American Libraries Online
Bostonians deplore “downloadables”
“Not the computers, not the high-tech, not the downloadables,” said Boston resident Maria Rodriguez at a March 9 Boston Public Library board meeting. “Libraries are about books and librarians. I didn’t hear anything about that in your vision.” Rodriguez was one of nearly 400 people who came for details about the planned closure of as many as 10 of the city’s 26 library branches and the layoff of up to 25% of the staff in order to address a $3.6-million budget shortfall for FY2011....
American Libraries news, Mar. 16
Pink slips and rumors fly in Los Angeles
AL Senior Editor Beverly Goldberg writes: “The state of fiscal emergency in many libraries, school districts, and academic campuses has lent credence to recent media reports that officials of the Los Angeles Unified School District have approved the dismissal of every certificated teacher-librarian systemwide. According to California School Librarians Association President Rosemarie Bernier, however, the truth is far less dire. But ALA President Camila Alire and AASL President Cassandra Barnett sent a letter March 17 to LAUSD Superintendent Ramon Cortines making the case for strong school libraries staffed by credentialed professionals.”...
AL: Inside Scoop, Mar. 17
Library Design Showcase 2010
AL Associate Editor Greg Landgraf writes: “This year’s Library Design Showcase will feature 10 distinct sections, each highlighting one specific facet of library architecture or design. They will be posted, one per weekday, from March 15 through 26. Up so far are Building Community, Green Libraries, and Historic Style.”...
American Libraries feature
Designing a space for children and teens
Sandra Feinberg and James R. Keller write: “Envisioning a new youth services space is a joint effort on the part of the architects, design professionals, staff, board, and community. It requires an examination of the mission and roles of the library. Ideally, children’s and teen spaces need to reflect the library’s philosophy of service and be designed as an integrated entity with a consideration of and an attraction for young patrons.”...
American Libraries feature
Storms and surges
AL Senior Editor Beverly Goldberg writes: “The nor’easter that tore through New England in mid-March wrought havoc in three states. After reading that Connecticut Gov. Jodi Rell had declared Greenwich a disaster area in the storm’s aftermath, I asked Greenwich Public Library Director Carol Mahoney how the library had fared. Luckily, all three branches were spared damage and power outages; instead, GPL’s three facilities experienced a power surge—of users, that is.”...
AL: Inside Scoop, Mar. 16
Internet Librarian: Mirabile visu
Joseph Janes writes: “Something I never thought I’d see: a Google commercial (right). I couldn’t quite believe it at first; there it was in the third quarter of the Super Bowl, as it really began to look like New Orleans had a chance to win. At first I thought maybe it was an ad for some other company that was just showing Google as a way to get to its own website; but nope, there it was. If you missed it, it’s available (0:52) on YouTube, and it bears a quick look.”...
American Libraries column, April; YouTube, Nov. 19, 2009
One library braves the e-newsletter front
Laura Bruzas writes: “Where do libraries use the most paper? The answer: the library newsletter. I recently caught up with Beth Keller, marketing specialist for the Highland Park (Ill.) Public Library, to ask how her library’s transition to a ‘paperless’ e-newsletter was going. Here’s what she had to say.”...
AL: Green Your Library, Mar. 16
Bernard Margolis diagnosed with blood cancer
AL Editor and Publisher Leonard Kniffel writes: “Members of the ALA Council learned March 16 from his wife, Amanda, that longtime councilor and Association leader Bernard Margolis has been diagnosed with a severe type of blood cancer. His wife said they were consulting with the famed Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center in Boston. Jim Luke in Michigan has put together a website so friends can stay in touch.”...
AL: Inside Scoop, Mar. 16
Under construction: Family literacy models
In January, ALA and President Camila Alire awarded each of the Association’s five ethnic affiliates $4,000 to develop and implement innovative family literacy models. With the support of Alire’s Family Focus Initiative, the affiliates are building innovative family-literacy models in libraries serving Native American, Asian American, Pacific American, African American, Chinese American, and Latino communities....
Office for Literacy and Outreach, Mar. 16
ALA website usability study
Librarians are invited to participate in a usability study designed to determine the accessibility of the ALA website for individuals using assistive devices. The ideal participant would be a member of ALA who requires an assistive device to access the internet. Emerging Leaders Project Team K has taken on the task of developing this study, which will run through May....
Information Technology and Telecommunication Services, Mar. 11
Explore the universe @ your library
Through a partnership with IMAX and Warner Bros. Pictures, ALA is helping young library users explore the universe. In conjunction with the March 19 release of the documentary adventure Hubble 3D, ALA will host an Explore the universe @ your library contest, giving kids in grades kindergarten through 12 the opportunity to win tickets to the newest IMAX movie Hubble 3D, telescopes, and other prizes. The contest runs through April 30....
Campaign for America’s Libraries, Mar. 11
Picturing America deadline extended
The National Endowment for the Humanities and the ALA Public Programs Office have extended the deadline for public libraries to apply to receive a $2,000 programming grant to support programs that incorporate the Picturing America collection. Applications will be accepted through April 26. Additionally, the terms of the grant have been expanded so that all public libraries are considered eligible to apply....
Public Programs Office, Mar. 16
COSWL celebrates National Women’s History Month
During the entire month of March, the Committee on the Status of Women in Librarianship will recognize and celebrate women’s historic achievements with National Women’s History Month. Over the years COSWL has helped develop evaluative tools, guidelines, and programs in cooperation with other ALA units to enhance the opportunities and the image of women in the library profession....
