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American Libraries Direct
The e-newsletter of the American Library Association | July 28, 2010

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American Libraries Online

Cover of Revolutionary VoicesGay-anthology ban engulfs Burlington County
Some six months after Burlington County, New Jersey, resident Beverly Martinelli appeared before the Rancocas Valley Regional High School Board of Education seeking the removal of Revolutionary Voices: A Multicultural Queer Youth Anthology from the school library collection, a Freedom of Information Act request has revealed that the Burlington County (N.J.) Library System has removed the book at Martinelli’s informal request—and indeed may have done so several weeks before the school board’s May 4 vote to ban the book from the district....
American Libraries news, July 28

QR code on display at Lincoln City (Nebr.) Libraries. CC by NC. Photo by Michael SauersIn Practice: Guided by barcodes
Meredith Farkas writes: “Whenever I’ve created an instructional handout for students, I’ve struggled with what to include. I include the URL to a web page with more content, but URLs are often long and I wonder if students will take the time to enter a long URL into their browsers. Imagine if students could simply scan a barcode at the bottom of your handout with their cell phone and be taken to a website or tutorial you’d created. This sort of seamless access is now possible with QR codes.”....
American Libraries column, Aug.

Graphic for 2007 production of Much Ado About Nothing by the Shakespeare on the Cape companyWill’s World: Surveying my sex appeal
Will Manley writes: “On a cheery morning in late April 1992, I had a flight of whimsy. I woke up to the sounds of birds chirping outside and thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be fun to do a tongue-in-cheek survey on the subject of librarians and sex for my monthly column in the Wilson Library Bulletin?’ I can’t think of a column that I’ve had more fun doing. Among the questions: ‘What Shakespearean title best describes your first sexual experience?’”...
American Libraries column, Aug.

Senior and junior Unquiet Library regularsNext Steps: Unquiet Library has high-schoolers geeked
Brian Mathews writes: “Welcome to the Creekview High School Media Center in Canton, Georgia, or as it is commonly known around the halls, The Unquiet Library. The school opened its doors in 2006 and its library services were conceived during the Web 2.0 boom. This is evident in its design as a highly participatory learning environment embedded with interaction and technology from the beginning....
American Libraries column, Aug.

Graphic of Keep This Planet Green messageReview, remove, replace, reveal
Laura Bruzas writes: “Like homes and offices across America, libraries need to be cleaned on a regular basis. But keeping toxins out of the cleaning process can be a bit challenging—unless one knows the basics. I’ve outlined a simple, four-step approach that your library might want to implement to ensure it is exhibiting conscious green behavior in this area.”...
AL: Green Your Library, July 23

Public Library Funding and Technology Access webinar
Sponsored by American Libraries, the July 26 Office for Research and Statistics webinar offered an hour-long look at the 2009–2010 Public Library Funding and Technology Access Study, published in the Spring 2010 AL digital supplement. Available for free, the archived webinar can help librarians use these statistics to support local funding and advocacy initiatives....
AL: Inside Scoop, July 27

Cartoon people sporting the National Library Symbol, from the cover of the September 1982 American LibrariesThe National Library Symbol
Q. I’ve seen the web page about the National Library Symbol, but you only have a small jpeg file there. Do you have any large, high-resolution images? A. Yes, we do now! ALA Publishing Technology created a large, high-resolution version of the National Library Symbol, in a couple of file types, including EPS, which can be freely downloaded from that same page....
AL: Ask the ALA Librarian, July 28

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ALA News

ALA President Roberta StevensAuthors as advocates
ALA got a brand-new president June 29, when Roberta Stevens of the Library of Congress entered the ballroom at the Renaissance hotel in Washington, D.C., dancing to the tune of “Celebration,” along with the incoming presidents of the 11 ALA divisions and four of her favorite authors: Marie Arana, Brad Meltzer, Sharon Draper, and Carmen Agra Deedy. Stevens promptly turned over the mike to the authors, as the launch of her “Our Authors, Our Advocates” presidential initiative....
American Libraries feature

Watching the World Cup at ALA Annual Conference. From the video wrap-upAnnual Conference wrap-up
Nearly 20,000 conference attendees participated in more than 2,400 sessions and meetings during the ALA Annual Conference in Washington, D.C., June 24–29. Securing the future of libraries through advocacy was a central theme this year as librarians focused on ways to get their messages across. Watch the video wrap-up (3:46), and don’t forget the Cognotes highlights issue....
American Libraries feature; AL Focus, July 27; AL: Inside Scoop, July 28

Wits & Wagers Family gameNational Gaming Day registration is open
Libraries can now register for National Gaming Day 2010, which will take place on November 13. This year, North Star Games is donating a free copy of Wits & Wagers Family to the first 1,000 U.S. libraries that register. This new version removes the betting chips and includes questions that can be used in any library or school. National Gaming Day is an ALA initiative to connect communities around the educational, recreational, and social value of all types of games....
National Gaming Day @ your library

Charles Ogletree. Screen shot from videoHonorary Spectrum Cochair Charles Ogletree
Harvard Law Professor and Honorary Spectrum Presidential Initiative Cochair Charles Ogletree talks (9:02) to American Libraries Associate Editor Pamela A. Goodes about the importance of diversity in libraries, the role of libraries in his life, and what he’d like to say to former students Barack and Michelle Obama....
AL Focus, July 22

ALA replies to FCC’s proposed e-rate rule
ALA submitted reply comments (PDF file) July 26 to the Federal Communications Commission on its recent E-rate Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. The comments focus on the agency’s proposal to add leased dark fiber to the Eligible Services List and request the FCC to clarify a number of issues to ensure that applicants can make informed decisions....
District Dispatch, July 27

