|American Libraries Online
American Libraries launches new website
American Libraries is kicking off 2010 with a new way to keep on top of library-related news, views, and perspectives. Its new website is rolling out over the coming weeks, with content open to all. The site offers many new benefits, including expanded news content, web-only spotlights, HTML versions of most of the print magazine’s content, comment-enabled articles, an archive of every issue of American Libraries Direct, and RSS feeds for new issues....
AL Inside Scoop, Jan. 6
Newbery Award–winner named ambassador to young readers
Katherine Paterson (right), two-time Newbery Award winner for Bridge to Terabithia and Jacob Have I Loved, has been appointed the 2010–11 National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature by the Center for the Book of the Library of Congress and the Children’s Book Council’s Every Child a Reader initiative. Paterson succeeds Jon Scieszka (left), who became the first-ever national ambassador in 2008. She summarized her platform for the ambassadorship in four words: “Read for your life.”......
American Libraries Online, Jan. 6; Library of Congress, Jan. 5
The year in review
Read a summary of the top library stories of 2009: Fiscal tsunami, tragedies and triumphs, Google gaining, e-books escalating, and open source solutions....
American Libraries, Jan./Feb.
Tough times and eight ways to deal with them
James LaRue writes: “Many public libraries—in the United States and worldwide—are facing significant financial troubles. We are part of a larger economic system, and this is a dip in the cycle. Such dips are inevitable over the course of one’s career. There are many ways to rein in expenditures without compromising the long-term integrity of our institutions. Making cuts isn’t unusual. Businesses do it. Homeowners do it. In libraries, I believe there are eight basic approaches, and not all of them are good ones.”...
American Libraries, Jan./Feb.
How to thrive by design in tough times
Lisa Rosenblum writes: “With the help of retail evaluation tools, library staff at the Hayward (Calif.) Public Library have accomplished a makeover, resulting in consistent increases in library usage and measurable improvements in customer satisfaction—a model from which almost any committed library can draw to make the best of these tumultuous times. Hayward accomplished this with innovative retail measurements developed by Envirosell, a global research and consulting firm specializing in the study of human behavior in retail, service, home, and online settings.”...
American Libraries, Jan./Feb.
Brian Mathews writes: “What makes a library inspiring to its users? The key component is the relationship it builds with the people it serves. Seattle Public Library is a showcase for this attribute. In 2008, just in time to face what has become a global financial crisis, the library completed the 10-year ‘Libraries for All’ campaign, which resulted in the construction of several new branches and improvements to every other library building. What’s most inspiring about this ambitious plan is the way the city’s public librarians took it to the streets.”...
American Libraries, Jan./Feb.
ALA launches Family Literacy Focus
ALA President Camila Alire has launched the Family Literacy Focus, an initiative to encourage families in ethnically diverse communities to read and learn together. ALA has awarded each of the five ALA ethnic affiliate organizations $3,000 to develop and implement innovative family literacy models in libraries serving Native American, Asian American and Pacific American, African American, Chinese American, and Latino communities....
Choose Privacy Week kicks off at Midwinter
The Office for Intellectual Freedom will launch ALA’s new privacy initiative, Choose Privacy Week, at an exciting event featuring social critic Hal Niedzviecki, author of The Peep Diaries: How We’re Learning to Love Watching Ourselves and Our Neighbors (City Lights Books, 2009). The event will take place January 16, 4–5 p.m. Niedzviecki’s talk will focus on what he terms the age of “peep culture”—a tell-all, show-all, know-all digital phenomenon that is dramatically altering notions of privacy....
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. legacy honored
ALA Graphics has added a Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. poster and bookmark to its History Lives series. The items feature an image of King alongside a quote from Stride Toward Freedom, his memoir describing the Montgomery bus boycott. King, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate who fought discrimination through nonviolent resistance, helped transform a nation through his conviction of equality....
ALA requests additional broadband funding for libraries
ALA, joined by nine other supporters of broadband expansion, sent a letter (PDF file) December 29 to Assistant Secretary of Commerce Larry Strickling, asking the National Telecommunications and Information Administration to substantially increase the amount of funding allocated for the Public Computer Centers program in the second round of funding for the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program....
District Dispatch, Dec. 29
OITP profiles five library networks
The ALA Office for Information Technology Policy released on January 6 Making Connections: Lessons from Five Shared Library Networks (PDF file)—profiles of five library networks that have, through varying approaches, successfully upgraded their broadband connectivity. The case studies reveal lessons learned that may be instructive for other libraries seeking to establish successful networks....
District Dispatch, Jan. 6
Placement Center to host free webinar
The ALA Placement Center will host a free webinar from 11 a.m. to noon Central Time on January 18. “Finding and Keeping Library Jobs,” presented by Diane Kovacs, is intended for librarians and support staff who are seeking employment, planning for future employment, or looking for professional development opportunities to assist in maintaining current employment. To attend, participants can visit the webinar website. To enter, make sure “Enter as a guest” is selected, type your name in the space, and click on “Enter Room.”...
Extension on Google Public Policy Fellowship
The ALA Washington Office will be participating in the Google Policy Fellowship program for the summer of 2010. Google Policy Fellows work for 10 weeks during the summer at ALA Washington or at other public-interest organizations involved in debates on broadband and other technical issues. The application deadline has been extended to January 25....
District Dispatch, Dec. 29
Celebrate National Library Week with a customizable PSA
To promote National Library Week 2010, a customizable public service announcement featuring award-winning author Neil Gaiman is now available. The PSA can be downloaded for free. To have the PSA customized with their library’s logo, librarians are asked to send a print-quality logo file, the library name, and the URL to firstname.lastname@example.org....
Merritt Fund to celebrate 40th anniversary in June
The LeRoy C. Merritt Humanitarian Fund, founded in 1970 to help librarians who have been denied employment rights because of their defense of intellectual freedom or because of discrimination, turns 40 years old in 2010. To celebrate this landmark anniversary, the Merritt Fund will be having a gala dinner June 28 in conjunction with the ALA Annual Conference in Washington, D.C., at the Folger Shakespeare Library....
Website encourages library usage
Atyourlibrary.org, which launched in April 2009, continues to post lively new content that encourages the public to use the local library. The site works to get the word out that libraries are filled with rich resources that are easy to access, as well as promote the goals of the Campaign for America’s Libraries.
