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The e-newsletter of the American Library Association | January 26, 2011

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American Libraries Online

Poster for Michael Moore's SickoObservers sickened by Connecticut’s Sicko controversy
Town officials in Enfield, Connecticut, have been accused in the court of public opinion of censoring the public library by forcing the library director to postpone indefinitely the January 21 screening of the Michael Moore film Sicko. A complaint by three citizens (who happen to be members of the Republican Town Committee) during the January 18 council meeting drew the attention of state civil liberties groups and the Connecticut Library Association that could lead to legal action against the town. Library Director Henry Dutcher confirmed that the library still planned to screen Sicko, but in a balanced forum in which other viewpoints would also be presented....
American Libraries news, Jan. 25; Manchester (Conn.) Journal Inquirer, Jan. 20, 22, 25; Hartford (Conn.) Courant, Jan. 25; Connecticut Library Association, Jan. 19

Detroit faces unprecedented fiscal crisis
“The Detroit Public Library is in the midst of a fiscal crisis that is unprecedented in magnitude and is likely to continue beyond this fiscal year,” DPL Executive Director Jo Anne Mondowney said in a January 18 memo to all employees. The erosion of funding will result in a drastic reduction in personnel and other operating expenses....
American Libraries news, Jan. 22

Businesswoman Holly Landau was among the speakers who appeared live at the Princeton (N.J.) Public Library during the TEDx Women conference in DecemberPlug your library into the TED conference
Gabriella Radujko writes: “Princeton (N.J.) Public Library hosted a two-day TEDx event, December 7–8, while thousands of Tedsters simultaneously attended over 100 similarly organized events about women’s issues in cities as diverse as Geneva, Pittsburgh, and Dubai. TEDx events, spinoffs of the TED annual nonprofit conference whose mission is ‘ideas worth spreading,’ are free, independent, and highly scalable programming that many public libraries can license from TED at no cost.”...
American Libraries feature

Johanna HurwitzTelephone reference: A children’s author works the wires
Johanna Hurwitz (right) writes: “Recently I turned on my computer and found a message from a teacher. She was trying to locate a book that she had read many years ago to her 6th-grade class. The story was about a Jewish girl who had moved to the suburbs and discovered that all her classmates had Christmas trees. Could I identify it? In addition to being a children’s book writer, I’m a retired children’s librarian. So of course I was curious and wanted to help track down the book for her.”...
American Libraries feature

Dominican Republic President Leonel Fernández and First Lady Margarita Cedeño de FernándezNewsmakers: Dominican Republic President and First Lady
In what looks very much like the beginning of a beautiful friendship, Dominican Republic President Leonel Fernández visited ALA Headquarters in Chicago October 1, accompanied by First Lady Margarita Cedeño de Fernández, to talk with ALA staff about libraries. He spoke passionately but pragmatically about his plans for developing a superior public library system in his country, and about the First Lady’s plans to build libraries for children and teens. Watch the full interview (9:50)....
American Libraries column, Jan./Feb.; AL Focus, Oct. 4

Discarded books with call numbers defacedMarking discards
Q. I recently purchased a used book online. When it arrived, it appeared to be a library book, but it contained no indication that it had been discarded or withdrawn. Is it common for libraries to discard books without indicating on the books that they have been withdrawn from the collection? A. Withdrawing a book may be nearly as complex as adding a book, as there are several steps the library must take in order to keep its inventory accurate. Each library will have specific local procedures....
AL: Ask the ALA Librarian, Jan. 24

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ALA News

A Membership Meeting held during the 2008 Annual Conference. Photo by Jeffrey BeallMembership meetings: Going virtual
The Committee on Membership Meetings on January 25 sent ALA members an invitation to an all-member survey about the topics and format for the 2011 ALA membership meetings. In past years, ALA has run two membership meetings on separate days of Annual Conference. The Committee voted at Midwinter to conduct one online meeting prior to Annual and the second meeting in person in New Orleans during the conference. The survey asks for topics for discussion and feedback....
ALA Membership Blog, Jan. 26

Cognotes Midwinter highlights issueCognotes Midwinter highlights issue
More than 10,000 librarians and others enjoyed a week of networking, meetings, exhibits and some sunny skies at the Midwinter Meeting. Take a few minutes to read the new highlights issue of Cognotes, the Midwinter Meeting newspaper. It is available in several formats: Interactive Nxtbook, accessible, mobile, and PDF. If you attended the Midwinter Meeting in San Diego, you may soon be receiving a survey about your experiences....
ALA Conference Services, Jan. 26