Step Up to the Plate graphicHas your library stepped up to the plate?
The Campaign for America’s Libraries is looking for stories showing how libraries are promoting the fifth season of Step Up to the Plate @ your library. From now until August 17, libraries are encouraged to submit stories, photos, and videos of their activities. Send an email for possible posting to the website. Materials can include footage and photos from events, examples of signage, Step Up to the Plate public service announcements, clips from local media or scans of publicity materials....
Campaign for America’s Libraries, July 27

2010 ALA Student Chapters survey
Don Wood writes: “The 2010 ALA Student Chapters Survey is now online. By completing this 20-minute survey, you will provide us with invaluable information that will result in a better ALA student chapter experience for you and for future student chapter members. Please help publicize this survey widely to student chapter members, elected officers, and faculty advisers.”...
ALA Student Membership Blog, July 28

Elizabeth Gilbert, from the interviewElizabeth Gilbert and John Grisham love libraries
Elizabeth Gilbert (right), author of the bestselling Eat, Pray, Love, talks about her experiences with librarians—and her love of libraries—in this video (2:36). John Grisham, author of The Pelican Brief and The Firm, also talked (3:10) about libraries prior to his presentation at the 2010 ALA Annual Conference in Washington, D.C....
Visibility @ your library, July 22, 27

TechSource workshops graphicWorkshop: Building the Digital Branch
Join David Lee King for a 90-minute online workshop on how to build an effective, user-friendly website that will expand and enhance your library’s presence in its community. King is the digital branch and services manager at the Topeka and Shawnee County (Kans.) Public Library, where he plans for, implements, and experiments with emerging technology trends. Sponsored by ALA TechSource, the workshop will be held August 3 at 2:30 p.m. Eastern time. Sign up here....
ALA TechSource

Booklist Online logo

Cover of Bury Your DeadFeatured review: Crime fiction
Penny, Louise. Bury Your Dead. October 2010. 384p. Minotaur, hardcover (978-0-312-37704-5).
Penny’s first five crime novels in her Armand Gamache series have all been outstanding, but her latest is the best yet, a true tour de force of storytelling. When crime writers attempt to combine two fully fleshed plots into one book, the hull tends to get a bit leaky; Penny, on the other hand, constructs an absolutely airtight ship in which she manages to float not two but three freestanding but subtly intertwined stories. Front and center are the travails of Gamache, chief inspector of the Sûreté du Quebec, who is visiting an old friend in Quebec City and hoping to recover from a case gone wrong. Soon, however, he is involved with a new case: the murder of an archaeologist who was devoted to finding the missing remains of Samuel de Champlain, founder of Quebec....

At Leisure graphicThe hyphenate: Our newest fiction genre
Joyce Saricks writes: “Recently, one of the members of RUSA’s Reading List committee suggested that perhaps we need an award for the best hyphenated genre. The suggestion was offered facetiously—we were discussing into what genre we might slot a title in order to consider it for the list—but librarians face this issue every day as we decide where to catalog, sticker, or shelve these intriguing and often very popular genre blends. Of course, genres have never been static. Michael Chabon, a wonderful storyteller who consistently and elegantly blends elements from several genres in his novels, alludes to this process in “Trickster in a Suit of Lights: Thoughts on the Modern Short Story,” the opening essay in his collection Maps and Legends. He argues that the best writers play with rules and conventions, and that’s how genres change, grow, and stay fresh. He’s right, of course, and the playfulness he and other authors display creates the novels that delight and haunt us as readers and readers’ advisors. There’s no denying that these genre hyphenates are a boon for readers, but these titles are also great for readers’ advisors—if we can get beyond the shelving issues....

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

Division News

Registration open for two RUSA online courses
Registration is now open for the fall 2010 offerings of Business Reference 101 and The Reference Interview, two popular classes offered by RUSA. All courses will be administered using Moodle, an online course management tool. Online registration is now open for all of these opportunities, with significant cost savings for RUSA members....
RUSA, July 27

Register for ALCTS web courses
Register now for the popular Fundamentals web courses, beginning in August, offered by ALCTS. Included are the Fundamentals of Acquisitions course, the Fundamentals of Collection Development and Management, the Fundamentals of Electronic Resources Acquisitions, and the newest course, the Fundamentals of Preservation....
ALCTS, July 28

Submissions sought for ASCLA newsletter
August 2 is the submission deadline for the Summer 2010 issue of Interface, ASCLA’s quarterly newsletter. Potential contributors are encouraged to submit their articles promptly to the ASCLA office. The issue theme is service to special populations....
ASCLA, July 27

Think big ($500) about advocacy
YALSA members who have hosted a successful advocacy program, activity, or event can enter the division’s Thinking Big about Advocacy Contest and win up to $500 for advocating for their young adult or school library program. The contest is part of Kim Patton’s 2010–2011 presidential theme, “Think Big.” Applications (Word file) are due February 1....
YALSA, July 23

Bambi Mansfield and YA readers at the Crawford County (Mich.) Library System get ready for the WrestleMania XXVII Reading Challenge. Photo courtesy of WWEMichigan librarian loves WrestleMania Reading Challenge
Bambi Mansfield (right, flexing), director of the Crawford County (Mich.) Library, writes: “A young girl emailed me a few weeks ago and asked if I would consider the WrestleMania XXVII Reading Challenge for 2010. I must admit, I was reluctant to get involved. But because of the overwhelmingly positive community reaction, we are taking this challenge further than we had originally intended. And guess who is the most inspired and excited? Me, the reluctant librarian! Registration closes July 31....
Over the Ropes, July 8; YALSA

