|American Libraries Online
Library funding battles in Trenton, Wheaton, and Evanston
With library budget woes continuing unabated this summer, three public library systems found themselves in role-reversing showdowns with municipal officials. Ironically, two libraries—those in Trenton, New Jersey, and Wheaton, Illinois—were forced to fight in favor of sharply reduced services in order to balance their budgets while city leaders ordered the libraries to maintain the status quo. In the case of Evanston (Ill.) Public Library, the library board has seized control of its budget from the mayor and city council after Friends fought a months-long battle to keep the library’s only two branches open....
American Libraries news, Aug. 18
IFLA in Gothenburg: It’s all about language
One of the tricks to really appreciating an International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions conference is to recognize what a daunting task it is to sustain six days of communication with every major piece of it done in seven languages at once. Often you will see moderators passing little messages to speakers; in almost every case, it’s a plea from the translation team to “please slow down.” English dominates on the exhibit floor, as it is impossible to find exhibitors who don’t speak English—even those from Thailand, Korea, and Saudi Arabia. For more IFLA coverage, see the AL website....
AL: Inside Scoop, Aug. 10–15
Haitian librarians describe earthquake destruction
On January 12, 2010, a devastating earthquake turned an ordinary day into a day of horror and destruction for Haiti. At the IFLA Congress, two Haitian librarians came forward to tell their stories and communicate face-to-face with various international organizations and individuals who want to help with the recovery. During the presentation, the librarians ran this video (4:03), which shows the earthquake actually taking place from security cameras around the library....
AL: Inside Scoop, Aug. 13; YouTube, Aug. 1
LC unlocks doors with DMCA exceptions
Mashup artists, smartphone users, academics, and people who are visually impaired are all winners, thanks to the July 26 exceptions made by Librarian of Congress James Billington to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Since its enactment in 1998, the impact of the DMCA on fair use of digitized materials has been subject to review every three years by the Librarian of Congress. Here’s a rundown of the new DMCA exemptions put into place....
American Libraries news, Aug. 16
OCLC’s Web-scale Management Services released
The much-hyped OCLC Web-scale Management Services moved from pilot phase to production in July with the release of acquisitions and circulation components to around 30 early adopters. The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga has posted an ambitious timeline that would make it the first institution to go live with the product on August 30; Pepperdine University Libraries is slated to come in second with a projected go-live date of October 11....
American Libraries news, Aug. 12
When crisis calls
Matthew J. Boylan writes: “I recently answered a call on ASK NYPL (New York Public Library’s telephonic and electronic reference line) from the New York City Police Department. A 16-year-old girl was threatening to throw herself off the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, and the only identification that she had in her effects was an NYPL library card. Fortunately, this child survived. After I notified supervisors of what had happened, I was given the job of researching and formulating a suicide response policy for approximately 2,500 NYPL employees.”...
American Libraries feature
Early literacy: A sustainable statewide approach
Bonnie McCune writes: “Public libraries have maintained that they are significant in boosting children’s literacy ever since the first children’s section was established in the late 1800s. But in times of economic uncertainty, decision-makers find it easy to levy budget cuts against discrete, relatively powerless entities such as libraries. Regional approaches create an entrée for libraries to gain greater visibility and positioning within the educational and political communities.”...
American Libraries feature
Next Steps: The customer is always right
Brian Mathews writes: “We strive to provide great customer service, yet few of us actually use the ‘C’ word. We have many names—patron, borrower, user, reader—but ‘customer’ remains controversial and typically we avoid it. Not so at Howard County Library, located in the Baltimore suburbs. At HCL, they embrace the term, feeling that it accurately conveys the relationships they are building with their community.”...
American Libraries column, Sept.
Q. Several patrons have come in wanting to donate books and magazines to our library. Most are not appropriate for our library collection, and even our Friends cannot accept all of them to sell. Do you have any other resources we can direct them to? A. The best we can do for a “switching station” is the ALA Library fact sheet, Sending Books to Needy Libraries: Book Donation Programs. This is a list of resources for finding the various groups and organizations that accept book donations for distribution in the United States as well as to other countries....
AL: Ask the ALA Librarian, Aug. 18
Raise funds, raise awareness
Laura Bruzas writes: “If your library holds fundraisers, you may want to consider having your next one be a green fundraiser. Initially marketed to schools, churches, charities, and sport teams, there is no reason libraries can’t join the bandwagon. What differentiates a green fundraiser from a conventional one? Right off the bat, I can think of three ways.”...
AL: Green Your Library, Aug. 13
That Girl on libraries
At the 2010 ALA Annual Conference in Washington, D.C., actor Marlo Thomas (right) discusses (1:46) how libraries and teachers made her Free to Be . . . You and Me book, recording, and television specials successful, how a library card can instill pride in a child, and how to learn well....