Summary of FCC net neutrality order
The Washington Office has prepared a summary (PDF file) of the Federal Communications Commission’s network neutrality order issued in December. The document highlights issues raised by the order, ALA’s position, and the language in the order for each issue. The summary was prepared in collaboration with Office for Information Technology Policy Fellow Bob Bocher and Washington Office Consultant John Windhausen of Telepoly....
District Dispatch, Jan. 25

Report outlines e-rate changes
The Office for Information and Technology Policy has compiled a report (PDF file) of key changes to the e-rate program that will take effect under an order issued by the FCC in September. The report also outlines ALA’s efforts to review the rule changes, compare these changes to the previous program rules, and inform the library community of the resulting impact on the eligibility of various services and the application process....
District Dispatch, Jan. 25

ALA-APA call for volunteers
ALA–Allied Professional Association President-Elect Molly Raphael has extended the deadline for the call for nominations to 2011–2012 ALA-APA committees. Appointments are available on the following committees: Certification Program, Certified Public Library Administrator Certification Review, Library Support Staff Certification Review, Promotion and Fundraising, and Publishing. All take effect at the conclusion of the 2011 Annual Conference. To apply, submit a volunteer committee form by January 31....
ALA–Allied Professional Association, Jan. 26

Money Smart Week 2011 logoWebinar: Plan for your library’s Money Smart Week
On February 2, learn how your library can participate in Money Smart Week @ your library (April 2–9) from those who have already made it a success at their library. Join this national initiative from ALA and the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago to help consumers of all ages improve their financial literacy. All types of libraries can participate. Register here for this free, hour-long webinar....
Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago

Planned new façade for the Petit Goave libraryLibrary relief in Haiti
January 12 marked the one-year anniversary of the devastating earthquake in Haiti. Thanks to many recent donations ALA has raised $35,000 to help rebuild three libraries: the Petit Goave Public Library, the Centre Culturel Pyepoudre Community Library, and the Bibliothèque haïtienne des Pères du Saint-Esprit. Unfortunately, much more is needed, as the estimated cost to rebuild just the Petit Goave Public Library is $350,000. Here are some ways you can help....
ALA Haiti Relief Fund

Cover of Organizational StorytellingUsing storytelling for effective library leadership
Just as literature often enhances learning, the power of storytelling can be very effective when applied to leadership and management. In the new ALA Editions book, Organizational Storytelling for Librarians: Using Stories for Effective Leadership, library expert and author Kate Marek shows readers how they can use storytelling to communicate vision and values. Applying solid management principles to a library setting, Marek’s book includes a primer on how to develop storytelling skills....
ALA Editions, Jan. 20

Cover of Be a Great BossBe a great boss
To help library managers improve their skills and acumen, renowned speaker and trainer Catherine Hakala-Ausperk presents a handy self-study guide to the dynamic role of being a boss. Organized in 52 modules, Be a Great Boss: One Year to Success, published by ALA Editions, is designed to cover a year of weekly sessions, but is easily adaptable for any pace. The workbook is suitable for all levels of management, from first-line supervisors to library directors....
ALA Editions, Jan. 25

Booklist Online logo

Cover of Death of a Chimney SweepFeatured review: Crime fiction
Beaton, M. C. Death of a Chimney Sweep. 256p. Feb. 2011. Grand Central, hardcover (978-0-446-54739-0).
The Scottish Highlands that Beaton depicts with such skill are beautiful and sinister, a fitting backdrop to her Hamish Macbeth series and especially to this one, her 26th craggy-cozy. The mystery centers in the tiny Highlands village of Drim, “a huddle of white-washed cottages” on the banks of a sea loch, where mountains rise up at water’s edge. There, the body of the posh new owner of a long-abandoned estate is found, stuffed up the chimney. The chimney sweep himself, who was to have been cleaning the estate chimney, is found dead on the motorway, an apparent accident victim, a few hours later....

At Leisure column graphicRecognizing what’s popular
Joyce Saricks writes: “As I prepare to teach readers’ advisory again, I’m updating the benchmark authors I list in each fiction genre and in nonfiction. This should be easy—How much could a genre have changed since I last taught in the summer?—but it’s an exercise I agonize over. Who are the most representative mystery, romance, and science-fiction writers? If one can be introduced to only a few authors, from which names can one get the most mileage later, when working with readers? It’s tricky. However, this is a question we all face, especially when we’re training new staff but also as we help all staff stay up to date.”...