Help YALSA whip up a sweet fundraiser
Pam Spencer Holley writes: “Cookbook author and librarian Amy Alessio has volunteered to compile a cookbook of dessert recipes for the Not So Silent Auction, to be held at the 2011 ALA Midwinter Meeting in San Diego. Perhaps if it’s a big seller, we can print more copies, but until then, if you’re the lucky bidder, you’ll have a great dessert cookbook, which can include everything from cookies, cupcakes, cakes, and pies to tortes and puddings. If it’s sweet, it’s a dessert. Each submitter will be cited in the cookbook for his/her recipe. Use this template (Word file) by September 30.”...
YALSA Blog, July 12


Five Friends groups win Baker & Taylor Awards
Five Friends of the Library groups received ALTAFF Baker & Taylor Awards at ALA Annual Conference in Washington, D.C. The winners are Friends groups of the Johnson County (Kans.) Library, the Seattle Public Library, the Nederland (Colo.) Community Library, the Castro Valley (Calif.) Library, and the Fitchburg (Wis.) Library. Each group received a $1,000 check and a plaque to honor their achievements....
ALTAFF, July 22

Serving on the Printz committee
Melissa Rabey writes: “When I was elected to the 2011 Michael L. Printz Award Committee, I was excited and nervous. I was excited to have such a great opportunity, to help recognize the book that made the highest contribution to young adult literature. But I was nervous because, wow, that’s a big responsibility, picking the best book of the year. Yet I’ve been surprised at what serving on the Printz Committee is actually like. So here are some things to know, if you ever consider standing for election to the Printz Committee.”...
YALSA Blog, July 22

Ohio Library Foundation supports Spectrum
The Ohio Library Foundation, on behalf of all types of libraries in Ohio—public, school, and academic—has announced its support of the Spectrum Presidential Initiative with a contribution of $1,500. The contribution will allow ALA to continue to support master’s level Spectrum Scholarships and build the Spectrum Endowment....
Office for Diversity, July 27

Ashley Bryan. Photo by Sue Hill of Winters Work GiftAshley Bryan wins Regina Medal
Children’s author Ashley Bryan has been named the 2010 winner of the Regina Medal, awarded by the Catholic Library Association’s Children’s Library Services Section for a continued, distinguished contribution to children’s literature. Bryan has also won three Coretta Scott King Awards (most recently for Let it Shine in 2008) and the Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal from ALA....
Catholic Library Association, July 21

Paul ClarkClay County staffer wins advocacy award
The Clay County (Fla.) Public Library’s newly hired information technology specialist has received the Florida Association of Counties 2010 Advocate of the Year award. Paul Clark joined the library in July after serving as systems librarian for Wilderness Coast Public Libraries. He earned the recognition by going to Tallahassee, meeting with legislators, and spreading the word about the importance of libraries, especially in rural communities....
Jacksonville Florida Times-Union, July 27

Seed-Lending Library at Richmond PLRichmond’s seed-lending library wins recognition (PDF file)
The Richmond (Calif.) Public Library was selected in mid-July by the East Bay Express as having the best Seed-Lending Library. A project of the Richmond Rivets in collaboration with the RPL, the Richmond Grows Seed-Lending Library opened May 5 and allows the public to borrow seeds for free, hoping that borrowers will return seeds back to the library after harvest....
Richmond (Calif.) Public Library, July 15

Cover of A Drifting Life2010 Eisner Awards
The winners of the 2010 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards were announced July 23 at Comic-Con International in San Diego, California. A Drifting Life by Yoshihiro Tatsumi (Drawn and Quarterly) and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by Eric Shanower and Skottie Young (Marvel) were among the titles winning multiple honors. Scott Pilgrim vs. the Universe by Bryan Lee O’Malley (Oni Press) won in the category of Best Humor Publication....
Comic-Con International, July 24

Cover of Mr. StinkThe People’s Book Prize
The winners of the People’s Book Prize were announced July 21 in London. The prize is a new national literary competition in Britain aimed at discovering talented authors. Winners are voted for exclusively by the public. A Kind of Vanishing by Lesley Thomson was announced as the winner in the Fiction category, and Mr. Stink by David Walliams took the Children’s Award....
People’s Book Prize

Cover of A Simple Act of ViolenceTheakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year
After winning four literary awards in France and one in the U.S., British author R. J. Ellory has finally been rewarded in his own country, taking one of the U.K.’s top crime-writing prizes July 22—the £3,000 ($4,670 U.S.) Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year award—for his novel A Simple Act of Violence. He also wins a handmade Theakstons Old Peculier beer barrel....
The Guardian (U.K.), July 23

LC Talking-Book Program receives APEX award
The 20-page booklet published in 2009, Talking Rooms: Walking Through History at the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped Headquarters, has received an APEX 2010 Award of Excellence in the One-of-a-Kind Government Publication category. The publication highlights the program’s development from the use of phonographs to digital talking-book players. This is the fourth APEX Award that NLS has received since 2006....
Library of Congress, July 21

Museum Computer Network logoMuseum Computer Network conference grants
First-time attendees of the Museum Computer Network conference this October 27–30 in Austin, Texas, are invited to apply for one of nine grants that will cover free conference registration and hotel stay, as well as a $50 stipend for additional expenses. Applicants must have less than two years’ experience in the field and work for an institution with less than 20 full-time staff....
Musuem Computer Network

Seen Online

Smartphone unlockedLibrarian of Congress broadens DMCA exemptions
Librarian of Congress James H. Billington issued a statement July 26 that broadens the exemption for creating film-clip compilations for educational use to all college and university faculty, regardless of academic discipline. The exemption was granted as part of a statutorily prescribed rulemaking process, conducted every three years to mitigate the dangers the Digital Millennium Copyright Act poses to noninfringing uses of copyrighted materials. Billington’s ruling also permits reading e-books aloud to visually impaired persons and installing on smartphones legal but nonapproved software or programs that enable use on alternate networks (“jailbreaking”)....
District Dispatch, July 27; Library of Congress, July 26; Electronic Frontier Foundation, July 26; CrunchGear, July 26

