|American Libraries Online
Third time is the charm for Troy
“This is one of the best days I’ve had in two years!” exulted Cathleen Russ, director of Troy (Mich.) Public Library, the morning after some 58% of voters saved the library from closing permanently by approving a five-year operating millage. The August 2 special election was the third library referendum held there in the past few years; voters had rejected the previous measures, albeit by narrower margins the second time around. The outcome had remained uncertain until the final returns late in the day....
American Libraries news, Aug. 3; Detroit News, Aug. 3; Troy (Mich.) Patch, Aug. 2
Missouri high school bans Slaughterhouse-Five
Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five and Sarah Ockler’s YA novel Twenty Boy Summer have been banned from a Missouri high school curriculum and library after a local resident complained that they teach principles contrary to the Bible. The Republic High School board voted 4–0 July 26 to remove the books, although they chose to retain Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak, which had also been challenged by Wesley Scroggins, an associate professor at Missouri State University. Ockler responded to the decision in a blog post....
AL: Censorship Watch, Aug. 3; Sarah Ockler, Author, July 26
The case for graphic novels in education
Jesse Karp writes: “Perhaps we’re past the point of having to explain that graphic novels, with their knack for attracting reluctant readers and hitting developmental sweet spots, have a legitimate place on library shelves. Perhaps. But what about the idea that graphic novels encompass such a wide range of themes and create such layered experiences through word and art that they actually belong in classrooms? I contend that the format offers great opportunities to teach as well as to entertain.”...
American Libraries feature
Next Steps: A pioneer evolves
Brian Mathews writes: “Andrew Carnegie had a radical idea. In 1895 when he developed the public library complex in Pittsburgh, it included swimming pools, music halls, art galleries, and a natural history museum. He wanted to ensure that his mill workers and their families had easy access to excellent cultural assets. The original building still stands today. However, what’s pioneering in one century is not necessarily compatible with the next. As libraries have evolved, these legacy spaces do not always promote the free flow of information.”...
American Libraries column, July/Aug.
Cleaning up after water damage
Q. Recent thunderstorms have caused flash floods and some of our library regulars are asking about salvage of wet books. What can I tell them? A. I’m going to address your question from two perspectives. First, what should an individual be doing? And second, what should a library be doing? The information in Tips for Salvaging Water-Damaged Valuables by the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works and Heritage Preservation is designed for individuals....
AL: Ask the ALA Librarian, Aug. 3
On June 1, Scott Mandernack (right) was appointed associate dean for scholarly resources and collections at Marquette University Libraries in Milwaukee. Nancy Bennett retired May 19 as manager of the South County Regional Branch of the Camden County (N.J.) Library System. John Kallenberg, 69, died July 4 after battling cancer for several months; he was head of the Fresno County (Calif.) Public Library from 1976 to 2003....
American Libraries column
Why we need free public libraries more than ever
ALA Executive Director Keith Michael Fiels writes: “As a former head of the state library agency in Massachusetts and a taxpayer myself, I read with interest the recent Atlantic editorial in which an elected official from Swampscott, Massachusetts, proposed public library user fees as a reasonable and ‘modern’ solution to some perceived imbalance. Under this proposal, a 50-cent user fee would be added to each book circulated by the library. The fact is: This would be the costliest additional revenue ever generated. The reasons for this are twofold.”...
The Atlantic, July 21, 27
Top 10 reasons to contact your legislators in August
It’s almost time for District Days, the weeks when congressional representatives are on recess and are able to return to their home districts. This year, the break is from August 8 to September 5. During this time, representatives often hold town hall meetings, office hours, and meet with a variety of constituents to get their perspectives on current issues. Here are the top 10 reasons librarians should reach out to them during District Days. (And the Washington Office has some advice for town halls.)...
YALSA Blog, Aug. 3; District Dispatch, Aug. 3
Summer vacation @ your library
As August hits and the temperature rises, the place to spend quality family time and cool off is @ your library. Encourage parents in your community to check out ALA’s new Connect with your kids @ your library Family Activity Guide. The guide offers additional ideas on how parents can spend quality time with their kids this summer using the resources at your library. Here are a few examples of what libraries are doing to create cost-effective and entertaining family programs for library users this summer....
Public Information Office, Aug. 2
ARSL conference on rural and small libraries
Join library staff, trustees, and volunteers from small and rural libraries across the country as they gather for the 2011 Association for Rural and Small Libraries annual conference in Frisco, Texas. The conference will be held September 8–11 at the Dallas-Frisco Embassy Suites Hotel and Convention Center....
Office for Literacy and Outreach Services, Aug. 2
Educate your staff on copyright
ALA Editions has announced a new facilitated eCourse, “Demystifying Copyright: How to Educate Your Staff and Community.” Lesley Ellen Harris (right), a copyright, licensing, and digital-property lawyer who works with the information industry, will serve as instructor for this four-week course, which begins on September 12. She will guide you step by step through developing a copyright education program for your staff and community....
ALA Editions, Aug. 2
Small businesses and public libraries as partners
Aligning with current difficult economic times, Small Business and the Public Library: Strategies for a Successful Partnership, published by ALA Editions, helps libraries assist users entering or already involved in the small-business community. Authors Luise Weiss, Sophia Serlis-McPhillips, and Elizabeth Malafi are public librarians who have incorporated small business services within their library. In their book they point the way to addressing the needs of job seekers, and those starting or operating their own businesses....
ALA Editions, Aug. 2
First RDA vocabularies published
The Joint Steering Committee for Development of RDA, the DCMI/RDA Task Group, and ALA Publishing (on behalf of the copublishers of RDA) have announced that the first group of RDA controlled vocabularies have been reviewed, approved, and their status in the Open Metadata Registry changed to “published.”...
RDA Toolkit blog, Aug. 1
Featured review: Movies and television
Orlean, Susan. Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend. Oct. 2011. 288p. Simon & Schuster, hardcover (978-1-4391-9013-5).
