|American Libraries Online
Charlotte axes three branches, eyes a dozen more
The board of the Charlotte Mecklenburg (N.C.) Library voted May 20 to close three branches in a month’s time in anticipation of an FY2011 operating budget that will be 45% smaller than FY2010. But even as trustees lamented having to establish the June 19 closing dates, they made it painfully clear that a dozen more libraries would also be in jeopardy, as were the jobs of some 200 library workers. “We’re going to go down fighting to preserve as much of the system as we can,” Library Director Charles Brown said....
American Libraries news, May 24
Illinois cooperatives lay off dozens
Illinois’s nine library cooperatives are reeling from what Prairie Area Library System Executive Director Michael Piper says may be the worst financial crisis in the state’s history, “a game-changer.” Already six months long, the wait for the state’s overdue payments to libraries “will likely grow longer,” Piper announced May 19, and “will probably persist over the next several years.” PALS has received only 57% of its 2010 state funding, and the administration is still working out details of what the necessary cuts will entail....
American Libraries news, May 19
Frontline advocacy is everybody’s job
Patty Wong and Julie Todaro write: “ALA President Camila Alire’s presidential initiative on frontline advocacy offers a systematic approach to staff participation. It focuses on advocating at points of service and engagement and encourages staff and administrators in all types of libraries to work together to tell our stories about the value of libraries and the value of library staff as part of a larger theme, ‘Libraries: The Heart of All Communities,’ which focuses both on advocacy and literacy.”...
American Libraries feature
The June/July issue online
The digital edition of the June/July 2010 American Libraries is now available online in the Zmags page-flip format.
Features in this issue include building your own instructional literacy, 10 tips on tracking trends, how to be an effective moderator, the myth of browsing, academic library space in the age of Facebook, frontline advocacy, a sneak peek at The Librarian’s Book of Lists, and a preview of the 2010 ALA Annual Conference in Washington, D.C....
American Libraries, June/July
Make a green suggestion box
Laura Bruzas writes: “Long ago, l lost the know-it-all attitude of my youth in favor of an appreciation for backseat drivers—individuals who, while not controlling a vehicle, want to tutor the driver. And in many ways, I equate backseat drivers with suggestion-box contributors. I say bring them on. Here are some suggested steps for creating a green suggestion-box system at your library.”...
AL: Green Your Library, May 21
Perpetual Beta: Google TV
Jason Griffey writes: “Not a lot of details quite yet out of Google I/O as far as this is concerned, but Google just announced a TV product (Google TV) that interacts with your existing TV and gives you web on TV. I’m really unsure how this is going to go over; remember, Microsoft tried for years and years to get people to browse the web on their TV and mostly failed. Apple as well, with AppleTV.
I already use a piece of software that does pretty much all of this, an open source project called Boxee that runs on just about any computer.” Watch the video (2:05)....
AL: Perpetual Beta, May 20; YouTube, May 18
What to know before you go to Library Advocacy Day
ALA members and supporters from around the country will convene in Washington, D.C., in June to discuss the latest and greatest of what the library community has to offer. An important part of this event will be the Library Advocacy Day rally on June 29. The event, held at Upper Senate Park, will be an opportunity to have our message heard by those who need to hear it most—members of Congress. This hour-long webinar by consultant Stephanie Vance explains more about what the rally is all about....
District Dispatch, May 26; Vimeo, May 26
2011 Emerging Leaders applications now open
ALA is accepting applications for its 2011 class of Emerging Leaders. The program is designed to enable a group of library workers to get on the fast track to ALA and professional leadership. Participants are given the opportunity to work on a variety of projects, network with peers, and get an inside look into the ALA structure and activities. The deadline to apply is July 30....
Human Resource Development and Recruitment, May 25
2010 Many Voices, One Nation
Marina Budhos and Kekla Magoon will be participating in Many Voices, One Nation during the 2010 ALA Annual Conference in Washington, D.C. Marina Budhos (left) is the author of Ask Me No Questions and Tell Us We’re Home, and Kekla Magoon (right) is the author of The Rock and the River. This year’s event will take place June 25 and will highlight ALA President Camila Alire’s Family Literacy Focus, an initiative to encourage families in ethnically diverse communities to read and learn together....
Office for Diversity, May 25
Town Hall meeting on diversity
The ALA Committee on Diversity will host a Town Hall meeting on diversity during the ALA Annual Conference in Washington, D.C. The meeting will take place the morning of June 25 in the Washington Plaza Hotel. Ismail Abdullahi (right), chair of the Committee on Diversity, will facilitate the discussion. The meeting will focus on
education, recruitment, and Association involvement....
Office for Diversity, May 20
A variation on the National Library Symbol
Gary Price writes: “Since posting May 19 about a new symbol (some might call it a logo) showing the outline of a person sitting in front of a computer (right), we have noticed that people are referring to it as a new or updated version of the ALA logo. ALA also noticed the discussion and posted an update to Fact Sheet #30 to clarify the situation. The 2009 Laptop Version of the National Library Symbol first appeared in the press kit for the 2008–2009 Public Library Funding and Technology Access Report. The 1982 ‘official symbol’ is often seen near roadways.”...
ResourceShelf, May 24; ALA Library; U.S. Department of Transportation
Featured review: Audiobook
Fforde, Jasper. The Eyre Affair. Read by Susan Duerden. February 2010. 12hr. Books on Tape, CD (978-1-4159-6664-8).
Duerden does everything right in her reading of the tale, which falls into the mystery genre but has enough fantastical elements to appeal to fantasy fans as well. Her sweet, clear British accent makes Special Operative Thursday Next sound both plucky and vulnerable. Set approximately in 1985 England, the story depicts Thursday’s daily life: enjoying quick visits from her time-traveling father, taking her pet dodo to the vet, and chasing villains through pages of classic books. Characters are either good or bad in the story, and Duerden makes vocal distinctions between the snippy docent at the Brontë museum and the gentle, soft-toned Japanese tourist who eases Thursday as a child into the pages of Jane Eyre....