Musuems, Libraries, and Archives logoU.K. moves to abolish library policy bodies
The United Kingdom’s Advisory Council on Libraries (ACL) and the Museums, Libraries, and Archives Council (MLA) would be abolished under new proposals put forward July 26 by Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt in order to cut the number of public bodies the government funds. The two organizations have roughly the same function as the Institute of Museum and Library Services in the United States. Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals Chief Executive Bob McKee said the move “simply dismantles the existing leadership framework and puts nothing in its place.”...
The Guardian (U.K.), July 26; CILIP, July 27

National League of Cities logoCities, counties face 481,000 job cuts
Nearly half-a-million city and county government jobs could be eliminated nationwide in the next two years because of budget shortfalls, according to a new study (PDF file), which notes that the cuts would further worsen high unemployment numbers. The cuts will affect “not only parks, libraries, and public works projects, but also public safety, police, and fire services,” said Ron Loveridge, mayor of Riverside, California, and president of the National League of Cities, which issued the report jointly with the National Association of Counties and the U.S. Conference of Mayors....
Las Vegas (Nev.) Review-Journal, July 27

Feds to create Online Learning Registry
In a move to help rural schools keep pace with more developed districts, the U.S. Department of Education said it will create an Online Learning Registry that will provide access to historical, artistic, and scientific primary source materials. Education Secretary Arne Duncan made the announcement July 21 at the National Rural Education Technology Summit held at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C....
eSchool News, July 22

FTC considers do-not-track list
The Federal Trade Commission is considering a do-not-track mechanism that would allow consumers to easily opt out of all behavioral targeting, FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz told lawmakers July 27. Testifying at a hearing about online privacy, Leibowitz said the FTC is exploring the feasibility of a browser plug-in that would store users’ targeting preferences. Either the FTC or a private group could run the system. Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) said he plans to introduce an online privacy bill that would create standards for how consumer information is collected and used for marketing....
Online Media Daily, July 28; Washington Post, July 28

Senators move to block FCC on net neutrality
Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) and six other Republican senators introduced legislation (PDF file) that would dramatically limit the Federal Communications Commission’s ability to regulate broadband providers. The new bill—called the Freedom for Consumer Choice Act—doesn’t eliminate the FCC’s power over broadband providers, but that power would be narrowed in scope....
CNET News: Politics and Law, July 21

Rescued kitten Hemingway. Photo courtesy of La Mott Community CenterThe tale of an abandoned kitten
Following in the paw prints of Dewey, the world-famous Spencer (Iowa) Public Library cat, a male brown tabby thought to be no more than seven weeks old was discovered at the Cheltenham Township (Pa.) Library System’s La Mott branch July 23 by a maintenance man who heard mewing from the library drop box. Named Hemingway by Conshohocken animal-shelter workers, the kitten is slowly recovering from multiple ailments, among them the overnight ordeal in the box, where the temperature may have reached more than 90 degrees....
Philadelphia Inquirer, July 27; WCAU-TV, Philadelphia, July 23

Google touts encrypted search fix
Responding to concerns from education technology officials, internet search giant Google has moved its encrypted search feature to a new domain name. The move is intended to let schools block Google’s encrypted search feature without having to block the company’s other services, too—but some ed-tech officials say it’s not a viable solution to the problem....
eSchool News, July 26

Jim WoodwardGroup to study Charlotte library’s future
A potential merger of the Charlotte Mecklenburg (N.C.) Library with county government is among the ideas to be considered by a task force that has been given $75,000 to cover its expenses by the Community Catalyst Fund. The Future of the Library Task Force will spend six months studying every aspect of the cash-strapped system to come up with ways it can be more efficiently paid for, governed, and operated. The task force is headed by former University of North Carolina at Charlotte Chancellor Jim Woodward (right), and will hold its first meeting October 10....
Charlotte (N.C.) Observer, July 27

Prison books bring plot twist to Cheshire killings
As the trial approaches for one of the men charged in the triple-homicide home invasion in Cheshire, Connecticut, in 2007, the defense team has suggested that prison librarians might have lent to Steven J. Hayes books that provided a blueprint for the crime. The titles have not been made public. Some people hypothesize that Hayes had access to lurid crime novels. Others have said they may have included Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo or Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood. Now State Sen. John Kessel (R-Enfield) wants some answers about prison library policy....
New York Times, July 21; NBC Connecticut, July 22

Damaged books from Wadena school libraryMinnesota school seeks help for tornado-hit library
The Wadena–Deer Creek (Minn.) High School got hit hard during the June 17 tornadoes. Not only did the building suffer damage from winds, but the sprinklers also went off and soaked the library. Now the district is asking for donations to replenish the shelves. The district has teamed with an online donation site to help raise cash to buy new materials for the library....
Minnesota Public Radio, July 27

Santa Clarita bids for L.A. County branches
Santa Clarita’s proposal to take over three branches of the County of Los Angeles Public Library could cost much more than city officials think and wouldn’t guarantee better libraries for residents, County Librarian Margaret Donnellan Todd said July 20. The Santa Clarita city council will consider taking over Valencia, Canyon Country, and the new Newhall branches, currently run by the county, during a meeting and public hearing August 24....
Santa Clarita Valley (Calif.) Signal, July 20

Books in Ottawa Public Library's vending kioskOttawa library offers books by vending machine
Two new kiosks in the foyer of the Hunt Club–Riverside Community Centre in Ottawa are the first of their kind in Canada. They work like regular vending machines, except that users swipe their Ottawa Public Library cards to borrow a library book or DVD. The selections are chosen by library staff from the most popular titles. Some 1,700 items have been checked out since the program began in April....
Ottawa (Ont.) Citizen, July 25

