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The e-newsletter of the American Library Association | February 24, 2010

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American Libraries Online

Fairness issues delay Google Books decision
“I am not going to rule today,” stated Judge Denny Chin of the U.S. District Court in New York City February 18 before hearing testimony at the long-awaited fairness hearing about settlement of the five-year-old lawsuit against Google over its massive book-digitization project. Chin said that he did not know when he would issue a ruling because he had received volumes of comments from the public that merited careful consideration. A transcript of the hearing (PDF file) is now available....
American Libraries news, Feb. 22

Cover of One of Those Hideous Books Where the Mother DiesHideous book will remain in Fond du Lac school library
A materials-review committee formed by the Fond du Lac (Wis.) School District has denied a request by a Theisen Middle School parent to remove Sonya Sones’s One of Those Hideous Books Where the Mother Dies from school-library shelves. However, complainant Ann Wentworth remains immersed in the district’s reconsideration process; shortly before the February 18 hearing, she filed objections to the presence of six other young-adult novels in the collection, explaining that “ultimately I’d like to see a policy change in how literature is selected.”....
American Libraries News, Feb. 24

Nancy RobertsonPassing the (library) buck in Michigan
What was thought last fall to be a reprieve for the Library of Michigan has turned out quite differently, as evidenced by the reaction in some quarters to a February 12 status memo (PDF file) about the downsizing of the Library of Michigan. This update from the Michigan Department of Education actually documents how efficiently the department is implementing a 2009 executive order from Gov. Jennifer Granholm to downsize and restructure the state library. In assessing the bottom line, Michigan State Librarian Nancy Robertson (above) seems to agree....
AL: Inside Scoop, Feb. 24

Cornell seeks sustainable arXiv support
Cornell University Library has introduced a voluntary, collaborative business model to support arXiv, its free online repository of nearly 600,000 research articles in physics, mathematics, statistics, computer science, and related disciplines. It will remain free to submit or download articles, but Cornell is now asking the 200 institutions that download most from the repository to make annual contributions to help fund it....
American Libraries news, Feb. 18

Chalkboard with sports playsCoaching in the library
Ruth Metz writes: “The greatest challenge to library organizations is to continuously adapt in an ever-changing, ever-more-complex environment. Library leaders need to direct the continuous redevelopment of libraries. The ability to tackle this and other institutional challenges effectively is fundamental to the success of leaders and the survival of libraries. One way to achieve this is through the use of coaching, the purposeful and skillful effort by one individual to help another achieve specific performance goals.”...
American Libraries feature

Arnold AdoffNewsmaker: Arnold Adoff
The legacy of Virginia Hamilton, described as “America’s most honored writer of children’s literature,” continues through the efforts of her husband, poet and anthologist Arnold Adoff (right), who spoke with American Libraries during Black History Month. Adoff discusses his recent book about Hamilton, the creation of the new ALA Coretta Scott King-Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement, and his life with Virginia....
American Libraries column, Feb. 23

FakeAACR2 profile picInterview with @FakeAACR2
With the reverberation of a couple dozen subfield delimiters echoing through the Twitterverse, @FakeAACR2 announced her presence. “Sorry. Dropped my fat self on the keyboard,” she apologized. A sizable handful of followers quickly accepted her apology, and thus Alexandra Beaton, the University of North Carolina SLIS student masquerading as the phony cataloging standard, created some buzz last week as librarianship’s answer to internet sensation FakeAPStyleBook. We caught up with @FakeAACR2 via email for this exclusive interview....
AL: Inside Scoop, Feb. 23

A library patron and his bikeBicycles: Not just for children
Laura Bruzas writes: “Libraries are the perfect place to promote bicycle use as they are often located a short distance from a patron’s residence. If every patron who lived two miles or less from a library elected to bike instead of drive to and from the library, they would keep about 15 pounds of pollutants out of the air we breathe per trip, according to the Worldwatch Institute. That’s significant.”...
AL: Green Your Library, Feb. 24

ALA News

Visions of the Universe logo“Visions of the Universe” exhibition tour extended
The Public Programs Office announced that 15 additional public libraries will host “Visions of the Universe: Four Centuries of Discovery,” a traveling exhibition developed in cooperation with the Space Telescope Science Institute Office of Public Outreach and the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory to celebrate astronomy and its contributions to society and culture. Thanks to supplementary funding from NASA, the exhibit will travel to the 15 additional selected libraries from April through May 2011....
Public Programs Office, Feb. 23

National Bookmobile Day logoNational Bookmobile Day online toolkit
ALA has launched a web page with resources and tools to help libraries celebrate the inaugural National Bookmobile Day, April 14, during National Library Week. The page features sample publicity materials, downloadable National Bookmobile Day logos, bookmark templates, a customizable flyer, and links to National Bookmobile Day on social networking sites....
Office for Literacy and Outreach Services, Feb. 23

Legal brief: Streaming films to students
ALA, ACRL, and the Association of Research Libraries, as part of the Library Copyright Alliance, have released an issue brief (PDF file) that reviews the legal status of streaming entire films to students located outside of physical classrooms. The discussion was prompted by recent news of a disagreement between the University of California, Los Angeles, and a media equipment trade association over the streaming of films to students as part of an online courseware system....
ACRL Insider, Feb. 22

ALA-APA librarian salary survey invitation
Library directors and human resources staff, check your mail. More than 1,600 public and academic libraries are being asked to participate in the 2010 ALA-Allied Professional Association librarian salary survey. This year, the survey asks for salary data for six librarian titles. The deadline is February 26 for completing the web-based survey....
ALA-Allied Professional Association, Feb. 23

Booklist Online logo

Cover of The War to End All WarsFeatured review: History
Freedman, Russell. The War to End All Wars. May 2010. 192p. Clarion, hardcover (978-0-547-02686-2).
In his signature lucid style, Freedman offers a photo-essay that examines World War I, the first global war in which modern weapons inflicted mass slaughter and an estimated 20 million people were killed. Interwoven into the big picture of the war’s causes and consequences are unforgettable vignettes of German and Allied soldiers, drawn from reports, letters, and diaries, and the personal details are heartbreaking, as in the example of a Frenchman in the trenches who wrote “Humanity is mad” a minute before he was killed. Both the intimate accounts and the historical analysis are all carefully documented in appended chapter notes....