Rin Tin Tin, the smart, athletic German shepherd who became “the archetypal dog hero,” was born on a battlefield in France in 1918 and rescued by Lee Duncan, an American soldier. Duncan, whose love for animals was rooted in a childhood of abandonment, brought Rin Tin Tin to California, where diligent training, talent, and luck turned “Rinty” into a universally beloved movie star. The Rin Tin Tin character lived on after the original dog’s death in 1932 (the world mourned) as Duncan, utterly devoted to his creation, worked with a series of German shepherds to keep Rin Tin Tin in the movies and on television for nearly four more decades. In her first from-scratch investigative book since The Orchid Thief (1999), New Yorker staff writer Orlean incisively chronicles every facet of the never-before-told, surprisingly consequential, and roller-coaster–like Rin Tin Tin saga....
Reading the clues
Will Manley writes: “There’s a lot of talk these days about e-books replacing real books. I suppose this is inevitable for a whole litany of reasons that will do nothing but bore your socks off. Suffice it to say that e-books are cheaper to produce, and cheaper always wins. For me, the inevitable triumph of the e-book is quite regrettable because an e-book is not really a book. It is simply text in an electronic form. It is not a thing, and thingness is very important to a book. No, I am not going to bore you by rhapsodizing nostalgically about the tactile pleasures of the book. But, yes, it is true that books do have a certain tactile quality. That’s because books are things. They are actually very personal things.”...
@ Visit Booklist Online for other reviews and much more....
Register now for Women’s Leadership Institute
ACRL is collaborating with a variety of higher education associations to offer the 2011 Women’s Leadership Institute. This year’s institute will be held November 29–December 2 in Dana Point, California, and December 4–7 in Amelia Island, Florida. The discounted early-bird registration deadline for the institute is October 12 for the California program and October 26 for the Florida program. Program details, cosponsors, and a link to registration materials are available online....
ACRL, Aug. 2
AASL’s Exploratorium to showcase school library best practices
AASL is making available its lineup for the Exploratorium at its 15th National Conference and Exhibition. With more than 40 individual learning stations, the complete list can be found online. The Exploratorium on October 27 is a two-hour educational session that will showcase best practices from the school library community. Attendees can browse at their own pace, spending as much or as little time as they wish at each station....
AASL, Aug. 2
Social media webinar
Social media has altered the information landscape by expanding the flow of information from books, newspapers, and journals to instant reports from Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. How can librarians help teens navigate these information streams and learn to separate the wheat from the chaff? Join YALSA for “From 140 Characters to 10 Pages: Teens, Social Media, and Information Literacy.” This webinar will be presented by Laura Pearle on August 18....
YALSA, July 29
Get your message heard in the August YA Forum
YALSA is hosting its monthly discussion forum this week on communicating with key stakeholders. Division members are encouraged to check into the discussion forum and ask questions and contribute. The forum will close at 3 p.m. Eastern time on August 5. This month’s discussion is on how to communicate the value of your library through data....
YALSA, July 29
PLA reading kit summer sale
From now until August 31, take 40% off PLA’s three unique children’s reading kits. PLA and ALA members can also use their ALA Store discount of 10%, resulting in a 50% savings. Simply enter the promotion code “sale11,” whether ordering by phone or fax or online. These interactive reading kits are great in helping early literacy efforts at the library or to send home with parents....
PLA, Aug. 2
The 2012 Printz Award calendar
Linda W. Braun writes: “It debuted at Annual Conference this year, but you can still purchase a copy of the 2012 Michael Printz Award calendar, which celebrates 12 years of award winners and honor books. The calendar is available in the ALA Store and all proceeds will go to the Friends of YALSA. The calendar includes information about the winning titles, birthdays of award-winning YA authors, monthly and weekly events, and information about YALSA history.”...
YALSA The Hub, Aug. 3
Six Judith Krug Fund grants
Following 2010’s very successful inaugural effort, the Freedom to Read Foundation, through its Judith F. Krug Memorial Fund, has announced grants to six organizations in support of events during Banned Books Week, September 24–October 1. In addition to a cash award of $1,000, FTRF is providing Banned Books Week merchandise, sold by the ALA Store, to the grant recipients....
Office for Intellectual Freedom, Aug. 2
Teen Read Week minigrant winners
YALSA has announced the winners of its 10 Teen Read Week minigrants. The grants, funded by the Dollar General Literacy Foundation, give each winning library $1,000 to use for events, programs, and services to encourage teen reading and celebrate Teen Read Week, October 16–22....
YALSA, Aug. 2
AASL names its 2011 Spectrum Scholar
As part of its commitment to furthering diversity in the school library profession, AASL chose Tonya Grant as its 2011–2012 Spectrum Scholar. Grant is currently an LIS student at the University of Georgia. As an educator for the past six years, Grant looks forward to using her studies to identify ways she can build an engaging school library program and incorporate her love of technology and reading into challenging and fun lessons....
AASL, Aug. 2
AASL travel grants to four Spectrum Scholars
AASL will sponsor the attendance of up to four Spectrum Scholars at its national conference. The AASL 15th National Conference and Exhibition will be held October 27–30 in Minneapolis. The division will select up to four current Spectrum scholars who are pursuing a library degree concentrating in school librarianship or are working as school librarians....
AASL, Aug. 2
Spectrum Scholars, librarians, and library supporters came together at fundraising events in San Diego and Los Angeles to raise more than $4,300 for the Spectrum Presidential Initiative....
Spectrum Initiative, Aug. 2
School librarian wins Coast Guard leadership award
Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Abigail Rainey Scrocco (right) of Station Oak Island has won the Coast Guard’s Master Chief Angela M. McShan Inspirational Leadership Award. She earned the award for her work maintaining Station Oak Island reserve personnel at the highest rate of readiness of all Coast Guard stations. In her civilian capacity, Scrocco is a library media specialist and computer teacher at St. Mary School in Wilmington, North Carolina. She will be recognized at an August 11 ceremony in Washington, D.C....
Coast Guard News, July 28
2011 Sparky Award winners announced
Four new student films on the importance of open access to research and data have been voted the best by a panel of new media experts, students, and librarians in the fourth annual Sparky Awards. Calling on students to articulate their support in a two-minute video, the contest has been embraced by campuses all over the world and has inspired imaginative expressions of student support for the potential of open access to foster creativity, innovation, and problem solving. The Sparky Awards are organized by SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition)....