Listen-alikes: An alternate reality
Candace Smith writes: “In these seven listen-alike titles, all of which blend multiple genres, the line between reality and fantasy is blurred, and exceptional readers make the unbelievable seem believable through understated tones and tongue-in-cheek wit. These audios reflect stories that are both great adventure and lots of fun.”...
Rousing Reads: Hidden treasures
Bill Ott writes: “When I listen in on one of our Booklist webinars, it’s hard for me to concentrate on what’s being said—not because there isn’t always something interesting to hear but because, as a Booklister, I’m mainly just hoping that nothing goes wrong (sound problems, panelists dropping the baton as they pass controls to one another, etc.). What I’m really worried about, though, is bad Karma.”...
American Libraries column, May 17
@ Visit Booklist Online for other reviews and much more....
Baltimore County’s Storyville
Take advantage of your ALA Annual Conference attendance to see Baltimore County (Md.) Public Library’s newest Storyville at the Woodlawn branch. Storyville is an interactive learning center for children birth to 5 to promote school readiness with parents and caregivers. A bus will leave the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library (901 G Street, N.W.) on June 25 at noon and will return at 4 p.m. Reserve your space by emailing Cecily Pilzer. There is room for only 35 participants. A fee of $21.50 is due by June 11....
ALSC Blog, May 12
Arts activities in Washington (PDF file)
The ACRL Arts Section has released its ArtsGuide for the 2010 ALA Annual Conference. This selective guide to cultural attractions and events will help you maximize your time outside of the convention center. The guide is arranged by sections on museums, galleries, architecture. film, theaters, music, dance, and public memorials. Use the Google Maps mashup to locate art sites near you....
ACRL Arts Section
ACRL guide to emergency preparedness
ACRL has published a Comprehensive Guide to Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Recovery, an essential toolkit for libraries of all types and sizes. Authors Frances Wilkinson, Linda Lewis, and Nancy Dennis provide practical and experience-based approaches on preparing for a disaster by creating a plan, responding to an emergency, and dealing with the intricacies of disaster recovery....
ACRL, May 21
ALCTS forum to discuss Ithaka report
ALCTS will offer a presentation and discussion of the recently released Ithaka S+R faculty survey at the ALCTS Forum on June 28 at the ALA Annual Conference in Washington, D.C. Moderated by ALCTS President Mary Case, the presentation will raise a number of provocative hypotheses about the future of library services and collections....
ALCTS, May 25
AASL seeks proposals for preconferences
AASL is seeking preconference proposals for its 15th National Conference to be held October 27–30, 2011, in Minneapolis. The deadline to submit a preconference proposal is June 21. Submissions will be evaluated for clarity, originality, and timeliness....
AASL, May 25
Q. We were in Hannibal, Missouri, on a recent spring driving trip and visited the Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum. I noted that it is a “Literary Landmark.” What is this designation? A. The museum received the designation on April 24 from ALA’s ALTAFF division, in conjunction with ReadMOre Missouri and the Missouri Humanities Council....
AL: Ask the ALA Librarian, May 21; ALTAFF, May 24
Become a long-distance job shadow
M. K. Eagle writes: “Are you willing to grab a video camera and get one of your kids/coworkers/significant others to film you showing us what your job is ‘really’ like in a way that would appeal to teens and bust those bun-cat-shushing myths? Team U of ALA’s Emerging Leaders is working on a video for teens that will be about a half-hour long and be a busting-myths-about-librarians-look at the activities of librarians who work with teens in school or other public settings. Send footage of any length by June 10 to Lizz Zitron, Hedberg Library, Carthage College, Kenosha, WI 53140.”...
YALSA Blog, May 23
Louisa May Alcott programming grants
The ALA Public Programs Office and the National Endowment for the Humanities are offering a new cultural programming grant opportunity for libraries. All types of libraries may apply to receive a $2,500 grant to support five reading, viewing, and discussion programs featuring the documentary “Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women” and the companion biography of the same name. Online applications will be accepted through July 30....
ALA Public Programs Office, May 25
ALTAFF’s Best Friends awards
ALTAFF has recognized 14 Friends of the Library groups with Best Friends Awards. The awards are given to groups for outstanding publicity and marketing materials that promote the group and its programs and projects. Winning materials are posted on the ALTAFF website....
ALTAFF, May 25
AASL stipends for Spectrum scholars
AASLwill sponsor the attendance of up to two Spectrum scholars at its 2010 Fall Forum, held November 5–6 in Portland, Oregon. The scholars must be pursuing a library degree concentrating in school library media or working as school library media specialists. To obtain a copy of the application, contact Gwendolyn Prellwitz in the ALA Office of Diversity. Applications are due on July 26....
ALA Office of Diversity, May 25
Gebregeorgis receives honorary degree
Yohannes Gebregeorgis, the founder of Ethiopia Reads, received an honorary degree in public service from Regis University in Denver during the university’s May 9 spring commencement ceremony. Gebregeorgis addressed the graduating seniors from two of Regis University’s three colleges. On rare occasions, the Regis University board of trustees authorizes the awarding of honorary degrees to individuals who have led lives of distinguished service and professional achievement....
Regis University, May 17
Indies find success at the Nebula Awards
From the independently produced, Oscar-nominated movie District 9 to Catherynne M. Valente’s self-published YA novel The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, independent works were well rewarded at the 2009 Nebula Awards. Organized by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America and voted on by its membership, the annual Nebula Awards were announced at a banquet in Cocoa Beach, Florida, on May 15....
