. 28
A hands-on look at Google Wave
Ryan Paul writes: “The scope of Google’s Wave project is broad, which makes it difficult to define concisely. It brings together elements of instant messaging, email, collaborative rich document editing, and generic support for third-party web services in a single seamless communication medium that is more flexible than any of those things individually. On a technical level, it is a messaging platform that consists of a protocol, a web service, a set of standard extension APIs, and an open-source concurrency framework. Conclusion: Wave represents an extraordinary technical achievement and delivers truly remarkable messaging capabilities. Although the current prototype still has some limitations, it offers the most compelling alternative to email that I have encountered.” Here’s another first look....
Ars Technica, Sept. 29; Lifehacker, Sept. 30
FCC: Broadband up to 50% slower than claimed
Access to high-speed internet service is quickly moving from a luxury to a necessity. The FCC is charged with coming up with a national broadband plan by February 2010, and officials provided a glimpse into their findings thus far at the commission’s September meeting. Broadband speeds advertised by ISPs are generally slower than they claim to be—as much as 50% “and possibly more during the busy hours,” according to a statement from the FCC. About 1% of all users drive 20% of traffic, and 20% of all users drive 80% of traffic....
PC Magazine, Sept. 29
New Apple tablet could redefine print
Brian Lam writes: “Steve Jobs said people don’t read any more. But Apple is in talks with several media companies rooted in print, negotiating content for a new device. And they’re not just going for e-books and mags. They’re aiming to redefine print. Long having established music, movie, and TV content, Apple is working hard to load up iTunes with print content from several major publishing houses across several media.”...
Gizmodo, Sept. 30
How to attribute a Creative Commons photo
Bobbi L. Newman writes: “Yes, the absolutely correct way!
You need to follow the guidelines set by the license, and (my suggestion) let the author know. That is a lot to include. So what does a perfect attribution look like? How do you include all that information? Here are some examples.”....
Librarian by Day, Sept. 28
Be your own tech support
Meryl Evans writes: “I’m not suggesting you crack open your computer to fix it, but with a few of the tactics outlined in this post you can solve many of your computer problems on your own. Besides, wouldn’t you rather solve your problems instead of waiting for a live support person to pick up the phone? Here are 10 steps to becoming your own Mr. or Ms. Fix-it.”...
Web Worker Daily, Sept. 22
Four simple tips to organize your files on Windows
Paul Coffman writes: “Much like the situation with my desk, keeping my computer organized improves productivity. It also helps my less organized coworkers. The moment they can’t find an important email or paper, they ask me for it. I find it—quickly. Let’s look at some simple and basic tips to organize Windows that you may be overlooking and that won’t cost you a nickel.”...
MakeUseOf, Sept. 28
E-book reader comparison guide
ebook-reader-guide.com compares e-book readers on the market in the United States so that you can pick the model best suited to you. This feature comparison table shows ratings, screen size, connectivity, memory, battery, weight, audio, file formats, and price of the 10 major models. Consult the worldwide table for all 16 models, or specific tables for the UK, Europe, and Asia. If you are new to e-book readers, here are the e-reader basics....
Princeton’s Kindle experiment a flop
When Princeton University announced its Kindle e-reader pilot program last May, administrators seemed cautiously optimistic that the e-readers would both be sustainable and serve as a valuable academic tool. But less than two weeks after 50 students received the free Kindle DX e-readers, many of them said they were dissatisfied and uncomfortable with the devices....
Daily Princetonian, Sept. 28
Encyclopedias of life
Christine Bulson writes: “Encyclopedia of Life was first funded by a MacArthur Foundation grant in 2007. The goal of the site is to have a webpage for all 1.8 million organisms on earth. After two years, there are now more than 150,000 pages of expert-verified text and images. Anyone may add text, images, or videos that are authenticated by expert curators.” The BBC is attempting something similar with its Wildlife Finder, and, of course, there’s Wikispecies....
Points of Reference, Sept. 27
Libraries and librarians in children’s books
Larry Nix writes: “How librarians and libraries are depicted in popular culture is a topic of great interest to those who collect and study librariana. How libraries and librarians are depicted in children’s books is a specialized aspect of this topic. University of Connecticut
Library Director Emeritus Norman D. Stevens has created a WorldCat bibliography of nearly 500 children’s books that involve librarians, libraries, and books and reading that he has collected information on for a number of years. Stevens says this is only a partial list and that it will be expanded in the future.”...
