June 28, 2006
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U.S. & World News

John Doe Librarians
The John Doe librarians, (from left) Barbara Bailey, Janet Nocek, Peter Chase, and George Christian of the Library Connection, receive the Robert Downs Award from Michael Gorman (center).

John Does allowed to speak, receive belated Robert Downs Award (PDF file)
Nearly one year after receiving a National Security Letter from the FBI demanding computer records for one of their member libraries, four librarians on the executive board of the Library Connection—a nonprofit consortium of one academic and 26 public libraries in central Connecticut—are able to discuss freely some aspects of the only known time the USA Patriot Act has been invoked in a library setting. The Justice Department officially abandoned efforts to obtain the records June 22, after concluding independently that the implied threat the FBI was investigating had no merit, the June 27 New York Times reported....

Gulf Coast libraries get $17.7 million for rebuilding
In a June 22 announcement, three groups announced the donation of $17.7 million to aid in the rebuilding of Gulf Coast libraries damaged in 2005 by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and to establish services where none still exist....

Miami-Dade sued for banning A Visit to Cuba
On June 21, the Greater Miami Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida filed suit against the board of the Miami-Dade County Public Schools for ordering the removal June 14 from all district media centers of the children’s picture book Vamos a Cuba and its English-language counterpart A Visit to Cuba....

New Jersey director blasted for requiring subpoenas
Michele Reutty, director of Hasbrouck Heights Public Library and president-elect of the New Jersey Library Association, will face a closed hearing in July with the library’s board of trustees over her requiring police to obtain subpoenas before giving them patron records during a May investigation....

Indiana board restores homeless patrons’ privileges
The board of the Porter County (Ind.) Public Library voted unanimously June 21 to rescind a month-old policy that had limited borrowing privileges for residents of any of the area’s shelters for people who are homeless. The discarded policy had restricted adults at the shelters to receiving library cards that had to be renewed every three months and limited their borrowing privileges to three items at a time....

Hampden Library gets funds to reopen
A year after closing its doors due to the failure of a property-tax override, Hampden (Mass.) Free Public Library will reopen for 25 hours per week as of July 1....

Police say Chicago arson was not a hate crime
A 21-year-old homeless woman admitted starting a June 13 fire at Chicago Public Library’s John Merlo branch because she objected to the library’s treatment of homeless people....

Map dealer now admits library theft
Some 10 months after pleading not guilty to stealing more than 100 rare maps worth about $3 million, E. Forbes Smiley III pleaded guilty June 22 in federal court to one count of theft and later that day in a Connecticut court to three counts of larceny. All counts relate to thefts from Yale University....

ALA News

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A jazz quartet performs on the exhibit floorNew Orleans Conference sends message of hope and renewal
“You are pioneers, and you are sending a signal to the world that says New Orleans is okay,” Mayor C. Ray Nagin told librarians at the opening session of the American Library Association’s June 22–28 Annual Conference in the Big Easy, the largest convention in the city since Hurricanes Katrina and Rita devastated the region in August and September 2005....

Leslie BurgerLeslie Burger inaugurated 2006 ALA president
On June 28, Leslie Burger, director of the Princeton (N.J.) Public Library, began her term as 2006–2007 president of ALA, the chief elected officer for the oldest and largest library organization in the world. “I know that by working together we can make every library in the country better than it is today,” Burger said....

ALA, Highsmith, Bretford unveil renovated New Orleans Public Library branch
On the penultimate day of the ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans, volunteers and library service companies Highsmith, Inc., and Bretford unveiled the renovated interior of a historic Carnegie library branch of the New Orleans Public Library. The Children’s Resource Center branch is one of 13 NOPL buildings, each of which was damaged during Hurricane Katrina....



Encyclopedia of PhilosophyFeatured review:

Borchert, Donald M. Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Gale, 2005. (0-02-865780-2). The first edition of Encyclopedia of Philosophy, published in eight large volumes in 1967, was the standard philosophy reference for more than a generation. Though it has aged gracefully, the passing years nevertheless called for updated bibliographies, revisions, and new articles, culminating in the 1996 one-volume Supplement. Now, in the face of significant competition since the late 1990s, comes the second edition....