Los Angeles Times: Jacket Copy, May 18
2010 Helen Bernstein Award
David Finkel’s The Good Soldiers (Sarah Crichton Books/FSG), a first-hand account of the 2007 Iraq War troop surge, has won the 2010 New York Public Library’s Helen Bernstein Award for Excellence in Journalism. Finkel received the award May 16 at a reception in the Trustees Room at the library’s Stephen A. Schwarzman Building. The award is given annually to a journalist whose work has brought public attention to important issues; it includes a $15,000 cash prize....
New York Public Library, May 17
2010 Empire State Award
Cynthia DeFelice is the 2010 recipient of the Empire State Award for Excellence in Literature for Young People presented by the Youth Services Section of the New York Library Association. She has written numerous books, including 17 novels and 12 picture books. The Empire State award honors a New York State author who has produced a body of work that represents excellence in children’s or young adult literature....
New York Library Association
Beeman wins George Washington Book Prize
The sixth annual George Washington Book Prize, which honors the most important new book about America’s founding era, has been awarded to Richard Beeman for Plain, Honest Men: The Making of the American Constitution (Random House, 2009). Beeman, author of five previous books on the history of revolutionary America, received the $50,000 prize on May 20. The prize is sponsored by Washington College, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, and George Washington’s Mount Vernon....
Washington College News, May 20
Audies Awards 2010
Mary Burkey writes: “What a great night of festivities celebrating the best in the audiobook industry! The complete list of winners includes: the Audiobook of the Year going to Nelson Mandela’s Favorite African Folktales (Hatchette Audio), which was narrated by a full cast including Samuel L. Jackson, Helen Mirren, Don Cheadle, and Alan Rickman.” The Audies are sponsored by the Audio Publishers Association....
Booklist Online: Audiobooker, May 26
2010 Ken Book Awards (PDF file)
The Ken Book Awards are given annually by the Kenneth Johnson Memorial Research Library in New York City for outstanding books of literary merit published during the prior year that have substantially contributed to the public’s awareness and better understanding of mental disorders. The six winners were honored at an awards breakfast at the Yale Club on May 19....
National Alliance on Mental Illness, Apr. 6
2010 Ondaatje Prize
Ian Thomson’s investigation into the gritty underside of Jamaica has won him the Ondaatje Prize, which goes to the book that has best evoked the spirit of a place. The Dead Yard sees the author walking the streets of Jamaica, describing its poverty, gang rule, and police brutality, meeting its people, and exploring how the country has changed since its independence in 1962. The £10,000 ($14,412 U.S.) prize is given by the Royal Society of Literature....
The Guardian (U.K.), May 25
Wodehouse Prize for Comic Fiction
Ian McEwan has won the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for Comic Fiction with his novel on climate change, Solar (Jonathan Cape). The prize celebrates the novel of the last 12 months that has best captured the comic spirit of P. G. Wodehouse. At the Guardian Hay Festival on May 28, McEwan will receive a jeroboam of Bollinger Special Cuvée, a case of Bollinger La Grande Année, a set of the Everyman Wodehouse collection, and a locally-bred Gloucestershire Old Spot pig named “Solar” after the novel....
The Bookseller, May 25
Red House Children’s Book Awards
The winners of the 2010 Red House Children’s Book Award were announced May 22 at an awards luncheon at the Botanical Gardens in Birmingham, England. Young readers vote from a shortlist drawn up by children’s book groups across the U.K. The awards are widely recognized by authors, parents, and librarians as a key indicator of which books are popular with children. The 2010 overall winner was The Hunger Games by American author Suzanne Collins....
Federation of Children’s Book Groups
Brooklyn receives $3.25-million grant for an information commons
The Brooklyn Public Library has received a $3.25-million grant from the Leon Levy Foundation to establish an information commons, a technology-based learning and research hub at its Central Library. It will be the first resource of its kind in any of New York City’s three library systems. The gift, which comes at a time when the library faces a $20.6-million cut in city funding, will provide for a 30-seat wireless information-literacy training center, seven private study rooms equipped with electronic whiteboards, bar-style seating for 60 laptops, two dozen computers with graphic design and video-editing programs, and a new reference desk....
Wall Street Journal, May 22; Brooklyn Public Library, May 24
Dallas layoffs likely
Dallas will probably have to lay off up to 400 employees and cut the salaries of those who remain by as much as 5% to help close the projected $130-million gap in next year’s budget. One of the major cuts will likely be at the Dallas Public Library. The city council’s Quality of Life Committee discussed May 24 a possible scenario of reducing hours at the downtown central library from 44 to 24 per week and eliminating 96 FTE positions. Branch library hours could be cut from 40 to 20 hours per week with another 88 positions lost....
Dallas Morning News: City Hall Blog, May 24
LSU library school targeted
Louisiana State University is proposing to eliminate several academic degree programs and institutes ranging from the School of Library and Information Sciences to bachelor’s degrees in German and Latin. SLIS Dean Beth Paskoff says she plans to fight the plans, specifically the phased-out elimination of the MLS over two or three years. One of LSU’s more popular master’s programs, it graduates close to 70 students a year and is the only such program in the state....
Baton Rouge (La.) Advocate, May 26
Hood River County libraries are closing
On May 18, residents of Hood River County, Oregon, voted not to support the formation of a new library district. Measure 14-37 was defeated 46%–54%. As a result, there is no funding to continue library operations, and Hood River County Library, a system in continuous operation for 98 years, will close its doors to the public on July 1....
Hood River (Oreg.) News, May 25
Harvard’s acquisitions cuts
The days of accumulating every important title and artifact under the scholarly sun are over for Harvard’s labyrinthine system of 73 libraries. Facing an unprecedented budget crunch, the university cancelled print copies of more than 1,000 journal titles in 2009 in favor of online subscriptions. And Harvard is turning toward other universities to collaborate and share acquisitions, all while trying to maintain its libraries’ stature in an increasingly digital world....