Libba Bray interview graphicBooklist interview: Libba Bray
Gillian Engberg writes: “String theory, happiness cults, reality TV, and the transcendent power of music and love are just a few of the thematic threads that weave through Going Bovine, winner of the 2010 Michael L. Printz Award. In comments as wide-ranging and entertaining as her novel, author Libba Bray told Booklist about the creation of her epic adventure, which stars the unlikeliest of heroes: a teenage boy diagnosed with the human variant of mad-cow disease.”...

Voices in My Head graphicOdyssey 2010
Mary Burkey writes: “The first Odyssey Award (given for excellence in audiobook production for children and young adults) was presented to Live Oak Media in 2008 for Jazz. Two years later, Live Oak Media is again the recipient of the Odyssey Award, this time for their audio production of Louise, the Adventures of a Chicken. Curious about the Midas touch that resulted in this year’s comical award-winner, I talked to Arnie and Debra Cardillo, owners of Live Oak; Kate DiCamillo and Harry Bliss, author and illustrator of the book; and narrator Barbara Rosenblat, querying them about the artistic process.”...

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

Division News

Jessica MoyerYALSA’s new journal and editor
YALSA will launch its Journal of Research on Libraries and Young Adults in fall 2010. The division named Jessica Moyer (right), a doctoral candidate at the University of Minnesota, as its editor. The new online research journal will disseminate research of interest to librarians, library workers, and academics who focus on library service to young adults and will serve as YALSA’s official research publication....
YALSA, Feb. 23

2010 WrestleMania finalists
Eighteen teens and tweens from across the United States and Canada have been selected as finalists in the WrestleMania Reading Challenge, sponsored by YALSA and World Wrestling Entertainment, with support from Mattel and DK Publishing. These young readers will be going to Phoenix next month to compete for ringside tickets to WrestleMania XXVI....
YALSA Blog, Feb. 24

Teen Tech Week logoHow to celebrate Teen Tech Week
Robyn Vittek writes: “What’s great about Teen Tech Week, March 7–13, is that it gives us a built-in reason to push ourselves to get creative in our technology programming, to plan gaming events and listening parties, to investigate texting and social networking, and to push our nonprint library materials. The fact is that many teens prefer texting to talking, RSS to reading a book, and gaming to gardening. The methods and merchandise sold to them—very effectively, I might add—is what they’re using, what their friends are using, and, therefore, what we should be using to engage them.”...
In the Library with the Lead Pipe, Feb. 17

ACRL paper or poster session? Making the choice
Steven Bell writes: “Given a choice between preparing and submitting a proposal for a contributed paper or a poster session at ACRL’s 2011 (15th) national conference, which do you think most academic librarians would choose? I need less than two seconds to think about this one. It’s the paper. Having had papers, panels, and one poster accepted at ACRL, here are my thoughts on the relative merits and challenges of each.”...
ACRLog, Feb. 22


Still from National Medal winners video, showing the Pritzker Military LibraryFive libraries receive 2009 National Medal
Institute of Museum and Library Services Director Anne-Imelda M. Radice presented the 2009 National Medal for Museum and Library Service, the nation’s highest honor, to five museums and five libraries at a Washington, D.C., ceremony on February 23. The National Medal honors museums and libraries that have demonstrated a long-term commitment to public service through innovative programs and community partnerships. The libraries were Braille Institute Library Services, Los Angeles; Gail Borden Public Library in Elgin, Illinois; Multnomah County Library, Portland, Oregon; Pritzker Military Library, Chicago; and Stark County Library District, Canton, Ohio....
Institute of Museum and Library Services, Feb. 23

Beth S. Woodard2010 Miriam Dudley Instruction Librarian Award
Beth S. Woodard, staff development and training coordinator at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library, is the winner of the 2010 ACRL Instruction Section’s Miriam Dudley Instruction Librarian Award. The honor recognizes a librarian who has made a significant contribution to the advancement of instruction in a college or research library environment. This year the award is cosponsored by the LOEX Clearinghouse for Library Instruction....
ACRL, Feb. 23

2010 Women’s Studies Career Achievement Award
Cindy Ingold, women and gender resources librarian at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, has been selected as the 2010 winner of the ACRL Women’s Studies Section’s Career Achievement Award. The award, sponsored by ABC-CLIO, honors significant long-standing contributions to women’s studies in the field of librarianship over the course of a career....
ACRL, Feb. 23

Peggy Johnson. Photo by Kathryn DeissPeggy Johnson wins Ross Atkinson Award
Peggy Johnson, associate university librarian for access services at the University of Minnesota libraries, has received the 2010 ALCTS Ross Atkinson Lifetime Achievement Award. This award is sponsored by EBSCO Information Services and honors the recipient with $3,000. Johnson will receive her award at the June 27 ALCTS awards ceremony during the ALA Annual Conference in Washington, D.C....
ALCTS, Feb. 23

Kelley McGrathKelley McGrath wins Esther J. Piercy Award
ALCTS has named Kelley McGrath, cataloging and metadata services librarian (audiovisual) at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, the winner of the 2010 Esther J. Piercy Award, sponsored by YBP. The award recognizes the contributions to library collections and technical services by a librarian with no more than 10 years of professional experience....
ALCTS, Feb. 23

LBI Cunha/Swartzburg Award
Robert Harriman and Jeffrey Field, in recognition of their outstanding efforts to promote, coordinate, and manage the United States Newspaper Program, are the recipients of the 2010 ALCTS LBI George Cunha and Susan Swartzburg Preservation Award. The program is a collaborative national effort spanning a quarter of a century that brought scholars, historians, researchers, librarians, and archivists from 50 states and two territories together to inventory, catalog, and preserve the newsprint record of a nation....
ALCTS, Feb. 23