Office for Human Resource Development and Recruitment, Mar. 16
Developing a core collection
ALA Editions has released Developing an Outstanding Core Collection: A Guide for Libraries, Second Edition by Carol Alabaster. In this practical and newly updated handbook, Alabaster focuses on developing a collection with high-quality materials while saving time and money. Packed with selection resources and sample core lists in seven subject areas, this soup-to-nuts manual will be useful for librarians starting from scratch or revitalizing an existing collection....
ALA Editions, Mar. 17
Library shelvers: The e-book
ALA Editions has announced its first e-book bundle, Hiring, Training, and Supervising Library Shelvers by Patricia Tunstall. The e-book is offered in file formats that are readable using a variety of software and devices, including the Amazon Kindle, Sony eReader, iPhone’s Stanza eReader, Adobe Digital Editions eReader and the MobiPocket eReader. The e-book can also be read on desktop and laptop computers using free software....
ALA Editions, Mar. 17
South Africa scores @ your library
The @ your library brand travels well. The Library and Information Association of South Africa is using the brand to promote South Africa Library Week, March 15–20. This year’s theme, “Score @ your library,” was inspired by the upcoming FIFA 2010 Soccer World Cup. Posters geared toward adults will feature the slogans “Read the Game,” “Score @ your library,” and “Eat, Breathe, Read Soccer @ your library.” A poster aimed at children will also feature the “Read the Game” slogan....
Campaign for America’s Libraries, Mar. 16
Featured review: Crime fiction
Larsson, Stieg. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest. May 2010. 576p. Knopf, hardcover (978-0-307-26999-7).
When we last saw Lisbeth Salander, she was teetering between life and death. And who wouldn’t be after having been shot by her father and buried alive by her brother? Salander was rescued, at the end of The Girl Who Played with Fire (2009), by journalist Mikael Blomkvist. She’s now in a Swedish hospital, slowly mending and awaiting trial for three murders she didn’t commit. Meanwhile, her father, a former Soviet spy, is down the hall, recovering from the injuries he sustained when Lisbeth stuck an ax in his head. Blomkvist, Salander’s loyal friend, sets out to prove her innocence, but to do so he must expose a decades-old conspiracy within the Swedish secret service that has resulted in, among other travesties, a lifetime of abuse heaped upon Salander, whose very life threatens to expose the deadly charade. The late Larsson (this third novel in his Millennium Trilogy is his final book) can be accused of heaping too much plot between two covers—in addition to the Salander story, there is an elaborate subplot involving Blomkvist’s lover, Erica, and her travails as the first female editor of a major Stockholm newspaper—but he is remarkably agile at keeping multiple balls in the air....
Bill Ott writes: “It’s been a rough year for crime fiction. The recent deaths of Donald E. Westlake, Robert B. Parker, and Dick Francis have left gaping holes on many mystery fans’ A-lists. For more than six decades, those three luminaries gave readers consistently entertaining, often trailblazing stories, and we have followed their various series with devotion. Fortunately, they leave behind a tremendous body of work—more than 100 books between the three of them—for fans and generations of new readers to enjoy again and again. That’s not the case with Swedish journalist and crime novelist Stieg Larsson, who died in 2004 at the age of 50, having written only three novels.”...
@ Visit Booklist Online for other reviews and much more....
A school librarian call to action
A statement released by AASL urges school library professionals to examine the grade-level bands released March 10 in the first official public draft of the K–12 standards, part of the Common Core State Standards Initiative, and provide feedback by April 2 on its website. The initiative is a state-led effort coordinated by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and the Council of Chief State School Officers....
AASL, Mar. 11
School Library Month PSAs
Audio and video public service announcements recorded by School Library Month spokesperson and author Laurie Halse Anderson (right) are now available for downloading. You can add the PSAs to your school’s daily broadcast in April or upload them to your school or media center website. Visit the School Library Month site to find tips on how to get your local radio and public television stations to play the PSAs....
AASL, Mar. 16
Portland-area library information for PLA attendees
Interested in checking out Portland libraries during the PLA National Conference, March 23–27? Here are directions, hours, and contacts....
PLA Blog, Mar. 11
The ALA Store at PLA Portland
ALA Editions and ALA Graphics will have a wide variety of books and promotional items available at the ALA Store, open March 24–26 during the PLA National Conference in Portland, Oregon. Publications from many ALA divisions will also be available for purchase as well as the official conference t-shirt....
ALA Editions, Mar. 17
2010 Young Adult Literature Symposium
YALSA has selected its official program slate for the 2010 Young Adult Literature Symposium. The symposium will be held at the Albuquerque Marriott, November 5–7, with a theme of “Beyond Good Intentions: Diversity, Literature and Teens.” The event will begin with a full-day preconference on gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and questioning teens, as well as half-day preconferences on readers’ advisory, street literature, and “fat lit.”...
YALSA, Mar. 11
2010 Operation Teen Book Drop
On April 15, Operation Teen Book Drop will deliver 10,000 new books to teens on Indian reservations and tribal lands. In addition, more than 100 top YA authors will leave their books in public places for young readers to discover, and members of the public can buy books online and have them shipped to tribal libraries. Publishers donated the books, valued at more than $175,000....
YALSA, Mar. 15
YALSA launches mentoring program
YALSA will begin a new mentoring program in April. The program will pair an experienced librarian (six years experience or more) with a new librarian (fewer than six years experience) or graduate student in a library science program. Applications for the mentoring program will open online April 5 and close June 30....