Boston Globe, May 24
Portland’s cash woes catalyze portable-branch idea
Faced with three years of flat funding and the closure of two out of five branches, Portland (Maine) Public Library will shift its focus to provide more off-site “Portable Library” services in various locations and increase PPL’s digital presence. A Portable Library would include rolling display carts and bookcases, with specific carts devoted to niches such as children’s picture books, YA, adult fiction, and audiobooks. “I like to see interesting experiments, but dislike replacing valuable services,” LibraryThing founder and Portland, Maine, resident Tim Spalding reacted....
Library Journal, May 20; Thingology blog, May 25
Library tarantula thief arrested
Staff and patrons of the Westminster branch of the Carroll County (Md.) Public Library were relieved May 19 when the library’s pet tarantula was safely returned after a brief abduction in the afternoon. Branch Manager Christina Kuntz said Chili Rose (right), a Chilean Rose tarantula that the branch adopted from the Humane Society of Carroll County two years ago, was abducted in the late afternoon. Both the tarantula and a flowerpot it used as a cozy hangout were stolen from its cage near the library’s information desk. A suspect was held on $10,000 bail....
Carroll County (Md.) Times, May 20–21
Penn senators push for state library code changes
Senate leaders in Harrisburg are pushing for a study to look at modernizing public library services. Nancy Smink, director of the Pottsville (Pa.) Free Public Library, said it’s about time: The state library code, which dates back to 1961, needs to be updated. Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi (R-Chester), has sponsored a resolution authorizing the Joint State Government Commission to complete a study on library use, organization, and funding by November 30. The Pennsylvania Library Association supports the study....
Pottsville (Pa.) Republican and Herald, May 22
LC conference on portolan charts
John Hessler, senior cartographic librarian at the Library of Congress and one of the world’s leading experts on portolan charts, presented some of his dazzlingly intricate research at a May 21 conference at the library, “Re-Examining the Portolan Chart: History, Navigation, and Science.” Sponsored by the Philip Lee Phillips Society, the fundraising arm of LC’s Geography and Map Division, it drew about 200 academics, donors, and collectors to a day-long session that examined the mysteries of Renaissance navigational maps....
Washington Post, May 22
Miss Manners on nosy librarians
Gentle Reader writes: “Dear Miss Manners: I am at a loss about what to say to our very nosy librarian. No matter what books you are checking out, she reads the titles (often out loud and at a high volume so everyone else in the library can hear) and then comments on your selections.” Miss Manners suggests “giving the librarian one of those sweetly vague, nearsighted looks and a regretful smile, and putting the forefinger vertically across your lips. Repeat as often as necessary.”...
United Features Syndicate, May 19
Rowdy seniors enjoy video games at the library
Screams, cheers, laughs, and high fives can be heard coming from the multipurpose room as a group of seniors and library employees play video games at the Clymer Library in Pocono Pines, Pennsylvania. This is not your parents’ library “and these aren’t the same grandparents,” Library Director Wendy Franklin said after she demonstrated how to play some of the games the library has for its new Nintendo Wii video game system....
Stroudsburg (Pa.) Pocono Record, May 24
Irish president sits in on Brooklyn librarian’s Irish Famine program
Alan Singer writes: “Cecelia Goodman, the librarian at P.S. 197 in the Midwood section of Brooklyn, was part of a group of elementary school teachers who field-tested the award-winning New York State Great Irish Famine Curriculum. This year something special happened. President Mary McAleese of Ireland was visiting New York and asked if she could visit a school where children were using the famine curriculum to learn about Ireland.”...
Huffington Post, May 24
James Murdoch attacks the British Library
News Corporation Chairman James Murdoch attacked a plan by the British Library to digitize its U.K. newspaper collection, warning that public bodies should not decide how copyrighted material is exploited for commercial gain. In a May 20 speech to mark the launch of University College London’s center for digital humanities, Murdoch criticized the library’s plan because it would be charging the public for access to material that was provided by newspaper publishers as a legal requirement to maintain a national copyright depository....
The Guardian (U.K.), May 21; British Library, May 19
Cory Doctorow: Publish books free online
Author Cory Doctorow: “As a practical matter, we live in the 21st century and anything anybody wants to copy they will be able to copy. If you are building a business model which says that people can only copy things with your permission, your business is going to fail because whether or not you like it, people will be able to copy your product without your permission. The question is: What are you going to do about that? Are you going call them thieves or are you going to find a way to make money from them?”...
The Observer (U.K.), May 23
Go back to the Top
At the ALA Annual Conference, Washington, D.C., June 24–29, The Stacks in the Washington Convention Center Exhibit Hall will feature more than 1,500 booths (PDF file) showcasing products and services for 21st-century libraries and the people who manage them. Special events in The Stacks will include author signings (PDF file) as well as presentations at the Cooking Stage, which will showcase delicious demonstrations by cookbook authors, and the PopUp Stage, where mystery, romance, and travel authors will talk about their work.
After years spent editing American Libraries Direct and the many editions of The Whole Library Handbook, George Eberhart has collected a raft of arcane librariana and amusing trivia for the endlessly browsable Librarian’s Book of Lists. Equally suitable for the reference shelf or the staff lounge, the dozens of wide-ranging lists in this book include 14 ways libraries are good for the country, how to say “Where is the library?” in 50 different languages, 10 intriguing paper defects, 6 library-related birdsongs, and the top 12 silly reasons to ban a book. NEW! From ALA Editions.
YALSA applications due
Applications are due on June 1 for YALSA’s YA Galley project, in which 15 YA book groups across the country receive free galleys from publishers and choose nominations for the Teens’ Top Ten. Also, applications are due June 1 for Teen Read Week Mini Grants. YALSA members can apply for $450 cash and $50 in Teen Read Week products.