What makes a reference work a classic?
I have a problem with the reference sets that are often called classics, and it comes from my career as a public librarian. The vast majority of my patrons have been grade-school and high-school students and adult patrons who just need a simple answer to a question. Many reference classics are too big, too expensive, and often too scholarly....
Merle Jacob, guest editorial, June 27

How will we know the reference classics of the Web?
Our classics of the print world exemplify to the highest degree demonstrated authority, well-defined and reasoned scope, effective organization, good indexing, usefulness, and a complementary, contributory relation to other reference works. But how well do these tried-and-true characteristics serve as criteria for judging classics of the future? Or has this question already passed into the past tense? After all, cool isn’t in that legacy list....
James Rettig, guest editorial, June 27

New Orleans Update

Conventions return to New Orleans (Windows Media Player required)
CNN’s report on New Orleans’ “Magical Week” hosting its first major conference since Hurricane Katrina....
CNN, June 26

And the librarians shall lead them
I don’t think I’m quite ready to climb to the top of the Superdome and scream, “We’re BACK, baby!” But as harbingers of recovery go, the American Library Association convention this weekend was a serious step in the right direction....
New Orleans Times-Picayune, June 27

First Lady praises efforts to rebuild schools, libraries
Schools are essential to rebuilding the Gulf Coast after last year’s hurricanes, and libraries are an essential part of schools, first lady Laura Bush told about 1,000 librarians, students, and others June 26. “Until there are schools for their children, families won’t return home,” she told the audience at a town hall meeting put on as part of the American Library Association’s meeting....
Associated Press, June 26

Helping with repairs at New Orleans Public LibraryOffline in New Orleans (and it’s a good thing!)
These days many librarians, especially library technologists, may find themselves struggling with staying offlline (and with free wifi at conference, it’s likely even more difficult). Taking a time out from your aggregator, not to mention e-mail, can easily mean a following day’s worth of blog reading and e-mail catch-up. But, sometimes, going offline, taking a break from the technology, to take care of yourself or to contribute to a good cause, may be the recharge you need....

Techsource, June 26

At library, one door opens and another closes
Bill Johnson, the director of New Orleans’ storm-battered library system, has announced his resignation because his wife has not been able to find work in New Orleans. “I must make a difficult choice between my personal life and its relationships and a very challenging job,” Johnson said June 25. He spoke minutes before the start of the ceremony celebrating the renovation of the Alvar Street library, the first of the city library system’s storm-damaged branches to reopen its doors....
New Orleans Times-Picayune, June 26

Binding wounds
Accompanied by images of soggy books and moldy walls, an October assessment report on a library branch in eastern New Orleans was to the point: “Fish in parking lot. Overturned bookdrops. Major flooding. Shelves collapsed, books floated in water,” it said. “Closed indefinitely.” But the New Orleans Public Library isn’t staying under. In fact, the system seems to be breaking some intangible line between doom and revival, gulping in significant doses of outside help....
New Orleans Times-Picayune, June 24

Division News

Gulf Coast school libraries receive nearly $250,000 for rebuilding
Thirty-two schools in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas serving more than 22,000 students received grants totaling $230,000 from Beyond Words: the Dollar General School Library Relief Fund administered by AASL....


Gary HartzellAASL honors Gary Hartzell with a Crystal Apple award
AASL President J. Linda Williams has chosen Gary Hartzell, professor emeritus of educational administration at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, as a recipient of AASL’s Crystal Apple. The Crystal Apple is given at the discretion of the AASL president to an individual or group who has had significant impact on school libraries and students....

SirsiDynix honors five librarians for building better communities (PDF file)
SirsiDynix announced June 24 the recipients of its Building Better Communities Awards, which recognize libraries for creative and enterprising uses of technology to improve their user communities....

Seen Online

Broadcast flag makes it through committee
If the broad rewrite of U.S. telecommunications laws (the Communications, Consumer’s Choice, and Broadband Deployment Act of 2006) makes it to the Senate floor, it will include the broadcast flag. The Commerce Committee will continue running down the bill, amendment by amendment, with network neutrality next on the list....
Ars Technica, June 28

Vamos a CubaBanned books must remain in school district for now, judge says
Copies of Vamos a Cuba and 23 other titles in the same series remain in school libraries, according to Miami-Dade County Public School Board attorney Luis Garcia. U.S. District Judge Alan Gold told the district today to keep possession of the books, saying he wanted to “hold the status quo” until a July 21 hearing, but he did not specify whether the books need to remain on shelves and accessible to students....
Miami Herald, June 27