Where available, recommended resources are linked to the WorldCat database, which provides a list of the nearest libraries with the recommended item....
Featured review: Media
Myers, Walter Dean. Riot. Read by Dan Oreskes. Sept. 2009. 2.5 hr. Grades 7–12. Listening Library, CD (978-0-307-58340-6).
The stirring trumpet rendition of “Battle Hymn of the Republic” sets the mood for this dramatic historical fiction, based on the New York Draft Riots of 1863, when Irish immigrants revolted against “dying for darkies” in the Civil War. The response of one New York innkeeper family (a black man, his Irish spouse, and biracial daughter) illustrates the conflicted feelings of New York Irish and blacks, differences in fear levels, and resulting aftermath. The novel is written in screenplay format, with the audio read by a full cast, including the resonant tones of principal narrator Oreskes. Three days of riots are told through the actions and viewpoints of 15-year-old biracial Claire (read by Julie Rogers); her father, John (played by Ako Mitchell); and her mother, Ellen (portrayed by Grainne Gilles). Ellen’s lilting brogue, John’s sturdy tones, and Walt Whitman’s (Sean Barratt) world-weary, educated inflections are among the memorable voices....
Black History Preview
Joanne Wilkinson writes: “For those readers anxious to get a head start planning Black History Month activities or ordering relevant titles, we are offering our 11th annual Black History Preview. It is intended to provide an overview of some of the books by and about African Americans to be published in 2010. The titles are based on lists submitted to us by both adult and youth publishers. Because we have not seen many of these titles yet, we can’t offer recommendations at this point, but we will be considering them for review as galleys arrive in the office in the coming weeks.”...
@ Visit Booklist Online for other reviews and much more....
Free Boston iPhone app
The Free Boston app provides dozens of listings for free exhibits, museum admissions, tours, and events in and around the city of Boston. For each listing you will find the phone number, address, URL, and other relevant information to help you plan your visit.
The app lets you mark your favorite items and go through just the favorites in a separate tab. Periodic updates include newer listings and corrections....
iPhone Apps Plus
Institute of Contemporary Art
Boston’s Institute of Contemporary Art, at 100 Northern Avenue, presents outstanding contemporary art in all media, including visual art exhibitions, music, film, video, and performance, that is deserving of public attention. Founded in 1936 as the Boston Museum of Modern Art, the museum was conceived as a laboratory where innovative approaches to art could be championed. On display during the Midwinter Meeting are exhibits by Mexican artist Damián Ortega (above) and Polish artist Krzysztof Wodiczko....
Institute of Contemporary Art
Boston Public Library: Art and Architecture tours
The Volunteer Office of the Boston Public Library offers free one-hour tours highlighting the architecture of Charles Follen McKim and Philip Johnson, as well as the many works of such famous artists as John Singer Sargent (right) and Edwin Austin Abbey. The tours are given every day except Wednesday. See the BPL website for times....
Boston Public Library
AAP breakfast and book talk (PDF file)
The Association of American Publishers is hosting a complimentary breakfast January 17, 8–9:30 a.m., at the Boston Convention Center, Room 151 A/B. “Keeping It Short: The Best in Short Story Fiction” will feature authors George Saunders, David Updike, Shannon Rouss, Simon Van Booy, Lee Smith, and Ha Jin. RSVP by January 10....
Association of American Publishers
OCLC Blog Salon
It’s not just for bloggers anymore. The OCLC Blog Salon is open and welcome for anyone interested in Web 2.0—from blogs and tweets to APIs, mash-ups, and mobile apps. Rub shoulders with other technically and social-media savvy folks, and make some new friends in a relaxed, social setting, January 17, 5:30–8 p.m., at the Westin Waterfront, Stone Room....
It’s All Good, Jan. 5
Results of 2009 School Libraries Count! survey
As school library media centers increased their hours and collections, many school budgets failed to increase funding to support these trends, according to an updated report (PDF file) from AASL. Results from 5,824 respondents to the 2009 School Libraries Count! National Longitudinal Survey of School Library Media Programs revealed that many schools decreased expenditures, including reduced spending for information resources compared to the previous year....
School libraries lack materials for English Language Learners
According to a recent survey by AASL, many schools lack initiatives to incorporate English Language Learners successfully into the school population. This finding comes as a result of the 2009 School Libraries Count! National Longitudinal Survey of School Library Media Programs. In addition to annual survey questions, in 2009 AASL asked supplemental questions on ELLs (PDF file)....
ACRL selects researcher for its value project
ACRL has selected Megan Oakleaf (right), assistant professor in the iSchool at Syracuse University, as lead researcher for its value of academic libraries project. A recognized expert in outcomes-based assessment and decision making, Oakleaf will develop and deliver a comprehensive review of the quantitative and qualitative literature, methodologies, and best practices currently in place for demonstrating the value of academic libraries....
Authors headline ALTAFF Tea at Midwinter
Five bestselling authors will speak about their writing and lives during the ALTAFF Gala Author Tea, January 18, in the Grand Ballroom at the Hyatt Regency Boston. Featured authors include Marilyn Johnson (right), Janice Y. K. Lee, Teri Woods, Holly LeCraw, and Karl Marlantes. A book signing follows. Johnson is the author of This Book Is Overdue! How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save Us All (HarperCollins, 2010); in a series of short videos, Johnson told Library Journal about some of the librarians she met, why she wrote the book, who its audience is, and what she hopes it will do. Tickets will be sold on-site. Explore other Midwinter ALTAFF events here....
ALTAFF; Library Journal, Jan. 5
ALSC’s 10 ways to make 2010 spectacular
Bethany Lafferty writes: “2010 is upon us, and there is no better time to reenergize your library. Getting the new year off to a great start can be intimidating, but the Kids! @ your library toolkit can make that effort completely painless. Here are 10 free ideas from our toolkit to get you started.”...
ALSC Blog, Dec. 30
LITA Top Tech Trends in Boston
Cindi Trainor writes: “It’s that time again, folks; the semiannual Top Technology Trends conversation is upon us. This year’s Midwinter has us enjoying the history and chill of Boston, but like the last Midwinter Top Tech discussion in Denver, you can participate from the warmth of your living room or from wherever you may be, January 17.”...