SPARC, Aug. 2
Congress revises consumer products act
After three years, the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) issue has been resolved. On August 1, U.S. Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-Calif.) introduced H.R. 2715 (PDF file), a bill to provide the Consumer Product Safety Commission with greater authority and discretion in enforcing the consumer product safety laws, and for other purposes. The publishing and printing industries had long argued that books have never presented a threat of high lead levels. This bill protects libraries in two ways....
District Dispatch, Aug. 2; Publishers Weekly, Aug. 2
Senate passes faster FOIA bill
Steven Aftergood writes: “The Faster FOIA Act, a modest bit of legislation to establish a commission ‘to examine the root causes of FOIA delays,’ was introduced and passed in the Senate August 1. It was previously passed in May, but the resulting bill was amended by the House in order to serve as a vehicle for its debt ceiling debate, stripping out the FOIA-related content. It was reintroduced and the new bill, S. 1466, passed on a voice vote and will move once again to the House.”...
Secrecy News, Aug. 2
Public libraries are essential during recessions
José-Marie Griffiths and Donald W. King write: “Our data show that every year over the past two decades, use of public libraries has increased by over 2 billion visits annually. In fact, when remote access to public libraries through the internet is included, the number of visits per capita has more than doubled during the same two decades. When we looked specifically at the previous two recessions, we saw that growth in visits to libraries as well as services they offered rose well above previous levels.”...
Providence (R.I.) Journal, July 27
Banned Sites Day on September 28
New Canaan (Conn.) High School Library Department Chair Michelle Luhtala takes issue with restrictions on the use of social media sites by students, which she likens to the practice of banning books in school libraries. In an effort to raise awareness around the importance of freedom of information for students, Luhtala plans to launch Banned Sites Day on September 28, piggybacking off ALA’s annual Banned Books Week the last week in September....
Stamford (Conn.) Advocate, July 30
Fired library assistant sues over free-speech violation
Sally Stern-Hamilton, a former library assistant at the Mason County (Mich.) District Library, has filed a federal lawsuit alleging that the library violated her free-speech rights by firing her in 2008. Her controversial book The Library Diaries, written under the pseudonym Ann Miketa and set in what she calls the Lake Michigan town of Denialville, is a series of fictional vignettes about mostly unsavory characters encountered daily at the library. Library Director Robert Dickson declined to comment on the lawsuit....
Grand Rapids (Mich.) Press, Aug. 1; American Libraries news, Aug. 30, 2008
Mystery surrounds loss of records from 9/11 attack
Letters written by Helen Keller, 40,000 photographic negatives of John F. Kennedy taken by the president’s personal cameraman, sculptures by Alexander Calder and Auguste Rodin, the 1921 agreement that created the agency that built the World Trade Center: The September 11, 2001, attacks destroyed tens of thousands of records, irreplaceable historical documents, and art. Twenty-one libraries were destroyed, including that of The Journal of Commerce. Dozens of federal, state, and local government agencies were at the site. A more detailed report of the cultural loss sustained on 9/11 is available from Heritage Preservation (PDF file)....
Associated Press, July 30; Heritage Preservation, 2002
Comics are an educator’s secret weapon
Lindsay Mar writes: “Diana Maliszewski, librarian at Agnes Macphail Public School in Toronto, is one of the few teachers in Canada who dedicate a student club to graphic novels. But she is one of a growing number of educators and literacy advocates who believe the often-misunderstood genre could be the key to unlocking literacy for reluctant readers. Maliszewski also believes the combination of word and image can help reluctant readers who have short attention spans or problems visualizing.”...
This Magazine, Aug. 2
Oakland library stays open late to reduce homicides
An East Oakland, California, library is staying open late in August as part of the city’s campaign to provide youth with safe alternative places to spend their weekend nights. The 81st Avenue branch of the Oakland Public Library has joined city officials and the Oakland Unified School District for their “Late Night Live!” initiative, which aims to provide city youth with a safe haven on Friday and Saturday evenings....
San Francisco Bay Citizen, July 30
Florida jobless flock to library to file
As of August 1, Floridians are required to file both new and continued unemployment claims over the internet. The complete switch to internet filings will save $4.7 million annually. For those without a computer or internet access, libraries will have to pick up the slack. “It could take anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes just to get them on that site, to get them to be able to go from one page to the next,” said Collier County Reference Librarian April Ristau....
Naples (Fla.) News, July 31
Video store’s loss is Forbes Library’s gain
Pleasant Street Video, a Northampton, Massachusetts, institution for 25 years, closed its doors July 15 after the commercial space was sold to a new owner. Instead of merely liquidating its stock, the store owners joined with Forbes Library in a fundraiser that allowed the library to take over its collection while retiring the debt that Pleasant Street had incurred. Organizers attribute the success of the effort to an ingenious twist in which people were invited to buy and donate their favorite movies. The 8,000 new DVDs will triple the library’s collection....
Springfield (Mass.) Republican, July 30
Outsourcing the library can lead to a backlash
Melissa Maynard writes: “Hardly anyone in the general public realizes it, but LSSI, which runs 68 branch libraries in California, Kansas, Oregon, Tennessee, and Texas, is now the fifth largest library system in America. Quiet though it has been, the rise of LSSI has attracted its share of critics, not just at the local level but in the increasingly nervous network of public library systems around the country. LSSI so far has no competitors in the private sector.”...
Stateline, Aug. 1
Town resents county’s armed guards at library
The decision by Maricopa County, Arizona, to place armed security guards at the Southeast Regional Library in Gilbert has drawn the ire of town officials, who say the county acted unilaterally and refuses to negotiate. Frustrated by what Town Council members say is the county’s strong-armed action, members on July 28 said they will begin looking at alternatives for operating the library, including privatization or a takeover....
Phoenix Arizona Republic, July 30
Chicago’s new Richard M. Daley branch library
Chicago Public Library’s new Richard M. Daley branch is the 58th library set in motion during the former mayor’s 22-year tenure. The building’s namesake and his successor, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, dedicated the shiny, 16,000-square-foot, light-drenched building on July 28. It had opened three weeks earlier and had already been host to 10,000 visitors....
