American Libraries Direct
The e-newsletter of the American Library Association | September 1, 2010

American Libraries Online
ALA News
Booklist Online
Division News
Seen Online
Tech Talk
Actions & Answers
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AL Buyers Guide

American Libraries Online

Calgary Public Library's get-out-the-vote promotional signCalgary library squelches rumor of “Don’t Be an Idiot” campaign
With the fall election season gearing up, it seemed that the staff of the Calgary (Alberta) Public Library was doing its part to get out the vote when the Canadian Broadcasting Company reported August 25 that the library had launched a “Don’t Be an Idiot” PR campaign to promote its upcoming candidate forums and political resources. Acknowledging that the slogan “caught a lot of people’s attention,” including some who took offense, CPL spokesperson Gerry Burger-Martindale invoked a classical Greek definition of the term....
American Libraries news, Sept. 1; Slice of Calgary, Aug. 17

Puzzle made out of Grant pictureWinning grants: A game plan
Herbert Landau writes: “Grant seeking is a marketing process. Simply stated, you define your library’s need and sell it to one who can fund your project. Librarians are their own best grant-proposal writers. No outsider can write a proposal as effectively as a library insider. In any game it helps to have rules. Here are four common-sense ones that govern my grant-writing game plan.”...
American Libraries feature, Aug. 24

Gettysburg battle reenactorsWill’s World: Why librarianship endures
Will Manley writes: “Once when I was working the reference desk, a seemingly normal community college student (no exposed underwear, multiple tongue piercings, neck tattoos, or a message shaven into his hair) asked why so many Civil War battles were fought in national parks: ‘They are environmental treasures that should always be kept clean and safe. Plus, cannon shots might start forest fires.’”...
American Libraries column, Sept.

Opening of the Ethiopia Reads library in Mekele. Screen shot from the videoA library opens in Ethiopia
At the grand opening of the Ethiopia Reads library in Mekele, Ethiopia, on August 20, Ethiopia Reads Founder Yohannes Gebregeorgis talked (3:34) with American Libraries Editor Leonard Kniffel about the need for libraries in Ethiopia, the difficulties of opening libraries there, and how librarians around the world can help with the mission....
AL Focus, Aug. 31

Françoise Beaulieu-Thybulle and Elizabeth Pierre-LouisHaitian librarians describe destruction
At the 2010 IFLA World Library and Information Congress in Gothenburg, Sweden, Françoise Beaulieu-Thybulle, director of the National Library of Haiti, and Elizabeth Pierre-Louis, program director for FOKAL, described (3:39) the damage caused by the January 12 earthquake, the work they have been doing to recover, and how librarians around the world can help....
AL Focus, Aug. 31

Ellen TiseIFLA President Ellen Tise
At the 2010 IFLA World Library and Information Congress in Gothenburg, Sweden, IFLA President Ellen Tise (right) of South Africa shared (3:19) what she’s learned from her first year as IFLA president, discusses what value international work offers to new librarians, and offers an invitation to next year’s IFLA World Congress in Puerto Rico....
AL Focus, Aug. 31

A laptop computerDesktops be gone?
Laura Bruzas writes: “Has your library been operating on autopilot with regards to your purchasing decisions by sticking with desktops versus the now often just-as-powerful laptop? We can all benefit by turning off our autopilot, especially in the area of purchasing. With the purchasing and disposal choices they make, libraries play a key role in shaping not only the footprint of individual computers but also industry output as a whole.”...
AL: Green Your Library, Aug. 26

VHS tapeVHS to DVD
Q. Is it a copyright violation to convert VHS tapes to DVD and discontinue their use? A. In most cases, yes, it would be a copyright violation. Reproducing a VHS tape on a DVD without the prior permission of the rightsholder is an infringement of copyright. This kind of reproduction is not exempt because it is not “fair use” and does not qualify as a lawful reproduction under Section 108 of the Copyright Code....
AL: Ask the ALA Librarian, Aug. 26

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ALA News

Cover of ALA-APA Salary Survey: Librarian—Public and AcademicReport: Librarians’ salaries jumped 3% in 2010
In the midst of tough economic times, job shortages and cutbacks, the 2010 edition of the ALA-APA Salary Survey: Librarian—Public and Academic reveals increases in librarian salaries. In contrast to the decreases reported in 2009, analysis of 2010 data for librarians with ALA-accredited master’s degrees shows a 3% mean increase from $58,860 to $60,734 and a 2% median rise from $54,500 to $55,883. The data is available immediately for subscribers to the ALA-APA Library Salary Database and in print from the ALA store....
ALA Allied Professional Association, Aug. 26

NBA star Dwyane Wade promotes librariesFree customized promos for Library Card Sign-up Month
Launched in September 1987, Library Card Sign-up Month is a time when public and school libraries across the country join together to remind parents that a library card is the most important school supply of all. Libraries looking for materials to help promote Library Card Sign-up Month locally can download print and audio public service announcements featuring NBA star and Honorary Chair Dwyane Wade (right). ALA will customize the print PSA with a library’s logo for free....
Campaign for America’s Libraries, Aug. 26

Students look at a map to see which ALA chapter they should joinA state association by any other name
If you are not already a member of your state library association, also known as an ALA chapter, please join yours. There are many reasons to do so, including discounts for attending conferences, networking, mentoring, and all kinds of other opportunities and services. Most importantly, you can contribute to your state association’s efforts to support libraries and the library profession....
ALA Student Membership Blog, Aug. 30

ALA seeks Endowment Fund trustee
Applications are now being accepted for the position of Endowment Fund trustee. A candidate will be selected by the ALA Executive Board at the next Midwinter Meeting. The trustee will serve a three-year term starting at the end of the 2011 ALA Annual Conference. Applications (Word file) must be received by November 15....
Office of ALA Governance

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Booklist Online logo

Cover of The Last Boy: Mickey Mantle and the End of America's ChildhoodFeatured review: Adult sports
Leavy, Jane. The Last Boy: Mickey Mantle and the End of America’s Childhood. Illustrated. Oct. 2010. 464p. Harper, hardcover (978-0-06-088352-2).
Another Mantle biography? Yes, but Leavy takes a new tack, approaching the New York Yankee center fielder from the mixed perspectives of fan, journalist, and personal acquaintance, striving, as she says, to portray the man she loved as a child but whose actions were unlovable. She conducted more than 500 interviews with family, friends, teammates, managers, and medical professionals—the latter group, sadly, surprisingly large. Ruining his knee on an uncovered Yankee Stadium drain in his rookie year, Mantle essentially played hurt the remaining 17 years of his career, a condition that helped fuel his ultimately fatal alcoholism, which propelled him into a satyr’s life of infidelity, despite a devoted wife and four sons. This is unlike any biography on the sports shelf....