Rakow Research LibraryALCTS collaboration citations
ALCTS has awarded Outstanding Collaboration Citations to two distinguished libraries. This year’s recipients are the online Biodiversity Heritage Library, the digitization component of the Encyclopedia of Life consortium; and the Juliette K. and Leonard S. Rakow Research Library (right) at the Corning (N.Y.) Museum of Glass. The citations recognize and encourage collaborative problem-solving efforts in the areas of acquisition, access, management, preservation, or archiving of library materials....
ALCTS, Feb. 23

2010 Blackwell’s Scholarship Award
ALCTS has presented the 2010 Blackwell’s Scholarship Award to Kristen Blake and Jacquie Samples for their article “Creating Organization Name Authority within an Electronic Resources Management System,” published in the April 2009 Library Resources & Technical Services. The award honors the author of the year’s outstanding monograph or article in the field of acquisitions, collection development, or resources development....
ALCTS, Feb. 23

Rebecca KempRebecca Kemp receives First Step grant
The ALCTS Continuing Resources Section has awarded Rebecca Kemp, e-resources acquisitions librarian at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the 2010 First Step Award, a grant of $1,500 sponsored by John Wiley & Sons that offers librarians new to the serials field an opportunity to attend an ALA Annual Conference....
ALCTS, Feb. 23

YALSA to support another Spectrum scholar
In 2011, YALSA will fund one Spectrum Scholarship for an individual interested in pursuing young adult services as a career. This is the third straight year the division has sponsored a Spectrum Scholar. The Spectrum Scholarship consists of $5,000 for tuition reimbursement and $1,500 towards the scholar’s participation in the Spectrum Leadership Institute at the ALA Annual Conference....
Office for Diversity, Feb. 23

Cover of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet2009 APALA literature awards
The Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association has selected the winners of its 2009 Asian/Pacific American Awards for Literature. The awards promote Asian/Pacific American culture and heritage and are given in four categories. Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford was selected as the Adult Fiction winner, while the Picture Book winner is Cora Cooks Pancit, written by Dorina K. Lazo Gilmore and illustrated by Kristi Valiant....
Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association, Feb. 23

Cover of Magic Marzipan2010 Gourmand Awards at Paris Cookbook Fair
The first Paris Cookbook Festival kicked off February 11 with the announcement of the winners of the 2010 Gourmand Awards for Best Cookbooks in the World. A total of 136 countries submitted entries this year. The award for the best Fish and Seafood Book went to British chef Kevin Snook’s self-published A Boy after the Sea. Best Cookbook of 2009 went to the Swiss God’s Cookbook, tracing the culinary traditions of the Levant. The best Desserts Book award went to German pastry chef Franz Zeigler for Magic Marzipan, and the Best Cheese Book award went to Colombian author Maria Lia Neira Restrepo for her book Expertos Queseros....
Publishing Perspectives, Feb. 13;; Gourmand Awards

Title page of Chester River Press edition of Heart of Darkness2010 Carl Hertzog book design award
Chad Pastotnik and James Dissette have won the Carl Hertzog Award for Excellence in Book Design for their work on Heart of Darkness (Chester River Press, 2008). Their works will be exhibited in the University Library of the University of Texas at El Paso for two months after the announcement of the award on February 6. By creating and sponsoring the Hertzog Award, the Friends of the University Library endeavor to underscore the importance of fine printing as an art....
Fine Press Book Association, Dec. 16

Seen Online

Edward G. HolleyEdward G. Holley, 1927–2010
Edward G. Holley, former dean and professor of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Information and Library Science, died February 18 at a retirement home in Durham, North Carolina, after an extended illness. In addition to his teaching, he served in a number of professional positions, including ALA president (1974–1975), president of the Texas Library Association (1971), and president of Beta Phi Mu (1985–1987)....
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill SILS, Feb. 19

Cover page of FCC reportFCC: Lower the price and millions more will have broadband
Reducing the cost of broadband is the key challenge to extending high-speed internet access to the approximately 93 million Americans using dial-up service or without any home connection to the web. A report, Broadband Adoption and Use in America (PDF file) issued February 23 by the Federal Communications Commission, found that 36% of Americans without broadband say price—service fees or the cost of a computer—is the primary barrier to broadband....
Christian Science Monitor, Feb. 23

Xerox sues Google and Yahoo over search patents
Two internet search giants are being sued by the company that claims it owns the patents to search technology: Xerox. Google and Yahoo are named in Xerox’s complaint (PDF file), filed February 19 in U.S. District Court in Delaware, as operating products and services that infringe on two Xerox patents for organizing documents granted in 2001 and 2004. Xerox claims various services from Google and Yahoo—including AdWords, Yahoo Search, and YouTube—fall under the scope of the patents....
CNET News: Relevant Results, Feb. 23

Library apologizes for poorly worded letter
Trustees of the Madison Library District in Rexburg, Idaho, issued a formal apology and explanation for a “poorly worded letter” that was the cause of a controversy that boiled over at a February 17 board meeting. The letter was originally sent by the board to five mental health and rehabilitation/therapy clinics, indicating that the library “is inappropriate as a place of business such as working with problem children, especially when that use interferes with library functions.” The apology stated that “discrimination is not and never was our intent.”...
Rexburg (Idaho) Standard Journal, Feb. 17, 19

Architectural rendering of new Mount Vernon research libraryMount Vernon to build a George Washington research library
George Washington’s historic estate at Mount Vernon in Virginia has received a record-breaking gift of $38 million to construct a research library on its grounds. The library will bring together materials from the first president’s estate and other archives. This first gift, announced at a February 19 news conference, comes from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, a philanthropic group based in Las Vegas. The library will be called the Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington, after the foundation’s chairman....
Washington Post, Feb. 20

Mississippi libraries brace for cuts
Saddled with massive deficits, Mississippi has slashed its public library allocations this fiscal year by nearly 10%. And more reductions are expected. “So far we’ve seen a cut of over $600,000 in the state fund that goes to public libraries through the personnel-incentive grant program,” said Sharman B. Smith, executive director of the Mississippi Library Commission. Library officials have been told to brace for another cut before the fiscal year ends June 30....
Tupelo Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, Feb. 21

Wichita looks to private funds for new library
Wichita, Kansas, is willing to commit $12.6 million more than planned on a new Central Library, but city hall would probably look to wealthy families, corporations, and fundraisers to help cover the rest. “I’m willing to sell naming rights on doorknobs,” Library Board Chairwoman Susan Estes jokingly said....
Wichita (Kans.) Eagle, Feb. 24