Public libraries must be public
Colleen Foster writes: “The county board of supervisors recently released a Request for Proposals from private companies to manage operations of the Stockton–San Joaquin County (Calif.) Public Library. The goal of a public library is to improve quality of life by advancing literacy and a lifelong love of learning, while the goal of a private company is to create profit for its owners or shareholders. In my opinion, these goals are fundamentally incompatible.”...
Stockton (Calif.) Record, July 24

The web means the end of forgetting
Jeffrey Rosen writes: “It’s often said that we live in a permissive era, one with infinite second chances. But the truth is that for a great many people, the permanent memory bank of the web increasingly means there are no second chances—no opportunities to escape a scarlet letter in your digital past. Now the worst thing you’ve done is often the first thing everyone knows about you. All this has created something of a collective identity crisis.” As a follow-up, the New York Times ran a Q&A series on internet privacy in two parts....
New York Times Magazine, July 25; New York Times: Bits, July 26–27

Queens Library union votes down benefit cuts
Members of the union representing Queens Library workers have overwhelmingly rejected a plan to cut their benefits to save the jobs of 46 fellow employees facing layoffs in August. At a July 20 meeting, the Queens Library Guild voted 297–50 against a package of concessions proposed by the library administration. Officials said the layoffs are necessary to close a $2.4-million budget gap....
New York Daily News, July 22

Burglar caught on library's security camera. Screen shot from news videoThieves hitting libraries for small change
Police have two men in custody after they tried to steal the change machine from the Old Hickory branch of the Nashville Public Library on July 21. Police estimate the change machine was holding about $50. Police said robberies at libraries are not uncommon. In the past six months, there have been additional break-ins at the Hadley Park and North branches. Watch the news video (1:54)....
WSMV-TV, Nashville, July 22

Tarantula Chili Rose in a library jarTarantula thief to serve four years
A man who stole a pet tarantula from the library in Westminster, Maryland, will serve 90 days in jail for the theft but will serve four years for violating his probation in a 2007 assault case. Randy Humple was sentenced July 26. In the May 19 incident at the Westminster branch of the Carroll County Public Library, police were called after library staff discovered that Chili Rose (right), a Chilean Rose tarantula kept at the library’s information desk, was missing....
Carroll County (Md.) Times, July 27

Tales of a library book sale
Over the years, Jim Repko has been “bin-emptier-in-chief,” setting aside donated items deemed unsuitable for the July book sale at the Pequot Library in Southport, Connecticut. At a recent book-sale volunteer party, Repko unveiled some of those items—including a brass saxophone, recorder, flute, belly-dancer’s kit, and Russian wooden nesting dolls. And then there is the story of a book by Jimmy Carter that is making Pequot book-sale history....
Greenwich (Conn.) Time, July 21

Manuscript from Chinguetti, Mauritania. Photo by Tore Kjeilen/LookLexMauritania’s desert libraries are disappearing
The bone-dry wood creaks as the book opens. It contains 132 pages of Arab astronomy bound in well-worn leather, a 15th-century treasure stored, with similar items, in a cardboard box in a traditional dwelling in Chinguetti, Mauritania. Such manuscripts, some dating from the 10th century, still belong to families and are dispersed around Chinguetti, Ouadane, Oulatane, and Tichitt. “Until the colonial era they were the only form of reading matter, often consulted and sometimes copied. But with our modern ways they are increasingly regarded as mere relics,” said Jiyid Ould Abdi, the head of Mauritania’s Scientific Research Institute....
The Guardian (U.K.), July 27

The Gyopár library-pubHungarian library-pub lets patrons drink between the lines
At the Gyopár, a small Communist-era pub in Nagykovácsi, Hungary, nine miles northeast of Budapest, customers can quench their thirst not only for ales and spirits but enjoy some intellectual refreshment as well. Three years ago, manager Péter Maurer (a former librarian) came up with the idea of this communal hybrid of a public library inside a pub, and, if customer satisfaction is any measure, the project has been a success....
Reuters, July 26; Népszabadság, June 10

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Tech Talk

An engineer holds a 50Gbps Silicon Photonics transmit module. Laser light from the silicon chip at the center of the green board travels to the receiver module in the upper right, where a second silicon chip detects the data on the laser and coverts it back into an electrical signal. Photo: Business WireNew chip uses laser to send data
In a development that could revolutionize how PCs and other tech gadgets communicate, Intel announced July 27 that it had made the first chip that sends and receives information using beams of light. The fingernail-sized research prototype already can move 100 hours of digital music or 45 million tweets in a second from one device to another. And the company expects to make one eventually that can transmit a laptop’s hard drive in one second and the entire print collection of the Library of Congress in less than two minutes....
San Jose (Calif.) Mercury News, July 27

Death Grip demonstrated on a Droid IncredibleDeath grip tests on iPhone competitors
Gregg Binder writes: “The infamous death grip has stirred up quite a debate among iPhone 4 users. But does the signal loss also occur with other phones? The answer is yes, but with shades of gray. By using different death grips we showed that all the phones used deal with this issue depending on how they are held—with some signals dropping lower than others.” Video footage (2:36) is included to demonstrate the results firsthand....
PC Magazine, July 21

Tab Candy logoTab Candy: Making Firefox tabs sweet
Aza Raskin writes: “The power of the browser has grown substantially in the last 10 years. We now use the web to multitask the activities we juggle every day. It’s hard to keep everything straight with dozens of tabs all crammed into a little strip along the top of your browser. How many of us keep tabs open as reminders of something we want to do or read later? We need a way to get back control of our online lives. Enter Tab Candy.” Watch the video (6:40)....
Aza Rask.in, July 22; Vimeo, July 22