Graphic for Top 10 Sports BooksTop 10 sports books
Bill Ott writes: “Sports biography rules the day in this year’s top 10, with landmark biographies of Sugar Ray Robinson, Willie Mays, and Hank Aaron. But it isn’t all mainstream: There’s also a book in which a failed rock musican describes his stint as a failed sailor (Three Ways to Capsize a Boat: An Optimist Afloat, by Genesis drummer Chris Stewart).”...

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

Division News

Vision Tour logoVision Tour to tout exemplary school libraries
AASL President Nancy Everhart is taking the division’s Learning 4 Life initiative on the road with the Vision Tour, in which she hopes to visit a school library in every state in the U.S. The schools Everhart will visit were selected by AASL affiliate organizations as visual models to the general public of how good school libraries empower every student with the skills needed to be a Learner4Life. Her first stop will be at the Kailua (Hawaii) Elementary School library, and she will be blogging about her visits. The Friends of AASL is accepting donations to fund the tour....
AASL, Aug. 27

YA Literature Symposium logoEarly bird deadline extended for YA Literature Symposium
Take advantage of the lowest registration rates for YALSA’s Young Adult Literature Symposium, November 5–7, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. YALSA members and New Mexico Library Association members will save 20% over onsite registration fees by signing up by September 17. This year’s theme is “Diversity, Literature, and Teens: Beyond Good Intentions.”...

AASL lauds six groups for supporting school libraries
The AASL Affiliate Assembly has formally commended six organizations for their support of school library programs and their alignment with the learning standards, program guidelines, and principles expressed in AASL’s mission and value statements. Honorees include American Girl Place Chicago for its support of Chicago Public Schools, and Old Dominion University’s Librarianship Upgrades for Children and Youth Services for its opportunities for youth services librarians....
AASL, Aug. 27

Cover of The Academic Library Building in the Digital AgeHow to build academic libraries for the digital age
The first comprehensive study of planning and construction of academic library buildings completed entirely in the 21st century, The Academic Library Building in the Digital Age answers the question of how, not whether, academic libraries will survive. Author Christopher Stewart includes survey results on planning processes and such building characteristics as user space in each building, usage, and new roles for library buildings in this ACRL publication....
ACRL, Aug. 31


Some of the 200+ ALA award winnersALA awards roundup
Welcome to a showcase of the dynamic doers—a snapshot of those who have dedicated themselves to the profession, who have gone above and beyond, and whose contributions have been so significant and so varied. American Libraries is proud to highlight the Association’s best of the best. Here is a snapshot of the 200+ awards presented annually by ALA, its divisions, round tables, offices, and other units....
American Libraries feature

I Love My Librarian Award logoFind out what it feels like to be loved
Library users can nominate their favorite school, public, or academic librarians in the third Carnegie Corporation of New York/New York Times I Love My Librarian Award. The deadline for submissions is September 20. Read the profiles of two of the 2009 winners, Dwight McInvaill and Oceana Wilson, and feel the love. Up to 10 winners will be selected this year and receive a $5,000 cash award, a plaque, and $500 travel stipend to attend an awards reception in New York....
Public Information Office

Westbank Community Library District, Austin, Texas, or “One Library: Two Locations; Building a Branch and Expanding a Community”2010 John Cotton Dana award winners pix
Kathy Dempsey writes: “It’s time to look back at this year’s John Cotton Dana Library Public Relations Awards, which were given out at ALA in June in Washington, D.C. We have already posted the 2010 winners’ announcement, an announcement of the ceremony, and a quick pic of New Jersey State Librarian Nancy Dowd with her award. Now, however, I’ve managed to get the professional photos of all the winners, thanks to the award’s sponsors: LLAMA, the H. W. Wilson Company, and the H. W. Wilson Foundation.”...
The ‘M’ Word—Marketing Libraries, Aug. 30

ACRL welcomes 2011 award nominations
ACRL urges division members to nominate colleagues whose work has influenced their thinking and growth as an academic librarian and whose contributions merit recognition by the profession. Member nominations will ensure that the pool of candidates for each award remains both competitive and distinguished. The deadline for most award nominations is December 3 and guidelines are posted online....
ACRL, Aug. 31

ACRL's IAVA award trophyNew ACRL website wins design award
ACRL Conference Supervisor Tory Ondrla and the ACRL staff recently received a 2010 Communicator Award (right) in the category of branding and website design from the International Academy of the Visual Arts for its new ACRL 2011 Conference brand and website. ACRL partnered with AssociaDirect, Inc. to develop the new brand and design....
ACRL Insider, Aug. 17

Submit titles for the Sibert Informational Book Award
The 2011 ALSC Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award Committee is seeking titles for consideration. The Sibert Award is presented annually to the author, author/illustrator, coauthors, or author and illustrator of the most distinguished informational book for children published during the preceeding year. Only informational books from the 2010 publishing year are under consideration. Submit suggestions to Barbara Brand....
ALSC Blog, Aug. 25

Time to pimp your bookcart
Pimp My Bookcart is an annual contest run by the library-themed comic strip Unshelved to see who can best pimp, trick out, or improve a standard book cart. Libraries and schools often stage kids and/or teen programs to generate entries. Unshelved cocreators Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum are the sole judges. Submission deadline is November 15. Be inspired by last year’s winners....
2010 Pimp My Bookcart