Director of Development, Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona, Tucson. Envisions and implements a comprehensive fundraising program able to sustain and strengthen the Center for Creative Photography’s relationship with existing individuals and donors, and creates initiatives that will attract significant new prospects to help reach the Center’s goals. Plays a critical role in providing CCP Director with the guidance necessary to develop (or solicit) major gift donors and strengthens and engages the CCP Board in a significant way....
Digital Library of the Week
Utilizing the historical and literary resources of the Jones Library of Amherst, Massachusetts, in collaboration with area residents and scholars, Digital Amherst celebrates the town through images, multimedia, and documents that reflect the independent spirit of its people, creative works, and culture. Digital Amherst is a pilot project to develop a small but rich online collection of the historic and cultural stories about the town of Amherst and its influence in the Connecticut Valley and beyond. The project was initiated in celebration of Amherst’s 250th anniversary in 2009. The site uses the software system Omeka, a project of the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University. Access is by theme, century, format, or collection.
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.
“Try depending on a fellow professor to respond to an urgent email message within a week, and you’ll begin to understand my appreciation for librarians as colleagues. As highly professional guides who can lead us through an increasingly tangled bank of information, librarians provide a voice of caution in a period when drastic, irreversible change seems like an easy fix for a concatenation of expensive institutional ailments.”
—William Pannapacker, associate professor of English at Hope College, in Holland, Michigan, in “Marian the Cybrarian,” Chronicle of Higher Education, May 20.
AAAI Conference on Weblogs and Social Media, George Washington University, May 23–26, at:
BookExpo America, New York City, May 25–27, at:
Inforum 2010, Prague, May 25–27, at:
Rhode Island Library Association, Annual Conference, Smithfield, May 27–28, at:
Book Blogger Con, New York City, May 28, at:
Society for Scholarly Publishing, Annual Meeting, San Francisco, June 2–4, at:
Canadian Library Association, Annual Conference, Edmonton, June 2–5, at:
American Libraries news stories, videos, tweets, and blog posts at:
Academic Librarians 2010, Holiday Inn Downtown, Ithaca, New York. Sponsored by the Academic and Special Libraries Section of the New York Library Association and the New York 3R’s Association. “Faster than the Speed of Bytes: Technology, Cognition, and the Academic Librarian.”
Memorial service for Edward G. Holley, hosted by his children, Gerrard Hall, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
13th International Symposium on Electronic Theses and Dissertations, AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center, University of Texas, Austin.
Beyond the Book Summit, Columbus (Ohio) Metropolitan Library.
Urban Libraries Council, Annual Conference, Cosmos Club and Mandarin Hotel, Washington, D.C. “Public Libraries / Public Education: The Role of Public Libraries in Education.”
International Conference on the Arts in Society, College of the Arts, University of Sydney, Australia.
Managing Successful Volunteer Programs, GSLIS, Simmons College, Boston.
FRBR, FRAD, and FRSAD: A New Model for Cataloging,
online. Hosted by Lyrasis.
Digital Preservation for Digital Collaboratives Workshop, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library, San Jose, California.
Annual Conference on Distance Teaching and Learning, Monona Terrace Convention Center,
Madison, Wisconsin. “Innovation in Distance Education.”
A Reference Renaissance 2010: Inventing the Future, Denver Marriott Tech Center.
Library History Seminar XII: Libraries in the History of Print Culture, Pyle Center, University of Wisconsin, Madison.
West Texas Book and Music Festival, Abilene Public Library, Country Club, and Civic Center.
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Office 2010: Not your only choice
Edward Mendelson writes: “Microsoft Office 2010 is an impressive, monumental suite of applications. But, let’s face it, with every new version Microsoft’s juggernaut gets bigger and pricier. And with every new release the question comes up again: Do you really need all this? Is it time to jettison Office altogether, and go to one of four alternatives? What about Google Docs, OpenOffice.org, Zoho, or Corel WordPerfect Office?”...
PC Magazine, May 20
Google Chrome fixes web annoyances
Kevin Purdy writes: “Google’s Chrome browser already takes care of some of the web’s biggest annoyances—like browser slowness (Chrome is impressively snappy) and entire-browser-crashing plug-ins (if Flash crashes in one tab, for example, it won’t take down your entire browser session). Throw in some great extensions, and you can block annoying ads, browser-jacking scripts, and other bad behavior.”...
Lifehacker, May 25
Google Wave goes public
Jill Laster writes: “Google Wave has switched from an invitation-only offering to one open to all interested users. Google also announced a batch of special features and tweaks to Google Wave, which allows real-time communication online. Gregory D’Alesandre, product manager at Google, said one of the biggest changes is more user-friendliness, so that new users can adapt quickly to the service. Google Wave plans more changes meant to cater to new users in coming months.”...
Wired Campus, May 19; Google Wave blog, May 18
Deep Web Wiki
Phil Bradley writes: “Direct from the site of Search beyond the Search Engine: ‘The Deep Web Wiki is a volunteer-led search organization that maintains a database containing detailed descriptions of deep websites that are either ignored or poorly indexed by the major search engines; it is estimated that some 95%–99% of web-accessible content cannot be reached using conventional web crawling methods.’ It certainly found content and databases that I wasn’t aware of, so if you’re really stuck and/or want to explore the hidden/invisible/deep web, this is worth a try.”...
Phil Bradley’s Blog, May 16
1st-grader creates iPhone app of Three Little Pigs
Henry Dewey is a typical 8-year-old who loves to build with Legos and annoy his little sister. The first-grader is also doing some nontraditional things: Henry just released his first iPhone application, an e-book version of The Three Little Pigs. His father, Mark Dewey—himself an iPhone application developer—helped, rewriting the story and having Henry narrate it after the boy created the illustrations using pen and ink during an after-school art program. “I just wanted to do it so other (kids) could watch it at dinner, waiting (at) the table,” Henry said....