AL Focus, Aug. 16
BCALA conference videos
At the National Conference of African American Librarians in Birmingham, Alabama, August 4–8, cookbook author Bryant Terry talked (4:10) to American Libraries about his book Vegan Soul Kitchen, soul food’s healthful roots, how libraries relate to his work, and how a librarian helped him become a vegetarian. Watch other interviews with CNN Correspondent Roland Martin (2:42) and singer Ray Charles’s son Ray Charles Robinson Jr. (2:43)....
AL Focus, Aug. 13, 16
President’s Message: In their own words
ALA President Roberta Stevens writes: “‘Our Authors, Our Advocates’ was launched at my Inaugural Banquet during Annual Conference in Washington, D.C., in June. I was deeply honored to have as my special guests four wonderful authors who spoke so eloquently. They illustrated how authors can partner with us to advocate for the essential role libraries play in this nation’s economic and educational success. Here are some excerpts from their presentations.”...
American Libraries column, Sept.
Students: Join a chapter and ALA for one low price
If you’re a library school student, join your state chapter and ALA for one low price of $35, anytime from now through August 31, 2011. To apply for joint membership, visit the website to find out if your chapter participates in the program, find the appropriate application to print out, and mail or fax it to the Chapter Relations Office....
ALA Student Membership Blog, Aug. 17
Dollar General invests in the American Dream
Through community partnerships, Wauconda (Ill.) Area Public Library developed Spanish- and English-language brochures, as well as a video (6:06) that was posted to YouTube. Housed in a brand-new doublewide trailer (right), the tiny Pinewoods branch of the Athens (Ga.) Regional Library System developed an ESL volunteer training manual; the Bentonville (Ark.) Public Library hosted a U.S. Naturalization Ceremony May 14 in which 30 adults from 14 countries took the Oath of Citizenship. These are among the dozens of projects undertaken with grants from The American Dream Starts @ your library, a literacy initiative funded by the Dollar General Literacy Foundation....
AL: Inside Scoop, Aug. 18; Office for Literacy and Outreach, Aug. 16
Featured review: Youth nonfiction
Bartoletti, Susan Campbell. They Called Themselves the K.K.K.: The Birth of an American Terrorist Group. Aug. 2010. 176p. Grades 7–12. Houghton, hardcover (978-0-618-44033-7).
Bartoletti follows multi–award-winning titles such as Hitler Youth (2005) with another standout contribution to youth history shelves. Here, she examines how the Ku Klux Klan formed and grew out of the ashes of the Civil War. An 8th-grade teacher for 18 years, Bartoletti writes in admirably clear, accessible language, deftly placing powerfully unsettling events into cultural and political context without oversimplifying. It’s the numerous first-person quotes, though, that give the book its beating heart. Like the individual stories, the powerful archival images on every page will leave an indelible impression on young readers, who will want to move on to the extensive annotated resources. This lucid, important title should be required reading for young people as well as the adults in their lives....
A history of hate
Gillian Engberg writes: “Susan Campbell Bartoletti is fascinated by history’s untold stories. Her latest book once again fills a gap in youth literature with a harrowing account of how our nation’s most notorious white supremacist organization was founded. For Bartoletti, the story began with a statue of Nathan Bedford Forrest, a Confederate general and a former slaveholder who was repeatedly asked to become the Grand Wizard of the KKK, during a trip to Tennessee. I thought, ‘What about the people whose lives he affected, the tens of thousands of people who were beaten and murdered? Where are their statues?’”...
@ Visit Booklist Online for other reviews and much more....
AASL hosts Fall Forum coffee chats
AASL held its first coffee chat session (PDF file) on August 11 designed to help school librarians learn more about the division’s Fall Forum. Other chats are scheduled for August 18 and 27. The chats are also geared to help the presenters design their sessions based on feedback from school librarians. “In Focus: The Essentials for 21st-Century Learning” will be held November 5–6 in Portland, Oregon....
AASL, Aug. 13
Readalikes for Mockingjay
As Suzanne Collins’s Hunger Games trilogy ends with the release of Mockingjay on August 24, YALSA can help parents, librarians, and educators keep the attention of teens hooked on Katniss and Peeta with a list of similarly themed teen books. Teens can find similar titles in the 2011 nominations for YALSA’s Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults booklist, particularly the What If themed list, which highlights titles featuring alternative history and worlds, steampunk, apocalyptic fiction, and cyberpunk....
YALSA, Aug. 12
YALSA responds to Time’s “Summer Vacation” article
YALSA President Kim Patton delivered a statement to Time in response to its article, “The Case Against Summer Vacation,” which appeared in the August 2 print issue. In the article, author David Von Drehle brings to light some serious concerns about student learning losses that can occur during a long summer break. But he left out libraries....
YALSA, Aug. 12
Teen Read Week mini grant winners
YALSA has announced the winners of its 10 Teen Read Week mini grants, which give each winning library $450 cash and $50 worth of official Teen Read Week products from ALA Graphics to offer inventive activities, resources, and services to celebrate Teen Read Week, October 17–23, with the theme “Books with Beat @ your library.” The 2010 Teen Read Week mini grants are funded by Team Teen Read Week....