YALSA, Mar. 16
Wrestlemania Reading Challenge finalists
Twenty-one regional winners in grades 5–12 from across the United States and Canada have won a chance to compete in the WrestleMania Reading Challenge World Finals. The finals will be held at the Burton Barr Central Library in Phoenix, Arizona, on March 27. The WrestleMania Reading Challenge is sponsored by YALSA and World Wrestling Entertainment....
YALSA, Mar. 16
Connect teens to reading at YALSA preconferences
At ALA Annual Conference in Washington, D.C., YALSA will be giving librarians tools to connect teens to reading using web tools during “Promoting Teen Reading with Web 2.0 Tools,” a half-day preconference on June 25. Speakers for the preconference include Kami Garcia, Margaret Stohl, Malinda Lo, John Green, and David Levithan. Another preconference, “It’s Perfectly Normal: Dealing with ‘Sensitive’ Topics in Teen Services,” will focus on such topics as sexuality, abuse, and privacy....
YALSA, Mar. 16
Public Library Data Service deadline
PLA invites your library to participate in the 2010 Public Library Data Service statistical report. The deadline for completing the survey has been extended to March 31. You will need your library’s individual PLDS ID number and password to complete it....
PLA Blog, Mar. 15
Adriana Trigiani slated for Literary Tastes Breakfast
Adriana Trigiani, author of the bestselling Very Valentine,will speak at the upcoming 2010 Literary Tastes Breakfast held June 27 during the ALA Annual Conference in Washington, D.C. In addition to Trigiani, the Literary Tastes Breakfast will feature other authors from the 2010 selections for RUSA’s book and media awards. The breakfast is a ticketed event—access the online conference registration form to sign up....
RUSA, Mar. 11
2010 James Madison Award winners
The joint winners of the 2010 James Madison Award are Meredith Fuchs (right), general counsel to the National Security Archive, and the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. The award honors individuals or groups who have championed public access to government information. On December 14, 2009, after years of litigation, CREW, the NSA, and the White House announced a settlement in a lawsuit challenging the failure of the Bush White House and the National Archives to recover and archive millions of emails that had gone missing from White House servers....
ALA Washington Office, Mar. 15
Tom Phelps receives 2010 Lippincott Award
Thomas C. Phelps, director of the Division of Public Programs at the National Endowment for the Humanities, is this year’s recipient of ALA’s Joseph W. Lippincott Award. The award, founded in 1938, is given annually to an individual for distinguished service to the profession of librarianship. Phelps essentially invented the idea of awarding grants to libraries all across the country, in collaboration with ALA, to engage in humanities programming for the general public, beginning with the highly popular “Let’s Talk About It” reading and discussion program in all 50 states started in 1984....
Office of ALA Governance, Mar. 17
East Carolina wins award for Seeds of Change
East Carolina University’s J. Y. Joyner Library has won the 2010 Gale Cengage Learning Award for Excellence in Reference and Adult Library Services for the online resource “Seeds of Change: The Daily Reflector Image Collection” (AL Direct’s Digital Library of the Week for September 2, 2009). The RUSA award is given for the development of an imaginative and unique resource to meet patrons’ reference needs. “Seeds of Change” contains more than 7,500 images taken from 1949 to 1967 and digitized from the photographic negatives of the Daily Reflector, Greenville, North Carolina’s daily newspaper....
RUSA, Mar. 11
2010 John Sessions Memorial Award
The Murray-Green Library at Roosevelt University, Chicago, has won the RUSA John Sessions Memorial Award. Through its development of such resources as the “Oral History Project in Labor History,” the library has made an ongoing commitment to preserve and increase the public’s accessibility to labor history. The oral history project contains interviews and transcripts with Chicago-area labor movement participants conducted by Elizabeth Balanoff in the 1970s....
RUSA, Mar. 11
2010 Notable Children’s Videos
ALSC has selected its 2010 list of Notable Children’s Videos. The list includes 12 videos for children 14 years of age and younger that exhibit especially commendable quality, show respect for children’s intelligence and imagination, and reflect and encourage the interests of children in exemplary ways. See the ALSC website for the full annotated list....
ALSC, Mar. 11
2010 Notable Children’s Recordings
ALSC has selected its 2010 list of Notable Children’s Recordings. The list includes 30 recordings for children 14 years of age and younger of especially commendable quality that demonstrate respect for young people’s intelligence and imagination; exhibit venturesome creativity; and reflect and encourage the interests of children in exemplary ways. See the ALSC website for the full annotated list...
ALSC, Mar. 11
H. W. Wilson Library Staff Development Grant
The Kelvin Smith Library at Case Western Reserve University has received the 2010 H. W. Wilson Library Staff Development Grant. The award of $3,500 is presented annually to a library demonstrating the greatest need for a staff development program furthering the goals and objectives of library services. The library will use the award to support professional development for its Traveling and Training with Technology toolkit....
Office of ALA Governance, Mar. 15
YALSA wins grant, consulting services
YALSA received multiple accolades in the past month, including a $5,000 Carnegie-Whitney grant from the ALA Publications Committee and pro-bono consulting from Chicago Net Impact’s Service Corps. YALSA will use the grant to publish The Best of YALS: Teen Read Week and Teen Tech Week,which will highlight content from Young Adult Library Services. Service Corps will work with YALSA to help it attract corporate sponsors and partners for its initiatives and programs....
YALSA, Mar. 16
NMRT sponsors an Emerging Leader
The New Members Round Table has awarded Janel White (right), broadcast librarian at National Public Radio in Washington, D.C., a $1,000 scholarship to sponsor her participation in the ALA Emerging Leaders Program. The Emerging Leaders program enables newer librarians from across the country to participate in problem-solving work groups, network with peers, and gain an inside look into ALA structure....