Youth with YSA certificates at Toms River, N.J.Apply for State Farm Good Neighbor Service-Learning grants
State Farm is teaming up with Youth Service America to offer grants of up to $1,000 to youth-led service-learning initiatives in all 50 states, D.C., and Alberta, Ontario, and New Brunswick. Eligible programs will engage youth in service learning, an effective teaching and learning strategy that promotes student learning, academic achievement, workplace readiness, and healthy communities. Applications are due by October 15....
PLA Blog, Aug. 31; Youth Service America

Seen Online

General George Patton presents the original Nuremberg Laws to Huntington Library Trustee Robert Millikan for safekeeping on June 11, 1945. Screen shot from NARA videoNational Archives acquires Nuremberg Laws
On August 25, Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero received the two original sets of the Nuremberg Laws (PDF file of English translation), the anti-Semitic manifesto signed by Adolf Hitler in 1935 that led to the extermination of 6 million Jews during World War II. Huntington Library President Steven S. Koblik gave the documents to Ferriero at the San Marino, California, library, where they have been kept since June 1945. Gen. George S. Patton Jr. left them there for safekeeping during his post-war leave and died that December before arranging their final disposition. This NARA video (3:47) tells the story....
National Archives and Records Administration, Aug. 25; YouTube, Aug. 23

Hurricane Katrina, five years later
Former First Lady Laura Bush congratulated educators and residents of St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana, on August 27 for the remarkable job they have done to rebuild their schools and community in the wake of the disastrous flooding after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Bush created the Laura Bush Foundation for America’s Libraries, which helped restock much of the parish school district’s library collections and distributed more than $5 million in books and other library resources to hundreds of damaged schools....
New Orleans Times-Picayune, Aug. 27

Kong DeyongConfucius descendant to donate family tree to LC
A descendant of the ancient Chinese philosopher Confucius will donate a copy of the fifth edition of the Confucius Genealogy, a collection of books that delineates Confucius’s family tree, to the Library of Congress. Kong Deyong (right), a 77th-generation descendant of the revered Chinese philosopher, will donate the books to the library on September 11, when he attends an international workshop on Confucianism. Said to be the longest family tree in the world, the 80 books have a total of 43,000 pages and record some 1.3 million living descendants who are scattered around the world today....
Xinhua, Aug. 31; China Internet Information Center

Cathy Smith BowersN.C. poet laureate is library card spokesperson
North Carolina’s poet laureate Cathy Smith Bowers (right) joins public libraries in the state to promote Library Card Sign-up Month in September. The goal is to make the library card the most valued and used card for North Carolina citizens. Appointed by Gov. Bev Perdue in January, Bowers serves as an ambassador of North Carolina literature by affirming the transformative value of poetry in people
’s lives....
Southern Pines (N.C.) Pilot, Aug. 29

Jay DeVaughnAcademic librarian: I sent death threats to Obama
Jay DeVaughn (right), former director of library services at the Community College of Aurora, Colorado, pleaded guilty August 26 to 13 federal counts of mailing threatening communications. He was arrested in March for sending letters containing white powder he claimed was anthrax to President Obama, members of Congress from Colorado and Alabama, and Argentine consulates in Los Angeles and New York in 2009 and early 2010, as well as implicating enemies with the return addresses he used. DeVaughn is scheduled for sentencing November 19....
Denver Post, March 1, Aug. 27

Multnomah County regains its website
Signing onto the Multnomah County (Oreg.) Library website on August 30 sent users instead to a site that had been taken over by a generic portal. Library officials mistakenly let the registration expire for the library’s domain name, library spokesman Jeremy Graybill said. Email notices that the domain name was expiring, sent by the company, had been sent to people who no longer work for the library or had moved to other positions in the county....
Portland Oregonian, Aug. 31; Multnomah County (Oreg.) Library, Aug. 31

Newtown's 250 celebration logoNewtown Library Company celebrates 250th birthday
The Newtown (Pa.) Library Company will throw a 250th Birthday Bash on September 12 that will feature actors playing William Penn and Ben Franklin. History narrators will give tours, and a dixieland band will play. Founded in 1760 by local farmers who combined their finances to order books, the library has been in its current building since 1912....
Bucks (Pa.) Local News, Aug. 31

FEMA delay stalls new Cedar Rapids library
A much-anticipated agreement that would set in motion a two-year sequence of events to bring Cedar Rapids (Iowa) Public Library’s main facility back remains on hold several weeks after city officials had hoped to get a green light from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The arrangement involves the firm TrueNorth selling its current building to the city, thus freeing up the company’s location several blocks west of the flood plain for a new $45.5-million library....
Cedar Rapids (Iowa) Gazette, Aug. 24

Genoa (Ill.) Public LibraryMan leaves Illinois library $1.7 million
A donation of $1.7 million from the estate of Genoa, Illinois, resident Robert Weiss may help triple the size of the 3,500-square-foot Genoa Public Library (right), which officials describe as bursting at the seams. Weiss was 86 when he died October 21, 2009. He never married, did not own a car, was frugal, and, according to Library Director Susan Walker who has worked at the library since 1998, was not a regular patron. Walker does not remember ever seeing Weiss inside the library. Weiss made out his will in 1995....
Elgin (Ill.) Courier-News, Aug. 26

Most people still decline to be located
Internet companies have appropriated the real estate business’s mantra—it’s all about location. But while a home on the beach will always be an easy sell, it may be more difficult to persuade people to start using location-based web services. Online companies like Google, Foursquare, Gowalla, Shopkick, and Facebook have poured $115 million into location start-ups since last year, but for all the attention and money these apps and websites are getting, adoption has so far been largely confined to the pockets of young, technically adept urbanites....
New York Times, Aug. 29