Austin (Tex.) American-Statesman, May 23
Change how you read online
Jason Griffey writes: “I wanted to share a couple of very specific tools that I find invaluable for dealing with information online. These two tools make reading long form text online so much easier and more convenient that I can’t recommend them enough. The two tools are the Readability bookmark from the arc90 Labs, and the Instapaper service.”...
ALA TechSource, May 20
Quick and dirty remote user testing
Nate Bolt writes: “Although more web people have basic design training nowadays, many are still unfamiliar with how to conduct user research, an important part of the design process. Fortunately, the internet makes it easy to get direct feedback from real users with quick, cheap, guerrilla-style usability testing. Using some of the new web applications popping up, you can effectively do remote user research—that is, user research conducted over the phone and your computer.”...
A List Apart, May 25
Facebook privacy scanner
Matt Pizzimenti has created a free open-source application that will scan your Facebook privacy settings and warn you about any settings which might be “unexpectedly public.” This is part of his ReclaimPrivacy project which strives to promote privacy awareness on the web....
iLibrarian, May 21
No reviews = no respect
Jennifer Howard writes: “An editor at a traditional scholarly journal knows what to do with a print monograph in the humanities or social sciences: Find a qualified reviewer to read it and write about the contribution it makes—or doesn’t. Yet create an online interactive archive or digital scholarly edition, and the same editor probably won’t know what to do with it. This issue may be compounding another worry I keep hearing about: how to get academe’s gatekeepers to take digital work seriously.”...
Chronicle of Higher Education, May 23
Kids’ books said to be eco-unfriendly
Despite efforts by the book publishing industry to take a greener approach to production, four-color children’s books are still being produced using paper fiber linked to the destruction of endangered rainforests, according to a report (PDF file) released May 24 by Rainforest Action Network. The organization tested a random sampling of 30 books from the top 10 U.S. children’s publishers, and found that 18 of them contained fibers linked either to tropical hardwoods or acacia pulp wood plantations in Indonesia....
Crain’s New York Business, May 24; Rainforest Action Network, May 24
A mathematical classic arrives online
More than a decade in the making, the National Institute of Standards and Technology has updated its 1964 classic, Handbook of Mathematical Functions, and made it available online as the National Digital Library of Mathematical Functions. The original Handbook is the world’s foremost math handbook for scholars, researchers, and engineers and the most-cited of all NIST’s publications. Watch the video (2:58)....
NIST, May 11; YouTube, May 11
Blogging software as a book publishing tool
Kent Anderson writes: “In the time it takes an infant to become a kindergartner, blogging software has grown from backwater platforms for shame-ridden indulgences to some of today’s most vibrant publishing infrastructures purveying some of our society’s most compelling content. It has begun to encroach on other platforms and practices in some surprising ways. Now, an academic group building a platform called Book Oven says that WordPress can serve as an ideal book publishing platform.”...
The Scholarly Kitchen, May 24; O’Reilly Tools of Change blog, May 19
Jugendstil: The youth style of Viennese book art
Helen Chang writes: “Turn-of-the-century Vienna was a magical, infectious brew. The extreme right-wing and anti-Semitic forces—though quietly fomenting—would lie dormant a few years longer, leaving the intelligentsia and creatives to indulge in their artistic monomania. Viennese children’s book illustrations at the time were no exception. They flaunted the same overripe aestheticism.”...
Design Observer Group: Observatory, May 19
When did print become an input?
Ann Michael writes: “If you’re familiar with publishing, then you’re familiar with the challenges facing traditional publishers to move from being print-focused to content-focused. Print-focused staff, and the processes that have evolved over centuries to support print, focus on print’s immutable nature. The culture of correction and discussion, and the ability to change content even after it has been distributed, all contribute to a different definition of quality in nonprint modes.”...
The Scholarly Kitchen, May 24
The write collection
Linda Hedrick writes: “I have a theory that book collectors, accumulators, and readers are all closet writers. At least I admit it in my case. I must confess that in desperation I try weird things that I haven’t found in a book. The other day I was at a Starbucks and saw little packages of madeleines, so thinking how greatly they inspired Proust, I bought one. They were tasty but did nothing for my writing. Oreos don’t work either. Since I read a lot of books on writing, I find I have a nice little collection to that end.”...
The Private Library, May 24
The best year of science fiction ever: 1912
Joshua Glenn writes: “Today, we look at the year that gave us works by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Arthur Conan Doyle, and Hugo Gernsback—does 1912 deserve to be crowned the Best Year of Science Fiction Ever? From February through July 1912, All-Story Magazine serialized Under the Moons of Mars, an epic pulp adventure loosely inspired by the Mars-is-dying speculations of astronomer Percival Lowell. It was Edgar Rice Burroughs’s first attempt at fiction, written under the pseudonym of Norman Bean.”...
io9, May 25
Breaking the broadband monopoly
Christopher Mitchell of the nonprofit Institute for Local Self-Reliance has released a report (PDF file) on the practices and philosophy of publicly owned networks. Breaking the Broadband Monopoly explains how public ownership of networks differs from private and evaluates existing publicly owned networks. Cities like Lafayette, Louisiana, and Monticello, Minnesota, offer the fastest speeds at the lowest rates in the entire country. Kutztown’s network in Pennsylvania has saved its community millions of dollars....
Municipal Networks and Community Broadband, May 5
BCALA to launch “Reading Is Grand!” initiative
On June 1, the Black Caucus of the American Library Association will kick off “Reading is Grand!” to promote intergenerational literacy for grandparents raising grandchildren. The inaugural event will be held at the Whitney Young branch of the Chicago Public Library. Renowned author, storyteller, and historian Irene Smalls will read from her books....