Office for Human Resource Development and Recruitment, Mar. 16
Apply for ALTAFF Best Friends Awards
ALTAFF is accepting applications for its fifth annual Best Friends Awards, which recognize Friends groups around the country for outstanding publicity and marketing materials that promote the group, its programs, and projects. The winners will be recognized in ALTAFF’s newsletter, The Voice. Applications are due April 1....
ALTAFF, Mar. 16
LJ Movers and Shakers 2010
Now in its ninth year, Library Journal’s Movers and Shakers spotlights librarians from all corners of the library world and several nations. Each year brings numerous nominations of those who work in the library field from colleagues, friends, bosses, and admirers. With this year’s group of 50, the Movers cohort now numbers some 450....
Library Journal, Mar. 15
OPLA Lifetime Achievement Award
Former Woodstock (Ont.) Public Library Director Stephen Nelson received the Ontario Public Library Association’s lifetime achievement award for his 30 years of service to the library and his work with professional organizations. Nelson, who was presented the award in February, said milestones of his 30-year career included library renovations, automation of the card catalog, and surviving cutbacks in the early 1990s....
Oxford (Ont.) Sentinel-Review, Mar. 10
Pittsburgh librarian wins Thoroughbred Times fiction contest
Mara Dabrishus, reference librarian at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh and night and weekend supervisor at the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, put her interest in racing to good use to win the ninth biennial Thoroughbred Times Fiction Contest. Her story “Whirlaway” was selected as the best of the 62 stories submitted. The win earned her $600....
Thoroughbred Times, Mar. 10
2009 National Book Critics Circle awards
The National Book Critics Circle announced its award winners March 11 for the publishing year 2009. Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall (Holt), a Booker Prize winner last year, won the fiction award. The poetry award went to Rae Armantrout’s Versed (Wesleyan University Press), and the nonfiction award went to Richard Holmes for The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science (Pantheon)....
Critical Mass, Mar. 12
Alan Bradley wins 2010 Dilys Award
The Independent Mystery Booksellers Association has awarded Alan Bradley’s The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie its annual Dilys award for 2010. The announcement was made March 13 at an awards presentation at the Left Coast Crime conference in Los Angeles. Bradley will receive a specially-made sculpture in recognition of this achievement....
Independent Mystery Booksellers Association, Mar. 14
Blue Peter Book of the Year award
Frozen in Time by Ali Sparkes, a tale of two cryogenically frozen children from the 1950s who are brought back to life in 2009, has won the Blue Peter Book of the Year award. The award, sponsored by the BBC program Blue Peter and voted on by children, honors the best children’s books. There are three categories of awards: most fun story with pictures, best book with facts, and book I couldn’t put down. The favorite of the three is voted Blue Peter Book of the Year....
BBC News, Mar. 3
FCC releases National Broadband Plan
The Federal Communications Commission characterized its Congressionally mandated “national broadband plan” as a much-needed step for keeping the United States competitive. Released on March 16, the 376-page plan (PDF file) reflects the view that broadband internet is becoming the common medium in the United States, gradually displacing the telephone and broadcast television. But many of the recommendations will require Congressional action and take years to put in place. ALA President Camila Alire issued a statement summarizing a few ways in which libraries will be affected by the plan. The ALA Washington Office has analyzed the document and supports several initiatives, including the National Digital Literacy Program and the modernization of the e-rate program.....
New York Times, Mar. 16; District Dispatch, Mar. 16–17
Florida moves to eliminate all public library funding (PDF file)
On March 10, appropriations committees in the Florida House and Senate adopted positions eliminating all funding for Florida’s State Aid to Public Libraries program. This action will result in some library branches closing and will seriously cripple libraries’ ability to serve their communities. The Florida Library Association is calling on Governor Charlie Crist and legislative leaders to find a way to fund this critical program, which has helped support public library service since 1962....
Florida Library Association, Mar. 11
Charlotte Mecklenburg faces $2-million cut
On March 16, the Charlotte Mecklenburg (N.C.) Library learned that the county would be reducing the library’s funding for FY2010 by 6.3%, or $2 million, before June 30. To absorb the reduction, CML will need to lay off at least 140 employees, resulting in the closure of at least 12 branches, pending board approval. The new cut follows a $4-million reduction in county funds since January 2009....
Charlotte Mecklenburg (N.C.) Library, Mar. 17
How privacy vanishes online
Services like Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr are oceans of personal minutiae—birthday greetings sent and received, school and work gossip, photos of family vacations, and movies watched. Computer scientists and policy experts say that such seemingly innocuous bits of self-revelation can increasingly be collected and reassembled by computers to help create a picture of a person’s identity, sometimes down to the Social Security number....
New York Times, Mar. 16
Sorting things out in Prescott Valley
The Prescott Valley (Ariz.) Public Library is now handling returned items with an automated sorter that processes each book and DVD one at a time from the book drop, and sorts them into five bins according to their categories. The sorter, custom-built by Tech Logic for about $267,500, contains RFID technology that reads the tags on each item. Besides reducing staff time, the sorter offers ergonomic benefits as well because employees do not have to bend when they remove items from the bins, Library Director Stuart Mattson said....
Prescott (Ariz.) Daily Courier, Mar. 14
University student accused of stealing historic letters
William John Scott is a freshman at Drew University in Madison, New Jersey. But federal prosecutors say he is a busy archives thief who stole famous letters written by a founder of the United Methodist Church and world leaders, including Abraham Lincoln and Madame Chiang Kai-Shek. Scott allegedly pilfered the letters while working part time at the university archives, sold some for thousands of dollars, and left others sitting in a dresser drawer, where FBI agents found them March 13....