Library staff member Ronda Mitchell demonstrates the Library-To-Go locker. Photo by Mitzi St. JohnQuik Stop lockers replace new branch plans
The overwhelming rejection in 2007 of a tax increase to build two new library branches for the Daniel Boone Regional Library in Columbia, Missouri, led to the August 30 launch of the system’s pilot Library-To-Go program, whose first location is Ed’s Quik Stop in Hallsville. Library-To-Go is a secure system of lockers where patrons can pick up books for which they placed online holds. They use their library cards to access the lockers....
Columbia (Mo.) Daily Tribune, Aug. 28

Ask Me button, Orland Park (Ill.) Public LibraryOrland Park reference librarians wander the stacks
Freed from their desks, reference librarians at the Orland Park (Ill.) Public Library have taken to the aisles to help patrons find the answers they need. The program began in the spring to enhance customer service for library patrons. Armed with laptop computers and sporting “Ask Me” buttons, the librarians are fielding about 200 questions a month from the floor, Assistant Head of Adult Services Diane Srebro said. All told, the reference desk averages about 3,000 reference questions a month....
Chicago Southtown Star, Aug. 29

Need downtime? Turn off the electronics
Cell phones, iPods, and HDTV can make the tiniest windows of time entertaining and potentially productive. But scientists point to an unanticipated side effect: When people keep their brains busy with digital input, they are forfeiting downtime that could allow them to better learn and remember information, or come up with new ideas. You might be clearer-headed if you go for a run outside, instead of on a treadmill listening to music and checking email....
New York Times, Aug. 24

Auctioned Blagojevich boxes contain client files
Amid photos and handwritten letters in auction boxes connected to former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich are confidential client-attorney papers from his lawyer days and opposition research on his 2006 gubernatorial race rival Judy Baar Topinka. Northwestern University’s Associate University Librarian for Special Libraries Jeffrey Garrett bought 18 boxes of files, photos, and videotapes at a storage company auction August 19 on behalf of the libraries, which document the careers of significant alumni. The boxes were auctioned because rent had not been paid for more than a year....
Associated Press, Aug. 25

Princess Laurentien inaugurates the Schiphol Airport LibraryAmsterdam opens a library in Schiphol Airport
Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands (right) was on hand August 25 at the official opening of the Airport Library at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport, a browsing library of 1,250 Dutch-culture books targeted primarily for international passengers awaiting connecting flights. The library was initiated by library-services provider ProBiblio and the Netherlands Public Library Association in cooperation with the city libraries of Amsterdam, Delft, and Harlemmermeer. But it turns out that Nashville (Tenn.) Public Library had an airport branch 48 years ago....
The Moodie Report, Aug. 26; Jaunted, Aug. 26

Erin Raab helps train a library assistant at the KwaNdengezi library. Screen shot from videoEconomics student starts a library in South Africa
Erin Raab (right) went to Durban, South Africa, on a Rotary Club scholarship, intending to bring home a master’s degree in economic development studies. She left behind a legacy: a library. The Apple Valley, Minnesota, native started the KwaNdengezi Library and Education Centre as her master’s project, but the job kept her in South Africa for five years. The area surrounding KwaNdengezi has nine schools and more than 8,000 students, almost all of whom had never been to a library. So Raab set out to create one. Watch the video (9:26)....
Minneapolis Star Tribune, Aug. 28; YouTube, July 22

CRDF logoU.S. group plans North African digital library
To expand North Africa’s research capabilities, a project financed by the United States plans to connect the region’s universities and science institutes to a digital library that could eventually stretch from Morocco to Libya. The U.S. Civilian Research and Development Foundation is leading the effort and is initially working with Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia to increase their access to the latest international research, give scientists greater opportunities to collaborate, and hopefully bolster their scientific work and scholarly publishing....
Chronicle of Higher Education, Aug. 25

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Tech Talk

Computer error: Stack overflow; internal stack fall down and go boomAsking why
Kate Sheehan writes: “‘Why?’ is a question library techies sometimes dread. ‘Why did it work before but not this time?’ ‘Why is it broken?’ ‘Why am I getting this error message?’ Often the answer is straightforward, but sometimes getting to why would require an electrical engineering background and a path of inquiry beyond simply fixing the problem. Nothing is quite so frustrating as resolving a persistent error only to have your techjoy smashed to bits by a coworker disappointed because you’re not quite sure why the computer stopped recognizing the printer, you only know that they’re now friends again.”...
ALA TechSource Blog, Aug. 27

Nazi RobotThe Tech Nazi
Doug Johnson writes: “I was visiting a small school district not long ago and had a chance to visit with its curriculum director. In passing, she referred to their technology director as the Tech Nazi. This is not the first time I’ve heard people in other districts who have a position like mine described in less than endearing terms. Tech directors have two strikes against them coming out of the box. But I think it’s possible to have both good working relations with people and computers in good working order.”...
Blue Skunk Blog, Aug. 28

TabFusion logoThe 12 best ways to customize Facebook fan pages
Orli Yakuel writes: “When a service such as Facebook limits users’ creative freedom, it is inevitable that other add-on services will overcome this limitation. This is why then, we see more and more Facebook tab apps that give us more control and freedom when it comes to customizing a fan page or a personal profile. If you own a page on Facebook as of August 23, you now need to customize it under your tab to a width of 520 pixels. Here are the 12 best services for making Facebook page tabs.”...
TechCrunch, Aug. 23

Google Gmail Call Phone serviceGoogle offers phone calls via Gmail
Google entered a new business on August 25 with a service within Gmail to make phone calls over the web to landlines or cell phones. The service will put the company into direct competition with Skype and telecommunications providers. It could also make Google a more ubiquitous part of people’s social interactions by uniting the service for phone calls with email, text messages, and video chats. Jason Griffey adds: “To my knowledge, this is the only way that you can both send and receive phone calls in the U.S. with no connection at all to a phone carrier for free.”...
New York Times, Aug. 25; AL: Perpetual Beta, Aug. 25

BlogBooker logoTurn your blog into a PDF book
Richard Byrne writes: “Last month I wrote about Anthologize, which turns WordPress blogs into PDF books or e-books. Today I have good news for Blogger users who want to turn the contents of their blogs into e-books. BlogBooker is a free service that allows you to turn the contents of your Blogger blog into a PDF.”...
Free Technology for Teachers, Aug. 30