YALSA, Aug. 12
CLA supports Spectrum Initiative
The California Library Association has announced its support of the Spectrum Presidential Initiative with a contribution of $500. CLA’s contribution will allow ALA to continue to support master’s-level Spectrum Scholarships and build the Spectrum Endowment....
Office for Diversity, Aug. 12
2010 Access to Learning Award
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation presented its 2010 Access to Learning Award of $1 million to the Veria Central Public Library in Greece for its creative use of information and technology services to meet the economic, educational, and cultural needs of more than 180,000 people. The library has emerged as a leader by offering a range of services and programs for children and adults, and helping other libraries replicate its success. Veria Library Director Ioannis Trohopoulos (above) accepted the award August 12 at the IFLA World Library and Information Congress in Sweden. Watch a slideshow (5:59) about the library....
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Aug. 12; AL: Inside Scoop, Aug. 12
OCLC Early Career Development Fellowships
OCLC, along with the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions and the American Theological Library Association, named six librarians August 12 who will participate in the Jay Jordan IFLA/OCLC Early Career Development Fellowship Program for 2011. The six are from Botswana, Nepal, the Philippines, Malawi, China, and Serbia....
OCLC, Aug. 12
2010 LIANZA Children’s Book Awards
The Library and Information Association of New Zealand Aotearoa launched the start of Library Week in Wellington August 16 with announcement of the winners of the 2010 LIANZA Children’s Book Awards. Gavin Bishop’s There was a Crooked Man (Gecko Press) was named the winner of the LIANZA Russell Clark Award, which celebrates a distinguished contribution to illustrated children’s books. Dear Alison, edited by Simon Pollard (Penguin Group NZ), won the award for nonfiction....
Scoop (N.Z.), Aug. 16
CILIP’s Bob McKee dies in Gothenburg
Bob McKee, chief executive of the U.K.’s Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals, passed away in Gothenburg, Sweden, this past weekend. He was attending the IFLA World Library and Information Congress. McKee had planned to retire at the end of October and would have been 60 on August 16. Colleagues are posting tributes on his blog....
Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals, Aug. 16
Gail Borden Public Library welcomes solo kayaker home
Elgin, Illinois, resident Will Lytle, 20, recently kayaked 2,350 miles from Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico over 54 days, June 15–August 5. He is possibly the youngest person to solo kayak the river’s entire length. The Gail Borden Public Library in Elgin sponsored his high-speed laptop card so that he could continually upload new entries to his blog, which became part of its “Be a Hero—Read” Summer Reading program where participants could count blog-reading time in their totals toward completion. The library threw a welcome-home event August 11....
Elgin (Ill.) Courier-News, Aug. 12
Meeting-room challenge in Tennessee
A Christian author filed a lawsuit August 12 against the Putnam County Public Library in Cookeville, Tennessee, after she was denied access to a meeting room for a discussion about her book. ILene Vick, who professes to be an evangelical Christian, wanted to have small-group discussions around her self-published book, Personality Based Evangelism. Vick, who is represented by the Alliance Defense Fund, says the library told her three times in 2009–2010 that library meeting rooms could not be used for religious purposes....
Christian Post, Aug. 13; Cookeville (Tenn.) Herald-Citizen, Aug. 17
Jacksonville consultants criticize reduced hours
A team of consultants unveiled its early assessment of the Jacksonville (Fla.) Public Library on August 13. The consultants, who are being paid $190,000, were critical of the board’s decision in June to reduce hours at five branches to 20 hours per week—a move that saved $434,907—because the branches were in neighborhoods that depend on libraries most. They also found fault with insufficient computers at branches in low-income areas....
Jacksonville Florida Times-Union, Aug. 13
Greensboro chooses less restrictive filters
The Greensboro (N.C.) Public Library board of trustees voted August 16 to ask the city council to consider adding software to filter inappropriate material from internet searches. The filter would be limited to computers designated for use by children, as well as for users ages 17 and younger, and for adults who want filtered searches. Councilors asked the trustees to address the issue in early August after discussing reports of “inappropriate behavior” at the Central Library....
Greensboro (N.C.) News and Record, Aug. 17
Mississippi libraries taking budget hits
Already underfunded by the state, Mississippi’s public libraries now face more bad news, this time from the local governments that typically supply their budgetary bread and butter. Counties and cities, which themselves are struggling to make ends meet, can’t afford the additional dollars libraries want to recoup the state funding losses. And in some cases, their annual allocations could be less than in years past—a further blow to an already dire situation....
Tupelo Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, Aug. 17
Canadian librarian challenges database aggregators
A bearded, 52-year-old university librarian is leading a digital revolt that is starting to go global. It began when an academic database proposed increasing the fee it charges the University of Prince Edward Island by 120%. University Librarian Mark Leggott snapped. He announced in a campus-wide letter that he had cancelled UPEI’s subscription to Web of Science and was launching “an effort to create a free and open index to the world’s scholarly literature called ‘Knowledge For All.’”...