LITA Blog, Jan. 5
Tell RUSA why you love reference work
If you’re passionate about reference librarianship, the RUSA President’s Program Committee wants to talk to you. The committee is creating a video montage for its program at the 2010 Annual Conference, and will be taping brief interviews at Midwinter. Stop by Room 103 in the Convention Center on January 16 for a few minutes anytime between 4 and 5:30 p.m. to share the reasons why you love reference work, or your favorite reference sources and questions....
RUSA Blog, Dec. 29
Join YALSA at ALISE in Boston
YALSA will host an exhibit booth and a happy hour at the 2010 Association for Library and Information Science Education Annual Conference, January 12–15 at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel. YALSA members and others can ask questions about the association, pick up swag and handouts, and learn more about YALSA’s resources....
Our future from outside the box
For the Midwinter Meeting in Boston, several cutting-edge LIS thinkers have prepared short opinion pieces on future trends, issues, and developments that are likely to affect research, instruction, and scholarly communication. These essays will serve as the foundation for ALCTS panel discussions January 15 between some of these thinkers, selected respondents, and attendees on emerging roles for collections and technical services librarians. Explore other ALCTS Forums and Interest Group events scheduled for the Midwinter Meeting....
PLA politics and networking workshop
In order to help you learn the skills you need to operate effectively with your local government, PLA, in partnership with the Ohio Library Council, is offering a Politics and Networking workshop February 17–18 at the Toledo Public Library. Politics and Networking is a Certified Public Library Administrator course....
AASL seeks leadership volunteers
AASL is currently seeking volunteers to submit proposals for three upcoming leadership opportunities within the association. The deadline for proposals for all of the opportunities is January 29. Every Wednesday during the month of April, AASL will offer four 60-minute webinars on AASL’s Empowering Learners: Guidelines for School Library Media Programs. AASL invites proposals that focus on one of the four chapters in the program guidelines....
Youth Media Awards, January 18: Mark your calendar
ALA will unveil the best of the best in children’s and young adult literature and media at the 2010 Youth Media Awards presentation during the Midwinter Meeting in Boston. The award announcements (including the Newbery, Caldecott, and Carnegie Medals) will take place at 7:45 a.m. Eastern Time (doors open at 7:30) on January 18 in the Grand Ballroom at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. ALA will also provide a free live webcast of the event via Unikron, results on Twitter and Facebook, and an encore presentation in Second Life....
Behind the Caldecott scenes with Ed Spicer
Travis Jonker writes: “I’m convinced that there is no better person with whom to shoot the Caldecott breeze than Ed Spicer. A 1st-grade teacher, a member of the 2009 Caldecott committee, and a passionate supporter of the written word, Ed can talk books with the best of them. The fact that he has no qualms sharing his opinions doesn’t hurt either. Recently, Ed sat down to discuss his Caldecott committee experience, handicap the 2010 race, and even prognosticate this year’s Printz award winners.”...
100 Scope Notes, Jan. 5
Best of adult reading and reference in Boston
Midwinter Meeting attendees are invited to celebrate the winners of numerous awards—including the Notable Books selections and The Reading List—at the RUSA Book and Media Awards Reception. The reception will be held 4–6 p.m., January 17, in the Rose Kennedy III Room at the Intercontinental Boston Hotel, 510 Atlantic Avenue....
Apply for PLA Leadership Fellowships
PLA is now accepting applications for its Leadership Fellows program, an innovative educational opportunity created to help develop leaders in public libraries. This scholarship program offers PLA members who are public library managers a chance to attend executive leadership training at some of the best universities in the United States. Application deadlines vary depending on the institution....
Libraries: A “Cents”-ible Resource
The winner of @ your library’s Creative Essay Contest is Leslie Powell-Skinner, of Eldridge, Iowa, whose poetic essay “A ‘Cents’-ible Resource” won the judges over with its humorous rhythm and rhyme. Powell-Skinner will receive a prize of $350, courtesy of ALA....
@ your library, Dec. 23
2010 Innovations in Reading Prize
Do you know a librarian or library with an innovative approach to fostering a love of reading? Fill out an application from the National Book Foundation for the Innovations in Reading Prize. The Foundation lists “creativity, risk-taking, and a visionary quality” as the most important criteria for selecting winners, who could receive up to $2,500 in prizes. Last year’s winners included the Maricopa County (Ariz.) Library District, recognized for its use of “Deweyless” libraries to promote more browsing. The deadline is February 17....
YALSA Blog, Jan. 4; National Book Foundation
2009 Costa Book Awards
Colm Tóibín was named winner of the Costa Best Novel of the year award for Brooklyn, a sparely written account of a young woman’s emigration from 1950s Ireland to New York. It was one of five category winners announced January 4 that will now compete for the overall Costa Book of the Year. Other winners were Christopher Reid in the poetry category for A Scattering; Graham Farmelo in the biography section for The Strangest Man: The Hidden Life of Paul Dirac, Quantum Genius; Patrick Ness, the children’s book award for The Ask and the Answer; and Raphael Selbourne, the first-novel award for Beauty....
The Guardian (U.K.), Jan. 4
Public Library Innovation Program
The Public Library Innovation Program aims to spark innovative library services that improve people’s lives through the use of technology. This three-year grant program, sponsored by Electronic Information for Libraries, will help public libraries in developing and transitioning countries become centers of community life. Ten grants of up to $30,000 U.S. will be awarded in Round 1 to support one-year innovation projects. The deadline to apply is February 28....
Sisters in Crime library grants
Mystery-genre group Sisters in Crime is offering monthly grants of $1,000 throughout 2010 to U.S. libraries through its “We Love Libraries” lotteries. At the end of each month, a winner will be drawn from entries received. To enter, simply complete the entry form and upload a photo of one or more of your staff with three books in your collection by Sisters in Crime members. All branches within a larger system may enter; however, once a library in the system has won, no other libraries within that system can win the grant....
Sisters in Crime
Obama issues order on document classification
On December 29, President Obama issued a new executive order on classified national security information that will alter the way the executive branch classifies documents, reducing overclassification and the length of time the public must wait to view documents. The president also released a memorandum to the heads of executive departments and agencies that explains how he would like the order to be implemented....