Channel theme from Theme JunkieFree professional WordPress themes
Nancy Messieh writes: “There are countless resources for finding free WordPress themes, from WordPress’ very own repository to professional designers who release themes for download on their sites. A handful of these designers have been generous enough to contribute their time and talent to bring us new, free, premium-like WordPress themes, alongside their paid themes. The following list features some of the best.”...
MakeUseOf, Aug. 28

King County Library System's Preston Sort CenterReducing operating costs
King County (Wash.) Library System has the second-highest circulation of any public library system in the United States. Serving a population of 1.2 million in 44 branches, annual circulation for the library system is 21 million. The library system needed a better way to manage the more than 85,000 items coming into and going out of its Preston Sort Center every day. In 2005, KCLS installed an automated materials handling system....
AL: Solutions and Services, Aug. 31

How to choose a cell phone carrier
Jamie Lendino writes: “Choosing a cell phone carrier is tougher than ever. Should you go with AT&T or Verizon, or a smaller player like MetroPCS? There has been much progress in the past several years. On the other hand, we had thought pricing schemes were obtuse a few years ago. Now, they’re downright shady. Sometimes, its all we can do to keep track of the weekly changes in handset and plan pricing. Let us help you through the thicket of distortions.”...
PC Magazine, Aug. 26

ABBYY Fine Reader screenFive best text-recognition tools
Jason Fitzpatrick writes: “Optical Character Recognition (OCR) has been around for decades but only recently has become both economical and easy enough to use that it is within the reach of the average consumer. Today we’re looking at Lifehacker readers’ five favorite applications for turning physical text into machine-readable virtual text.”...
Lifehacker, Aug. 29

Lutron Maestro Eco-Minder dimmerDevices that help plug electrical leaks
Jonathan S. Paul writes: “Hand-held gadgets with batteries are great about communicating their energy needs, but what about the bigger machines—the ones that lazily slurp up power all day long even, in some cases, when you think they are turned off? The things you turn off, like televisions, DVD players, cable boxes—they are not really off. Many devices must maintain a trickle of electricity (indicated by those little red LEDs that glow) to receive a signal from a remote control or display a digital clock.”...
New York Times: Home Tech, Aug. 26

Kindle 3 text-to-speechKindle 3 text-to-speech versus audiobooks
Mary Burkey writes: “Amazon is rightfully lauded by the National Federation for the Blind for incorporating demands for accessibility features in the newest Kindle, with voice menus that allow those with print disabilities to easily access the text-to-speech functions provided in some—not all—e-books on the e-reader. I experimented with the male and female voice, switched from the default reading speed to fast and slow, and had the text-to-speech read me a bit of Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins—the same bit that I had just listened to in the audiobook.”...
Booklist Online: Audiobooker, Aug. 28

EBSCO adds text-to-speech (PDF file)
EBSCO Publishing has added text-to-speech support to its EBSCOhost databases, including its major school and public library databases, by embedding Texthelp Systems’ SpeechStream toolbar—a benefit provided at no additional cost. Users will be able to take advantage of this new feature with any full-text articles available in HTML. Text-to-speech support allows users to read along while a human-sounding voice speaks the text on the screen....
EBSCO Publishing, Aug. 26

APA ad

2011 ALA Midwinter Meeting logo, San Diego

ALA Midwinter Meeting in San Diego, California, January 7–11, 2011. Bundled registration is now open.

Cover of Library Technology Reports, Aug.-Sept. 2010

In the August-September issue of Library Technology Reports, “The Concept of Electronic Resource Usage in Libraries,” Rachel Fleming-May and Jill E. Grogg offer methodology and tools for measuring and understanding the usage of your library’s electronic resources. NEW! From ALA TechSource.

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“Like” American Libraries on Facebook.

New this week
in American Libraries

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Winning Grants

Will’s World

Perpetual Beta

Inside Scoop

Green Your Library

Ask the ALA Librarian

Librarian’s Library

AL Focus

Career Leads from
JobLIST logo

Head of Library Technology and Systems, Coastal Carolina University, Conway, South Carolina. The Kimbel Library seeks an enthusiastic colleague to provide vision and leadership that reflects current needs and anticipates future trends in the evolving library and information environment. The successful candidate will have experience in the management of library systems that support the essential functions of the library, including its integrated system and resource sharing software and systems. Knowledge of emerging technologies and trends in the provision of library resources is essential as this person will lead a small team consisting of electronic resources and systems together with emerging technologies and web design in developing new and exciting ways to meet the needs of campus faculty, students, and staff. He/she will be responsible for design and development of a dynamic web presence that integrates resources and technology to achieve a user-friendly environment and efficient access....

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Digital Library of the Week

Bottle of insulin with beige label printed in black with red rubber stopper, Connaught Medical Research Laboratories, Toronto, November 5, 1923

The Fisher Digital Collections showcase the treasures of the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library at the University of Toronto. All of the digital collections provide page images, enhanced indexing features, and the ability to conduct full-text searching on the contents of the documents themselves. The special digital collections include human anatomy, the Barren Lands, Canadian pamphlets and broadsides, paintings of flora by Agnes Chamberlin, etchings of of Wenceslaus Hollar, the early development of insulin, and ancient Egyptian papyri.

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
How the World
Sees Us

F. Martin Duncan (1873-1961), librarian, zoologist, and microcinematographer

“Quite accidentally Mr. F. Martin Duncan, librarian to the Zoological Society, discovered that he could hypnotise lobsters.
    “Before some officials of the society, he gave a most amusing demonstration on his office desk in Regent’s Park, London.
    “A wild, uneducated female lobster was selected at random from a fishmonger’s slab for the purposes of the experiment. There could therefore be no question of a trained confederate or of collusion. She was a big fish of 3lb. 4oz., and the hypnotist elected not to cut the string binding her claws as she exhibited considerable liveliness. . . .
    “Then came the crowning moment. Mr. Duncan lifted the hypnotised shellfish and stood her on her head.”