Toronto Star, Aug. 10
Raynham Middle School library on borrowed time
The librarian position at the Raynham (Mass.) Middle School is not being funded this year. As a result, the sun-filled, modern facility will likely close for the second time in its nine-year history, and the elimination of librarian Janice Zawada’s full-time job will end a tenure under which the library flourished. Teachers say the news came as a shock, especially after voters approved a $950,000 override for the schools and the union passed on raises for the coming year....
Raynham (Mass.) Call, Aug. 13
Chinatown branch suffers water damage
Thousands of books, CDs, and DVDs in the Chinatown branch of the San Francisco Public Library were drenched after a ceiling sprinkler burst August 15. Water sopped the floors on the main level, leaked onto shelves on the floor below, and dripped down the front steps of the historic 1921 library. More than 1,000 books and in excess of 5,000 DVDs and CDs were affected....
San Francisco Examiner, Aug. 16
Olmsted County sued over law library funds
An attorney in Rochester, Minnesota, has filed suit seeking $123,000 that he says Olmsted County owes the state-funded county law library. Steve Fuller claims the county altered bills to appear as if the money was spent on the library. Fuller filed the suit in Olmsted District Court on August 10 on behalf of the law library board, seeking repayment of the debt and damages in excess of $50,000....
Rochester (Minn.) Post-Bulletin, Aug. 12
School librarian pleads not guilty to embezzlement charge
A Redding (Calif.) School District librarian accused of embezzlement and theft from a parent club and school pleaded not guilty August 16 at an arraignment. Wanell Stolz, who had been working as an information specialist for Cypress and Juniper elementary schools, was arrested August 4 and faces charges that she embezzled $13,500 worth of cash and property from Sycamore Elementary School and its Parent Faculty Club from 2004 to September 2009....
Redding (Calif.) Record-Searchlight, Aug. 16
Man lived in library for two weeks
A 26-year-old man who told police he is homeless was discovered living in the basement of the Ocean Township branch of the Monmouth County (N.J.) Library after a custodian saw him peeking out a basement window after hours. Charles Jones Jr. told police he was living there unnoticed for almost two weeks. Police also discovered Jones took several books to the basement and food items from the employee break room....
Asbury Park (N.J.) Press, Aug. 17
Library turtles relocate
For four years, the two red-eared slider turtles Overdue and Renewed have been an attraction in the Belmont (Mass.) Public Library’s children’s room, drawing visitors of all ages. The turtles arrived at the library with children’s librarian Naomi Schmidt when the library hired her four years ago. After an August 13 bon voyage party, they relocated with Schmidt and her husband, who are moving to Pennsylvania....
Boston Globe, Aug. 12
Kill A Watt meters a hit in Santa Clara County
Libraries throughout Santa Clara County, California, are loaning out new Kill A Watt EZ Meters for free to residents, which can be taken home and plugged in to any household appliance to find out exactly how much energy the appliance uses and what that costs the homeowner. The program has been a hit with the public, especially in Sunnyvale, where the meters have been checked out 64 times since July 1. The meters plug into a wall socket, and the appliance plugs directly into the meter....
San Jose (Calif.) Mercury News, Aug. 12
Russia refuses to turn over Chabad collection
The Russian Foreign Ministry said that a July 30 decision by a U.S. district court judge that Hasidic historical books and documents, known as the Schneerson collection, should be returned to the U.S.-based Chabad-Lubavitch movement is illegal. The ministry claims the collection, gathered by Lubavitch Rabbi Joseph I. Schneerson, was nationalized in 1918 because there were no legal heirs in the Schneerson family....
Interfax, Aug. 12
New Indian library to be named after Ranganathan
The public library in Sirkazhi, India, is slated to get a new building that will be named after S. R. Ranganathan, author of the well-known Five Laws of Library Science (1931), who was born in a village near the city in 1892. Ranganathan’s birthday of August 9 is observed as Librarians’ Day in all 98 of the public libraries in the surrounding district....
Press Trust of India, Aug. 12
Go back to the Top
15 things every PC user should know
Patrick Miller writes: “Think you know tech? If you don’t have a handle on every single one of these 15 tech facts, habits, and efficiency tricks, you’re not living up to your potential. For example: Don’t double-click everything, uncheck the boxes before you install an unwanted toolbar, record the exact error message, and be skeptical of ‘cleaning’ apps.”...
PC World, Aug. 16
The top 10 most dangerous things you can do online
Researchers at internet security service provider CyberDefender looked at some of the most dangerous things you can do online and explained how to protect yourself if you’re not quite ready to give up on certain things completely. Bad things include: Checking the “Keep me signed in” box on public PCs; failing to update Microsoft Windows OS, Java, Adobe Reader, or Adobe Flash; and using BitTorrent to download copyrighted software, films, or TV shows....
Gizmodo, Aug. 16
Getting started with Photoshop
Jacob Gube writes: “Adobe Photoshop, the graphics software for photographers, designers, digital artists, and casual enthusiasts, can be a baffling application to understand the first time you fire it up. Luckily, littered across the web are tutorials that will help you get up and running in no time. In this post, I’ve pieced together 12 excellent Photoshop tutorials geared toward beginners.”...