New York Times, July 30; Chicago Tribune, July 29
Virginia’s Rare Book School attracts bibliophiles
Welcome to Rare Book School, summer camp for bibliophiles. Tucked in the basement of the cavernous main library at the University of Virginia, the school is an annual five-week homage to the printed page. Founded at New York’s Columbia University in 1983, the Rare Book School relocated to Charlottesville in 1992 as a nonprofit affiliate of the university and found a niche as a place for librarians and scholars to decode the story told by the book itself: the ink, the paper, the typeface, the binding, the illustrations, the subtle notations in the margins....
Washington Post, July 28
Shakespeare First Folio returns to Durham
A Shakespeare First Folio stolen in 1998 and recovered 10 years later is back on exhibit at Durham University’s Wolfson Gallery, telling the story of its theft and return. A Newcastle Crown Court jury cleared 53-year-old Raymond Scott of stealing the book but found him guilty of handling stolen goods and removing criminal property. He was given an eight-year prison sentence, but has launched an appeal against his convictions....
Sunderland (U.K.) Echo, July 26
Library delivery man captures sex assault suspect
After hearing a child scream, an Edmonton (Alberta) Public Library driver chased a man who allegedly sexually assaulted a 10-year-old boy, pinning him down until police arrived. Kim, a 12-year veteran library driver who declined to give his last name, was in the midst of a delivery at the Riverbend branch when he heard a child’s scream. Kim told the boy to go into the library, then followed the man three or four blocks. The driver has been nominated for the Edmonton Police Commission’s citizen recognition award....
Edmonton (Alberta) Journal, July 29
U.K. legal battle over libraries heats up
The defense of the U.K. public library service has entered a new phase with the judicial review hearing in the High Court into Brent council’s contentious proposal to close six of its 12 libraries. The case was the first to be heard but more will swiftly follow, as campaigners frustrated by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media, and Sport’s unwillingness to order a public inquiry into closures turn to the law for urgent action before their libraries are closed for good....
The Bookseller, Aug. 1
European libraries that offer respite from the crowds
Geraldine Fabrikant writes: “European cities are feet-on-the-pavement destinations, where many of us find ourselves trudging along familiar routes with hordes of tourists just like us. To take a break, we are likely to stop at the cafés and museum gardens already overcrowded with fellow travelers. But relief could be at hand, in the guise of cities’ libraries, which are often ignored by visitors. Here are some of my favorites.”...
New York Times, July 29
Go back to the Top
Five things Google+ does better than Facebook and Twitter
Sean Ludwig writes: “Google+ has only been active for a month, but the network has built enough buzz to attract a reported 20 million users. Several of us on the VentureBeat staff have immersed ourselves into the Google+ ecosystem to see what it has to offer. We’ve come to generally enjoy the service and noticed a few strengths it has over Facebook and Twitter, especially in the realms of privacy and video chat. Here are five features we’ve seen that we like.”...
VentureBeat, July 30
How to minimize five common distractions
Dawn Foster writes: “We all want to get our work done, but sometimes it seems that there are so many distractions that it is almost impossible to be productive. Here are a few tips for taking charge of your day and kicking a few of the most common distractions to the curb. First, social media. Turn it off. Seriously.”...
GigaOm, July 22
Five social-good websites aimed at youth
Adora Svitak writes: “You know that teenagers are using the internet for social networking, self-expression, and even schoolwork. But that stereotypically self-absorbed, trite teen you see on Facebook might just have an altruistic side. Throughout the years, countless youth have founded charities, raised money, and dedicated time and money to service; today, new websites help more students do exactly that.”...
Mashable, July 22
Twitter search gets upgraded
Danny Sullivan writes: “For ages, Twitter has operated a standalone Twitter Search site in addition to allowing people to search from within Twitter.com itself. Now that standalone site has gained a new location and been upgraded to match the Twitter.com search experience. What’s different beyond the URL? The interface.”...
Search Engine Land, July 25
How to copy iDevice videorecordings to your PC
Rick Broida writes: “At a recent airshow, I used my iPhone to shoot some mighty nice footage of the Blue Angels doing their thing. If you’re new to capturing video with your iPhone, iPad 2, or fourth-gen iPod Touch, you may have discovered there’s no obvious way to copy those minimovies from your device to your PC. As it happens, it’s quite easy to copy these videos (and photos) to your PC. All it takes is a little futzing with Windows Explorer.”...
iPhone Atlas, July 29
A simple way to share large files
Richard Byrne writes: “Uploader Box is a free service for sharing large files with your friends and colleagues. To use the service, just upload a file from your computer, enter your email address, and enter the email addresses of your intended recipients. Once your file is uploaded, Uploader Box will provide you with two URLs. One is for sharing your file and the other is for deleting your file if you decide you no longer want to share it.”...
Free Technology for Teachers, Aug. 2
Four stupid tech tricks, tested
Patrick Miller writes: “The tech world is full of silly tricks that everyone has done once or twice, but not everyone knows exactly why (or whether) they really work. From pointing your car key fob at your jaw to improve range, to using a small child to improve your TV’s antenna reception, we’ve decided to get to the bottom of these shenanigans once and for all.”...
PC World, July 15
100 things your kids may never know about
Nathan Barry writes: “There are some things in this world that will never be forgotten, the 1969 Apollo 11 moon landing for one. But Moore’s Law and our ever-increasing quest for simpler, smaller, faster, and better widgets and thingamabobs will always ensure that some of the technology we grew up with will not be passed down the line to the next generation of geeks. That is, of course, unless we tell them all about the good old days of modems and typewriters, slide rules and encyclopedias.”...
Wired: GeekDad, July 22
Keith Michael Fiels on the future of books
ALA Executive Director Keith Michael Fiels appeared (9:51) July 28 on the Chicago Tonight news program to talk about the future of books and e-books in the wake of the closing of nearly 400 Borders bookstores. He said that “About two-thirds of public libraries already make e-books available to users. In the case of college and university libraries, it’s closer to 100%,” adding that “most of the public don’t realize that libraries actually offer e-books.” Fiels was joined by independent bookseller Jason Smith and Sourcebooks Vice President Chris Farley....