—“A Lobster Hypnotized,Ashburton (N.Z.) Guardian, Mar. 11, 1921.

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11th European Conference on Knowledge Management, Famalicão, Portugal, Sept. 2–3, at:

European Conference on Research and Advanced Technology for Digital Libraries, Glasgow, Scotland, Sept. 6–10, at:

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


Sept. 14–15:
Preparing Your Library for RDA,
ALCTS e-Forum, presented by Mary Beth Weber and Christopher Cronin.

Sept. 15:
Libraries and the Elections: How You Can Be Involved and Make a Difference,
ALA Washington Office webinar.

Sept. 15–18:
Kentucky Library Association / Kentucky School Media Association, Annual Conference, Galt House Hotel and Suites, Louisville. “In These Extraordinary Times—Libraries Now More than Ever.”

Sept. 20–
Oct. 5:

Cyber Summit on 21st Century Readiness,
free series of webinars sponsored by the Partnership for 21st Century Skills.

Sept. 23–24:
Boston WorldCat Mashathon,
Microsoft New England Research and Development Center, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Cosponsors: OCLC Developer Network, Brandeis University.

Sept. 25:
Anderson’s Bookshop 7th Annual Young Adult Literature Conference,
Hotel Arista, Naperville, Illinois.

Sept. 2528:
Arkansas/ Southeastern library associations, Joint Conference, Statehouse Convention Center, Little Rock. “Arkansas and SELA: Getting Back to Natural Things: Learning, Libraries, and Literacy.”

Sept. 2830:
Illinois Library Association, Annual Conference, Navy Pier, Chicago. “Libraries Out Loud.”

Sept. 29:
eBooks: Libraries at the Tipping Point,
online conference sponsored by Library Journal and School Library Journal.

Sept. 30–
Oct. 1:

Northwoods Children’s Book Conference,
Lakewoods Resort, Cable, Wisconsin. Cosponsored by the Telemark Education Foundation, Northern Waters Library Service, Redbery Books, and the Children’s Literature Network.

Oct. 6–7:
Digital Music Forum West,
Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, Los Angeles.

Oct. 22:
Go Green @ your Illinois Library workshop,
Field Museum, Chicago. Sponsored by the Illinois Library Association.

Oct. 23:
KidLit Con 2010,
Open Book, Minneapolis.

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

Oct. 29–30:
Montana Festival of the Book,

Nov. 2–4:
7th Annual Open Education Conference,
CosmoCaixa Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain. “Open Educational Resources: Impact and Sustainability.” Cosponsored by Brigham Young University, the Open University of Catalunya, and the Open University of the Netherlands.

Nov. 3–5:
V Congreso Nacional de Bibliotecas Públicas,
Gijón, Spain.

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Markets and missions
Barbara Fister writes: “Why did universities decide that their presses should be profit centers, or should at the very least make enough revenue to cover their expenses? Libraries aren’t asked to make enough money to pay for themselves. Libraries and university presses both exist to further knowledge, so why the difference? Part of the answer lies in the fact that libraries serve their students and faculty, but university presses aren’t so local.”...
Inside Higher Ed: Library Babel Fish, Aug. 31

Segment of strip from October 8, 2008. Nan: I almost didn't believe your letter. You'd be surprised how many fraudulent offers I receive. Rare bookdealer: It is a very rare book. Your library came immediately to mind.Lovecraft goes missing
Lauren Davis writes: “For fans of H. P. Lovecraft, Larry Latham’s webcomic Lovecraft Is Missing provides a gleeful scavenger hunt. His disappearance brings together an unlikely crew, including Nan Mercy, a Brown University librarian whose obsessive hatred of the occult stems from a traumatic childhood incident. Nan Mercy is a great addition to the ranks of ass-kicking librarians, always quick with a sharp remark or a shot from her pistol. However, the comic may well send you rooting back through Lovecraft’s catalog to pick out all of Latham’s references.”...
io9, Aug. 28

Librarian: The first subject class begins with 0, General Works, including things like bibliographies and library science. Batman: That body hasn't been found yet. The second class begins with one. That was our psychologist.When Batman solved the Dewey Decimal murders
Brian Cronin writes: “Today we look at the last issue of Peter Milligan’s original run on Detective Comics #643 (April 1992), the great ‘Library of Souls,’ with art by the late, great Jim Aparo. The issue opens with an old woman finding a skeleton in her bathroom, which coincides with a flurry of similar skeletons popping up around Gotham City. It turns out that the killer is using the Dewey Decimal System to choose his victims. Batman must team up with a librarian to solve the case.”...
Comics Should Be Good!, Aug. 19

From Black Hole, by Charles Burns: I reached around and could feel it, soft and open...A loose tear running up my spineFantastic sci-fi graphic novels that will get you hooked
Cyriaque Lamar writes: “In picking these books, I tried to avoid choosing the über-obvious (Watchmen) and those books about familiar superheroes (Dark Knight Returns). We love capes here at io9, but the medium goes beyond up, up, and away. Also, I wanted to keep the selection affordable, self-contained, and accessible—you should be able to find all of these books at a fair price online. And with these stand-alone stories, all you need is one hit. Here are some of the best four-color gateway drugs.”...
io9, Aug. 29

Cover of Make Mine a Harlot, by Michael Storme (1952)The women of pulp
Beth Carswell writes: “Some can’t be tamed. Some can’t be trusted. In they stroll with a sob story as familiar as the day is long, and yet, we fall for it every time. Silk stockings and perfect pouts, these broads attract trouble like a flame attracts moths. And us? We can’t resist ’em. We love a damsel in distress. Heiresses and nurses, secretaries and seductresses—it makes no difference. Some may be collectible, some may be contemptible, but one thing is certain. They are the women of pulp.” And here are AbeBooks’s favorite examples....
AbeBooks, Aug. 30