Putting a human face on search
Ken Varnum writes: “When you do a search on the University of Michigan Library’s website, you get not only results from the catalog, website, online journal, and database collections, you also get a librarian who is a subject specialist related to your search term. For example, if you search for Kant, in addition to books and databases, you also get the subject specialist librarians for humanities and philosophy. Here’s how the matching works.”...
Blog for Library Technology, July 26

Dell Studio 17 media center laptopLaptop “media centers” have all the fun
Cisco Cheng writes: “For any laptop enthusiast who thirsts for speed and the ultimate cinematic experience, ‘media centers’ are the fastest, most mediacentric laptops money can buy. Nothing is off-limits when it comes to these devices, which is why their features are usually over the top. A year ago, you would be lucky to find a media center with batteries that lasted more than two hours. In this roundup, all but one either approached four hours or lasted beyond that.”...
PC Magazine, July 23

Chir.ps logoHow to send an audio tweet
Amy-Mae Elliott writes: “When Twitter’s 140-character limit just isn’t enough to get your message across or you want to give a tweet the personal touch, why not add some audio? Whether you want to sing happy birthday to someone, rant, or make a heartfelt apology, we’ve found five services that can help you out. They are all completely free, they don’t require a phone, and they are all easy to use.”...
Mashable, July 26

Screen capture of Please Critique Me web-design site10 tools for getting web design feedback
Jacob Gube writes: “One of the most critical parts of a project is getting critiques and advice on how to improve designs. Getting an outside perspective helps spot issues and validate design choices. This list of 10 tools will enable you to share your work and receive reviews. You’ll find websites dedicated to offering free design critiques as well as tools for conducting usability testings with real people in order to benchmark your design’s efficacy in the wild.”...
Mashable: Dev & Design, July 22

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ALA Midwinter Meeting in San Diego, California, January 7–11, 2011, Here is the Midwinter FAQ.

Cover of Building Science 101

In Building Science 101, authors Lynn M. Piotrowicz and Scott Osgood provide a tour of the library building from foundation to roof. In a time of rapidly inflating energy prices and tight public budgets, many libraries are faced with older physical facilities that are not up to modern standards of efficiency. This manual offers many tips on preventive maintenance and energy efficiency. NEW! From ALA Editions.

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Fearless Librarian, Rutland Free Library, Rutland, Vermont. Library in midst of 21st-century transitions is looking for fearless librarian who loves the outdoors, is interested in community/library connections, and who dreams of making a difference. Yes, there are some traditional responsibilities, but think larger and send your résumé and three references....

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Digital Library of the Week

Basalt lunar sample 10050 from Apollo 11 mission, a polarized light microscope image of a standard thin section; 2.85mm field of vision at 2.5 magnification. Photo JSC04200

The Lunar Sample Atlas of the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston contains laboratory images of moon-rock samples from the Apollo missions. Containing full-color views in microscopic thin-sections, the digital library offers cutting views and diagrams that illustrate how the samples were subdivided for scientific analyses and in situ views of the samples on the lunar surface. The Lunar Sample Atlas contains information about type of sample (e.g., rock, soil), lithology (e.g., basalt, norite), and a description of the sample. Links to additional information about each sample are provided for those that have been previously described in The Lunar Sample Compendium and Lunar Sample Catalogs.

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.

Public Perception
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Sees Us

“He had tears in his eyes as he said he wanted to save the library. Don’t shortchange him by being shortsighted now.”

—Library supporter Lillian Neenan on seeing a 7-year-old boy take a penny out of his mother’s purse to help save the Centennial Park branch of the Pasco County (Fla.) Library System, St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times, July 28.

“In an hour I’m off to The Readers Resort again for two delicious weeks by Lake Bellelettre in Reading, Pennsylvania. . . . I’m going to be healed by books. The Readers Resort is the only vacation resort in the country that’s designed for people who love books. The tables in the dining room have little bookstands alongside your plate so you can read at dinner. The terraces are well-shaded so you never have sun in your eyes. They have books with plastic pages you can read in the swimming pool—or the shower.”

—The fictional “Ruth Harrison, Reference Librarian,” A Prairie Home Companion, July 3, broadcast (mp3 file, 7:74).

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


Sept. 19:
International Talk Like a Pirate Day.
Some library ideas here.

Sept. 23–24:
Art Museum Libraries Symposium,
Morse Auditorium, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Massachusetts.

Oct. 1–2:
Georgia Conference on Information Literacy,
Coastal Georgia Center, Savannah.

Oct. 7:
E-Resource Management: From Start to Finish (and Back Again),
Forum, Holiday Inn Chicago Mart Plaza. Sponsored by the National Information Standards Organization.

Oct. 27–30:
Museum Computer Network,
Annual Conference, Sheraton Austin at the Capitol, Austin, Texas. “I/O: The Museum Inside-Out, Outside-In.”

Nov. 5–7:
YALSA Young Adult Literature Symposium,
Albuquerque Marriott, Albuquerque, New Mexico. “Diversity, Literature, and Teens: Beyond Good Intentions.”