Chicago Tonight, WTTW-TV, July 28
The advent of e-readers has shaken the world of books almost as much as the invention of movable type. E-readers present a new realm of possibilities in technology and education, and at the same time have forced us to reexamine traditional concepts of print format, copyright, and information sharing. This resource serves as a starting point to understand the evolving world of e-readers and e-books....
Internet Public Library 2
E-reader showdown: Typography
India Amos writes: “When I first decided to try reading an e-book on my iPod Touch, I assumed that poor typography would be my biggest complaint about the e-reading applications I tried. It turns out that as with print books, I’m much more tolerant of ugly, poorly set text than I expected. Still, I’d rather have the option of making the text look good. So whether it makes me sometimes want to fork my eyes out or not, I promised you a rundown of typographic options in an assortment of e-reading applications, so that is what you will get.”...
Digital Book World, July 28
Kindle and OverDrive
Nora Rawlinson writes: “The major question on librarians’ minds at OverDrive’s Digipalooza, which concluded July 31, was when will Kindle users be able to download from OverDrive. The debut is viewed with a mixture of excitement and anxiety. Librarians look forward to being able to serve Kindle users, but worry about being able to buy enough copies to meet the increased demand.”...
Early Word: The Publisher | Librarian Connection, Aug. 1
E-reader ownership doubles in six months
The percent of U.S. adults with an e-book reader doubled from 6% to 12% between November 2010 and May 2011. Hispanic adults, adults younger than age 65, college graduates, and those living in households with incomes of at least $75,000 are most likely to own e-book readers. Parents are also more likely than nonparents to own these devices....
Pew Internet and American Life Project, June 27
The e-book error problem: Just how bad is it?
Joanna C. writes: “I posted earlier about some problems I have been having recently with error-filled e-books—I am not talking about major editing-process errors; rather, I am talking about typos and formatting glitches resulting from unproofed conversions. Now that e-reading customers are a more mainstream group, the complaints are getting increasingly vociferous. But how widespread is this problem? I took a look at my last 10 ‘big six’ commercial reads and noted which ones I had tagged in Calibre as being problematic. Here are the results.”...
TeleRead, May 25, July 28
Competing with free
Rich Adin writes: “My to-be-read pile of e-books keeps growing. Unfortunately for publishers, however, it keeps growing with free offerings from both publishers and self-publishers. Some are very high quality, many are just good reads. Free e-books have relieved me of the pressure to read a not-well-written book because I invested in it. Because there are so many free e-books and because a large enough number of them are decently written, I see no need to return to the bookstore.”...
TeleRead, July 28
British Library adds 45,000 books to iPad app
BiblioLabs and the British Library have added another 45,000 books to their British Library 19th Century Collection App for iPad. The app was announced in June with an initial offering of 1,000 19th-century books with titles ranging from classic novels to original accounts by Victorian travelers. The library plans to offer 60,000 titles by the end of the year....
British Library, Aug. 2
Digital literacy: Inclusion or barrier?
Dale Lipschultz writes: “Last summer I acquired an e-reader for purely practical reasons. I could no longer carry a 600-page book in my briefcase any more than I could leave it at home. The timing is right for thinking and writing about digital literacy. Libraries, librarians, and ALA are examining the broad impact of digital literacy, which I define as the ability to use technology effectively, understand digital content, and communicate with digital tools.”...
National Coalition for Literacy blog, Aug. 1
Jail? For downloading too many articles?
Nancy Sims writes: “A lot of the conversation in my neck of the internet is on the arraignment of open access advocate Aaron Swartz (right) on charges of wire fraud and unauthorized network use. The networks most deeply involved in the case are those of JSTOR. I do agree that the prospect of jail time for Swartz’s activities (after JSTOR itself had apparently considered the matter settled) seems like a massive overreaction on the part of the prosecutors. However, the charges in the indictment (PDF file) and Swartz’s alleged criminal activities are not ‘downloading too many articles.’ Let’s get some stuff straight.”...
Copyright Librarian, July 20
What if piracy does sell more content?
Chris Meadows writes: “Edward Nawotka has a summary of events at Brazil’s second digital book conference. SocialBook founder Bob Stein contends that Brazil has the opportunity to learn from the mistakes of far-too-conservative American publishers who blew it when it came to meeting the e-book challenge. People get upset at the thought of someone reading, listening to, or viewing their works without paying for it—but a good deal of evidence suggests that piracy actually helps to promote those works so they sell more.”...
TeleRead, July 27; Publishing Perspectives, July 27
Liking library data
Eric Hellman writes: “The most widely implemented application of semantic web technologies has been Facebook’s Like button. When you click a Like button, an arc is added to Facebook’s representation of your social graph. The arc links a node that represents you and another node that represents the thing you liked. As you interact with your social graph via Facebook, the added Like arc may introduce new interactions. Injecting library resources into social networks is important. The libraries and the social networks that figure out how to do that will enrich our communities and the great global graph that is humanity.”...
Go to Hellman, July 27
Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, LinkedIn: It’s difficult enough to keep abreast of social media websites, let alone understand how they fit into today’s library. Laura Solomon’s new Doing Social Media So It Matters: A Librarian’s Guide brings together current information on the topic in a concise format that’s easy to digest. NEW! From ALA Editions.
Great Libraries of the World
Monastery of San Francisco Library, Lima, Peru. The library of this 17th-century Franciscan monastery houses more than 20,000 books and manuscripts from the 15th–18th centuries resting on beautiful hardwood shelves.
Admont Abbey Library, Admont, Austria. The ornate library hall of this 11th-century Benedictine abbey was built in 1776 by architect Josef Hueber. It is the largest monastery library in the world. Its white-and-gold bookcases are filled with 70,000 rare printed works. More than 7,000 diamond-shaped flagstones of white, red, and gray marble are cleverly arranged in geometric patterns so that they can be viewed as ribbons, zigzag lines, cubes, or steps, depending on perspective. Seven ceiling frescoes created by Bartolomeo Altomonte in the central cupola show the steps in man’s exploration of thought from the sciences to religion. Greater-than-life-size sculptures by Josef Stammel depict the “Four Last Things”—Death, the Last Judgment, Heaven, and Hell.