Fairfax County library services are on the line
The Fairfax County (Va.) Public Library will have absorbed a budget cut of 33% over two years if the county executive's proposal for the coming year is approved. Library Director Edwin S. Clay III said that an estimated 89 full-time positions will have to be trimmed to keep the library’s mission intact. Board of Supervisors Chairman Sharon S. Bulova said the planned elimination of 30 of Fairfax’s 54 full-time librarian positions was a sobering reminder of how deep next year’s cuts will go....
Washington Post, Feb. 19

Betsy BirdThe double life of Betsy Bird
New York Public Library Children’s Librarian Betsy Bird (right) had no idea how much influence her blog about children’s books carried until she criticized some fellow bibliophiles at In an October 2009 post, Bird raised questions about the secrecy enshrouding Amazon’s “Vine Voices,” a collection of amateur reviewers who receive free advance copies of new books. Bird asked how they were chosen and wanted to know whether publishers pay to have their titles included in the reviews. Her post triggered a 1,500-word investigation by Publisher’s Weekly and an avalanche of angry comments on her blog, A Fuse #8 Production....
Forbes, Feb. 18

Books on White House Library shelf. Photo by Rob PortWhite House library’s books on socialism were Jackie Kennedy’s
When conservative Rob Port took a tour of the White House February 17, he was scandalized by the books he found on shelves in the White House library, among them The American Socialist Movement 1897–1912 by Ira Kipnis (1952) and The Social Basis of American Communism by Nathan Glazer (1961). In his blog he accused Michelle Obama of putting them there, but it turns out that Jacqueline Kennedy had hired Yale University Librarian James T. Babb to stock the library for her in 1963. LibraryThing members have just completed an overnight flash-mob catalog of the collection....
Los Angeles Times: Jacket Copy, Feb. 19; SayAnythingBlog, Feb. 17; LibraryThing Blog, Feb. 23

Library team crowned spelling champs in Chatham
The Book Bags spelled their way to victory during the annual Friends of the Eldredge Public Library spelling bee, held February 21 at the library in Chatham, Massachusetts. Aubade, “a psalm or poem greeting the dawn,” was the winning word for the champion team consisting of Library Director Irene Gillies, Cataloger Kate Ferreira, and Library Technician Barbara Stevenson, who bested 11 other teams. (The Chatham police team had to withdraw because of a robbery.)...
Harwich (Mass.) Cape Cod Chronicle, Feb. 25

Recovery Act grants to libraries in five states
U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announced American Recovery and Reinvestment Act investments on February 18 that will supply computers or broadband services to libraries in five states. The grants will go to the North Florida Broadband Authority, the State Library of Louisiana, the New York State Education Department, the West Virginia Executive Office, and the Wisconsin Department of Administration....
National Telecommunications and Information Administration, Feb. 18

Archives at Risk logoWhy is our visual history being lost?
Eric Veillette writes: “Most homemade movies end up in landfills as people die, family homes are emptied, and relatives throw them out. Corporate archives are also at risk. An astounding 80% of the world’s film and video holdings could be gone by 2015, predicts Matthew White, a founder of the United Nations–led group Archives at Risk, which has advocated for the digitization and preservation of film archives worldwide. While Gone with the Wind will always be around, films documenting regional culture are at risk of vanishing.”...
Toronto Star, Feb. 21

Libraries try new ways to accommodate homeless persons
Like many homeless public library patrons, all John Banks wants is a clean, safe place to sit in peace. He doesn’t want to talk to anyone. But the day he decides he wants help, he knows what to do: Ask for the social worker. The main branch of the San Francisco Public Library, where hundreds of homeless people spend every day, is the first in the country to keep a full-time social worker on hand....
Associated Press, Feb. 20

Page from Casanova diary oin display at the French National Library. Still from CCTV videoCasanova diaries purchased for French National Library
The Bibliothèque nationale de France announced February 18 that it has acquired the original, uncensored diaries of Venetian adventurer and author Giacomo Casanova (1725–1798). In what is believed to be the most expensive manuscript sale ever, a mystery donor purchased the 3,700 yellowing pages on behalf of the library for a price believed to be in excess of €5 million ($6.8 million U.S.). The papers, transferred to the library in 13 protective boxes, are the basis of what went on to become Casanova’s legendary Histoire de ma vie. Watch the video (1:08)....
The Guardian (U.K.), Feb. 18; China Central Television, Feb. 21

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Tech Talk

Curious Displays project by Julia Yu TsaoSwarming intelligence
Jason Griffey writes: “A ton of research gets done these days on swarm intelligence and how we can recreate in software the physical interactions of insects and schools of fish in order to more efficiently program the robots of the future. This week I saw two different examples of this online that blew me away. These aren’t products, certainly, but they point the way to a future that I’m not sure most of us will even recognize.”...
AL: Perpetual Beta, Feb. 22

Jungle Disk logoBackup strategies for the paranoid
Dawn Foster writes: “For many of us, making backups is like making a will: We know we’ll eventually need one, but we don’t really want to think about it, so we keep putting it off. Now I have a two-pronged backup strategy that even the most paranoid among us should appreciate: a combination of on-site, full system, incremental backups, coupled with cloud backups.”...
Web Worker Daily, Feb. 22

Steve Jobs: Ditch dying Flash technology
Ryan Tate writes: “On a recent trip to New York to woo newspaper publishers with demonstrations of the iPad, Steve Jobs met with staff of the Wall Street Journal. During the demo, editors asked about the iPad’s lack of Flash support, to which Jobs replied, ‘We don't spend a lot of energy on old technology.’ Jobs was brazen in his dismissal of Flash, people familiar with the meeting tell us. He repeated what he said at an Apple Town Hall recently, that Flash crashes Macs and is buggy. He then compared Flash to other obsolete systems Apple got people to ditch.”...
Gawker: Valleywag, Feb. 18; Gizmodo, Jan. 31