Mashable, Aug. 12
Becoming a squinter nation
Melinda Beck writes: “More people are showing up at eye appointments complaining of headaches, fatigue, blurred vision, and neck pain—all symptoms of computer-vision syndrome (CVS), which affects some 90% of the people who spend three hours or more at day at a computer. But vision prescriptions mainly focus on nearsightedness or difficulty in focusing. Since there are no standards for measuring mid-range vision, ophthalmologists and optometrists typically just cut any reading prescription they give patients in half for computer distance.”...
Wall Street Journal, Aug. 17
Voice action for Android phones
Tom Simonite writes: “I’ve just spent 15 minutes talking to myself, and if Google’s latest addition to its Android mobile operating system becomes popular, it’s a habit that will become much more common. Without a button press, you can command the phone to compose an email or text message to a contact and dictate its contents. It’s also possible to request music from an artist or album and to ask for directions or a map of a location.” Watch the video (2:38)....
Technology Review Editors’ Blog, Aug. 12; YouTube, Aug. 11
A force field for your phone
Christopher Bednarz writes: “After finally buying a smartphone, I obsessed about scratching the screen of my favorite new toy or finding it smeared with my 3-year-old’s fingerprints. If only there were some sort of protection without sacrificing clarity. Presto, the invisibleSHIELD from ZAGG. This tough-as-nails, crystal-clear cover is available for all your favorite devices, from smartphones and PDAs to laptops, tablet PCs, and digital cameras. Go ahead: Scratch it (0:32), scrape it, drop stuff on it. Your device is protected.”...
Daily Grommet, Aug. 18
Mandatory FM radio on cell phones?
Nate Anderson writes: “Music labels and radio broadcasters can’t agree on much, but they do agree that Congress should mandate that FM radio receivers be built into cell phones, PDAs, and other portable electronics. The Consumer Electronics Association, whose members build the devices that would be affected by such a directive, is incandescent with rage.”...
Ars Technica, Aug. 16
Future interfaces? Mobile, screenless, and invisible
Christopher Mims writes: “Reto Meier, an Android developer and advocate for Google, recently laid out a fairly science-fiction account of where computer (or at least mobile) interfaces are headed. In the spirit of the best futurism, all of his predictions—from Augmented Reality eyeglasses to advanced batteries—have parallels in the real world. What follows is a walk-through of the future, expressed in terms of the not-quite-ready-for-prime-time discoveries coming out of labs today.”...
Technology Review: Mims’s Bits, Aug. 17
Sensory hijack: Rewiring the brain to see with sound
Bijal Trivedi writes: “Using a device called vOICe, which translates visual images into soundscapes, the visually challenged Claire Cheskin has trained her brain to ‘see through her ears.’ When traveling, the device helps her identify points of interest; at home, she uses it to find things she has put down, like coffee cups. Some long-term users of the device eventually report complete images somewhat akin to normal sight, thanks to a long-term rewiring of their brains.” Watch the video (0:42)....
New Scientist, Aug. 17
Filtering software remains controversial
David F. Carr writes: “From a technological standpoint, one question is whether internet filtering and categorization software has improved. One newspaper quoted a library director arguing that ‘someone who has breast cancer who wants to research treatment can’t get it because the filter prevents it.’ That’s a classic argument, but it only applies to the most rudimentary keyword-based filters. Also, the extent of the pornography-on-library-computers problem is often exaggerated by excitable politicians, said ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom Deputy Director Deborah Caldwell-Stone.”...
Baseline, Aug. 14
ALA Midwinter Meeting in San Diego, California, January 7–11, 2011. The Midwinter Meeting institutes and optional events are not included with a meeting registration and usually require an additional fee. When you register for bundled (beginning September 1), advance, or regular registration you may also sign up for these events. The events may be chosen on the online or paper registration form.
Author Kathryn Miller has written the first book to focus strictly on Public Libraries Going Green. Environmental issues are now in the national consciousness, and patrons expect their library to respond as many ecofriendly corporations have. Miller offers advice on the greener side of such issues as collection development, disposal, and recycling; green equipment, technology, and facilities; and ways to get the community to pitch in. NEW! From ALA Editions.
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Director of Development, Pennsylvania State University, University Park. As the chief fundraiser for the Libraries at Penn State, the director of development will be a high-profile job within the University and requires a candidate with extraordinary experience and vision. This senior major gifts officer will report directly to the associate vice president of university development and will have a close working relationship with the dean of the Penn State Libraries. The director of development will be responsible for the oversight and management of all of the fundraising efforts and will direct the frontline fundraising staff for the libraries....