Milwaukee Public Schools told to beef up school library oversight
State officials have given Milwaukee Public Schools 14 months to ensure that every school library is overseen by a licensed librarian—something that has not been happening at about three dozen MPS schools....
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, June 26

Library to bring back Spanish fiction
After a public outcry, the budget for Spanish fiction will be restored to the Gwinnett County (Ga.) Public Library, members of the Board of Trustees said June 26. The board’s decision to cut $3,000 for Spanish translations of popular books at a meeting earlier this month received attention in newspapers across the country....
Gwinnett Daily Post, June 27

New York City budget’s a wrap, with $52.6-billion tab
Mayor Michael Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn sealed the $52.6-billion 2007 budget with a kiss and a hug, signaling the transparency and collaborative relationship both have promised to bring to the annual high-stakes fiscal wrangling. The agreed-upon final number is $233 million higher than that released by Bloomberg in May. The higher budget number reflects Bloomberg’s agreement to restore cuts to cultural institutions, libraries, and social services....
Staten Island Advance, June 28

Mayor plans to take pay cut
As a group Monday announced its intent to explore recalling Mayor Charles Damaske, the mayor said he plans to take only half of his 2007 salary to provide funds for Sunday hours at the Muskego (Wis.) Public Library....
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, June 26

Lost in a sea of science data (subscription required)
Librarians will have to step forward to define, categorize, and archive the voluminous and detailed streams of data generated in experiments. Already, librarians on some campuses—among them Purdue, the Johns Hopkins University, and the University of California at San Diego—are beginning to take on that role....
Chronicle of Higher Education, June 23

OCLC joins LOCKSS alliance
OCLC has joined more than 90 libraries from around the world that participate in the LOCKSS (Lots of Copies Keep Stuff Safe) alliance, a library membership consortium and active user community that provides open-source archiving software as a means to build digital collections....
OCLC, June 22

National ArchivesNational Archives building in Washington, D.C. is closed through July 3 (Real Player required)
U.S. Archivist Allen Weinstein confirms that no original documents were damaged in the June 25 flooding of Archives I....
NARA, June 26

Extremist social movement groups and their online digital libraries (PDF file)
The websites of terrorist/extremist groups have increased in number, technical sophistication, and multimedia content. How then does one identify, organize, analyze, and provide access to extremist social movement groups’ web-based cultural artifacts (e.g., videos, websites, discussion forum messages, weblogs)?...
Information Outlook, June

Over 60% of primary, middle school libraries don’t hold enough books
Fewer than 40% of public primary and middle schools met Japanese government standards for the number of books in their libraries as of the end of fiscal 2004, according to Education, Science, and Technology Ministry officials....
Tokyo Daily Yomiuri, June 20

A few good books
For more than 25 years, John Forbes has served as curator of the William A. Quayle Rare Bible Collection at Baker University in Baldwin City, tending one of the most extensive bible repositories in the United States. “It’s like anything with history—it’s important and interesting to know where we’ve been,” Forbes says....
Lawrence (Kans.) Journal-World, June 24

The Joy of Gay SexLibrary loses large donor
The debate surrounding The Joy of Sex and The Joy of Gay Sex in Nampa (Idaho) Public Library threatens to complicate the city’s effort to raise money for a new building. The books are still available in the library but have been moved to higher shelves so children cannot easily see them....
Nampa Idaho Press-Tribune, June 27

Love it or lose it
Public libraries in the U.K. are on the verge of extinction, warn campaigners. How can they be protected for the future?...
BBC News, June 22

Martin Luther King Jr.Morehouse College to house Martin Luther King Jr. archives
The City of Atlanta has announced that a deal has been struck to bring the coveted Martin Luther King Jr. Collection back to Atlanta. The papers were scheduled to be auctioned at Sotheby’s on June 30. Morehouse has engaged William Potter, University of Georgia librarian, and Loretta Parham, director of the Robert W. Woodruff Library, to assist in processing the collection and arranging for its temporary housing until a permanent location is identified in Atlanta where the papers will be available for public access....
Morehouse College, June 23

Fayetteville School Board approves parental-review policy
Fayetteville (Ark.) School Board members approved a new school library policy at their regular meeting June 22. The review was ordered following a strenuous debate over the content of certain books in school libraries....
Northwest Arkansas Times, June 23