Library History Buff Blog, Sept. 19
30 books worth buying for the cover alone
Beth Carswell writes: “Not long ago, we featured my 30 favorite pieces of contemporary fiction—based entirely on the cover art, instead of the content. Since so many AbeBooks customers loved the feature and asked for more, and we love any excuse to root through the stacks (okay, listings) in search of beautiful treasures, we’ve found 30 more. As before, some are the only copy available, and they range in price, but many are very affordable, and all are works of art.”...
L. D. Mitchell writes: “One subgenre that resonates with book-lovers building a private library is the bibliomystery, defined as a mystery that deals in some significant way with books and the world associated with books. The bibliomystery is not a recent invention. Fredric Perkins, for example, penned Scrope: or the Lost Library in 1870. Believed to be the first bibliomystery published in the United States, it is rarely offered for sale in anything approaching fine condition.” Don’t miss part 2....
The Private Library, Sept. 27–28
Manifesto for academic libraries: A preview
Ricky Erway writes: “An RLG working group is writing a manifesto for academic libraries, addressing the need for change to better support research. The recent clamor over Dan Greenstein’s intentionally provocative remarks about the future of university libraries has prompted us to offer a preview of our work. In an effort to rise above the debate on the current and future value of libraries, the draft suggests a set of principles to guide academic libraries in improving research support in a changing environment.”...
HangingTogether, Sept. 28; Inside Higher Ed, Sept. 24
Print collections management in the digital age
As journals are increasingly accessed in digitized form, many libraries have grown interested in de-accessioning little-used print originals; but desires to repurpose space often come into conflict with concerns about preservation. What to Withdraw: Print Collections Management in the Wake of Digitization (PDF file) analyzes which types of journals can be withdrawn responsibly today and how that set of materials can be expanded to allow libraries the maximum possible flexibility and savings in the future....
Ithaka, Sept. 28
Take the global library survey (PDF file)
On September 28, the CIBER research group at University College London invited all libraries to participate in an international survey examining challenges, trends, and best practices in tough economic times. Based on input from nearly 200 librarians worldwide, the questionnaire is now available and will remain open through October 18. Results of the survey, which is cosponsored by Baker and Taylor’s YBP Library Services and ebrary, will be announced at the Charleston Conference, November 4–7....
ebrary, Sept. 28
Tupac Shakur papers donated to Woodruff Library
Afeni Shakur-Davis, mother of platinum recording artist Tupac Shakur, has made available her son’s manuscripts and other papers to Atlanta University Center’s Robert W. Woodruff Library. The collection features the late Shakur’s handwritten lyrics and track listings, personal notes, video and film concepts, fan correspondence, promotional materials, and other items that provide a unique insight into his career and creative genius....
Robert W. Woodruff Library, Sept. 23
Better World Books breaks a record
The social-enterprise bookseller Better World Books finalized the sale September 24 of a rare 1848 Peter Force facsimile of the Declaration of Independence on behalf of the Mercy College Libraries in Dobbs Ferry, New York. Much of the record sale price, $16,000, will go back to the library and its literacy partner, Books for Africa. BWB takes donated books that libraries would otherwise have to throw out, sells them online, and reinvests a portion of the profits in literacy programs and nonprofit partners....
Social Entrepreneurship, Sept. 25
Google Scholar’s ghost authors and other problems
Peter Jacso writes: “Research faculty and academic libraries dealing with Google Scholar face a metadata disaster. Millions of records have erroneous metadata, as well as inflated publication and citation counts. A free tool, Google Scholar has become the most convenient resource to find a few good scholarly papers—often in free full-text format—on even the most esoteric topics. For topical keyword searches, GS is most valuable. But it cannot be used to analyze the publishing performance and impact of researchers.”...
Library Journal, Sept. 24
101 great blogs for bloggers
Kevin Muldoon writes: “As a blogger, I think it is very important to stay up to date with the latest news and discussions with your blog’s topic and with blogging and web development in general. This is particularly true for those that are still developing skills as a blogger. You may be aware of many of these blogs, though I hope that I can bring your attention to a few gems you haven’t found yet.”...