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

Division News

LITA board affirms openness and transparency
LITA President Karen J. Starr writes: “On January 8, a member of the LITA board began an unannounced live video stream of the board’s first session during ALA Midwinter. This action raised several complex policy and legal questions that could not be answered on the spot, some of which involved legal liability. Following a brief discussion, the board voted to cease streaming, pending discussion and resolution of those policy and legal questions. The incident was interpreted by some as an affront to the open sharing of association content and proceedings.”...
LITA Blog, Jan. 19

Michelle Demeter and Suzanne Byke sing the "ACRL Rap"ACRL Video Contest winner
Congratulations to Job Jamie, Michelle Demeter, and Suzanne Byke from Florida State University’s Strozier Library, who have been named winners of the ACRL 2011 Video Contest for “The ACRL 2011 Strozier Rap Video” (2:14). Watch all the other creative videos about why you should attend the ACRL 2011 Conference, March 30–April 2, in Philadelphia. February 4 is the early bird registration deadline....
ACRL Insider, Jan. 26

ACRLMetrics sample screenACRLMetrics now available
ACRL has released ACRLMetrics, a new online service to support evidence-based decision making. Developed by Counting Opinions, it provides unprecedented access to the annual ACRL Academic Library Trends and Statistics Survey data as well as the biennial National Center for Education Statistics Academic Library Survey data in one convenient location. ACRL data for participating institutions is available for 1999–2009, and NCES data is available for 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, and 2008. Introductory pricing is now available through January 31....
ACRL, Jan. 25

ACRL update: Change ahead
Steven Bell writes: “The new version of ACRL’s strategic plan, the Plan for Excellence (PDF file), is currently in draft format and feedback is sought from the academic library community (by February 1). The first thing you’ll notice about the Plan for Excellence is that it’s far shorter than its predecessor. It consists of only three goals, and each goal has but four objectives.”...
ACRLog, Jan. 25

Create an engaging and user-friendly website
At 1 p.m. Central time on February 23, PLA will host a live, hour-long webinar, “Creating a User-Centered Website for Your Library,” as part of its “Public Libraries at Work” monthly webinar series. The webinar will be led by Nate Hill, web librarian at the San Jose (Calif.) Public Library....
PLA, Jan. 25

ALCTS supports Spectrum
ALCTS has announced its support of the Spectrum Scholarship Program through a gift of $1,000 to the Spectrum Presidential Initiative....
Spectrum Initiative, Jan. 25

Round Table News

Screen shot from the Video Round Table videoVideo Round Table discusses Notable Videos for Adults
In this video (1:38), the ALA Video Round Table Notable Videos for Adults Committee discusses the titles VRT added to the list at the 2011 Midwinter Meeting in San Diego, as well as the criteria that make a video “notable”: “We are looking for films that push the boundaries of the video medium, that say something new, or contribute to the resolution of a contemporary problem.”...
AL Focus, Jan. 26


2011 National Library Week Grant
Southern State Community College library in Hillsboro, Ohio, is the winner of the 2011 Scholastic Library Publishing National Library Week Grant. The $3,000 grant, sponsored by Scholastic Library Publishing and administered by the ALA Public Awareness Committee, is awarded annually for the best public awareness campaign in support of National Library Week (April 10–16). The library will use the “Creating your own story @ your library” theme as a platform for promoting library services to help the residents of Fayette County start a new chapter in their lives....
Public Information Office, Jan. 25

Theresa Venable wins Zora Neale Hurston Award
Theresa Venable, librarian at the Children’s Defense Fund Haley Farm’s Langston Hughes Library in Clinton, Tennessee, has been selected as the 2011 winner of the Zora Neale Hurston Award. Venable was chosen for her work in library programming designed to promote African-American authors and African-American illustrators of children’s picture books. Examples of Venable’s programming include directing the 2009 May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture....
RUSA, Jan. 25

Notice for Arbuthnot Lecture in St. LouisRegistration open for Arbuthnot Lecture in St. Louis
On April 15, bestselling children’s author Lois Lowry will give the 2011 May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture in St. Louis. The event begins at 7 p.m. and will take place in the Main Reading Room of the St. Louis County Library. The event is free and open to the public. Tickets can be obtained by visiting St. Louis County Library’s event registration page....
ALSC, Jan. 25

2011 PLA award and grant winners
PLA has announced the winners of eight awards and grants that honor the best in public library service and innovation. PLA President Audra Caplan, along with the award sponsors, will recognize the winners on June 26 as a part of the PLA President’s Program at ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans....
PLA, Jan. 25

The National Friends of Libraries Week proclamation is displayed in Ennis (Tex.) Public LibraryTwo Friends groups win ALTAFF awards
Friends of the San Benito County (Calif.) Free Library and Friends of the Ennis (Tex.) Public Library were recognized for winning the 2010 National Friends of Libraries Week Awards by ALTAFF during the division’s Gala Author Tea, held during the ALA Midwinter Meeting in San Diego. Each group received a $250 check and a certificate....
ALTAFF, Jan. 21