Digital Library of the Week
Windows on Maine is a pilot project to develop an online service offering streaming video programs and clips, still images, texts, and other primary and secondary digital resources via broadband and wireless connections. It features a searchable database of complete programs and video clips from Maine Public Broadcasting Network’s award-winning historical series, HOME: The Story of Maine, and its science series, Quest: Investigating Our World. Multimedia resources have also been selected from the collections of the Fogler Library and the Maine Folklife Center at the University of Maine, Northeast Historic Films, Maine State Museum, Maine State Archives, and the Maine Historical Society that portray Maine’s history and the ecology of the Gulf of Maine: forestry and lumbering, fishing and fishermen, hunting and fur trading, and shipping and ship building.
Do you know of a digital library collection that we can mention in this AL Direct feature? Tell us about it. Browse previous Digital Libraries of the Week at the I Love Libraries site.
“If television’s a babysitter, the internet’s a drunk librarian who won’t shut up.”
—Cartoonist Dorothy Gambrill, Cat and Girl strip, “Large Mediums,” Aug. 26, 2005.
“Librarians possess a synoptic view of mostly trivial and anecdotal data, interspersed with histories, accepted truths, slogans, catchphrases, clichés, and platitudes. They are good at composing bibliographies, regurgitating knowledge, and cross-referencing information. Though always fanatically biased and orthodox, they are often meticulous, conscientious, and erudite. The best of them are great and entertaining historiographers. Daniel Boorstein and Paul Johnson are prime examples of modern-day librarians, as are many popularizers of science, such as Carl Sagan.”
—Journalist, financial adviser, and healthcare consultant Sam Vaknin, “Public Intellectuals: The Rise of the Librarian and Decline of the Author,” Global Politician, Aug. 14.
Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing, Helsinki, Finland, Aug. 17–21, at:
Information Interaction in Context Symposium, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, at:
American Libraries news stories, videos, tweets, and blog posts at:
Media Law in the Digital Age, Center for Sustainable Journalism, Kennesaw State University, Kennesaw, Georgia. “The Rules Have Changed—Have You?” Cosponsored by Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society.
Open Video Conference, Fashion Institute of Technology, New York City. Sponsored by Open Video Alliance.
PodCamp Philly 2010, Unconference, Temple University, Philadelphia.
CrowdConf, St. Regis Hotel, San Francisco. First annual conference on the future of distributed work.
HighEdWeb Conference, Hilton Netherland Plaza, Cincinnati. Also known as the National Conference for Higher Education Web Professionals.
BlogWorld and New Media Expo 2010, Mandalay Bay Convention Center, Las Vegas, Nevada.
National Friends of Libraries Week.
American Society for Information Science and Technology, Annual Conference, Pittsburgh (Pa.) Hilton. “Navigating Streams in an Information Ecosystem.”
2010 Library Assessment Conference, Renaissance Harborplace Hotel, Baltimore. Cosponsored by Association of Research Libraries, University of Virginia Library, and University of Washington Libraries. “Building Effective, Sustainable, Practical Assessment.”
SPARC Digital Repositories Meeting, Renaissance Harborplace Hotel, Baltimore.
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Struggling with e-books
Rich Adin writes: “Don’t get me wrong—I love my Sony 505 and read on it every day for at least a couple of hours. But what I read on it are novels, fiction that goes in one brain cell and out the other, rarely making a lasting impression. Yet I keep trying to read nonfiction biography and history in e-book form and I inevitably stop and return to the print version. I have been trying to analyze why and have yet to come up with a satisfactory answer.”...
TeleRead: Bring the E-Books Home, Aug. 17
Collectible motor car books
Richard Davies writes: “Remember Studebakers, the Model T, the ill-fated Edsel? Automobile design and technology have evolved over the last century, leaving behind legions of ardent fans who lovingly restore and show their vintage vehicles with pride, often collecting any related memorabilia. We’ve found 25 of the most beautiful pieces about classic cars available on AbeBooks.”...
Reading Copy Book Blog, Aug. 17
Comics to film: Who boosts whom?
Robin Brenner writes: “The just-wrapped San Diego Comic-Con was awash in new announcements for films based on comics, demonstrating once again the power of geek fandom as well as the ease with which Hollywood gobbles up potential source material. But how much good does media exposure, via films or TV, do for a comic book series or graphic novel? Librarians need to know which titles are worth our investment.”...
EarlyWord: The Publisher | Librarian Connection, Aug. 12
A Bookfuturist Manifesto
Tim Carmody writes: “A futurist (in Filippo Tommaso Marinetti’s original 1909 sense) wants to burn down libraries. A bookfuturist wants to put video games in them. A bookfuturist, in other words, isn’t someone who purely embraces the new and consigns the old to the rubbish heap. She’s always looking for things that blend her appreciation of the two. The bookfuturist is profoundly different from the two people he might otherwise easily be mistaken for at first glance—the technofuturist and the bookservative.”...
The Atlantic, Aug. 11
A year of reading weirdly
Richard Davies writes: “Happy birthday to weirdness in literature. AbeBooks’ Weird Book Room is a year old. We thought it would raise a smile or two but you actually bought the books and lots of them. Did you purchase Cheese Rolling in Gloucestershire, Natural Bust Enlargement with Total Mind Power, the International Book of Beer Can Collecting, or the Dictionary of Pipe Organ Stops? There are more than 150 odd but strangely addictive books in there, many suggested by you.”...