Blogging Tips, Sept. 29
What medical librarians do
Jamie Graham writes: “You may have seen us at clinical rounds, faculty council, or IRB sessions. You may have wondered why a medical librarian would be present outside the library. Our exact function is often a mystery to clinicians, and so, we have decided to take this opportunity in our inaugural issue to introduce ourselves and tell you everything we have to offer.”...
Clinical Correlations, Sept. 25
An inflection point for public libraries
Jean Costello writes: “2009 may be an inflection point for public libraries. This year, the deepest recession in U.S. history accelerated their financial trajectory. Following nearly a decade of level or eroding budgets, libraries across America were threatened with closure due to lack of funds. Some have closed and most are operating with dramatically reduced budgets. The recession has also increased usage. So is there light at the end of this tunnel?”...
In the Library with the Lead Pipe, Sept. 30
Jumpstarting the UPenn–
In 2007, the University of Pennsylvania Library received a $40,000 Elsevier Foundation grant to conduct a medical information-needs assessment at the University of Botswana. In this video (6:08), find out how four Penn librarians interviewed over 30 government officials, librarians, researchers, and clinicians to help Botswana improve their channels for sharing medical information....
YouTube, Sept. 28
Birthday Zoo storytime with Miss Pat
Kids can learn about animals through rhymes, thanks to Pikes Peak Library District Children’s Librarian Pat Masias, who offers this video storytime (2:14) reading of Birthday Zoo by Deborah Lee Rose: “Get them to laugh, advised the giraffe. Recycle the paper, reminded the tapir. Your wish will come true, applauded the gnu.”...
YouTube, Sept. 28
Future librarians of America
Grace Carr, super librarian (right, 1:43), has an office in an overturned play car and wields an awesome Virgin Mary checkout stamp.
But can she match the bibliothecal confidence of 2-year-old Tessa (0:48), who apparently uses a light fixture to scan for circulation barcodes?...
YouTube, Feb. 8, Apr. 18, 2008
Libraries get creative on YouTube: Five favorites
Charlie Thomason writes: “There are some highly imaginative librarians and library lovers out there and some of them have been making a big splash on YouTube. So, we decided to sort through and pick out our favorite library-related YouTube videos.” One of them is this 2007 parody of The Wizard of Oz (2:10) from the Salt Lake County (Utah) Library....
@ your library, Sept. 23
Go back to the Top
ALA Midwinter Meeting, Boston, January 15–19. Registration opens October 1.
In Building the Digital Branch: Guidelines for Transforming Your Library’s Website, David Lee King explores the idea of the digital branch—a library website that is a vital, functional resource for patrons and enhances the library’s place within its community. The August/September issue of Library Technology Reports takes you from the design stage to maintaining and upgrading the site once it is built. NEW! From ALA TechSource.
Download an atyourlibrary.org badge or banner for your website. All you need to do is copy the code under the image and paste it into your page template or CMS. Atyourlibrary.org is the public website for the ALA’s public awareness campaign—the Campaign for America’s Libraries, which promotes the value of libraries and librarians.
Public Libraries: Necessities or Amenities?
Designing User Experiences
Sound Recording Collections
Learning with Blogs
Director of Technical Services, University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Provide administrative oversight of technical service and information technology departments (acquisitions, cataloging, collection development, serials, and IT); participate with dean and other directors in the leadership and management of the library; coordinate technical services and IT activities and workflow with other areas of the library and university; participate in library-wide programs such as collection development, assessment, and strategic planning; and take a leadership role, locally and nationally, in identifying and implementing new developments in the field through active participation in professional organizations....
Digital Library of the Week
Transforming the Tar Heel State: The Legacy of Public Libraries in North Carolina is a statewide collaborative digital project that celebrates North Carolina public libraries. The core of this collection has been scanned from the State Library of North Carolina’s Public Library History Files. These files contain photographs, reports, newspaper clippings, and other materials that had been sent to the North Carolina Library Commission from public libraries throughout the state. The files span from the late 19th century through the 1970s, with the majority of the materials dating from the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s. For years, the files were hidden in a storage area where all but a few library staff had forgotten them. They were rediscovered around 2003 when the storage area was being cleaned out for building renovations. In summer 2008, the state library put out a call to public libraries seeking participation in building the collection. In response, 23 libraries sent photos and 34 libraries sent historical information that was added to the collection.