Public Libraries Feature Article Contest winners
PLA has recognized three authors in the 2011 Public Libraries Feature Article Contest. The contest awards cash prizes to the authors of the best feature articles written by public librarians and published in the previous year’s issues of Public Libraries magazine. The winners are Paula Brehm-Heeger and Greg Edwards for “Remaking One of the Nation’s Busiest Main Libraries” and Robert Rua for “Reconnecting With Reading.”...
PLA, Jan. 25

2011 Louise Seaman Bechtel Fellowships
ALSC has awarded two 2011 Louise Seaman Bechtel Fellowships to Victoria Penny (First Regional Library, Hernando, Mississippi) and Allison G. Kaplan (University of Wisconsin–Madison SLIS). The Bechtel Fellowship is designed to allow qualified children’s librarians to spend a month or more reading and studying at the Baldwin Library of Historical Children’s Literature, a part of the George A. Smathers Libraries at the University of Florida, Gainesville....
ALSC, Jan. 25

Award-winner Laura Blake, from Harvard's Widener LibraryThe I Love My Librarian awards video
The 2010 I Love My Librarian Awards were presented to 10 of America’s favorite librarians at a ceremony in New York City December 9. The award recognizes quality service and dedication by library professionals across the country. This video (3:26) features highlights of the ceremony and interviews with the winners....
AL Focus, Jan. 24

Cover of White EgretsT. S. Eliot Poetry Prize
In a bumper year for English-language poetry, Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott was named winner of the T. S. Eliot prize for the best new collection of poems published in the U.K. or Ireland. Valerie Eliot, widow of T. S. Eliot, awarded Walcott £15,000 ($23,975 U.S.) at a January 24 ceremony at the Wallace Collection, London. The winning collection, White Egrets, was described by the chair of judges, poet Anne Stevenson, as “moving and technically flawless.”...
The Guardian (U.K.), Jan. 24

Cover of Shapcott's Of Mutability2010 Costa Book of the Year
Poet Jo Shapcott has taken the £35,000 ($55,490 U.S.) Costa Book of the Year Award for her book Of Mutability. The judges felt that the book was “so accessible, and the subject matter was so relevant, that if any poetry book could capture the spirit of life in 2011, this would be it.” The book explores the body’s relationship to the world—in its fragility, toughness, and mutability....
The Guardian (U.K.), Jan. 25

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Seen Online

Charles BrownCharlotte Mecklenburg director to step down
Charlotte Mecklenburg (N.C.) Library Director Charles Brown (right) is leaving his job, citing a tumultuous year of multimillion-dollar budget cuts, staff layoffs, and branch closings. The board of trustees voted on January 19 to accept his resignation, effective June 30, the end of the library’s budget year. In the meantime, Brown will work with interim CEO Vick Phillips, a former bank executive. Brown, who is credited with helping guide the growth and achievements of the library over the past seven years, says the timing is right for him to step aside....
Charlotte (N.C.) Observer, Jan. 19; Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, Jan. 19

The Austin school district's banner for the budget crisis: Tough Times/Tough Choices: Focus on Student SuccessSome librarian jobs saved in Austin school crisis
About 485 school positions in Austin, Texas, could be cut because of a change in staffing formulas unanimously adopted by the school board January 24. The new formulas, proposed by Superintendent Meria Carstarphen under the cloud of several extremely bleak state budget forecasts, would cut 220 elementary and 229 secondary school positions. At the last minute, trustees changed Carstarphen’s proposal to save 52 elementary school librarian jobs. Another 22 secondary school librarian positions, however, were eliminated from the formula, at least for now....
Austin (Tex.) American-Statesman, Jan. 25

Day of protest in the U.K.: February 5
A “carnival of resistance” to library closures in the United Kingdom will take place on February 5, with more than 40 library read-ins scheduled. Many writers—including Philip Pullman, Mary Hoffman, Malcolm Rose, and Carole Matthews—are scheduled to take part. Author Alan Gibbons, who has been a leading voice in the library protests, promised a celebration of reading complete with balloons, storytelling, and music. Nearly 450 libraries and bookmobiles are threatened with closure as a result of local authority budget cuts....
The Guardian (U.K.), Dec. 21, Jan. 24; False Economy Blog, Jan. 25; Public Libraries News, Jan. 25