White House Blog, Dec. 29
Joliet library director comments on gun incident
A gun firing during an arrest in the library was a first for John Spears, Joliet (Ill.) Public Library’s new director. A December 28 incident at the downtown library was more exciting than most. Police, who came to the library on a tip that a wanted man was there, found Rondale L. Ellis, 23, who is alleged to have grabbed for an officer’s gun, firing a shot into a stairwell wall. Two library employees joined the fray and helped police subdue Ellis....
Joliet (Ill.) Herald-News, Jan. 5
FEMA grants relocation money to Cedar Rapids library
The Federal Emergency Management Agency has relented and agreed to pay $329,127 for the temporary relocation of the Cedar Rapids (Iowa) Public Library. The library received notice December 23 that the agency approved its second appeal for temporary relocation assistance following the flood of 2008, stating that the library does, in fact, provide essential community services....
Cedar Rapids (Iowa) Gazette, Dec. 24
JFK Library Twitter feed replays 1960 campaign
Fifty years ago, John F. Kennedy launched his campaign for the presidency of the United States, a run that only 10 months later resulted in his election. History buffs and Kennedy fans can relive some of that historic campaign through a Twitter feed, JFK__1960, sponsored by the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston. Daily updates will tell followers exactly what occurred on the corresponding day in 1960....
Boston Globe, Jan. 2
Bill Clinton wants to supersize his library
Paul Bedard writes: “Reagan’s has an Air Force One. Bush’s has a TBM Avenger like the one he flew in World War II. And in the bigger-is-better world of presidential libraries, only Hoover’s is smaller than former President Clinton’s. All of which has Clinton itching to expand his library and museum in Little Rock, Arkansas, to include more gee-whiz exhibits.”...
U.S. News: Washington Whispers, Dec. 28
“Sophie’s choice” for Salinas
By a 3–2 vote January 4, a city budget oversight committee opted to keep the Salinas (Calif.) Public Libraries on a seven-day schedule and eliminate its paramedic program instead. As they met to grapple with what library trustee Chairwoman Lauren Cercone called a “Sophie’s choice,” committee members and city officials compared the worth of services that normally aren’t compared. A majority on the committee saw cuts in library services as a riskier proposition, because the city can rely on the county for emergency medical response....
Salinas Californian, Jan. 5
Old photo inspires family-history project
Reference Librarian Marjeanne Blinn would often look at the photo hanging on the wall of the Malaga Cove branch of the Palos Verdes (Calif.) Library District, wondering who the 187 Japanese people were. An inscription said they were the members of 40 families, Japanese farmers who grew tomatoes, garbanzos, and other crops on rented land on the Palos Verdes Peninsula. It was taken November 24, 1923. Her curiosity led her to start the 40 Families History Project in 2004....
Los Angeles Times, Jan. 1
Genealogy tourism at Fort Wayne
It took unconventional and even idiosyncratic steps to make the Allen County Public Library’s Genealogy Center in Fort Wayne, Indiana, the highly touted, prominent tourist destination it is today, according to the man who heads up the center. Curt Witcher said that making hefty portions of genealogy collections free on the web is actually good for tourism and that technology brings people to the library who otherwise would never have set foot in the city....
Fort Wayne (Ind.) Journal Gazette, Jan. 4
Budget cuts force Marion County Law Library to close
Librarian Zoya Golban turned off the lights and locked the doors December 30 at the Marion County Law Library in Indianapolis for the last time. The cozy repository on the third floor of the City-County Building has permanently closed because of city budget cuts. Starting January 4, self-represented litigants are being directed to a cluster of four computers at the Family Resource Center in the same building. Those who want to access books the law library offered will go to the Indianapolis–Marion County Central Library, which will take on a portion of the law library’s collection....
Indianapolis Star, Jan. 2
Danville opens outlet in low-income housing complex
The Danville (Ill.) Public Library has opened an outlet in the Green Meadow Apartments to serve low-income residents. The program, “Weeds to Seeds: Growing a Neighborhood Library and New Library Users,” was conceived by Outreach Director Mary Jane Starnes. The library sends books that have been withdrawn from circulation to the apartments, which house about 300 residents....
Champaign (Ill.) News-Gazette, Jan. 1
Oakland library users suffer withdrawal over the holidays
Readers began suffering literary withdrawal symptoms December 28 as the Oakland (Calif.) Public Library faced an extended closure due to budget cuts. Library patrons scowled, sighed, and stomped at the entrance to the main library, where a sign solemnly informed them the library and its 15 branches would be closed through January 2. For the library’s 415 employees, the closure also means a pay cut....
San Francisco Chronicle, Dec. 29
Susan Patron, librarian and storyteller
As a youth, Susan Patron (right) began going to the somewhat intimidating Wilshire branch of the Los Angeles Public Library, which was built in Italian Renaissance style. She became more comfortable after getting to know the librarian, and it was around that time that she knew she wanted to become a writer. Her parents suggested it might be wise to study for a job that might actually pay the rent, so becoming a librarian seemed logical. Though retired now, the Newbery Medal–winning author of The Higher Power of Lucky has just submitted her eighth book, about a boy with a born-again mother....
Los Angeles Times, Dec. 30
Rome wasn’t returned in a day
In 1936, a young Scottdale, Pennsylvania, boy checked out a library book from school that sparked something deep inside of him. The boy loved Laura Orvieto’s The Birth of Rome (Lippincott, 1935) so much he decided he could not bear to part with it. Some 73 years later, Thomas McArdle, 85, felt it was time to part with that special book and return it to its rightful owner, the Southmoreland School District....
Connellsville (Pa.) Daily Courier, Jan. 4
Centenarian checks out one-millionth item at Mount Prospect
Nearly a month ago, officials with the Mount Prospect (Ill.) Public Library saw this day coming: They projected hitting the one-million mark in circulation before the end of the year. When it came on December 30, they were delighted to see the user who hit the million mark—101-year-old Harold Weary. He approached the circulation desk with a murder mystery on DVD, and when he checked it out, the celebration started....
Arlington Heights (Ill.) Daily Herald, Dec. 30
Why Twitter will endure
David Carr writes: “Beyond the dippy lingo, the idea that something intelligent, something worthy of mindshare, might occur in the space of 140 characters seems unlikely. But it was clear that at the SXSW conference in Austin last March, the primary news platform was Twitter, with real-time annotation of the panels on stage and critical updates about what was happening elsewhere at a very hectic convention. At 52, I succumbed, partly out of professional necessity.”...