How to save images for the web
Joshua Johnson writes: “On the surface, saving images for the web can be a pretty straightforward process. However, if you dig deeper there’s a wealth of information and techniques you might be missing out on. This article focuses primarily on the diverse features of Photoshop’s ‘Save for Web and Devices’ command, along with some best practices related to saving images that are optimized for web use.”...
Six Revisions, Feb. 22

Screenshot of fav4.orgFive best start pages
Jason Fitzpatrick wrties: “Your start page is the first thing you see when you open your browser or load a new tab—your gateway to the rest of the web. Checking out these five contenders for best start page will give you a chance to decide if your current start page serves your needs or could use an upgrade. Fav4 is probably the most elegant of the start pages featured here—not counting the extreme-minimalist approach of about:blank.”...
Lifehacker, Feb. 21 logo and motto: "You publish. We deliver"Deliver RSS feeds to your tweetstream with
Aliza Sherman writes: “There are many tools that will send a feed into Twitter, usually with the title of a post followed by a short URL. A short description is optional, as is adding a few words as a preface to the tweet. I see this kind of automation as laying a nice foundation to a Twitter stream. I’ve been using Twitterfeed to handle integrating my blog and podcast feeds into my Twitter stream, but I recently learned about competing service First impressions? I like it, and here’s why.”...
Web Worker Daily, Feb. 19

Will open source ever be completely free?
Matt Asay writes: “In various markets, open source software has relentlessly driven prices down while boosting performance and customer value, as detailed by The 451 Group. Even as traditional vendors have struggled with a tight economy, open source vendors have thrived. In the process, has open source conditioned customers to expect more for less? Perhaps as little as $0.00? The Linux market offers some clues.”...
CNET: The Open Road, Feb. 23

Screenshot of GleeBoxGleeBox makes the web keyboard-friendly
Jason Fitzpatrick writes: “Firefox/Chrome users: If you love using your keyboard and shun your mouse, you’ll definitely want to try gleeBox, an awesome add-on that lets you effortlessly browse the web without your mouse. Gleebox offers a highly customizable and intuitive way to navigate web pages via keyboard. At its most basic, gleeBox allows you to hit the G key, and every link on the page is highlighted and you can navigate to it by typing part or all of the link name into gleeBox.”...
Lifehacker, Feb. 23

YouTube logoYouTube to drop IE6 support
Emil Protalinski writes: “Over six months ago, Google announced it would start phasing out support for Internet Explorer 6 on Orkut and YouTube, and started pushing its users to modern browsers. The search giant has now given a specific kill date for old browser support on the video website via a page on titled ‘Solve a Problem: Upgrading your browser.’ Late last month, Google announced it would end old browser support for Google Docs and Google Sites on March 1, and earlier this month, it said it would phase out support for these browsers for Google Mail and Google Calendar by year end.”...
Ars Technica, Feb. 23

Screenshot of GoRequestThree government apps done right
Elyssa Pallai writes: “Government agencies around the world are notorious for delivering less-than-optimal website experiences. This is often due to a government agency, rather than citizens, driving website requirements. However, we were able to uncover a few intriguing mobile government apps that are, to our delight, useful and usable. GoRequest (right) is a location-aware iPhone application that allows a person to log an issue with their local government. The app is free.”...
ReadWriteWeb, Feb. 22


Cover of This Book Is Overdue!Interview with Marilyn Johnson
Librarians, Marilyn Johnson argues in This Book Is Overdue!, are one of our most underappreciated natural resources. Salon talked to Johnson over the phone from her home in Westchester County, New York, about the inadequacy of Google, why librarians have so many stalkers, and how a group of Connecticut librarians helped protect your privacy....
Salon, Feb. 21

Adrian JohnsArrrrr, here be digital pirates
The history of publishing is swimming with pirates—far more than Adrian Johns (right) expected when he started hunting through the archives for them. And he thinks their stories may hold keys to understanding the latest battles over digital publishing—and the future of the book. Johns, a historian at the University of Chicago, can rattle off a long list of noted copyright pirates through the years....
Chronicle of Higher Education, Feb. 21

Platform wars come to the book business
Joseph Esposito writes: “Three technology giants—Amazon, Apple, and Google—are now implicating the book business in their attempt to establish a technical platform. These are big players for whom books are the equivalent of software applications. The idea is simple—get enough books running on your platform, and everyone will want to have access to that platform. The risk for publishers, if not the likelihood, is that they will become collateral damage.”...
The Scholarly Kitchen, Feb. 23

Cover of Action Comics, no. 1 (June 1938)Super-expensive comic book
Action Comics #1, a June 1938 comic book that featured the first appearance of Superman and originally cost 10 cents, was sold for $1 million at an auction through the website, making it the most expensive comic book of all time. A private purchaser in New York won the bid from a private seller, both unnamed. Only about 100 copies of this issue remain in existence, and of those, only two (including this one) have a grading of 8.0 (very fine). The previous record-holder was another Action Comics #1 graded at 6.0 that sold in 2009 for $317,200....
Comics Alliance, Feb. 22

Cover of Wolf HallWhen to give up on a book
Julia Keller writes: “The prospect of tucking into Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall, indisputably the Big Book of 2009, made me shiver with anticipatory delight. Awaiting me within its 532 pages was, I felt sure, Mantel’s usual blend of arch humor, shrewd observation, sharp dialogue, and cascading narrative. At first, I rattled right along, but then I began to falter, to dawdle, to recall household tasks. Why did the prospect of not finishing a book fill me with shame, dread and self-loathing?” Perhaps it’s because books have become fringe media?...
Chicago Tribune, Feb. 21; GigaOm, Feb. 20

Still from Gotta Keep ReadingGotta keep readin’
Ocoee (Fla.) Middle School partnered with Full Sail University in Winter Park to create an inspirational music video (5:14) to get students across the country excited about reading. Filmed December 11, the video was inspired by the Flash Mob Dance on the Oprah Winfrey Show performed September 8, 2009, by the Black Eyed Peas and several thousand of Oprah’s fans....
Vimeo, Feb. 15