Australia$116.6 million to protect Australian families online
The government will create a National Filter Scheme to provide every Australian family with a free internet filter as part of a $116.6-million comprehensive package of measures to crack down on the scourge of internet pornography. The National Filter Scheme is the centerpiece of the Australian government’s Protecting Families Online package, which will also include measures to provide Australian libraries with free filters so computer corners at libraries across Australia will become child-friendly zones....
Australian Department of Communications, Information Technology, and the Arts, June 21

Actions and Answers

Human trails in cyberspace: Social scientists create maps of online interactions (subscription required)
Researchers have long sought to map social groupings and interactions in the physical world. Now, with so much activity on computer networks, scientists can collect vast amounts of hard data on human behavior....
Chronicle of Higher Education, June 30

Essential steps to strengthen America’s cyberterrorism preparedness (PDF file)
Despite a series of efforts in recent years to address this issue, significant gaps exist in the response plans of the U.S. government and the private sector for reconstituting the internet in the event of an unprecedented massive internet disruption, the Business Roundtable states in a white paper....

Business Roundtable, June

Selling RSS to medical librarians
David Rothman guest-blogs what happened when he asked his local hospital’s head of surgery if he would like “one list of items from news or medical publishing on exactly the information you want. Imagine you could flip through this list and check off items as ‘not interested,’ ‘maybe later,’ or ‘the library must get me the full text of this article.’”...
Tame the Web, June 24

Alouette Canada open-digitization initiative launched
Canada’s strongest ties to its own history are through the documents that have recorded it. It’s time for Canada’s history to be accessed and preserved in a systematic, enduring way—one that is accessible for Canadians—and other citizens of the world....
Alouette Canada, June 21

Royal Society tries open access
Britain’s Royal Society dipped a cautious toe into the waters of open access publishing this week, allowing authors whose papers are accepted by any of its seven journals to pay a fee and have their work made freely available on the Web....
The Scientist, June 22

Sponsor: Sirsi Dynix

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What do YOU think?

Judging by nationwide media coverage, did the American Library Association conference in New Orleans, June 22-28, make a difference?

Click here

This is an unscientific poll that reflects the opinions of only those AL Direct readers who have chosen to participate.

Results of the
June 21 poll:

Are you pleased that First Lady Laura Bush has been invited to speak at AASL’s town hall meeting on school libraries in New Orleans?


(331 responses)

For cumulated results and selected responses to all AL Direct polls, visit the AL Online website.

ALA's Legislative Action Center
Urgent action needed in contacting Senators about the Communications Reform bill, S. 2686.


SPECIAL SERVICES LIBRARY CONSULTANT, Vermont Department of Libraries. Use your professional library experience to serve Vermonters who are blind or have disabilities....

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June-July 2006
AL cover
Stories inside include:

The Crux of the LIS Education Crisis

Building Stronger Bridges over the Continuing- Education Gap

Information Science: Not Just for Boys Anymore


Institutes, Workshops, and Continuing Education:

July 6–8: Legacy Oral History Training Workshop, San Francisco Performing Arts Library and Museum, 415-255-4800 ext. 823. Contact: Jeff Friedman.

July 10–12: Books in Spanish for Children and Adolescents, Barahona Center for the Study of Books in Spanish for Children and Adolescents, California State University, San Marcos. Conducted in Spanish, although Spanish-speaking ability not required. 760-750-4070. Contact: Isabel Schon.

July 30–Aug. 5: Children’s Literature New England’s 20th Institute, Saint Michael’s College, Colchester, Vermont. “The Heroic Ideal Revisited.” 802-765-4935. Contact: Martha M. Walke.

Oct. 22–27: Pacific Northwest Library Association Leadership Institute, Tamarack Resort, Idaho.

Nov. 3: Brick and Click Libraries Symposium, Northwest Missouri State University, Maryville. 660-562-1393. Contact: Carolyn Johnson.

More Datebook items...


“Welcome to the 21st century librarian: book-smart, reality-stupid, Bush-deranged bigots. Let’s hope the First Lady’s security detail comes prepared. You never know what these tolerant people will throw.”

—Syndicated columnist Michelle Malkin in “Laura vs. Unhinged Librarians,” June 21 .


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