New York Times, Mar. 15
Enoch Pratt’s web presence boosts walk-ins
The number of visitors to the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore increased by 20% over a six-month period, prompting library officials to suggest that the internet is helping boost usage. Pratt Chief Executive Officer Carla Hayden said the library’s aggressive online presence and use of social media were helping draw more use. She said her staff uses Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Foursquare, and MySpace to attract younger, computer-savvy patrons....
Baltimore Sun, Mar. 15
Fending off digital decay, bit by bit
As research libraries and archives are discovering, “born-digital” materials are much more complicated and costly to preserve than anticipated. Archivists are trying to fend off digital extinction at the same time that they are puzzling through questions about what to save, how to save it, and how to make that material accessible. Though computers have been commonly used for more than two decades, archives from writers who used them are just beginning to make their way into collections....
New York Times, Mar. 15
C-SPAN puts its full archives on the web
C-SPAN has uploaded virtually every minute of its video archives to its website. Covering 23 years of history and five presidential administrations, the archives offer free online access to more than 160,000 hours of footage. C-SPAN founder Brian Lamb said in an interview that the archives were an extension of the network’s public service commitment....
New York Times, Mar. 15
Betty White to portray a librarian on The Middle
Veteran actress Betty White will lend her comedic flair to the role of a stern school librarian on the season finale of The Middle on ABC, the network announced March 12. The 88-year-old White will play a disciplinarian who chastises Brick (Atticus Shaffer) about his failure to return a stack of overdue library books. The episode films in mid-March and will air in May....
People: TV Watch, Mar. 12
Why Google’s deal with Italy is a good thing
The Italian government and the search-engine giant have agreed that Google will digitize up to 1 million books from the national libraries in Florence and Rome. The books to be digitized were all published before 1868 (which means that copyright laws do not apply). Italian libraries will be able to share digital copies of the books with readers on other platforms, including Europeana, the online publishing project of the European Commission....
Christian Science Monitor, Mar. 11
Go back to the Top
Microsoft’s free Sync service
David Pogue writes: “Windows Live Sync is a very good, very free Windows Live service for Mac and Windows that everyone should know about. The problem: You have a work machine and a home machine, and you find yourself having to copy certain important files back and forth. With Windows Live Sync, you designate one folder on Computer A, and another folder on Computer B. Then Sync keeps them synced with each other, magically, over the internet. Add, change, or delete a file on your laptop; you’ll find it added, changed, or deleted on your desktop.”...
New York Times: Personal Tech, Mar. 11
Twitter to be available @anywhere
Sarah Jacobsen writes: “Twitter CEO Evan Williams announced March 15 that the company plans to introduce a new platform called @anywhere. The new service will allow Twitter users to connect to their accounts through third-party websites, similar to the way Facebook Connect allows users to sign into other websites using their Facebook accounts. The @anywhere platform will allow Twitter users to tweet and retweet even when they are not signed in to Twitter.com.”...
Today @ PC World, Mar. 15
The definitive guide to keeping your PC up to date
Jason Fitzpatrick writes: “Keeping your computer—including its operating system and all the installed third-party software—up to date is extremely important, but it needn’t be a hassle or inconvenience. Here’s a look at three tools you can use regularly to keep your system current. The following guide will help you set up your computer to automatically update itself when possible, and keep your software current and secure.”...
Lifehacker, Mar. 17
Eww! Using keyboard bacteria to ID users
Casey Johnston writes: “Researchers have found that the bacteria left on keyboards and mice by users’ hands are distinct to individual users, and that it is possible to identify a piece of hardware’s primary user simply by swabbing the keyboard or mouse for bacteria. The technique proved effective within the constraints of the experiments, but it’s a long way from being ready for forensic use.”...
Ars Technica, Mar. 17
20 most popular open source software programs
Tom Walker writes: “These days, you can easily buy a brand-spanking-new computer and install all the software you need for free, using applications offered under the Open Software License. You can get a free image editor, a free sound editor, a free word processor, media player, file archiver, and a PDF creator. While some of these free apps do not offer quite the same level of polished functionality as their commercial rivals, others far exceed the capabilities of everything else on the market.”...
Tripwire Magazine, Mar. 10
The end of the Big Website Era?
Kent Anderson writes: “With the emergence of Facebook, Twitter, RSS, and blogs; the development of the iPhone, iTunes, the Kindle, and the pending iPad; and the continued utility of email, which has only been enhanced by smartphones—well, there’s a question haunting the status quo of web development for publishers: Do you really need all that website?”...
The Scholarly Kitchen, Mar. 10
IBM software tells bloggers what readers want
Erica Naone writes: “Blogging often sounds like a great idea: sharing thoughts and expertise, becoming a part of a community, and taking the first few steps to wider recognition as a writer. But many bloggers quickly get disillusioned. In an effort to fix this problem, IBM researchers have been experimenting with a tool called Blog Muse, which suggests a topic for a blog post with a ready-made audience.”...
Technology Review Editors Blog, Mar. 9
10 useful website analytics tools
Vanessa Davis writes: “When you start a website, no matter if you have chosen a top business-hosting package or a cheap website-hosting package, you will find various analytical tools in your web-hosting admin panel. Such tools as Awstats are typically included in both business and inexpensive packages, and these are indeed good. However, if you want other options, here are some suggestions.”...