Handcuffed hands hold a KindleE-books go to prison
Judith Jordet writes: “As a prison library coordinator, I came to see the advantage of e-books in the prison setting. If each inmate could have a library of over 1,000 titles in one e-book reader, it would cut down on hiding contraband among the books, remove the unsanitary habit of reading books in the rest room, cut down on book repair, free up space by limiting bookshelves, encourage struggling readers to listen to a book while reading the text on the screen, and allow anyone to increase the size of the font so large print will never be limited to a few titles.”..., Aug. 30

Kindle 3Does new Kindle leave rivals farther behind?
David Pogue writes: “Amazon has unveiled what everyone (except Amazon) is calling the Kindle 3. You might call it Amazon’s iPad response: The Kindle 3 is small, light, and inexpensive. Then there is the $140 price. Yes, of course it’s a little silly to compare the Kindle with the iPad, a full-blown computer with infinitely greater powers. The Kindle’s real competition is the gaggle of extremely similar, rival e-book readers, all of which use the same E Ink screen technology.” Several days later, Borders announced it would cut prices on some of its e-readers beginning September 1....
New York Times: Personal Tech, Aug. 25; Mashable: Tech, Aug. 31

Why Kindle doesn’t work with library e-books
Jason Griffey writes: “There are two different things going on when someone tries to open an eBook file on an eReader. One is filetype—how the file itself is organized internally and how the information contained within is encoded. The other is Digital Rights Management, which you can think of as a lock, with your e-reader having the key to open the lock and display the file. Amazon, in addition to using a proprietary filetype, also uses a proprietary DRM mechanism.”...
The Proverbial Lone Wolf Librarian’s Weblog, Aug. 30

Inkling logoWhat will edge e-books into higher ed?
Once college students own e-readers they will be more likely to buy e-books, suggests Eric Weil, managing director of the market research firm Student Monitor, noting that half the students he surveyed this spring either owned an e-reader or wanted to buy one. NYU Adjunct Professor Nick Bilton believes that apps like Inkling, which enables students to share digital comments about e-texts, will tip the scales. Nonsense, says Nicole Allen, an advocate for the Student Public Interest Research Groups: Price, not format, is still the top driver...
Inside Higher Education, Aug. 31; New York Times: Bits, Aug. 23

Page of Aelius Donatus's Latin grammarIt’s 1455: Will printed books ever replace manuscripts?
Inventing the printing press was not the same thing as inventing the publishing business. Technologically, craftsmen were ready to follow Gutenberg’s example, opening presses across Europe. But they could only guess at what to print, and the public saw no particular need to buy books. Nor was print clearly destined to replace manuscript. A few fussy color-printing experiments aside, the new books were monochrome, and dull in comparison to illuminated manuscripts....
Boston Globe, Aug. 29

SciVerse logoElsevier introduces SciVerse
Michael Cairns writes: “I’ve mentioned that information and academic publishers are starting to open up their data to third-party applications providers and, in the process, enable greater utility for their subscribers and users. SciVerse, announced August 30 by Elsevier, is a platform for doing just that. For a publisher of this size and importance to academics, this initiative should be considered quite important as it represents a significant (and logical) step in the evolution of information database publishing.”...
Personanondata, Aug. 31; Elsevier, Aug. 30

Richard Scarry-inspired sneaker car cakeCakes and cupcakes inspired by children’s books
Carrie McBride writes: “Lyndsay Sung of Vancouver-based Coco Cake can seemingly make a cake inspired by anything, and we wanted to show you some of her literary-based creations. You may not be able to execute these ideas with the same skill and talent as Lindsay, but her wonderful confectionery creations may give you some ideas about how to pay tribute to your favorite children’s books through baking.”...
Ohdeeoh, Aug. 25

Actions & Answers

Cecil County Public Library logoHave a logo, courtesy of Cecil County
The Cecil County (Md.) Public Library has launched a campaign called “My Library, My Lifeline” to alert the public to possible effects of the economic downturn on library budgets. The library is making its high-resolution campaign logo—which it used for campaign postcards and stickers—freely available to libraries and library advocacy groups to help spread the word about the value of libraries. Several libraries are already using it on their websites or for other promotions....
Cecil County (Md.) Public Library

So you want to be a librarian?
Bobbi L. Newman writes: “I get a lot of email asking for advice either on getting an MLS, the job search, or the skills needed. So I’ve pulled together a list of the best of the best advice for potential MLS students, current students, and job seekers. In cases where the titles are not self explanatory, I’ve grabbed a sentence or two from the post to give context.”...
Librarian by Day, Sept. 1

Thought leaders in school libraryland
Doug Johnson writes: “I often get asked to suggest good writers and presenters about library-related topics. This would be a great resource that any of us could just point to when asked such a question. Whether through books, articles, editorialships, blogs, or organizational leadership, the following folks have made sustained, public contributions directly addressing school libraries, and influenced my thinking about the field.”...
Blue Skunk Blog, Aug. 28

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows title screen from the movie trailerGearing up for Harry Potter
Angela Germany writes: “The final two Harry Potter movies will be released November and next July. (You can watch the trailer for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows Part 1 online.) The pressure is on to create two fabulous, final “Harry Potter Movie Release Programs” for teens at the library. If you have never hosted a Harry Potter program, now is the time. Harness the Potter excitement as the phenomenon draws to a close and start planning now.” Here are some ideas....
YALSA Blog, Aug. 28

Peace is every step
Leigh Anne Vrabel writes: “Librarians sometimes jump to one of two conclusions about patrons who read religious or spiritual nonfiction. One stereotype is that patrons who choose these materials are inherently kind, peaceful, loving people, and, thus, naturally drawn to the material. Another stereotype is that such persons are stuck-up, self-righteous prigs who want to inflict their views on everyone else. As for me, I read them because I am frequently angry, impatient, and poorly behaved, and need all the help I can get. Oh, quit that laughing. It’s true.”...
Library Alchemy, Sept. 1