Do you know of a digital library collection that we can mention in this AL Direct feature? Tell us about it. Browse previous Digital Libraries of the Week at the I Love Libraries site.
“If large numbers of people believe in freedom of speech, there will be freedom of speech, even if the law forbids it. But if public opinion is sluggish, inconvenient minorities will be persecuted, even if laws exist to protect them.”—George Orwell, author, ca. 1945. From notable quotations on the First Amendment, censorship, and the freedom to read.
“Of all the current assaults on our noble republic, perhaps none is more dangerous than the public option — specifically, the public library option. . . . And just what does this public option give us? People can spend hours and hours in these dens of socialism without having to buy so much as a cappuccino. Furthermore, not only can anyone read books for free in the library, they can take them home, too. They get a simple card that can be used at any library in town. No checking on the previous condition of books they’ve read. No literacy test. Nothing. Yet, do these libertines of literature let you choose any book you want, anytime you want it? No. Have you ever tried to get the latest bestseller at a public library? They put you on a waiting list for that, my friend. And if you do ask these government apparatchiks a question about a book, they start talking your ear off, and pretty soon they’re telling you what to read.”
—M. C. Blakeman, in “The Menace of the Public Option,” in the San Francisco Chronicle’s Open Forum, Sept. 19.
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the ALA Librarian
Q. It’s the question most often heard from students during Banned Books Week: “Why was this book banned?” More accurately, the question is who challenged this book being in the library and wanted it removed, and why, when, and where did this happen—and how did things turn out?
A. The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom maintains information on which books are challenged and why and regularly publishes this information every three years, most recently in the Banned Books: 2007 Resource Guide, edited by Robert P. Doyle of the Illinois Library Association. The book lists challenged and banned books in alphabetical order by the author's last name, and gives the dates and places and reasons that a book was threatened with removal (challenged) and/or was removed (banned) from a library or school. Doyle also puts together a free annual brochure, which can be found as a PDF file on the website of the Illinois Library Association. Students can use the Banned Books: 2007 Resource Guide entry at WorldCat.org to search via ZIP code for the closest public and/or community college library that has an available copy. For more information and resources, see Researching Challenged (“Banned”) Books. From the ALA Professional Tips wiki.
@ The ALA Librarian welcomes your questions.
Lightning Talks at LITA Forum 2009. LITA still wants some fast talkers with great ideas at the LITA Forum in Salt Lake City this weekend. Lightning talks are fun for attendees and an opportunity for presenters to showcase late-breaking ideas, trends, and achievements. Speakers are strictly held to five minutes. Send an email to Karen Schneider with your name, email, organization, title for your lightning talk, and preferred session (October 2 or October 3).
October is American Archives Month, a program of the Society of American Archivists to raise awareness about the value of archives and archivists. This 2009 American Archives Month Public Relations Kit (PDF file) provides basic materials that can be adapted to make your own archives program more visible and more appreciated.
YouTube for Nonprofits, 1–2 p.m. Eastern Time. Webinar presented by See3 Communications.
Institute for Information Law and Policy, D Is for Digitize conference, New York Law School, New York City.
Lazerow Memorial Lecture, with Peter Ingwersen, University of Tennessee School of Information Sciences, Haslam Bldg., Room 202.
Wisconsin Library Association, Annual Conference, Appleton.
Iowa Library Association, Annual Conference, Des Moines.
Internet Librarian, Monterey Conference Center, California.
Virginia Library Association, Annual Conference, Williamsburg.
Succession Planning and the Management of Knowledge Transfer, hosted by Lyrasis, Hussey-Mayfield Memorial Public Library,
Text Encoding Initiative Consortium, conference and member’s meeting, Gallery of the Hatcher Graduate Library, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
An Event Apart San Francisco, The Palace Hotel.
Library Management Institute Fall Conference, Arcadia University, Glenside, Pennsylvania.
National Resource Center for the First-Year Experience and Students in Transition, 29th Annual Conference, Sheraton Denver Hotel.
Public Library Association, National Conference, Portland, Oregon.