Web Design Ledger, Mar. 10
Google’s translation tool
Miguel Helft writes: “Creating a translation machine has long been seen as one of the toughest challenges in artificial intelligence. For decades, computer scientists tried using a rules-based approach, but in the mid-1990s they began favoring a statistical approach. By feeding the computer millions of passages and their human-generated translations, they found it could learn to make accurate guesses about how to translate new texts. This technique, which requires huge amounts of data and lots of computing horsepower, is right up Google’s alley.”...
New York Times, Mar. 8
Long-forgotten Shakespeare play authenticated
In 1727, an enterprising lawyer named Lewis Theobald with ambitions to become a leading figure in the theatre staged his greatest coup: a lost original play by William Shakespeare. However, for most of the three centuries since its debut, Double Falsehood; or, the Distrest Lovers has been ridiculed as a hoax. Although written by dramatist John Fletcher, scholars for British Shakespeare publisher Arden now believe the Bard wrote large parts of the play, which is based on a long-lost work called Cardenio. But Huw Griffiths, lecturer in early modern literature at Sydney University, says Double Falsehood should be treated as an adaptation....
The Times (U.K.), Mar. 16; BBC News, Mar. 15; ABC News, Mar. 16
Free Gale resources during National Library Week
Gale will celebrate National Library Week, April 11–17, by providing free access to four online resources for use by any library throughout the entire week. The offer includes full access to Career Transitions, Global Issues in Context, GREENR (Global Reference on the Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources), and Grzimek’s Animal Life. Librarians can access the databases by downloading a widget from the Gale website after April 10....
Gale, Mar. 11
20 core steampunk titles
John Klima writes: “Steampunk is everywhere, from movies like Sherlock Holmes and Howl’s Moving Castle to the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show and an art exhibition at the Museum of the History of Science in Oxford, England. A subgenre of science fiction, it typically (but not always) employs a Victorian setting where steam power and advanced technologies like computers coexist and often features themes, such as secret societies, found in mystery novels. Here are 10 classic steampunk works and 10 more recent titles for a well-rounded collection.”...
Library Journal, Mar. 4
American History in Video free through April 16
Alexander Street Press is offering a free trial of its entire American History in Video collection of streaming newsreels and documentaries through April 16. The series features synchronized, scrolling, full-text, searchable transcripts for each video. The newsreels include footage from United News and Universal International News archives, and the documentaries include award-winning productions from PBS, Bullfrog Films, and the History Channel. Registration does not require a username or password....
Alexander Street Press, Mar. 16
Book review bingo: Keep a tally of annoying reviewer clichés
Michelle Kerns writes: “What’s the point of identifying the top 20 most annoying book reviewer clichés unless you can have a bit o’ fun with them? As you read through the week’s reviews, book jackets, or gushing publicity sheets, keeping a running tally of the number of times books are referred to as a ‘tour de force’ or ‘compelling’ or ‘readable’ (shudder) is certainly one source of amusement. Playing Bingo with those clichés, however, ups the ante into realms of hitherto untrodden delight.”...
Book Examiner, Mar. 11, 15
Two more library magazines sold
Two weeks after Library Journal and School Library Journal were acquired by Media Source, two other publications serving the library market have been sold. VOYA (Voice of Youth Advocates), which is aimed at librarians serving young adults, and Teacher Librarian, a journal for school library professionals, have been acquired by E. L. Kurdyla Publishing, a new company formed by publishing and library veteran Edward Kurdyla. The journals formerly belonged to Rowman and Littlefield Publishing Group’s subsidiary Scarecrow Press....
Publishers Weekly, Mar. 16
EBSCO Publishing to acquire OCLC’s NetLibrary
OCLC and EBSCO Publishing have signed an agreement whereby EBSCO will purchase the assets of the OCLC NetLibrary Division and the rights to license a select number
of vendor-owned databases currently available through OCLC FirstSearch. The purchase includes the NetLibrary e-book and e-audiobook platform as well as operations and infrastructure in Boulder, Colorado....
OCLC, Mar. 17
Psychology of the bookplate
Alex Beam writes: “‘This book belongs to me.’ For over five centuries, that has been the message conveyed by every bookplate, whether printed and hand-tinted for Hildebrand Brandenburg in 1480 or mass-produced for Barnes & Noble or Amazon. (Yes, they sell bookplates.) Think of a bookplate as a wedding ring binding the reader to the book, and vice versa. The symbolism isn’t so far apart: ownership, possession, desire. Electronic bookplates? I don’t think so.”...
Yale Alumni Magazine, Mar./Apr.
Online journal 2.0
Steve Kolowich writes: “The Society of Architectural Historians has developed a new platform for its online journal that it hopes will close the gap between reading about important architectural examples and experiencing them. The society unveiled March 16 a new platform for the online version of the Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, which it built through a series of grants from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The online version, dubbed JSAH Online, will support presentation methods—such as video, virtual modeling, and digital mapping—that academics could show off only in live demonstrations and museum installations.”...
Inside Higher Ed, Mar. 16
The future of publishing, according to DK Books
This video (2:26) was prepared by the UK branch of Dorling Kindersley Books. Originally meant solely for a DK sales conference, the video was such a hit internally that it is now being shared externally. Make sure you watch it up to at least the halfway point, because there is a surprise....
YouTube, Mar. 9
Five tips for successful webinars
Peter Bromberg writes: “Good webinars don’t just happen. Beyond having a relevant topic and a great presenter, there are a number of factors that affect the end result. Whether you are scheduling and producing webinars or creating and presenting them, these tips will help you deliver a great webinar experience for everyone. Rule no. 1: Write for the medium.”...