Gmail Priority Inbox videoEmail overload? Try Priority Inbox
Doug Aberdeen writes: “People tell us all the time that they’re getting more and more email and feel overwhelmed by it all. We know what you mean—at Google we run on email. Our inboxes are slammed with thousands of messages a day. It’s time-consuming to figure out what needs to be read and what needs a reply. We are happy to introduce Priority Inbox (in beta)—an experimental new way of taking on information overload in Gmail. Watch the video (1:54).”...
Official Gmail Blog, Aug. 30; YouTube, July 19

Twitter hashtags 101
Phil Bradley writes: “Twitter hashtags are the strange little oddities that you find on lots of tweets, and they use the hash symbol # followed by something else, so an example would be #ala10. The first thing to know about hashtags is that they are entirely informal. They’re not something that Twitter has instituted, and there are no rules at all. You don’t have to ask any permission to use them, there’s no central authority, and you can use them pretty much however you’d like to.”...
Phil Bradley’s Weblog, Aug. 27

Graphic of social media iconsHow to tell if UR doing social media wrong
Sarah Lacy writes: “My husband is a graphic designer and has long been a fan of Chank Fonts. He tweeted a picture of a retro-looking podiatrist’s office with the word ‘Font-o-licious.’ It didn’t go viral or get him 1,000 new followers. But it was noticed by Chank Diesel of Chank Fonts, who tweeted it and started following my husband. What made social media a phenomenon were moments like these. What makes it mercenary and soulless is racking up fans, friends, followers, and RTs you can get in a day, seeing it as evidence of how cool or smart or influential you are.”...
TechCrunch, Aug. 30

Secret room in VTC Hartness Library ceiling. Photo by Jessamyn WestSecret rooms in libraries
Jessamyn West writes: “There is a secret room in the ceiling of Vermont Technical College’s Hartness Library. You turn a key in a keyhole in a brick wall and a staircase descends from the ceiling with a great rumbling. Climbing the stairs gets you into a disused room that used to be the bindery area but is now just used for storing shelves and old Eames lounge chairs. I’ll add this freaky little room to my list of library attics and basements that I’ve been compiling.”..., Aug. 28

A question on libraries and elitism
Rory Litwin writes: “If one in five Americans believes that Obama is a Muslim, are we obliged to stock one book that claims he is a Muslim for every four that say he is a Christian? Or, to bring geography into the mix, swing the proportion higher or lower according to the community in which we work? Obviously not, but then the real question: On what basis do we claim to know more than our communities?”...
Library Juice, Aug. 19; Pew Research Center, Aug. 19

Highland Park (Calif.) Book BoothHow to turn an old pay phone into a library
Kyla Fullenwider writes: “Is there an old phone booth in your neighborhood sitting empty? Fill it with books! Book booths are an easy way to acquire new books (for free), bring your community together, and transform a neighborhood eyesore into a neighborhood gem. We talked to Amy Inouye of the Future Studio about how she started one in the Highland Park neighborhood of Los Angeles.”...
Make magazine, Aug. 7

Old print showing a circulating libraryThe circulating library in Regency resorts
Vic Sanborn writes: “Circulating libraries in the 18th and 19th centuries were associated with leisure, and were found in cities and towns with a population of 2,000 and upward. They were as much of an attraction in wealthy resorts, where people came to relax and look after their health, as in cities and small towns, like Basingstoke, where Jane Austen subscribed to Mrs. Martin’s circulating library. In 1801, it was said that there were 1,000 circulating libraries in Britain.”...
Jane Austen’s World, Aug. 30

Library in Botswana established by the African Library Project500 new African libraries in the past five years
Chris Bradshaw of Portola Valley, California, founded the African Library Project in 2005, with the goal of increasing literacy in Africa. Since then, with the help of literacy activist volunteers and organized book drives, ALP has created more than 500 small, free-lending libraries in various countries of Africa, such as Botswana (above), Lesotho, Swaziland, and Malawi. Bradshaw describes his project in this interview....
Paper Tigers Blog, Aug. 27; YouTube, Dec. 6, 2007

What might be acceptable behavior at the DOK Library Concept Center in Delft, Holland, is off-limits at several U.S. libraries. Photo by John BlybergRules of library conduct
Scott Douglas writes: “It’s common in the library for me to approach a person doing something that most human beings would consider inappropriate library behavior (such as spitting sunflower seeds on the floor) and ask them to stop. The response is frequently not ‘Okay, sorry,’ but rather, ‘Where does it say that?’ It is for this reason that the rules of conduct at most public libraries around the country are some of the strangest you’ll ever see. Here are some of the stranger rules from libraries around the country.”...
Dispatches from a Public Librarian, Aug. 27

Screen shot from Going West videoGoing West animated book art
The New Zealand Book Council produced this short film (2:10) animated by the Andersen M. Studios in London 2009. The video features an excerpt from Maurice Gee’s classic New Zealand novel Going West coming to life through hand-cut pop-up scenery springing up from the pages. It won an international prize for paper-cut animation by New York’s Museum of Art and Design. It also won the Museum’s Choice grand prize at Moving Paper, an international film festival of cut-paper animation held at the museum in March 2010....
YouTube, Nov. 18, 2009

Basketball toss game at Hubbub 2010Another Hubbub at University of Kentucky
Stacey Greenwell writes: “For the fourth year in a row, the University of Kentucky Libraries and IT department welcomed new students to the Young Library’s information commons Hub with a Hubbub Party August 23. Our activities went off without a hitch: The Amazing Palm Reading Librarian, the photo booth, video games, board games, and coloring pages were back again. This year, we added a game involving throwing as many floppy disks as possible across the computer lab into a trash can.” Watch the video (1:22) ...
The Uncommon Commons, Aug. 28

Screen shot from New Spice outtakes videoNew Spice: The outtakes
New Spice (Stephen Jones) shares some humorous outtakes (2:44) during the filming of the “Study Like a Scholar, Scholar” promotional video (0:55) at Brigham Young University’s Harold B. Lee Library, which now has over 2 million YouTube views. Also, check out the still photos and the credits for the library Multimedia Production Crew....
YouTube, July 15, 20; New Spice, July 19

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