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Actions & Answers

Graphic for Imagining the InternetThe Future of the Internet IV
A survey of nearly 900 internet stakeholders reveals fascinating new perspectives on the way the internet is affecting human intelligence and the ways that information is being shared and rendered. The web-based survey gathered opinions from prominent scientists, business leaders, consultants, writers, and technology developers. It is the fourth in a series of internet expert studies conducted by the Imagining the Internet Center at Elon University and the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project....
Pew Research Center, Feb. 19

The Houston Public Library Twitter feed is ranked second in number of followersTop 100 public libraries on Twitter
This list shows the top public libraries on Twitter that 1) regularly update their page and communicate with their followers, 2) use Twitter to advance or promote communication with their community, 3) have a proportionate number of followers to following, and 4) are currently active on Twitter. The list is updated regularly. Contact NFI to add your library....
NFI Research

Presenter Pro app10 smartphone apps to make you a better trainer
Sarah Houghton-Jan writes: “Many of us carry smartphones with us wherever we go. Whether you have an iPhone, an Android, or a Blackberry, you likely have access to thousands of applications that can make your life easier. As a new Droid owner, I found a number of apps that I thought could help me as a trainer in my face-to-face classes. Here is a list of apps that can help you while you are training or teaching, making you seem super-smart, tech-savvy, and creative.”...
ALA Learning, Feb. 16

Who owns common sense?
Linda W. Braun writes: “It started with a tweet. A student in an online young adult literature class that I teach mentioned a blog post by Sarah Dessen (scroll down to number 5) about Barnes & Noble’s use of Common Sense Media ratings on its website. The student tweet asked what members of the class thought about the use of these ratings in this way. Students wondered: Can’t this help parents to know what their teens are reading? Isn’t this a way for parents to monitor and filter teen reading?”...
YALSA Blog, Feb. 20

Chelsea Manufacturing Company of Norwich, Connecticut, is said to have used mummy wrappings from Egypt as an ingredient in their rag-based paper. Image courtesy of the Connecticut Historical Society, from Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, January 27, 1866The mystery of mummy paper
Nancy Mattoon writes: “Reality or urban legend: Were the wrappings of ancient Egyptian corpses recycled and pulped to create so-called mummy paper? The answer to this puzzler may have at long last been found at Brown University’s John Hay Library. According to independent scholar and self-taught Egyptologist S. J. Wolfe, a document found in the library’s rare book collection is the smoking gun that proves mummies were mulched for newsprint.”...
Book Patrol, Feb. 19

Canadian Library of Parliament, Ottawa. Flickr photo by Alejandro EricksonThe most amazing libraries in the world, part two
Jessie Kunhardt writes: “In January, we brought you a slideshow of the most amazing libraries in the world. The responses from readers were so full of suggestions that we couldn’t resist running another batch of our favorites and yours. We are getting much bad news about libraries recently, as funding drops and major cuts are made, but these buildings and collections remind us of how important libraries are and how much they are worth saving.”...
Huffington Post, Feb. 22

A success story from the back room
John Kennerly writes: “I received an email last week from one of our staff members at the Erskine College library that sang the praises of another staffer. It described how the efforts of one cataloger allowed our rural South Carolina college to rub elbows with two top-five research university libraries in the United States and assist one of those libraries and one of their users. Anyone familiar with the tasks associated with technical services knows that this is not a high-profile, glamorous job.”...
Speaking of Information, Feb. 23

Table showing modules for regulating camera use in repositories. From the OCLC reportDigital cameras in the rare book room
OCLC Research has released a report, Capture and Release (PDF file), that presents a core of suggested practices for allowing the use of digital cameras in special collections reading rooms. To bring together best practices, members of the RLG Partnership Working Group on Streamlining Photography and Scanning surveyed the policies of 35 repositories....
OCLC, Feb. 23

WorldCat for genealogists
Alice Sneary writes: “During the past few weeks, I've been delighted by one of the popular genealogy-blogging themes, ‘52 Weeks to Better Genealogy,’ where each of the prompts so far this year has been designed to encourage genealogists to further explore and use their library resources; in fact, the series creator is herself a librarian. Week 5 of the series has particular emphasis here because the goal was to encourage hundreds of genea-bloggers to explore”...
WorldCat Blog, Feb. 19

Wash 'em graphic from the Centers for Disease ControlFlu preparedness
Q. One of our regular library visitors asked what the library’s plan for preventing the spread of the H1N1 flu is. He has asked whether we wipe down the books daily, or otherwise clean them to prevent transmission. A. Most libraries are part of another organization that may have plans to guide the broader community. ALA member groups, who write the guidelines, are focusing on their expertise: protecting the collections. That said, the ALA Library has compiled flu preparedness resources. The ALA Librarian welcomes your questions....
AL: Ask the ALA Librarian, Feb. 19

Tax assistance @ your library
This tax season, many public libraries are working to help their patrons get some money back with programs designed to help them file federal and state income taxes. The San Antonio (Tex.) Public Library is currently assisting its patrons on a variety of levels with its Taxes @ your library website. The Granville County (N.C.) Public Library has partnered with the state Department of Revenue to provide library users with income tax forms....
Campaign for America’s Libraries, Feb. 22

New challenges in recording the past
Corydon Ireland writes: “In the age of the bit and the byte and the web, what happens to the hallowed art of writing history? A Harvard gathering of five historians took up that question February 19 in a discussion called ‘Writing History Now.’ The panel suggested that the internet age has a dark side for those whose profession traditionally has included painstaking investigations of letters, diaries, public papers, maps, and other documents. For one thing, that paper trail is disappearing under a hail of electrons that may prove elusive to find and save.”...
Harvard Gazette, Feb. 23

Europeana "Think Culture" logoEuropeana set to expand
The European Union’s Europeana digital library needs content from more member states now and EU budget funding from 2013, the Culture and Education Committee stated in a report approved February 22. Though intellectual property rights must be respected, digitization should not restrict access to Europe’s public heritage, warn Members of the European Parliament....
European Parliament, Feb. 23

A page from the "Ehrenbuch der Fugger," a record of a German noble family from ca. 1545-1548A German library for the 21st century
The German Digital Library wants to make millions of books, films, images, and audio recordings accessible online. More than 30,000 libraries, museums, and archives are expected to contribute their digitized cultural artifacts. The goal is to integrate the collection with Europeana, launched in 2008 with similar ambitions, and to compete with Google Books. Some 45,000 works have been scanned so far at the Munich Digitization Center of the Bavarian State Library....
Der Spiegel, Feb. 19