New York Times, Jan. 1
Creative leniency for overdues
In the Illinois towns of Joliet and Palos Park, the economic downturn has pushed the public libraries into the grocery business: Patrons with hefty fines can donate canned goods or other groceries through the library to local shelters and food pantries. In Colorado, the Denver Public Library has practically done away with fixed-rate fines; librarians there are free to negotiate a fee structure that feels fair to them based on individual cases. And at the Bay County (Mich.) Library System, kids are allowed to pay off fines by doing extra reading....
New York Times, Dec. 28; Bay City (Mich.) News, Dec. 26
Soda thefts at Deerfield
A thief has steadily pilfered about six cans of soda each day for the past month from the staff kitchen at the Deerfield (Ill.) Public Library. While the library regularly tracks down overdue books, the soda caper has eluded its internal enforcement efforts. So library officials have turned to police. The area is locked and requires a staff-issued key, and the thefts take place when the library is closed....
Chicago Tribune, Dec. 31
Workplace safety plan called for in Ottawa after library assault
City of Ottawa departments should work “cohesively” to ensure that employees have safe workplaces following an alleged sexual assault on a library staff member, Ottawa (Canada) Public Library Board Chairwoman Jan Harder said after a January 5 closed-door meeting. A female staff member at the library’s Metcalfe branch was allegedly assaulted December 28, and police later charged a 15-year-old boy with sexual assault causing bodily harm and related crimes....
Ottawa Citizen, Jan. 6
Suspected British book thief arrested
A former accountant suspected of stealing a rare 13-volume work on camellias from the Royal Horticultural Society Lindley Library in London was arrested December 25. William Jacques, a Cambridge graduate, is alleged to have stolen the books, worth about £50,000 ($80,800 U.S.). He has been charged with the theft of Nouvelle iconographie des camellias (1849–1860) by Ambroise Verschaffelt, which contains an array of color plates and is regarded as one of the rarest and greatest works on camellias....
The Times (U.K.), Dec. 30
British Library to fast-track website archiving
New legal powers to allow the British Library to archive millions of websites are to be fast-tracked. Culture Minister Margaret Hodge is pressing for the faster introduction of powers to allow six major libraries to copy every free website based in the U.K. as part of their efforts to record Britain’s cultural, scientific, and political history. The Guardian reported in October that senior executives at the British Library and National Library of Scotland were dismayed at the government’s failure to implement the powers in the six years since they were established in 2003....
The Guardian (U.K.), Dec. 27
American librarian trampled by elephant in Kenya
An American woman and her baby daughter were trampled to death January 4 by an elephant while on a forest hike in Kenya. The mother, Sharon Brown, was middle and high school librarian for the International School of Kenya in Nairobi. Brown and her child were taking part in a guided walk near the Castle Forest Lodge, about 65 miles north of Nairobi. There have been no tragic incidents with elephants in the area since 2001....
CNN, Jan. 6
Go back to the Top
Nexus One: The revolution is still on hold
Rafe Needleman writes: “Google’s new smartphone, the Nexus One, released January 5, is a good phone, but does it break new ground for consumers? Looked at in the context of the history of mobile phones, it’s a solid step in Google’s continuing assault on new markets in general and on Apple in particular, but it’s not revolutionary. Of course, the Nexus One has solid consumer advantages over Apple’s phones. You can get it on T-Mobile (now), Verizon (in the spring), or unlocked. It looks like it has a better screen, and it has active noise cancellation and voice control, both very cool. It has nice integration with online services like Google Maps, Facebook, and Picasa. For industry watchers, the Android platform’s openness is important.”...
CNET News: Rafe’s Radar, Jan. 5
Eight things every geek needs to do before 2010
Jolie O’Dell writes: “It’s one thing to have resolutions for the new year. I, for example, plan to lose weight, learn Python, and design the perfect handbag. But since nothing satisfies like the quick achievement of a short-term goal, here are eight things every good nerd should do before the ball drops (or as soon afterwards as possible). Then you can play the condescension chip and start chiding friends who haven’t checked off these items yet.”...
ReadWriteWeb, Dec. 28
Five best wallpaper sites
Jason Fitzpatrick writes: “Nobody likes staring at a boring desktop when they fire up their computer every morning. Everyone has a favorite wallpaper site; Lifehacker readers logged nearly 500 votes for their favorites. Keep your wallpaper fresh with the five most popular sites used by our readers to dress up their monitors.”...
Lifehacker, Dec. 27
Tips on designing mobile websites
Kim Griggs, Laurie M. Bridges, and Hannah Gascho Rempel write: “Sites designed specifically for mobile devices increase usability. Nielsen, a leader in Human-Computer Interaction, advises that ‘if mobile use is important to your internet strategy, it’s smart to build a dedicated mobile site.’ To provide a good mobile experience, offer services that support time-critical and location-sensitive activities, such as real-time information about computer availability and map-based directions.”...
Code4Lib Journal, no. 9 (Sept. 21)
Five ed-tech stories to watch for in 2010
Recently, eSchool News posted a look back at the 10 most significant education technology stories of 2009, as chosen by its editors. Now, here is a look at five stories that could have a huge effect on education technology in the new year. Number 3: Will the digital textbook revolution succeed?...
eSchool News, Jan. 4, 5
69 coolest web apps of 2009
SmashingApps takes a look at a few of the web apps it has featured over the past year. Some will be useful for web designers, while end users and office managers will find others helpful. Included are OfficeLive, Remindo, HootSuite, Tweepler, WhatTheFont, 247webmonitoring, EmailTheWeb, and Zamzar....
SmashingApps, Dec. 29
The decade in data
Oliver J. Chiang writes: “All around us is evidence that we’ve been living in a decade ruled by 1’s and 0’s. A household in the U.S. is now 10 times more likely to have a broadband connection than in 2000. Analog cameras, music, and media players have become quaint rarities during this past decade, replaced by their increasingly pervasive digital counterparts. Here’s a list that compares key data points from 2000 to 2009, or the latest available figures.”...