ALA Learning Round Table blog, Mar. 15
Eleven extra-special collections in academic libraries
Ethan Trex writes: “Usually when we head to the library, we’re looking for something relatively mundane. Step into a library’s special collections, though, and you’ll find all sorts of offbeat offerings. Here is a look at some unusual special collections one can peruse in reading rooms around the country.” Included are glass eyeballs at Duke, puppets at UC-Santa Barbara, bloodletting and patent medicines at UCLA, and libertine literature at Princeton....
Mental Floss, Mar. 11
Battle of the opens
Dorothea Salo writes: “I’m committed to a lot of different kinds of ‘open’—open source, open access, open standards. Unfortunately, out there in the wild I find a tremendous amount of misunderstanding about various flavors of open, sometimes coming from otherwise perfectly respectable communications outlets. So here—free, gratis, libre, and open—is a brief, simplistic guide to several flavors of open.”...
The Book of Trogool, Mar. 15
The first green library in Manhattan
On March 18, the New York Public Library will open its Battery Park City branch, an environmentally friendly library that provides a wide range of services for the community. Designed by the architecture firm 1100 Architects, the branch was constructed with a focus on environmental sustainability and will be the first green library in Manhattan. It is expected to receive LEED Gold certification from the U. S. Green Building Council....
New York Public Library, Mar. 17
Check out Sneezle Packs at River Forest
Christina Stoll writes: “One personal service offered in the children’s department at River Forest (Ill.) Public Library is providing Sneezle Packs for sick kids. When a caregiver calls the library to request one, the library staff asks about the child’s age, interests, and preferred materials. This information goes into creating a Sneezle Pack—typically 3–4 books, a DVD, and an activity such as a coloring sheet or word game—which goes into a library bag that is tagged to alert staff to disinfect the items when they return.”...
I Love Libraries
mk Eagle writes: “There are days when I’m grateful to just stay in one place behind a desk for a while. Like today, when another teacher pointed out I have a four-inch rip down the back of my pants. My crisis is a small one—the school accountant is having her husband drop off her sewing kit (and a pair of sweats) and I’ll survive the minor embarrassment—but the whole thing has me thinking about emergency preparedness. What do I need to have in my library emergency kit?”...
YALSA Blog, Mar. 16
The answer is Takshila
Q. What is the oldest university library? A. According to the Library World Records by Godfrey Oswald, the earliest university library was probably the Buddhist Takshila (Takshashila or Taxila) University, established around 600 B.C. This university was in the northwestern part of the Indian subcontinent, now a part of Pakistan. Very little is known about its library collection, but there are some notable relics....
Ask the ALA Librarian, Mar. 17
Balancing privacy and convenience
Nick Ammerman writes: “Several months ago, I noticed that the Chicago Public Library had changed how it made books on hold available for patrons to pick up. Under the new system, the hold books are kept out in the main lobby space, accessible to anyone who comes into the library. As a user, I have to say the new system is much more convenient. However, I began to wonder if the new system violated ALA or state policies on the privacy of patron records. I contacted both CPL and ALA to get their perspectives.”...
An Infinite Number of Monkeys, Mar. 15
National Call Center for Homeless Veterans
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has set up a hotline to ensure that homeless veterans or veterans at risk for homelessness have free, 24/7 access to trained counselors. The hotline is intended to assist homeless veterans and their families, community agencies, and service providers. Librarians calling on behalf of a homeless veteran will be provided with information regarding the homeless programs and services available. Call 877-424-3838....
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
NCLR: Latino youth face significant challenges
A new report released by the National Council of La Raza examines the status of Hispanic youth in the United States, ages 15 to 24. America’s Tomorrow: A Profile of Latino Youth (PDF file) shows that more than one in five (21.4%) Hispanics ages 16–24 has dropped out of high school. The Hispanic population is on the rise nationally and will account for about 30% of the U.S. population by 2050....
National Council of La Raza, Mar. 10
Nine Maryland counties resist union for librarians
Delegates representing nine Maryland counties have moved to exempt their jurisdictions from a House of Delegates bill (PDF file) that would make it easier for local librarians to unionize, citing concerns about the costs. The bill’s sponsor, Tom Hucker (D-Montgomery), said it would only give librarians the choice to join the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1994 union. More than 20 library representatives and union officials testified for and against the bill March 9 at a House Appropriations Committee meeting....
Maryland Reporter, Mar. 10
Some thoughts on King Kong
Robert Armitage writes: “Most adult men are just shells designed to contain 12-year-old boys. Why else would someone who should have better things to do with his time be bothering about the 1933 Hollywood film King Kong? What is different about it? Movies can record the customs and habits of a particular time and place more vividly than almost any other art form. Cursed with a librarian’s curiosity, I executed a keyword search for King Kong in our catalog and was surprised to come up with a grand total of 361 results.”...
New York Public Library Blog, Mar. 12
1910 Frankenstein movie coming to DVD
Charlie Jane Anders writes: “March 18 marks the 100th anniversary of Thomas Edison’s ground-breaking Frankenstein movie, and it’s finally coming out on DVD in a restored print. Frankenstein’s actors were paid $5 a day and hid the fact that they were slumming in movies. The restored DVD print of this first-ever Frankenstein movie is the work of Frederick C. Wiebel Jr., who has also written a book about the making of that film and other early films from 100 years ago.”...
io9, Mar. 15
Librarians who love March Madness
Chris Bourg writes: “I know I am not the only librarian who loves March Madness, so I started two groups on ESPN’s Tournament Challenge: Mad Librarians and Mad Librarians (W) (women’s version). Anyone is welcome to fill out a bracket and join—you don’t even have to be a librarian, and you don’t even have to love March Madness. It’s free, and the winner gets bragging rights until next year.”...