Oral History of British Science interviewee Dr Charles Swithinbank using a theodolite during an Antarctic expedition, 1949-1952An oral history of British science
The voices, memories, and experiences of hundreds of British scientists are being captured by a major new initiative at the British Library. An Oral History of British Science is the first project of its kind in Britain and will gather 200 audiovisual interviews with the British scientists who have led the world in scientific innovation. The recordings and transcripts will be made available free of charge at the library as a research resource....
British Library, Feb. 23

Canadian Conservation Institute Notes are online
CCI Notes deal with topics of interest to those who care for cultural objects. Intended for a broad audience, the Notes offer practical advice about issues and questions related to the care, handling, and storage of cultural objects. Many are illustrated and provide bibliographies as well as suggestions for contacting suppliers. Electronic copies in English and French are now available free to everyone on the CCI website....
Preservation and Conservation Administration News, Feb. 18

Eko alarm clock. Flickr photo by Alan CleaverReference question of the week
Brian Herzog writes: “Sometimes I can’t tell if patrons ask for something because they think we actually offer it, or if they just figure there’s no harm in asking. To wit: ‘Can you set the library’s notification service to call me really early to be a wake-up call?’ Since he actually was looking for a free wake-up service (and didn’t necessarily need someone from the library to do it), I searched around to see what I could find. There are actually a few online services, and some of them are free.”...
Swiss Army Librarian, Feb. 20

Overdue notice sent in 1873Oldest overdue notice?
Larry Nix writes: “In my quest for postal librariana, one class of item I appreciate most are government-issued, postage-prepaid postal cards. The U.S. Post Office began issuing these cards in 1873. For one cent, which paid for the card and the postage, a library could transact a variety of tasks. The postal card shown here was used by the Memorial Hall Library in Andover, Massachusetts, to mail an overdue notice to Mr. E. L. Barnard on December 27, 1873. I will make the claim that this is the oldest mailed overdue notice still in existence for a U.S. library until I am proven wrong.”...
Library History Buff Blog, Feb. 16

From an art exhibit on the fictional Lillian Virginia MountweazelFictional entries in reference books
Stacy Conradt writes: “You know how animators and filmmakers will sometimes slip something a little unexpected into a piece just to put their stamp on it? They’re not the only ones who do so. You’ll find silly little entries in lots of other places—if you know what to look for. And sometimes the reason for the fictitious entry serves a purpose other than to amuse the author.” In 1975, the New Columbia Encyclopedia included a fictitious entry on Ohio photographer Lillian Virginia Mountweazel (right), who allegedly specialized in rural mailboxes....
Mental Floss, Feb. 22

Prison Library Project poster: "Freedom to Read"Prison library resources
Peggy writes: “Periodically I get questions from staff who work in prison libraries. Their major question is: What do you do for materials when there is no money? I encourage them to do what I do. Check and evaluate online and other groups that offer books to prisoners, for example Books Behind Bars, the Prison Library Project, or the Prisoners’ Reading Encouragement Project. Make sure you develop donations criteria, or you will wind up with textbooks, old classics, and outdated encyclopedias.”...
Prison Librarian, Feb. 21

Rushdie self-portrait sketch in one of his journalsEmory’s digital Rushdie archive
Mary J. Loftus writes: “Emory University acquired the archives of author Salman Rushdie in 2006. Like many of his contemporaries, Rushdie wrote his later works and conducted much of his correspondence and research on personal computers. So his archive is a hybrid, meaning that Emory’s Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library received not only 100 linear feet of his paper material— including diaries, notebooks, library books, first-edition novels, notes scribbled on napkins—but also 40,000 files and 18 gigabytes of data on a Mac desktop, three Mac laptops, and an external hard drive.” The archive will open February 26....
Emory Magazine, Winter 2010; Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Feb. 23

Title 29 (Labor) of the Code of Federal RegulationsGPO and Cornell to digitize CFR (PDF file)
The U.S. Government Printing Office and Cornell University Law School are beginning a year-long pilot project to evaluate a conversion process of the Code of Federal Regulations in XML format. The CFR is the codification of the general and permanent rules published in the Federal Register by the executive departments and agencies of the federal government. The Cornell Legal Information Institute will convert various titles into XML and place them on the university’s website for students to research....
Government Printing Office, Feb. 22

Note suggesting collaborative chess games found at the chess boardWhat a librarian can learn from chess
Kate Covintree writes: “A few years back I bought a chess board for our library, the kind with a magnetic board that makes it a bit portable, and one where I hoped students wouldn’t lose pieces too easily. I placed it on a spare student-sized desk near the library’s entrance with two nice chairs on either side. Three days into the new school year, a handwritten notice was found under the board.”...
YALSA Blog, Feb. 19

Katharine Hepburn (center) in Desk SetHepburns as leaders and change agents
Leigh Anne Vrabel writes: “Even within the limitations of the archetype structure, it seems to me that you can tell a lot about librarians by determining whether they are more like Audrey Hepburn or Katharine Hepburn. To illustrate, I will examine both archetypes, listing strengths and weaknesses, and determine whether their qualities tend toward leadership or change agent–ship. You may already think you know where you are on this particular spectrum. Try to suspend your judgment until you get to the end of the essay.”...
Library Alchemy, Feb. 19

Abbey sez: "Hurry up and get cracking."Take it from a digital native
This video (1:20), showing 3-year-old Abbey explaining what she wants from her library, opened the 2010 VALA—Libraries, Technology and the Future conference in Melbourne, Australia, February 9. “I’m a digital native and I want it now!”...
YouTube, Feb. 5

Still from The Hackney Bunch videoThe Hackney Bunch
Rodney Lippard, director of Barton College’s Hackney Library in Wilson, North Carolina, and his staff introduce themselves in this video takeoff (1:10) of The Brady Bunch.“It’s the story of a director, and librarians who shine at what they do.”...
YouTube, Feb. 15

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ALA Annual Conference, Washington, D.C., June 24–29. Special meeting fares have been arranged for travel to the 2010 ALA Annual Conference. Custom itineraries may be booked through the ALA Travel Desk by phone or email only. The Travel Desk offers the lowest applicable airfares and best journey times to the meeting.