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Amazon e-book venture stirs a fuss
Literary agent Andrew Wylie announced July 21 that he had started his own publishing venture and would produce e-book editions available exclusively on Amazon.com for 20 titles, including those by Philip Roth and Vladimir Nabokov. Now Random House, which had staked a claim for the e-book rights to most of those books, has issued a forceful response: It will stop doing business with the Wylie Agency. The move signals a power shift in the e-book industry. The Author’s Guild has responded....
New York Times, July 23; Seeking Alpha, July 23; Author’s Guild, July 26

Newspaper Kindle sleeve, from SakizomeNewspaper Kindle sleeve
As the publishing world debates Amazon.com’s controversial deal with Wylie, it might be safer to camouflage your electronic reading device. With the new Newspaper Kindle Sleeve, you can completely disguise your electronic reader as a newspaper—a cloth sleeve with a newsprint design. It was created by Etsy-based fabric artist Sakizome....
GalleyCat, July 23

The true costs of digital publishing
Kent Anderson writes: “A premise of the internet publishing revolutionaries has been that because distribution is ubiquitous, the marginal cost of content approaches zero, meaning that information should become much cheaper. You still hear this argument, even though real-world economics seem to defy the logic. However, digital publishing seems to be getting more expensive while we wring costs out of print as we draw it down.”...
The Scholarly Kitchen, July 28

Cover of Lilian Jackson Braun's The Cat Who Ate Danish Modern, 1967The Cat: A Log: Feline-friendly folios
Steven J. Gertz writes: “Online bookseller Between the Covers has issued The Cat: A Log (PDF file), a collection of old and rare books on the most popular pet in the United States, the domestic cat. It is, to the best of our research, the world’s first rare-bookseller catalog exclusively devoted to volumes about our friends of the feline persuasion. If anyone has ever been intimidated by rare books, their collection, and cost, The Cat: A Log should provide calm, satisfaction, and a sigh of relief.”...
BookTryst, July 21

New cover of The Enormous EggOld cover of The Enormous EggRe-illustrate that sucker
Betsy Bird writes: “Any time a publisher chooses to rerelease a picture book or children’s novel with brand-new illustrations, it is a cause for curiosity and interest. So what books are out there that are deserving of a new illustrator’s touch but haven’t gotten one yet? I’m not saying that these are books that have bad illustrations to begin with, but rather are books that might be able to earn an entirely new audience and appreciation if they just acquired a new look. Here are some of my thoughts.”...
School Library Journal: A Fuse #8 Production, July 21

Screen shot from DC Comics 75th Anniversary DocumentaryDigital comics: Nemesis or sidekick?
Alex Pham and John Horn write: “Technology, which has already upended the music, television, and movie businesses, is now gripping the comic book world. There’s a torrent of digital comic books across smartphones, devices, game consoles, and e-readers; some come with choreographed presentations that zoom or pan across panels, full-color animated characters, audio from professional voice actors, and heart-thumping soundtracks. Traditionalists argue that such experiments threaten to undermine the aesthetic foundation of comics—in other words, to do what iTunes did to record shops.”...
Los Angeles Times, July 23

Cover of Library of Death, by Ronald S. L. HardingBooks and bookstores that are out to get you
Avi Abrams writes: “Do you know that there is a certain subgenre of murder mysteries concerned with the world of authors, manuscripts, and rare and deadly books—with the emphasis on deadly books? Typically, they feature an indefatigable hero leaping around libraries in a race against time, unearthing cyphers, ancient manuscripts, and clues hidden in old books. Thrillers like this belong to a popular sub-genre called bibliomysteries, and as the name suggests, they all concern some sort of bookish skull-duggery.”...
Dark Roasted Blend, July 16

Actions & Answers

Numbers vs. meaning
Meredith Farkas writes: “Librarians keep statistics on a lot of things: gate count, reference transactions, instruction sessions, website hits, visits to a specific tutorial or research guide, e-resource usage, etc. We are big on numbers. I have no problem with measuring things like this and in many cases I think it’s essential. The thing I do have a problem with are the unsupported interpretations we often make based on these numbers and the direction they’re going in.”...
Information Wants to Be Free, July 21

Screen shot from Curious George PSALC’s new Curious George campaign
The Library of Congress and the Ad Council launched a new series of public service advertisements July 26 to encourage parents to read with their children and inspire them to become lifelong learners. The new PSAs feature the iconic children’s literary character Curious George. The TV, print, and outdoor ads feature George and his best friend and mentor, “The Man with the Yellow Hat,” reading books together. The ads direct audiences to LC’s Read.gov website....
Ad Council, July 26; New York Times, July 26; Library of Congress

A librarian at Comic Con
Eva Volin writes: “It was early July 23 and the VIZ Kids invitational was my first panel of the day at San Diego Comic Con. Senior Editors Beth Kawasaki and Traci Todd made a handful of announcements, the most exciting being the new publishing partnership between VIZ Media and Mameshiba. VIZ will be launching an original graphic novel series based on the line of Japanese mascot characters and their accompanying commercials.”...
School Library Journal: Good Comics for Kids, July 25

Food: Don't Waste It poster. This poster by the Committee of Public Safety in Pennsylvania borrowed its look from USFA posters by the artist Frederic G. Cooper, c.1917.Food posters on display at National Ag Library
“When Beans Were Bullets,” an exhibit of food and agriculture posters from World Wars I and II, is on display at the National Agricultural Library in Beltsville, Maryland, through August 30. An online version has also been posted. The featured posters—which delve into a wide variety of issues, ranging from food rationing to food safety—examine the evolution of poster styles, propaganda messages, and advertising history during the two time periods....
Food Safety News, July 27; Cory Bernat

Raising hand to ask for permissionGetting permission
David Lee King writes: “Last week, Emily Lloyd at Shelf Check posted What Would You Do If You Didn’t Need the Approval of 15 Committees? and mentioned me: ‘What ultimately matters most, it seems to me, is lots of permission. David has that, I think, and most of us don’t.’ She’s right: I do have a boatload of permission. How do I get it? I don’t think there’s an easy answer to that, but I’ll try. Here is what I do to get that permission.”...
David Lee King, July 22; Shelf Check, July 16

Connect your book group to your community
Neil Hollands writes: “In this cyber age, we often forget how much more centered we can feel if we develop a sense of place. When you ground your book group in its local setting, then participants will develop that strong sense of community. What may have been mere meetings have a better chance of becoming life events. In that spirit, here are 20 ideas for connecting an upcoming book group to the community.”...
Book Group Buzz, July 23