Feral Librarian, Mar. 16
How college students use Wikipedia
A study by Alison J. Head and Michael B. Eisenberg at the University of Washington Information School showed that college students “frequently used Wikipedia for background information, but less often than they used other common resources, such as course readings and Google. Architecture, engineering, and science majors were more likely to use Wikipedia for course-related research than respondents in other majors.” Wikipedia offers them “a mixture of coverage, currency, convenience, and comprehensibility in a world where credibility is less of a given.”...
First Monday 15, no. 3 (Mar. 1)
Google lets kids design next logo
Google kicked off its third installment of Doodle 4 Google, a yearly nationwide art contest for students in grades K–12. Eligible students can submit their own “Google Doodles,” and the winning Doodle will appear on Google’s homepage for one day, May 27. The winner will also receive a $15,000 college scholarship, a laptop computer, and a $25,000 technology grant for his or her school. All doodles must be submitted by March 31....
Official Google Blog, Feb. 3
WorldCat Local to index Gale databases
OCLC and Gale have signed an agreement to index Gale’s full-text periodical databases in WorldCat Local to provide single-search access to users who subscribe to both services. The agreement calls for OCLC to centrally index the metadata of Gale’s Academic OneFile and General OneFile databases to provide users a direct link to the abstracts and articles....
OCLC, Mar. 12
Woodworking and libraries
Larry Nix writes: “Recently I was contacted by Ray McInnis who indicated that, like me, he is a retired librarian who is also an ‘amateur woodworker and scholar of woodworking history.’ The connection between Ray’s interest and my own relates to the role played by the Minneapolis Public Library in developing the Index to Handicrafts, which began as an in-house index file in the 1920s and was later published as a printed index by Faxon beginning in 1936 (above).”...
Library History Buff Blog, Mar. 15
LC Junior Fellows summer internships
The Library of Congress is again offering 10-week paid internships to college students. For a stipend of $3,000, the 2010 class of Junior Fellows Summer Interns will work full-time from June 7 through August 13 with library specialists to inventory, describe, and explore collection holdings and to assist with digital-preservation outreach activities throughout the library. Applications will be accepted online only at USAJobs.gov, keyword 1840256, through March 26....
Library of Congress, Mar. 12
Go back to the Top
ALA Annual Conference, Washington, D.C., June 24–29. The 2010 Annual Conference wiki is now available. Everyone is invited to exchange information about Conference events, committee work, the exhibit and trade show, and the D.C. area. Be sure to check out the numerous preconferences, special events, and post-conference events.
Save 50% on Booklist Online when you sign up for individual access through April 30. It’s only $147.50 per year. Plus, you’ll receive Booklist and Book Links magazines free for a year. Sign up today or visit us at PLA Booth 2371. NEW! From Booklist.
April is National Poetry Month. Look for this poster in the April issue of American Libraries.
Distance Instruction Librarian, Morehead State University, Morehead, Kentucky. Provides instruction to university regional campuses and distance learning students via face-to-face, online, and interactive television settings; plans, delivers, and assesses distance library services; serves as a liaison to regional campuses, local public libraries, and community college libraries in the area; travels throughout MSU’s service region; works with Director of Instructional Services and teaching faculty to plan and develop library instruction for on-campus classes....
Digital Library of the Week
The Biodiversity Heritage Library, the digitization component of the Encyclopedia of Life, is a consortium of 12 major natural history museum libraries, botanical libraries, and research institutions organized to digitize, serve, and preserve the legacy literature of biodiversity. Content consists primarily of books and periodicals in the public domain, and is searchable and browsable by title, author, subject, scientific name, location, and year of publication. All images are downloadable and free for noncommercial use under a Creative Commons license. The European Commission’s eContentPlus program has recently funded the BHL-Europe project, with 22 institutions, to assemble the European language literature. Negotiations are being pursued with the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Atlas of Living Australia and contacts in Japan, India, and Russia to join the BHL consortium. Prior to digitization, the resources housed within each BHL institution have existed in isolation, available only to those with physical access to the collections. In November 2009, the collection added more than 21,000 new titles as a result of ingesting open-access texts scanned by the Internet Archive. The collection now includes some 2 million volumes.
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.
“Librarians used to monitor [noisy] behavior, reminding people to be quiet and setting good examples themselves. Nowadays, librarians lead people through the stacks as if they were sales people at the grocery store, chatting loudly as they go. And the future doesn’t look promising. Just this morning our lead librarian brought two new staff members through, pointing out areas of the library. ‘This,’ she boomed, ‘is the quiet reading area.’”
—Ellen Hansen, guest columnist, “The Stump,” Portland Oregonian, Mar. 14.
Public Library Association, National Conference, Portland, Oregon, Mar. 23–27, at:
American Libraries news stories, videos, tweets, and blog posts at:
Paperback Collectors Show and Sale, Guest House Inn Conference Center, Mission Hills, California.
Buffalo Small Press Book Fair, Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum, Buffalo, New York.
Global Pulse 2010, sponsored by the U.S. Agency for International Development. An online collaboration event that will bring together individual socially-engaged participants and organizations from around the world.
Fay B. Kaigler Children’s Book Festival, University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg.
Workshop for Instruction in Library Use, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario. “Design, Play, Learn.”
Association of Caribbean University, Research and Institutional Libraries, Annual Conference, Intercontinental V Centenario Hotel, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.