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Booklist Environmental Series Roundup. The number of environmental series nonfiction titles keeps on growing. The recommended titles from the February 15 Booklist Spotlight on the Environment are available here. NEW! From Booklist.

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Director of Fitzgerald Library, St. Mary’s University of Minnesota, Winona Campus. (Search extended.) The Director provides leadership for the library by: planning and implementing developing strategies to enhance services; overseeing collection development; engaging the campus to incorporate emerging technologies; enhancing instructional use of the library; managing daily operations, staff and budgets; advocating for the library; working with the staff of the Twin Cities Library to coordinate library collections and inter-library loan; fostering resource sharing; and representing the university at network and consortium meetings....

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Digital Library of the Week

The Margarett was the last whaler out of the port of New London. She was owned by George R. Harris of Norwich and manned largely by Norwich men. Fitted out in New London, she departed September 24, 1908, under the command of Captain James W. Buddington of Groton. The Margarett also made the last whaling voyage from New London County in 1910. Built in Essex, Massachusetts, she was abandoned 1926 at Brava, Cape Verde Islands, after years of service as a New Bedford whaler. IMG0010-4761.PCD

Connecticut History Online is a digital collection of over 15,000 digital primary sources, together with associated interpretive and educational material. Now in its 10th year, CHO is embarking on a collaboration with the Encyclopedia of Connecticut History Online to serve the needs of scholars, teachers and students, genealogists, and the general public. This new initiative builds upon a very successful collaboration of libraries and museums carried out in two IMLS National Leadership grant-funded phases (1999–2007) that focused on digital capture of historical artifacts, including photographs, maps, broadsides, oral histories, manuscripts, and oral histories. These document events, people, and places that are part of the fabric of Connecticut and American social, business, political, educational, cultural, and civic life. The four current CHO partners (the Connecticut Historical Society, Connecticut State Library, Mystic Seaport, and the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center) represent three major communities that preserve and make accessible historical collections within the state of Connecticut. Their combined assets include book and periodical volumes, manuscript materials, photographs and graphics, oral histories, maps, artifacts, and broadsides.

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.

Canadian Freedom to Read week, 2010
Canadian Freedom to Read Week,
February 21–27.

Public Perception
How the World
Sees Us

If Mendocino County is strapped for money, and I believe it is, the most logical thing it could do is close down all the libraries. Lock the doors, shut off the lights, sell the books. Rent out the buildings to Domino Pizza outlets and Verizon franchises. Turn the bookmobile into a taco truck.
  “Libraries are the blacksmith shops of the 21st century, obsolete relics of another era. Their time is past, as gone as the Monroe Doctrine and the Bronze Age. Today going to the library is an exercise in nostalgia, an attempt to revisit your youth, or, more probably, the youth of your grandparents. But it’s easy to go years and years without visiting a library—I havent had a library card in a quarter century and cant recall a single time I wished I had one.

—Editorial writer Tommy Wayne Kramer, in “Save the County, Close the Libraries,Ukiah (Calif.) Daily Journal, Feb. 22.

“Glenn, the library isn’t free! It’s paid for with tax money. Free public libraries are the result of the Progressive movement to communally share books. The first public library was the Boston Public Library in 1854. Its statement of purpose: Every citizen has the right to access community-owned resources. Community-owned? That sounds just like communist. You’re a communist!”

Daily Show host Jon Stewart, making fun of conservative commentator Glenn Beck’s remark that he learned about the evils of Progressivism from reading “at the library, where books are free,” The Daily Show, Feb. 22.

“1.0A2b). When a resource is in more than one part, issue, or iteration, determine the basis of a description with Rock, Paper, Scissors.”

—University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Information and Library Science student Alexandra Beaton, tweeting as FakeAACR2 in a takeoff of FakeAPStylebook, Feb. 17.

Tweeter bird designed by Monkeyworks



O’Reilly Tools of Change for Publishing Conference, New York City, Feb. 22–24, at:

Code4Lib 2010, Asheville, N.C., Feb. 22–25, at:

Ontario Library Association Super Conference, Toronto, Feb. 24–27, at:

National Federation of Advanced Information Services, Annual Conference, Philadelphia, Feb. 28–Mar. 2, at:

American Libraries news stories, videos, tweets, and blog posts at:


Mar. 5–6:
ALA Virtual Communities and Libraries Member Interest Group,
OPAL webconference. “The Future Is Now: Libraries and Museums in Virtual Worlds.” Second Life orientation sessions will be held on ALA Island March 2–5 prior to the conference.

Mar. 7–13:
Teen Tech Week.
“Learn, Create, Share.”

Mar. 15:
National Freedom of Information Day Conference,
Knight Conference Center, Newseum, Washington, D.C.

Mar. 16:
Web 2.0, Social Networking, and Libraries Conference, Kellogg Center, School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University, New York City. “How Libraries Are Exploiting Web 2.0 and Social Networking
to Improve Service to Library Users.”

Mar. 23–27:
Public Library Association,
National Conference, Oregon Convention Center, Portland.

Mar. 31:
Document Freedom Day.

Apr. 11–17:
National Library Week.

Apr. 14:
National Bookmobile Day.

Apr. 28–29:
Digital Preservation for Digital Collaboratives, a workshop designed for multiple representatives from a collaborative, Lyrasis, Philadelphia.

Apr. 28–30:
Off-Campus Library Services Conference,
Cleveland Marriott Downtown at Key Center, Cleveland, Ohio.

June 25:
The Changing Standards Landscape,
cohosted by the Book Industry Study Group and the National Information Standards Organization, Washington, D.C. RSVP to NISO.

July 6–9:
Fifth International Conference on Open Repositories,
Fundación Española para la Ciencia y la Tecnología, Palacio de Congresos, Madrid, Spain.

July 14:
The Changing Landscape of Search: Essential New Tools for Finding Information,
John Rylands Library, University of Manchester, U.K.

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