Reading Copy Book Blog, Aug. 17
The web is dead; long live the internet
Two decades after its birth, the World Wide Web is in decline, as simpler, sleeker services—think apps—are less about the searching and more about the getting. Chris Anderson explains how this new paradigm reflects the inevitable course of capitalism. And Michael Wolff explains why the new breed of media titan is forsaking the web for more promising (and profitable) pastures. But Rob Beschizza questions the article’s info-chart (above)....
Wired, Aug. 17; BoingBoing. Aug. 17
IFLA World Report 2010
For the first time, the IFLA World Report (formerly the printed IFLA/FAIFE World Report) is being made available online in a fully searchable database, complete with graphical map interface. The new report, which has been developed by a team at the University of Pretoria led by Theo Bothma, contains details of freedom of access to information, freedom of expression, and censorship in 122 countries. Access is provided by country or by topic....
International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions
Compare your country
Keir Clarke writes: “Recently there has been a spate of Google Maps that allow you to compare places you know with other countries, buildings, or objects. Ifitweremyhome.com has a great comparison tool that allows you to place an overlay in the shape of one country over another. BBC Dimensions takes a larger number of places—the Twin Towers, Burning Man, the moon, the Battle of Stalingrad—and overlays them on a map of where you are.”...
Google Maps Mania, Aug. 17
Our niche and how to get back into it
Rory Litwin writes: “More and more, I find that the library profession’s efforts to stay relevant in the age of information technology are in fact eroding our relevance. As a result of these efforts, it is becoming less and less clear what we offer that is different from what everybody else offers in the information economy. What we can claim is librarianship, yet most people—not only outside but within the profession—have forgotten what that consists of other than ‘books.’”...
Library Juice, Aug. 18
11 great movies starring librarians
While writers might seem more glamorous, librarians are the quiet heroes of the literary world. They stand up against censorship, they uncover ancient mysteries, they laugh in the face of computerization, and they stop the corporate world dead in its tracks. From Katharine Hepburn to Rachel Weisz, Huffington Post editors have rounded up films that give librarians the center stage....
Huffington Post, Aug. 16
Q. By any chance, can ALA tell me anything about Storm Center (1956) starring Bette Davis? I’m hoping to add it to my list of requested films. A. I also first found out about Storm Center in an article in an issue of the precursor to American Libraries, the ALA Bulletin. The July/August 1956 issue had a two-page article (above) that featured still photographs from the film. The character played by Bette Davis was based on Ruth Brown, librarian of the Bartlesville (Okla.) Public Library, who was fired in 1950 on suspicion of being a Communist....
AL: Ask the ALA Librarian, Aug. 18
School librarians and educational technology
The International Society for Technology in Education’s Media Specialists Special Interest Group has released an important advocacy statement: The Role of School Librarians in Promoting the Use of Educational Technologies (PDF file). The document can be used to provide information on the important role that school librarians play in promoting the use of educational technologies in their schools and the need for libraries to have adequate available technologies....
International Society for Technology in Education SIGMS, Aug. 16
Atlas of printing techniques
The Image Permanence Institute has created an online Graphics Atlas that offers sophisticated print identification and exploration tools to archivists, curators, historians, collectors, conservators, educators, and the general public. The site has three sections: a guided tour of various printing techniques; a tool that compares each and provides variable light sources, edge views, magnified images, and front and back comparisons; and step-by-step instructions to identify specific processes....
Image Permanence Institute
A night-club map of the Harlem Renaissance
Frank Jacobs writes: “This ‘Night-Club Map of Harlem’ documents the fun to be had in the cultural capital of black America, circa 1932. At that time, this vibrant community on the northern tip of Manhattan was experiencing a flowering of African-American literature, theatre, and jazz. This map is focused on the area of Harlem just north of Central Park, where much of that flowering took place. It is bounded by 110th Street and concentrates on Lenox Avenue and Seventh Avenue (‘or heaven’).”...
Strange Maps, Aug. 16
Every day is a holiday somewhere
Richard Byrne writes: “Earth Calendar is a small demonstration of cultures and traditions from around the world. It has three simple search options: holidays by date, holidays by country, or holidays by religion. I used the holidays by country option to find out that May 1 is Labor Day in Macedonia. Earth Calendar is a simple-to-use resource for students to use to get a little flavor of cultures and traditions from around the world.”...
Free Technology for Teachers, Aug. 17
Twitter search engines
David Lee King writes: “Tweets pretty much disappear after about a week and a half. Technically the tweets are still there—they’re just not found by most search engines, Twitter’s included. I did some furious searching for some tweets from 22 days ago, and actually found a few. Here’s a list of Twitter search engines and what they found.”...
David Lee King, Aug. 17
Five tips for dealing with complaints on Twitter
Megan Berry writes: “Every business, blogger, and the rest of us on social media have experienced it: Someone just called you out on Twitter or in a blog. It’s all too easy to get frustrated and respond with something that will just make the situation worse or to take it personally and get upset. While there is no magic formula for dealing with complaints in social media, I do have a few tips that have helped me.”...