Forbes, Dec. 28
Migrating to Windows 7? Virtualization can help
Alex Williams writes: “It’s not easy to migrate to Windows 7 from Windows XP. Core incompatibilities just make it inherently difficult. Microsoft does not offer a clear migration path, and a number of legacy applications will not work in Windows 7, no matter how well the software is moved. Virtualization software such as Zinstall can make the process of switching a bit easier.”...
ReadWriteWeb, Dec. 28
Why Windows slows down
The How-To Geek writes: “One of the most persistent myths about Windows is that you need to reinstall the operating system regularly to keep it running at top performance. Let’s take a look at the real problem and how to fix it. Follow these procedures, and you won’t have to wonder if spending hours backing up data, installing from disc, and reinstalling your essential applications is really necessary.”...
Lifehacker, Dec. 28
35+ usability resources for web designers
Steven Snell writes: “Usability should be a priority for every website. Without usability, even the most beautiful design will be ineffective. In this post we’ll feature a number of resources, tools, software, checklists, and articles that can help you to design and develop highly usable websites.” He subdivides them into premium and free resources, websites and blogs, checklists, and helpful articles....
DesignM.ag, Dec. 21
Magazine closures threatened
Reed Business Information employees are bracing for some bad news following a December 31 memo from CEO John Poulin. Poulin said the company so far has been unable to sell the majority of its U.S.-based magazine products as a whole and therefore the company will need to close certain titles and lay off a number of employees during the first half of 2010. The company owns and operates Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, and School Library Journal, trade magazines which have weathered the brunt of their parent company’s long-running sales declines....
Folio Magazine, Jan. 4; paidContent, Jan. 1; Daily Finance, Jan. 4
Kirkus back in business?
In a January 5 email to colleagues, Kirkus Reviews Managing Editor Eric Liebetrau said the publication, which last month was said to be closing with staff leaving by the end of 2009, is working toward an arrangement with an acquiring company to continue publication. Liebetrau said details will be forthcoming in the next two to three weeks....
Publishers Weekly, Jan. 5
15 best time-travel stories of all time
Writers have often speculated about time travel—the ability to shift through the firmament of time as though it were water. Time travel really hit its stride in the late 19th and the 20th centuries and became a standard fixture of novels, short stories, and eventually television. Even though the concept has been used frequently (and often badly), there are still interesting ways to play with the idea. Here are 15 of the finest time travel stories ever put on paper....
PopCrunch, Dec. 16
Understanding SF book reviews
Charlie Jane Anders writes: “Publishers Weekly’s Genreville blog is posting a hilarious set of tweets for would-be ‘lazy book critics,’ under the hashtag #lazycriticslexicon, and other writers and critics have joined in. If you’ve ever wanted to know what book critics are really saying when they call books esoteric or controversial, or you’re thinking of becoming a lazy book critic yourself, you will need to check it out.”...
io9, Jan. 5
Books 2.0: But what about reading?
Monica Hesse writes: “It’s a dizzying experience, reading Vooks. But they represent just a few examples of a new genre that has been alternatively dubbed v-books, digi-books, multimedia books, and Cydecks, all with essentially the same concept: It’s a book . . . but wait, there’s more! Is a hybrid book our future? Maybe. Predicting the eventual death of the traditional novel sounds practically heretical. But keep in mind that the genre has actually existed in English for only about 300 years.”...
Washington Post, Dec. 28
Pretty in ink: Librarian takes a peek at circus tattoos
Though tattoos are no longer the stuff of sideshows, there was a time when an abundance of ink would have gotten a woman branded as a freak. Amelia Osterud, access services librarian at Carroll University in Waukesha, Wisconsin, takes a look at the bold souls who pioneered the trendy tat in The Tattooed Lady: A History (Speck Press, 2009). Osterud says those tattooed ladies were “gutsy,” and their boldness gave turn-of-the-century women the nerve to “start questioning the social codes that kept them confined.”...
Madison.com, Dec. 26
Wisconsin librarians say “Cheese!”
Wisconsin Libraries Say Cheese! is a special public-relations effort of the Campaign for Wisconsin Libraries to showcase the programs, services, and resources of public libraries in the state. On November 16, dozens of Wisconsin libraries uploaded photos that exemplify a day in the life of their staffs and facilities. The program was modeled after last year’s New Jersey Library Association and the New Jersey State Library’s Snapshot Day....
Wisconsin Library Association
LC selects 25 movies for National Film Registry
Librarian of Congress James H. Billington selected 25 motion pictures December 30 that will be preserved as cultural, artistic, and historical treasures for generations to come. Spanning the period 1911–1995, the films named to the 2009 National Film Registry range from the sci-fi classic The Incredible Shrinking Man and Bette Davis’s Oscar-winning performance in Jezebel (above) to the Muppets movie debut and Michael Jackson’s iconic video “Thriller.” This year’s selections bring the number of films in the registry to 525....
Library of Congress, Dec. 30
How to find movie scenes with MovieClips
Nathan Chase writes: “If you’ve ever tried to find your favorite movie scenes on YouTube or other video networks, you’ve probably noticed it’s not always the easiest thing to find the direct quotes you’re looking for. While there are many places online to find the full movie downloads, going through the process of getting the whole film and editing the scene you want down into a short clip is a time-consuming process. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a place online that already did that for you? Enter MovieClips.”...
MakeUseOf, Jan. 2
Internet, broadband, and cell phone statistics
In a national survey between November 30 and December 27, Pew Internet and American Life found that 74% of American adults (ages 18 and older) use the internet, 60% use broadband connections at home, and 55% connect to the internet wirelessly, either through a WiFi or WiMax connection via their laptops or through their handheld device like a smart phone....
Pew Internet and American Life, Jan. 5
Dutch treat: Library’s documents reveal New York’s secrets
Nancy Mattoon writes: “History records it was a city founded by sober, God-fearing church-goers seeking religious freedom. But what if it was all a whitewash? An attempt to hide the secret history of the earliest settlers: pirates, prostitutes, smugglers, adventurers, and fortune seekers. That’s the truth being revealed about the city of Manhattan by Charles Gehring, an archivist working at the New York State Library.”...
Book Patrol, Dec. 28; New York Times, Dec. 26
LC adds 60,000 books to Internet Archive
Nearly 60,000 books prized by historians, writers, and genealogists, many too old and fragile to be safely handled, have been digitally scanned as part of the first-ever mass book-digitization project of the Library of Congress. The oldest work in the batch, dated 1707, covers the trial of two Presbyterian ministers in New York. The collection can be accessed through the Internet Archive, a nonprofit organization dedicated to building and maintaining a free online digital library....