This AL Direct feature showcases 250 libraries around the world that are notable for their exquisite architecture, historic collections, and innovative services. If you find yourself on vacation near one of them, be sure to stop by for a visit. The entire list will be available in The Whole Library Handbook 5, edited by George M. Eberhart, which is scheduled for publication later this year by ALA Editions.
Director, Wicomico Public Library, Salisbury, Maryland. Seeking a highly qualified, effective leader and skilled communicator for the challenging position of library director to lead 48 library staff in a strong teamwork environment. In charge of the day-to-day operation of the library system, under the general direction and control of the library board of trustees, the director is responsible for budgeting and financial management, fundraising, long-range planning, facilities management, and service delivery. The director delegates authority to subordinate supervisors and holds them accountable for the performance of their departments....
Digital Library of the Week
Indiana Memory is a collaborative effort to provide access to the wealth of primary sources in Indiana libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural institutions. It is a gateway to Indiana’s history and culture found in digitized books, manuscripts, photographs, newspapers, maps, and other media. As a portal to the collections, Indiana Memory assists individuals to locate materials relevant to their interests and to better appreciate the connections between those materials. This project is made possible through grant funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to the Indiana State Library. In July 2011, the National Endowment for the Humanities awarded a $293,157 grant to the Indiana State Library to digitize the state’s historically significant newspapers published between 1836 and 1922. The digitized papers will become available through Indiana Memory.
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.
“Despite the ineptitude of the City Council and the fact that, Democrat or Republican, I will vote against every one of them—the city should still have their library.”
—Troy, Michigan, resident Steve Linville, on a special election for a tax levy to save the city library, Troy (Mich.) Patch, Aug. 2.
Annual Conference on Distance Teaching and Learning, Madison, Wisconsin, Aug. 3–5, at:
IFLA World Library and Information Congress, San Juan, Puerto Rico, Aug. 13–18, at:
IFLA New Professionals SIG, San Juan, Puerto Rico, Aug. 15, at:
American Libraries news stories, blog posts, tweets, and videos, at:
Rocky Mountain Book and Paper Fair, Denver Merchandise Mart.
International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions, World Library and Information Congress, San Juan, Puerto Rico.
IFLA New Professionals Special Interest Group, Madre María Teresa Guevara Library, University of Sacred Heart, San Juan. “New Professionals beyond New Professionals: Skills, Needs, and Strategies of a New Generation of LIS Professionals.”
Society of American Archivists, Annual Meeting, Hyatt Regency, Chicago. “Archives 360°.”
Science Online London, British Library, St. Pancras.
European Congress on E-Inclusion, European Parliament and the Committee of the Regions, Brussels, Belgium. “Transforming Access to Digital Europe in Public Libraries.”
Society for Scholarly Publishing, 2011 IN Conference: Innovation, Globalization, and Collaboration, Waterview Conference Center, Arlington, Virginia.
Patent Information Users Group, Northeast Conference, Hyatt Regency, New Brunswick, New Jersey.
North American Cartographic Information Society, Annual Meeting, Madison Concourse Hotel, Wisconsin. “Cartography and Information Design.”
Oral History Association, Annual Meeting, Renaissance Denver Hotel, Colorado. “Memories of Conflict and Disaster: Oral History and the Politics of Truth, Trauma, and Reconciliation.”
Picture Archive Council of America, 16th International Conference, New York Marriott East Side, New York City.
Digital Library Federation Forum, Hyatt Regency, Baltimore.
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Borders employees hold online wake
Mary Schmich writes: “Thousands of Borders alumni have gathered on Facebook recently to mourn the liquidation of the last Borders stores. Reading their posts is like attending a funny, melancholy, affectionate online wake, and, like all good wakes, it makes you appreciate the deceased even more. On various Facebook pages—most notably ‘Borders Class of 2011 and before’ (login required), which topped 6,722 members August 3—the former employees trade memories, referring to their stores by number. Reading these stories is a reminder that Borders was more than a bookstore.”...
Chicago Tribune, July 31
Our Espresso Book Machine experience
Rick Anderson writes: “In my talks I have rhapsodized about the Espresso Book Machine from On Demand Books. I’ve gone so far as to characterize this machine, despite its clunky ugliness, as incredibly sexy and that it has the potential to change utterly not just the nature of the library collection, but the whole world of publishing. Reader, we bought one. And almost two years later, I don’t regret it. However, I want to share some of the lessons that we’ve learned from our experience so far.”...
The Scholarly Kitchen, Aug. 2
Are book clubs endangered?
Nathan Heller writes: “A casual observer of the book-club scene could be fooled into thinking that this summer was a hard one for the nation’s leisure readers. Late in spring, Oprah’s club shuttered, stranding publishers in what promises to be a long shoal of short print runs. Could reading groups be losing their sway in our culture? On one hand, this is a reasonable question; on the other, it’s like asking whether the United States should worry about being out-powered by Belgium.”...
Slate, July 29
Websites that alert you to new book releases
Saikat Basu writes: “The digital age has given the book lover another set of eyes to find out what new books are getting released and where to grab them. Welcome to the world of book tracking and notification services. The five book recommendation websites mentioned here are tailor-made to your interests and are like homing missiles when it comes to alerting you about new releases.”...
MakeUseOf, July 19
Faculty inertia and change in scholarly publishing
Meredith Farkas writes: “I loved Barbara Fister’s recent post about faculty who seem surprised that journals cost the library a lot. And the quote from Peter Murray-Rust’s blog stating that ‘[librarians] should have alerted us earlier to problems instead of acquiescing to so much of the dystopia’ was extremely depressing. Beyond telling our faculty time and again (for decades) about these issues and keeping them apprised of the situation as we cut and cut and tried to get more with less through Big Deal packages, what should we have done?”...
Information Wants To Be Free, Aug. 1; Library Babel Fish, July 19; petermr’s blog, July 9
Is the academic publishing ecosystem unbalanced?
Andy Woodworth writes: “The world of academic publishing has got to be a case study in scholarly symbiotic relationships waiting to happen. Faculty need the journals for both research and publishing for advancement; and the journals need people to submit papers, subscribe to their content, and increase the academic reputation of their holdings. Unless, like any real ecosystem, you change one of the variables.”...