ALA Office for Literacy and Outreach, May 24
10th National Book Festival
Internationally known authors Isabel Allende, Brad Meltzer, Katherine Paterson, Jane Smiley, Scott Turow, David Remnick, and Nobel Prize–winner Orhan Pamuk will be among more than 70 writers headlining the 10th annual National Book Festival, organized and sponsored by the Library of Congress, September 25, on the National Mall. The theme will be “A Decade of Words and Wonder.” Watch the 10-year retrospective video (3:45)....
Library of Congress, May 25
Mount Vernon restores George Washington’s overdue book
A small missing piece of American history came home on May 19 after 221 years: A copy of a book borrowed by the first President of the United States was returned to the library from which he borrowed it in New York City. According to the New York Society Library’s meticulous borrowing records, President Washington took out The Law of Nations by Emer de Vattel on October 5, 1789. Staff at Washington’s Mount Vernon home offered to replace the book with another copy of the same edition. (A good timeline is here.)...
Mount Vernon, May 19; The Week, May 21
Get into Sync for free YA audiobooks
Mary Burkey writes: “Looking for a great way to promote your library’s collection of YA audiobooks? How about promoting two free downloads a week from July 1 to September 1 of popular YA titles and classics through Sync, an initiative of the newly formed Audiobook Community, where you can connect with other fans as well as publishers, authors, and narrators? Public and school librarians can also download promotional materials and bookmarks by joining the Sync: YA Listening group.”...
YALSA blog, May 18; Audiobook Community
Making short work of YouTube shortcuts
Brian Herzog writes: “Do you ever want to link right to a specific spot in a YouTube video? Say a video is five minutes long, but the part you want to highlight starts at 3:14. I knew there must be a way to start the video right at 3:14 so people didn’t have to sit through the beginning portion. After a bit of web searching, I found two ways to do this—one for a link, and one for an embedded video.”...
Swiss Army Librarian, May 18
Gale releases iPhone app for school libraries
Gale Cengage Learning has launched the free iPhone application AccessMyLibrary School Edition, enabling K–12 students to access remotely Gale resources their school library has purchased....
Gale Cengage, May 18
Genealogy: It’s a rare book thing
Cokie G. Anderson writes: “Who are their people? That was my ancestry-obsessed Southern grandmother’s first question about any new acquaintance. Breeding and background are a Southern thing; an obsession with bloodlines—of our neighbors, our horses, or our hunting dogs—a value deeply woven into its culture. Perhaps that is why provenance, the rare book equivalent of genealogy, is such a fascination of mine; I am keen to know just who the people were who once owned and handled the books I come across in my work.”...
BookTryst, May 25
Bricks and mortar
Tom Peters writes: “We librarians love to talk about bricks and mortar libraries, more than HVAC systems, load-bearing walls, and even shelving. Recently, I had an up-close-and-personal encounter with bricks and mortar that got me thinking again about the past, present, and future of bricks and mortar libraries: The old high school in Fontana, Kansas, was being razed.”...
ALA TechSource Blog, May 25
Copyright case study: Elena Kagan’s thesis
Mary Minow writes: “A conservative website, RedState.com, secured a copy of Elena Kagan’s senior thesis written while she was at Princeton and posted it. The Princeton University Archives then wrote to them requesting that it be taken down. The case is interesting because it illustrates many of the complexities associated with reproducing student papers. And it is a good example of the confusion that can result when libraries and archives commingle copyright and ownership issues.”...
LibraryLaw Blog, May 18
Data.gov and democratizing information
Alix Vance writes: “The one-year anniversary of the Obama administration’s Open Government Initiative was honored with a cupcake and candle at the newly redesigned Data.gov site and an announcement from the White House. The message from the Obama administration is that the OGI signals a sea change for government information that will spawn a global movement to democratize access and foster innovation and transparency via community-developed applications.”...
The Scholarly Kitchen, May 25; White House.gov blog, May 21
Preserving our digital genome
Standing in the shadow of an utlrasecure storage facility underneath a mountain in the Swiss Alps in Saanen, Switzerland, Adam Farquhar, head of digital library technology at the British Library, and Andreas Rauber, a professor at the Vienna University of Technology, hold in their hands the Planets time capsule that contains the bits of our digital heritage. It’s not just lots of zeros and ones, but also the documentation they think will be necessary to preserve those zeros and ones in the years to come....
Discovery News, May 20
The benefits of bicycling to work
Louis and Candice Lee Jones write: “Cyclists cite lots of reasons for trading in the car, bus, or train for a two-wheel commute: a good workout, a minuscule carbon footprint, fewer worries about finding a parking space—but one of the most enticing benefits is the cost savings. To see how much you can save by biking to work, use our calculator.”...
Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, June
Google Forms for assessment and evaluation
Buffy Hamilton writes: “When I think about teaching and learning, assessment is probably the messiest area of the process for me. One tool that I have found helpful in creating formative and summative assessments this academic school year is Google Forms, a free tool in the Google Docs suite. Google Forms allows you to create assessments that can be open-ended or objective in nature; you also can create survey style assessments in which learners respond to questions by ranking or rating their responses.”...
ALA Learning, May 17
Five questions to get you through any job interview
Amy Armstrong writes: “Job interviews are scary. Sure, it’s great to land them, but once the initial glee over getting the interview passes, you’re left with the anxiety over what they’re going to ask and how they will feel about your answers. According to Richard Nelson Bolles, author of What Color is Your Parachute?, all job interview questions boil down to five basic questions hiring authorities want answered.”...
New York Public Library Blogs, May 24
A reading from the Book of Job (Hunting)
Leigh Anne Vrabel writes: “And, lo, it came to pass that the Time of the Library School Graduations did come round again. And at first, there was much rejoicing. And in many cases did that rejoicing consist of quaffing the fruit of the vine, but also, for those not so inclined, there was indeed punch and pie. But as the glow of accomplishment faded, and unpleasant aftermath of the fruit of the vine did descend upon the revelers, so too did the realization that they still did not have jobs.”...