America.gov, Dec. 24
Knut Hamsun’s love letters opened after 118 years
Several love letters penned over 100 years ago by Norwegian author Knut Hamsun, winner of the 1920 Nobel Prize in Literature, were opened January 4 at the National Library in Oslo. Culture Minister Anniken Huitfeldt broke the seals and several Hamsun experts ascertained that the letters were sent to Julie (Lulli) Amanda Lous, with whom the author had a stormy relationship in 1891–1892. The package was handed to the National Library by Lous’s nephew in 1960 with the stipulation that the letters remain sealed for 50 years....
News 24 (Cape Town), Jan. 4; Aftenposten (Oslo), Jan. 4
What might have been in the public domain by now
Current U.S. law extends copyright protections for 70 years from the date of the author’s death. (Corporate “works-for-hire” are copyrighted for 95 years.) But prior to the 1976 Copyright Act (which became effective in 1978), the maximum copyright term was 56 years (an initial term of 28 years, renewable for another 28 years). Under those laws, works published in 1953 would be passing into the public domain on January 1, 2010....
Center for the Study of the Public Domain
Five universal truths that librarians can agree on
Andy Woodworth writes: “Over the last couple of days, I have been reading a flurry of ‘end of the year’ posts. What has really captured my interest in the library blogs is the spectrum of beliefs that exist on where libraries are going and where they should be heading. In thinking about the wide range of perspectives, the different theoretical approaches, and the variety of libraries that exist, I believe there are five current universal truths that will be the basis for any discussion about the library in the future decade.”...
Agnostic, Maybe, Jan. 3
10 librarian blogs to read in 2010
Blake Carver writes: “Each year, we’ve attempted to gather a group of librarians whose writing helps increase our understanding of the profession and its place in our rapidly changing world. Again this year, we tried to choose 10 writers who cover very different aspects of our profession, 10 sites that inform, educate, and maybe amuse. By following these blogs I think you’ll find something new to read and a place to gain better understanding of a part of librarianship that’s outside of your normal area.”...
LIS News, Jan. 4
New browser for old ads
Vintage Ad Browser was created in 2009–2010 and released in 2010, by Philipp Lenssen, who currently lives in China. The site aims to collect vintage ads from a variety of sources, including comic books, CD-ROMs, websites, APIs, your submissions, books, and magazines. At the moment, this site contains 123,286 ads and is sortable by subject and date and searchable by keyword....
Vintage Ad Browser
Larry Nix writes: “Under the leadership of Melvil Dewey, the State of New York initiated a traveling library system in 1892. Traveling libraries were small, rotating collections that provided a method for extending library service to rural areas. These small libraries—usually from 30 to 100 books—were located in a post office, a store, or someone’s home, with a volunteer acting as the caretaker of the collection. Many other states also adopted this model of public library extension.”...
Library History Buff Blog, Jan. 4
Best and worst genealogy products of 2009
Tamura Jones provides a look back at some of the
events, companies, and products that shaped the year in genealogy. Best product of the year was RootsMagic 4, a Unicode-based rebuild of RootsMagic. Other awards included the Best New Genealogy Product (the 1911 Census of England and Wales) and the Best Genealogy Organization of 2009 (Footnote). MyHeritage Family Tree Builder 4.0 earned Worst Genealogy Product of 2009...
Tamura Jones, Dec. 30
Are American students lazy?
Scott Jaschik writes: “Gather faculty members together and it’s not hard to get them talking about the ways students disappoint. They text in class, expect extensions for no good reason, and act surprised when they don’t earn A’s. But when it comes to work ethic and manners, are there some students who—on average—don’t disappoint? Kara Miller thinks so—and her comparison of American students (who continually disappoint) and foreign students (who don’t) has set off quite a discussion in Boston.”...
Inside Higher Ed, Jan. 4
2020: Fewer libraries, more locations
Eric Hellman writes: “In my Ten Predictions for the Next Ten Years article, my first prediction was that the number of public libraries in 2020 would be half of what it is today. I also predicted that the number of public library locations would increase by 50%. There were two considerations—book digitization and the shift to e-books—that led me to these predictions.”...
Go to Hellman, Jan. 3
Social tagging in the catalog
Laurel Tarulli writes: “You may have seen seen the article about the hate speech tag assigned by a patron to a significant number of works by Ann Coulter at Mount Prospect (Ill.) Public Library. Unfortunately, many library officials reading this are nodding their heads in affirmation that it was only a matter of time a patron complained—after all, how can we ‘control’ our catalog and what goes in it if we allow users to generate their own tags and contribute to our catalogs. Mount Prospect Public Library is using the discovery layer AquaBrowser for its tagging.”...
The Cataloguing Librarian, Dec. 30
Vocabulary learning can be fun—and free
Public libraries can now offer all services on VerbaLearn.com, a website for building vocabulary, to their patrons for free. With the new free library subscription, all patrons of participating libraries get free use of the full-featured VerbaLearn Plus version. VerbaLearn helps students improve their SAT, GRE, ACT, and ESL test scores and also offers courses at the 7th through 12th-grade reading levels....
VerbaLearn, Dec. 18
How to start freelancing without quitting your job
Gina Trapani writes: “A common misconception about successful independent workers is that one day, in dramatic fashion, they quit their day job, hang a shingle, and live happily ever after. The truth is, most freelancers start off moonlighting, volunteering, interning, and doing client work at night and on weekends in addition to a nine-to-five gig. If you fantasize about living the freelancer life, you can do the same—even in a recession, starting now. Turn some of your free time into a new career without giving up the steady paycheck.”...
Lifehacker, Dec. 30
Lonely librarian movie to premiere at Sundance
Director/screenwriter Diane Bell’s Obselidia is one of 16 films selected for the Dramatic Competition for the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. Described as a “save-the-world love story,” the film tells the story of a lonely librarian who believes love is obsolete until a road trip to Death Valley with a beguiling cinema projectionist teaches him otherwise. Starring Michael Piccirilli as George Ruben (the librarian), the film is described as a “rare and humane lens through which we can view a world increasingly preoccupied with and inhabited by extinction.” Watch the trailer (1:17)....