Agnostic, Maybe, Aug. 1
The jargon of the novel, computed
Ben Zimmer writes: “We like to think that modern fiction, particularly American fiction, is free from the artificial stylistic pretensions of the past. Has a vernacular style become the standard for the typical fiction writer? Or is literary language still a distinct and peculiar beast? Scholars in the growing field of digital humanities can tackle this question by analyzing enormous numbers of texts at once. One such research enterprise is the Corpus of Contemporary American English, or COCA, which brings together 425 million words of text from the past two decades.”...
New York Times, July 29
The United States of writers
Gabe Habash writes: “Ever wondered which states have the strongest literary tradition? Well, we’ve broken down the country into all 50 states, highlighting one singular writer to carry the flag for each. The results are surprising: The Midwest and the Northeast have the highest concentration of well-known writers, and a few states one might believe would have a strong history of pumping out writers are actually not all you’d think. Which state is the worst? The best? Find out here.” The post provoked some annoyed comments....
PWxyz, July 27
The case for raunchy teen lit
Tracy Clark-Flory writes: “I started out with classics like Nancy Drew and The Boxcar Children, but at some point in my fledgling reading career I became less interested in fictional young detectives than in solving some mysteries for myself—namely about sex and romance. Raunchy young adult novels were just the thing to satisfy my curiosity, cement my passion for books, and, of course, titillate with descriptions of, oh my God, open-mouthed tongue kissing. It isn’t just that these novels can give kids a glimpse of a more mature world; they also reflect their actual reality, as good books tend to do.”...
Salon, July 28
Soviet-era children’s books
The University of Chicago’s new Mansueto Library, which opened on May 16, is home to a new special collections space which will feature the first faculty-led exhibit since the renovation. The exhibit, “Adventures in the Soviet Imaginary,” will feature such books as the 1932 edition of the children’s book, Whom Shall I Become?, which depicts different career options that children might choose, with playful text and abstract illustrations. Fifteen years later—shortly after World War II and almost a decade after the Great Purge—a new edition of the book came out with a less playful feel....
University of Chicago Magazine, Aug. 2
How Google dominates us
James Gleick writes: “Google is where we go for answers. People used to go elsewhere or, more likely, stagger along not knowing. Nowadays you can’t have a long dinner-table argument about who won an Oscar before someone will pull out a pocket device and Google it. Part of Google’s mission is to make books of answers redundant (and reference librarians, too). No wonder there’s some confusion about Google’s exact role in that—along with increasing fear about its power and its intentions.”...
New York Review of Books, Aug. 18
Debriefing summer reading
Abby Johnson writes: “Speaking for public children’s and teen librarians all over the country: We’re exhausted. It’s been a long summer filled with programs, unexpected visits from day camps, placing holds on Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Pinkalicious, unattended kids spending the entire day on the computer, and (of course) Summer Reading Club. Even though we just finished, I’m already thinking about what we want to change for next year.”...
ALSC Blog, Aug. 3
Aim for the passionate users
Steven Bell writes: “Despite the overwhelming odds against success as an independent video store in 2011, a few are actually surviving if not exactly thriving. What these survivors are doing could provide a lesson for academic libraries that face similar challenges in a world where our target population can find information elsewhere with greater ease and convenience. In a New York Times article titled ‘The Video Store, Reinvented by Necessity,’ we learn that these strategies include participative film viewings, presentations by filmmakers, film classes, trivia nights, and (yes) better facilities.”...
ACRLog, Aug. 2; New York Times, July 30
2009 public library data files released
The Institute of Museum and Library Services has released the 2009 Public Libraries Survey data. It is available on the IMLS website. All 50 states and the District of Columbia participate in the Public Libraries Survey every year and the collection includes data on visitation, circulation, the availability and use of library computing resources, staffing, library collections and services, and fiscal information such as operating revenue and expenditures....
Library Research Service News, Aug. 1
WorldCat Identities Network
Lorcan Dempsey writes: “There have been some nice reactions to OCLC’s WorldCat Identities Network. The initial motivation for this was to put a graphic display of related Identities into an Identities page. This did not work out and we decided to make it available as a standalone app. The aim is to show how something could be built on top of the WorldCat API and the WorldCat Identities Web Services. It is a mashup. This is an example for the Los Alamos National Laboratory.”...
Lorcan Dempsey’s Weblog, July 30; OCLC, July 28
Take one ounce of camphor
Larry Nix writes: “The July 1895 issue of Library Notes contained a compilation of ‘Library Recipes’ for use by libraries in dealing with common problems that they encountered in their operations. The recipes were compiled by Katharine Lucinda Sharp for ALA’s Comparative Library Exhibit at the 1893 World Colombian Exposition in Chicago.” Libraries in the 1890s had to mix up their own bookworm and blood-stain remedies, deodorizers and disinfectants, glues, inks, spot removers, mildew preventatives, and pastes....
Library History Buff Blog, Aug. 1; Library Notes 4 (July 1895): 206–223
Federal court records destroyed to save money
Maya Rhodan writes: “The federal courts are destroying millions of judicial case records that have been stored in the Federal Records Centers of the National Archives for decades, all in an effort to save money. The plan is to destroy all records on cases that did not go to trial that were filed between 1970 and 1995. For other records, the judiciary has reduced the current record retention time from 25 to 15 years in an effort to cut costs. All cases that went to trial or were filed before 1970 will be kept.”...
iWatch News, Aug. 2
Survival tips for law firm librarians
Elliott C. Blevins writes: “When a law firm starts looking for places to cut, the library is seldom the last place they look. I have seen many articles about how to make sure that management knows the value of the librarian, but it is also important that others in the firm know it. Here is a list that I call ‘10 Survival Tips for Law Firm Librarians.’ There could be many others, of course, but these tips include ideas that often go unheeded and may be at least part of the reason that some of my dearest colleagues are currently unemployed.”...
On Firmer Ground, July 25
Public libraries and social recruiting
Stephen Abram writes: “Many, maybe most, public libraries are proud of the way they assist patrons in finding work and jobs. And that’s an awesome benefit of having a public library in your community. Jobvite released its 2011 social recruiting survey results. This fourth annual report provides the latest stats and trends on how employers use social networks to recruit today. Clearly, in our assistance of job seekers in the library, we cannot ignore the roles that social networks and strategies play in finding a job.”...