Mashable, Aug. 13
What is Congress sending the President?
Andrew Weber writes: “Want to know what Congress has just passed and sent down Pennsylvania Avenue? You can keep track through THOMAS. There is a Bills Presented to the President RSS feed and email alert listing bills that have passed both the House of Representatives and Senate and have been sent to the White House for the President’s decision on whether or not to sign the legislation.”...
In Custodia Legis, Aug. 13
Beloit Mindset List for the Class of 2014
Born in 1992 when Ross Perot was warning about a giant sucking sound and Bill Clinton was apologizing for pain in his marriage, members of this fall’s entering college class of 2014 have emerged as a post-email generation for whom the digital world is routine and technology is just too slow. For these students, Benny Hill, Sam Kinison, Sam Walton, Bert Parks, and Tony Perkins have always been dead. Each August since 1998, Beloit College has released this list as a reminder that a generation comes and goes in the blink of our eyes....
Librarians spur new ideas
Linda W. Braun writes: “Over the past couple of weeks I’ve had a couple of conversations that got my brain going about ways to integrate some new, and newish, technologies into teen library services. I started to think about the skills librarians need to successfully evaluate apps of interest to teens. These evaluation skills have to include consideration of what teens look for in apps, what teens don’t see in apps but would like to see, and how teens are, or might, use apps for informational and recreational purposes.”...
YALSA Blog, Aug. 18
A new quick-reference tool powered by robots
Josh Lowensohn writes: “Swingly is a machine-generated answer engine that contains somewhere around 100 billion to 150 billion question-and-answer pairs. Users can search for answers to their questions, not from existing user-answered questions as found on places like Facebook or Yahoo Answers, but from sites where the answers can be extracted. That includes news stories and blog posts, as well as the comments that come with them.”...
CNET News: Web Crawler, Aug. 16
Advice for beginning genealogists
Greta Koehl writes: “Treat genealogy as a quest for information, not as a collectors’ hobby. You are a detective-researcher, not someone who collects ancestors only to get bored with them and let them collect dust on a shelf. If you dig for that information to learn who your ancestors really were, there will always be mysteries that won’t let you abandon the quest. You will learn so much about history, culture, sociology, demographics, and many other subjects. It’s like getting another degree, only more fun and you have control of the curriculum.”...
Greta’s Genealogy Blog, Aug. 10
Patron constructive criticism contest
Brian Herzog writes: “The words we use with a problem patron or when we must correct a patron for violating a policy can go a long way to either help defuse or inflame the situation. Is it better to give a patron a neutral third-party ‘they’ or anonymous ‘someone’ to focus their displeasure upon, or to dissipate the anger by working on a solution rather than assigning blame? I posted this as a question on Unshelved Answers, and whichever answer gets the most votes will win a prize.”...
Swiss Army Librarian, Aug. 12
Museum people scramble to keep up with librarians
Lauren Silberman writes: “I’m annoyed with librarians. It’s not that librarians have done anything wrong. In fact, the reason that I’m annoyed is because of what they’re doing right. Librarians have gone viral. So, it leaves me wondering, ‘Where are the museums?’ You have to help us museum lovers out. So I challenge you—no matter your museum specialty or work expertise—to help me show up those trendy librarians.”...
Center for the Future of Museums, Aug. 13
Educational video: An animated history of Poland
R. J. Evans writes: “The Polish Pavilion at Expo 2010 in Shanghai this summer quickly drew crowds to see this amazing eight-minute animation of the entire history of Poland. This video (8:28) traces Poland’s history from feudal times to the present day. You will see the world wars, the partition of the country, Chopin, the rise and fall of Communism, Solidarity, and much more. This is quite simply one of the most astounding pieces of animation I have ever seen.” Supplement the video with Wikipedia’s History of Poland....
Kuriositas, Aug. 16
If not, ask why
The Michigan Association for Media in Education created its first Public Service Announcement (0:30) to raise awareness among parents and school administrators of the need
for certified school librarians in public schools. Joe Staley (right) of the San
Francisco 49ers, the son of a Michigan school librarian and MAME member (Jan
Staley, Jenison Public Schools elementary library media specialist), is the
Michigan Association for Media in Education, Aug. 16
When I become a librarian
Inspired by Marco Torres’s 2001 Teacher Movie (itself a parody of the Monster.com Super Bowl commercial), this video (2:27) was created by different-thinking librarians in Mid-Del Public Schools in Midwest City, Oklahoma, on August 9, in about two hours during a workshop on “Teaching 21st-Century Skills in School Libraries” led by Wesley Fryer. They used iEtherpad.com to collaboratively brainstorm and script it, shot the clips using an iPhone 3GS, edited it in iMovie ’09, and published it to YouTube using a Macbook Pro laptop....
YouTube, Aug. 9; Moving at the Speed of Creativity, Aug. 9
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