Library Alchemy, May 24
It’s National Military Appreciation Month
National Military Appreciation Month, first designated by Congress in 1999 and encompassing both the history and recognition of U.S. armed services with an in-depth look at the diversity of its individuals and achievements. Some ideas for libraries: Highlight American military history with suggested reading materials, display book jackets, or invite veterans to speak about their experiences....
National Military Appreciation Month
Alexandria Library civil rights sit-in, 1939
Larry Nix writes: “On August 21, 1939, five young black men between the ages of 18 and 22 walked individually into the ‘whites only’ Alexandria (Va.) Public Library and asked for a library card. When they were refused, they walked to the stacks, selected a book, and sat down quietly at a table and began to read. The police were called and they were arrested for disorderly conduct. This was the first civil rights sit-in involving a public facility in America.”...
Library History Buff Blog, May 25
A Bohemian rose by any other name
Frank Jacobs writes: “‘With Justice and Piety’ reads the Latin emblazoning this 17th-century map that shows Bohemia as a stylized rose. If that region is in bloom, the map suggests, it is precisely by the application of Iustitia et Pietate—the personal motto of Leopold I (1640–1705), who sought to consolidate his Austrian, Hungarian, and Bohemian dynastic territories. The map was first drawn up by the Silesian cartographer Christoph Vetter (1575–1650), copper-engraved by Wolfgang Kilian in 1668, and included in Bohuslav Balbín’s Epitome historica rerum Bohemicarum, a history and geography of Bohemia from antiquity to 1677.”...
Strange Maps, May 18
Danish scanner uncovers hidden words
Linguist Michael Lerche and his colleagues at the University of Copenhagen have spent years trying to decipher hidden and illegible texts in damaged medieval manuscripts. Now a foundation has donated a multispectral scanner that enables the scholars to make words, which have not seen the light of day in as much as 700 years, appear on a computer screen in a matter of minutes. The scanner works by recording, enhancing, and comparing images of the manuscript in 19 different wavelengths....
University of Copenhagen, Apr. 21
Digital curation and preservation bibliography
Charles W. Bailey Jr. has put together a bibliography of selected English-language articles, books, and technical reports that are useful in understanding digital curation and preservation. Most sources were published between 2000 and the present; however, a limited number of key sources published prior to 2000 are also included. Where possible, links are provided to sources that are freely available on the internet....
Digital Scholarship, May 17
Another day, another demon
The Merry Librarian writes: “We’ve all encountered at least one patron looking to learn more about demons, witchcraft, or exorcism. It seems like every encounter is a story worthy of The Merry Librarian. The attitude of this particular librarian made us smile, however. Perhaps she should write the first book on the subject—it’s bound to be stolen from library shelves across the country in no time.”...
The Merry Librarian, May 18
Let them read cakes
Jen Yates writes: “Today’s Sweets are in honor of National Children’s Book Week. They’re also for all of us out there who like to complain when a movie ruins the book. I am so impressed by those circle stripes on this Dr. Seuss title (right). They’re not fondant; they are a combination of royal and run-in icing. Cool, huh?”...
Cake Wrecks, May 16
The growth of social media
Did you know that if Facebook was a country, it would now be the third largest in the world? It passed the U.S. population earlier this year and is now eclipsed only by China and India. That mind-boggling statistic—along with a few dozen more—are showcased in a new video (4:25), produced by Socialnomics author Erik Qualman as a follow-up piece to his original social media stats video from July 2009....
Mashable, May 7; YouTube, May 5
Am I the only odd duck who loved library school?
Will Manley writes: “It is a pastime of librarians to disparage their library school days and to devalue the importance of library school, and I certainly agree with the adage that working in a library is 90% experience-based and 10% theory-based. But I also believe that formula holds true for most jobs. The way I see it in retrospect, my library school did not intend to graduate polished librarians. It strove instead to graduate students who were filled with a love of learning, a passion to serve, and a commitment to defend the basic principles of intellectual freedom.”...
Will Unwound, May 19
The annual report as digital pop-up book
No trees were killed in making the 2009 annual report of the Topeka and Shawnee County (Kans.) Public Library. This year’s report is an audiovisual extravaganza laid out whimsically as a pop-up book. One of the first pages shows Library Director Gina Millsap (right) giving a welcome statement as if she were only inches tall, standing on a page of the book. It contains basic financial information about where the money comes from and where it goes. But it also contains elements never possible on paper: for example, a video of teens participating in open mike night....
Topeka (Kans.) Capital-Journal, May 20; Topeka–Shawnee County Public Library
Librarian stereotypes, alive and well
Marie L. Radford writes: “If any of us ever did doubt that the traditional stereotype of the librarian is alive and well, here in 2010, right here in New Jersey, doubt it no more. Convincing evidence to confirm this is easily found. Librarians, usually female, are consistently portrayed as bespectacled, mousy, unassuming, sexually repressed introverts who primarily engage in three behaviors—shushing, stamping, and shelving books. The male librarian stereotype, although less prominent, is also unflattering to the profession.”...
Library Garden, May 21
Betty White plays the stereotype
In the May 19 episode of The Middle, veteran actress Betty White plays a stereotypical school librarian (Mrs. Nethercott, complete with pink cardigan, I Heart Books pin, and reading glasses on a necklace) who threatens to hold back Brick (played by Atticus Shaffer), an intelligent but absent-minded boy who loves to read, from the 3rd grade because he has 31 books overdue. This clip (1:55) shows her delivering an ultimatum: “No fractions, no cursive, no field trip to an Amish farm.”...
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