Stephen’s Lighthouse, Aug. 2
In praise of the news librarian
Tim Ferguson writes: “A valued colleague named Susan Radlauer has been promoted to director of research services at Forbes, which gives me a peg to go on a bit about her and the importance of what she does for our editorial operation. I should, because I probably make use of her assistance as much as anybody in our New York shop. When just Googling doesn’t get what information I’m after, my next step is usually Sue.”...
Forbes: Oceans Away, July 27
Street artists brighten West Hollywood library
The new West Hollywood branch of the County of Los Angeles (Calif.) Public Library building isn’t expected to officially open until October, but at least one component of the complex is already garnering public attention: a new group of murals created by street artists Shepard Fairey, Retna, and Kenny Scharf. The outdoor murals are a joint project by the artists, the city of West Hollywood, and the Museum of Contemporary Art. They can be found on the library’s parking structure....
Los Angeles Times: Culture Monster, July 27; Arrested Motion, July 30
National Library of Ireland on Flickr Commons
The National Library of Ireland joined the Flickr Commons photostream in February 2010. The library’s goal is to share publicly held collections of photographs online and to enrich the collections with input from Flickr users. A recent addition is the “July” set which has one photo taken between 1873 and 1944 for every day in July, with a short explanation for each. Users are encouraged to comment on and add their expertise to the collection....
National Library of Ireland
Do filters work?
David Lee King writes: “I just read Andy Woodworth’s post about filters and was reminded about something. A couple days ago, I visited my church’s website while in the library. We filter both public and staff computers, and guess what I found? My church’s website was blocked, because 8e6 (our filtering provider) thinks it’s a porn site. So, do filters work? Seriously, yes and no.”...
David Lee King, July 28; Agnostic, Maybe, July 28
The Great Library Stereotypometer
Ned Potter writes: “Okay here it is. After extensive research (I asked people on Twitter what they reckoned) I proudly present (and then immediately duck behind the nearest sofa) the Great Library Stereotypometer—a new, up-to-date, piercingly accurate and entirely nonserious look at library stereotypes. Click on the image to see it full-size. Feel free to use it anywhere. Don’t take it seriously.”...
thewikiman, July 19
Online survey of digitized rare Catholica
Marta Deyrup and Martha Loesch, catalogers at Seton Hall University’s Walsh Library, and Pat Lawton, digital project librarian for the Catholic Research Resources Alliance, have released the results of their Survey of Digitized Rare Catholica (PDF file) held by Catholic universities, colleges, seminaries, and archives in the United States and Canada. The survey provides an overview of how these materials are being used by faculty, students, and external communities....
Seton Hall University, July 30
Five things you have to know about every genealogy record
Michael Hait writes: “One of the most valuable lessons learned in genealogy is that finding a record is only the first step of research. So much more research occurs after we locate any single record. We must thoroughly and completely analyze and evaluate that record, identify the information it holds, assess the quality of the information, and apply this information to our research question. For every record we find, there are five things that we must investigate.”...
Planting the Seeds, July 30
When they come for the libraries
Hillside Festival attendees in Guelph, Ontario, were treated to some spoken-word poetry in support of libraries July 24 as David James Hudson performed his “When They Come for the Libraries” (4:47). The performance was timely, as Toronto Public Library is targeted with budget-cutting and closure threats by the Toronto city council. As Hudson asks, “When they come for the libraries, will you fight?”....
YouTube, July 25; Toronto Globe and Mail, July 26
Why Toronto Public Library staff gave me indigestion
Ken Haycock writes: “During all the brouhaha over the potential privatization of the Toronto Public Library services, I received a professional journal providing the reasons why a TPL librarian will not lose her job to technology, and yes, her position was identified. I have now moved from indigestion to depression. These are the five reasons the contributor gave.”...
Library Leadership, July 25
From pulp fiction to planter
Sarah Vilimek shows how discarded library furniture can be turned into a green project: “I bought a metal ‘Best of Reading’ spinning paperback book stand from a public library surplus sale (for $1 at the end of the day). A friend and I painted it and turned it into a plant stand for my backyard, with advice from the Missouri Botanical Garden. How many people have a spinning garden?”...
Flickr, July 4
“Librarian” by My Morning Jacket
Jim James, lead vocalist of the Louisville rock band My Morning Jacket, sings “Librarian” (4:21), from the band’s 2008 album Evil Urges, at Austin City Limits: “Sweetest little bookworm, hidden underneath is the sexiest librarian / Take off those glasses and let down your hair for me.”...
YouTube, June 12
Marina Orlova puts a hot word in for libraries
Russian philologist and internet celebrity Marina Orlova posted a HotForWords YouTube video (2:28) on August 1 advocating for books and libraries, which she sees as doomed: “It upsets me that libraries are going to be soon out of business . . . in the next two years.”...
YouTube, Aug. 1
Marriage proposal at the State Library of Victoria
Stephanie Campisi writes: “I recently became engaged in a manner rather fitting for an unabashed lover of all things bookish.” On May 17, an intriguing package arrived on her desk. Inside was a handwritten note that instructed her to go to the State Library of Victoria in Melbourne, Australia, and see the person at the Visitor Information counter, who would have information about a present for her. And that’s just the beginning of the tale....
Read in a Single Sitting, July 21; YouTube, July 20
Library Rap from Sliders
In the “Eggheads” episode (aired April 26, 1995) of the Fox TV series Sliders, the four travellers slip through a wormhole to an alternative universe where intellectuals are treated like sports stars, the San Francisco Public Library proudly announces that it is expanding its hours, and rap videos like this one (0:50) by MC Poindexter and The Study Crew are the norm: “Im-a give you one warning, there will be no repeats / Get outta my face while I’m reading my Keats.”...
YouTube, May 26, 2009
11 imaginative places to sleep
Jill Harness writes: “Creative beds aren’t just for kids. People of all ages can enjoy a little imagination in the design of their sleeping chambers.” Three of her choices would be welcome spots for sleepy librarians: Yusuke Suzuki’s Play Bed, Karen Babel’s bookcase bed (right), and the Uroko House from Tokyo’s Point Architects....
Mental Floss, Aug. 1
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