Slash Film, Dec. 25; YouTube, Dec. 1
Library cats from all over the world
Amy Bajalis writes: “Who can forget Dewey, the beautiful ginger library resident that touched millions of hearts with his stories? Did you know that there are over 300 known library cats in the world? Currently there are 235 library cats in the United States, 21 in the U.K., 12 in Canada, 11 in New Zealand, and six in Australia. Here are photos of some of them. Check out these gorgeous kitties.”...
Love Meow, Jan. 5; Iron Frog Productions
Author and pet pairings
Kathleen from AbeBooks writes: “The idea for this post actually came to me while working on a Jules Verne feature a while ago. I couldn’t help but think that his beard reminded me of a terrier’s chin. My quirky mind went from there, matching authors with what I thought would be (or would have been) a suitable pet for them—based on appearance alone, of course. So here you go, some of my author/pet pairings.” More pairings from Elizabeth....
Reading Copy Books Blog, Dec. 30, Jan. 5
Taiwan library video is a winner
The new video I Love the Library (5:48), which has won a recent library video competition sponsored by the Library Association of the Republic of China (Taiwan), features a love story and dancing books. For her role as producer of the winning video, Erin Liu, a student at Chaoyang University of Technology, has received a scholarship sponsored by Elsevier. According to Erin, the library is like a big treasure, provides inspiration, and can help create a happy mind. It helps if you know Mandarin, but the video is amusing even if you don’t....
Library Connect News, Jan. 6
Go back to the Top
ALA Midwinter Meeting, Boston, January 15–19. Experient is ALA’s travel management company for both hotel and airline reservations. As an ALA attendee or exhibitor, you are eligible for special airline and hotel rates. Online registration is still open.
Want to get the word out about your library in the most cost-effective way possible? You can achieve this with the effective word-of-mouth marketing strategies laid out in Building a Buzz. Two creative marketers, Peggy Barber and Linda Wallace, bring you sound marketing principles to spread the word about your library within the community. NEW! From ALA Editions.
Clinical Liaison Librarian, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Welch Medical Library, Baltimore. Serves as a liaison to assigned departments and programs by offering information services, instruction and consultation to faculty, staff, and students, performs instructional sessions, and plans specialized services tailored to the individualized needs of departments. Contributes to library strategic planning initiatives, and is a participant in committee activities to ensure that the library runs efficiently and effectively....
Digital Library of the Week
The Chicago Public Library Digital Collections includes images from the library’s special collections. Highlights include construction views of Chicago’s Millennium Park, including images of the construction of the Cloud Gate (“the Bean”); a visual record of Civil War battlefields; photographs of Harold Washington, the first African-American mayor of Chicago; documents from the Chicago Renaissance (1930–1950); issues of the Chicago Examiner (1908–1918); the Chicago Sewers Collection; and pictures of Chicago neighborhoods.
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.
“I read some amazing obituaries of librarians that made me sorry that I had not met them: People who were visionaries, who were taking the field of information as it was changing and helping mold it for a new age. And I was very impressed with them and I thought that there must be people out there right now who are doing equally exciting things, but still alive.”
—This Book Is Overdue! Author Marilyn Johnson, in interview with Library Journal, Jan. 5.
Consumer Electronics Show, Las Vegas, Jan. 7–10, at:
Educause, Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference, Baltimore, Jan. 13–15, at:
American Library Association, Midwinter Meeting, Boston, Jan. 15–19, at:
American Libraries news stories, videos, tweets, and blog posts at: amlibraries
the ALA Librarian
Q. The staff travel and education budget has been cut this year. Are there any staff development courses that can be taken online, that I can suggest?
A. There are several opportunities available in online library staff development and instruction. Consider the growing number of online courses offered by ALA’s divisions, including YALSA Professional Development Online, ACRL E-Learning, RUSA Online Continuing Education, and E-Learning @ PLA. See the Where to find CE for your staff and Staff Development pages to learn of more opportunities. From the ALA Professional Tips wiki.
@ The ALA Librarian welcomes your questions.
LIS Online Career Fair, sponsored by the Alliance Library System and TAP Information Services. An online OPAL conference. Contact: Lori Bell.
American Library Association, Midwinter Meeting, Boston.
Software and Information Industry Association, Information Industry Summit, Cipriani 42nd Street, New York City.
District of Columbia Library Association, Summit on Library Services to Children, Sumner School, Washington, D.C.
Transliteracy Conference, Phoenix Square Digital Media Centre, Leicester, United Kingdom.
Alaska Library Association, Annual Conference, Hotel Captain Cook, Anchorage.
Louisiana Library Association, Annual Conference, Hilton Capital Center, Baton Rouge.
Tennessee Library Association, Annual Conference, Hilton Memphis.
Public Library Association, National Conference, Oregon Convention Center, Portland.
Florida Library Association, Annual Conference, Rosen Plaza Hotel, Orlando.
Kansas Library Association, Annual Conference, Century II Convention Center and the Hyatt Regency, Wichita.
New Mexico Library Association, Annual Conference, Ruidoso Convention Center.
Montana Library Association, Annual Conference, Holiday Inn and Best Western GranTree Inn, Bozeman.
Computers in Libraries, Hyatt Regency Crystal City, Arlington, Virginia.
Alabama Library Association, Annual Convention, Embassy Suites Hotel and Von Braun Center,
Texas Library Association, Annual Conference, Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, San Antonio.
Connecticut Library Association, Annual Conference, Mohegan Sun Casino, Uncasville.
Oklahoma Library Association / Mountain Plains Library Association, Joint Conference, Oklahoma City Renaissance Hotel and Cox Convention Center.
Maryland Library Association, Annual Conference, Clarion Resort, Ocean City.
New Jersey Library Association, Annual Conference, Ocean Place, Long Branch.
Massachusetts Library Association, Annual Conference, Hyannis Resort and Conference Center.
Utah Library Association, Annual Conference, Hilton Garden Inn, St. George.
New Hampshire Library Association, Spring Conference, Attitash Grand Summit Hotel and Conference Center.
Vermont Library Association, Annual Conference, St. Michael’s College, Colchester.
Rhode Island Library Association, Annual Conference, Bryant Center, Bryant University, Smithfield.