JoAnn Jonas (left) and Lisa von DrasekLibrarians share with StoryCorps
Naomi Greene writes: “StoryCorps Facilitator Susan Lee and I had the privilege of recording stories at the American Library Association’s Annual Conference in Washington, D.C., this summer. JoAnn Jonas (left) and Lisa Von Drasek were two lovely ladies who shared with us why they love their jobs as librarians. Lisa inspired Jo Ann to become a librarian, and she used the interview to ask her mentor Lisa about what had inspired her to become a librarian.”...
StoryCorps Facilitator Weblog, July 22

Janet Fitch’s 10 rules for writers
Carolyn Kellogg writes: “Janet Fitch is the author of White Oleander and Paint it Black and she teaches writing at the University of Southern California. She has posted a list of 10 writing tips that can help almost anyone on her blog. The list is intended for fiction writers but is still good for many of us. In 2001, Elmore Leonard published his 10 Rules of Writing in the New York Times (he later expanded it to a book). Many of his and Fitch’s rules coincide, but she’s a much bigger fan of description than he is.”...
Los Angeles Times: Jacket Copy, July 13

British tommies eating in a WWI trenchScottish photos on Flickr Commons
The National Library of Scotland has released more than 2,000 archived images to Flickr under its no-restrictions Commons license. They are mostly from the library’s Field Marshall Douglas Haig collection of World War I images, but they also include more than 100 evocative photographs of tenements on the south side of Edinburgh taken in 1929. The library plans to add 3,000 more by the end of 2010....
The Scotsman (U.K.), July 21

University of Cambridge Special Collections Librarian John Wells talks about Sassoon. From a BBC videoFirst look at Siegfried Sassoon papers
Siegfried Sassoon’s handwritten account of the first day of the Battle of the Somme went on display July 21 at Cambridge University Library in the U.K. It is just one of many personal papers, never before seen by the public, that were bought by the library in 2009 for £1.25 million ($1.9 million U.S.). The exhibition includes his wartime diaries, which reveal first-hand accounts of the major battles of World War I....
BBC News, July 21

Borges, the universe, and the infinite library
Marcelo Gleiser writes: “In the 1941 short story ‘The Library of Babel,’ the great Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges constructs a metaphorical replica of the universe, both celebrating and teasing the cosmologists of his time. His irony is timeless and has much to say about current efforts as well. The Library of Babel is different from any other library. In it, we find all books that have been written and those that will be written.”...
NPR: 13.7, Cosmos and Culture, July 23

Move your library’s value to the Twitterstream
Bill Drew writes: “More than ever before, libraries are leveraging Twitter to broadcast everything from new books and library hours to special interest groups and local community events. But I think it’s important to keep in mind that the quality of the guidance we provide in every post is amplified. Each communication is an opportunity to demonstrate our value and expertise. Even if a tweet or a post is directed at an individual, your entire community can see it, and many more could benefit from the information you provide.”...
Baby Boomer Librarian, July 22

Publitweet logoTop 20 sites to improve your Twitter experience
Vadim Lavrusik writes: “In many ways, Twitter’s functionality hasn’t exactly kept up with user interactions. Its interface has remained simple, which is why a lot of tweets take place through third-party sites and applications that make the experience more useful. We’ve compiled a list of the top 20 third-party websites for making your Twitter experience more useful and easier to manage.”...
Mashable, July 25

Graphic of Windows 3.1 icons, with first "Start" buttonKnow your computer icons, Part 1: A brief history
Kate McInnes writes: “As with great works of art, you must look into the past to appreciate the future. With roots as far back as the 1970s, the humble icon has come a long way. Following is a collection of icons though history. Although there have been many other operating systems in the time between 1981–2010, I’ve hand-picked the ones of the most significance to modern icon design. These designs show just a small fraction of the icons in the many and varied user interfaces throughout the years.”...
Psdtuts+, July 18

15 ways to create a horrible nonprofit website
Selected tips from Monique Cuvelier: “Tip 4: Make your mission statement about six paragraphs long and put it front and center on the homepage. Tip 7: Make sure you don’t look ‘too polished,’ because no one will give you money unless the site looks like it was built on a shoestring.”...
Talance Friendly Web Tools Blog, June 30

Vintage Pullman stamperLibrary-related Etsy arts and crafts
Amy DeCicco writes: “Growing up, I loved to visit my local library. In college, I maintained this little affair with libraries, leading to my career as a librarian. While today I see libraries as places of organization, scholarly research, and intellectual discovery, they still haven’t lost their romance in my book, connoting style and a little mystique. In today’s Etsy Finds, meet me in the back, between the folios and the 17th-century satire.” Many have already been sold....
The Storque, July 27

Screen shot from Tillman's NYPL PSA: "But tell me, what is really at steak?"Tillman the skateboarding dog
Tillman, an English bulldog from Southern California who set the world dog-skateboarding record in 2009 by rolling 100 meters in 19.6 seconds, lent his bark on a recent visit to the city to help save New York Public Library from the worst cuts in its history. Named after the late football player Pat Tillman, the skateboarding pooch is featured in this NYPL public service video (1:50) in the style of an old-time newsreel....
YouTube, May 10

Bratis Roseboro, library croquet champMasters of Library Science croquet tournament
This dramatic play-by-play (5:17) of the 87th MLS croquet tournament at the New Hanover County Public Library in Wilmington, North Carolina, serves as a clever introduction to the library’s services and staff. Library Assistant Bratis Roseboro (right) comes out the winner against Director Harry Tuchmeyer, Library Associate James Hudson, Reference Librarian Susan Wood, and others. A Melville Dewey Production....
YouTube, July 19

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