Close-up of the altered date: Long-time Lincoln researcher Thomas Lowry admitted to changing the date of Murphy’s pardon, written in Lincoln’s hand, from April 14, 1864, to April 14, 1865National Archives discovers altered date on Lincoln document
Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero announced January 24 that Thomas Lowry, a long-time Lincoln researcher, had confessed on January 12 to altering the date of an Abraham Lincoln presidential pardon belonging to the U.S. National Archives. The pardon was for Patrick Murphy, a Civil War soldier in the Union Army who was court-martialed for desertion. Lowry admitted to changing the date from April 14, 1864, to April 14, 1865, one day before Lincoln’s assassination. Lowry now claims he was pressured into confessing....
National Archives, Jan. 24; Washington Post, Jan. 25

Guns in Iowa public libraries
Because of recently enacted changes in Iowa law, gun owners no longer are required to conceal their firearms in public. The new legal reality has led to the utterly bizarre question: “Should the library ban firearms?” What possible good could come from allowing people to walk around with their guns on display in the public library? Both the city attorney and the state attorney general say that cities and counties have the authority to ban firearms on government property....
Iowa City Press-Citizen, Jan. 24

Indiana bill would ban sex offenders from libraries
Registered sex offenders would be banned from Indiana public libraries if Rep. David Yarde has his way. On January 6, Yarde introduced H.B. 1100, which would create the criminal offense of “sex offender library trespass,” a Class D felony. The bill does allow for an exception for entering public libraries to vote, but under modern First Amendment law, a complete ban on sex offenders appears constitutionally problematic....
First Amendment Center, Jan. 19

Serious flood at the Boston Athenæum
Director Paula D. Matthews writes: “The Boston Athenæum experienced a serious water leak from a faulty sprinkler system January 24 around 3 p.m. The water spread across the floor in the first floor Long Room, the Newspaper Reading Room, the Bow Room, and down the corridor towards the Children’s Library. Water leaked into the basement book stacks in many locations. One to two thousand circulating books got wet. They will be sent off-site to be dried.” The library will be closed at least through January 27....
Boston Athenæum, Jan. 24–25; Boston Herald, Jan. 25

Juror could face charges for online research
A high-school librarian could face criminal charges for conducting online research while she was a juror in a capital-murder trial. The problem came to light on January 14, when the jury forewoman in the Court of Common Pleas in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, told the judge that juror Gretchen Black had conducted internet research about injuries suffered by the victim, and that she had offered to share her research with other jurors. Judge Tina Polachek Gartley found Black’s actions to be grounds for dismissal from the panel, forcing what is known as “mistrial by internet.”...
Reuters Canada, Jan. 19; Wilkes-Barre (Pa.) Times Leader, Jan. 18

Cover of Sustaining the Carnegie Library of Philadelphia, Sept. 2, 2010Carnegie Library to ask Pittsburgh voters to raise tax
The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh’s new six-pronged funding strategy will include asking city voters to pay additional real estate taxes to support the system’s 19 locations. Allegheny County Senior Judge Frank J. Lucchino, who led a task force (PDF file) that spent several months studying the system’s financial needs, said he hopes a referendum will appear on the ballot in this fall’s general election. The referendum would ask voters whether they would pay additional property taxes to support a library system that has threatened to close branches because of budget problems....
Pittsburgh (Pa.) Post-Gazette, Jan. 22

Mashpee (Mass.) Public LibraryTribe member says Mashpee library broke agreement
Amelia Bingham, a Mashpee Wampanoag elder instrumental in fighting for Indian rights for more than five decades, says Mashpee (Mass.) Public Library officials broke a promise to provide space for the tribe in their new 21,000-square-foot building. But Library Director Helene DeFoe said officials only promised shelf space for books. Bingham came to her just before the library opened in April to request the additional space, but by then the building had been laid out....
Hyannis (Mass.) Cape Cod Times, Jan. 22

Enoch Pratt settles discrimination lawsuit
The Enoch Pratt Free Library’s $100,000 settlement of an employee’s disability discrimination lawsuit was approved by the Baltimore Board of Estimates on January 19, but the agreement between the city library system and the woman will have to be modified to remove an errant confidentiality provision. Plaintiff Joan Bourne’s attorney talked about his client’s years-long effort to secure a reserved handicapped parking place behind the main library branch downtown....
Daily Record (Baltimore), Jan. 19; Baltimore Sun, Jan. 20

Architect's drawing of the new Tenley-Friendship branch of DCPLOne of the best things for D.C. in decades
The District’s chief librarian, Ginnie Cooper, says there was no concerted effort to make the four libraries built in the past two years all look the same. But with the January 24 unveiling of the new Tenley-Friendship branch (right), it’s clear that a coherent style has emerged, if not intentionally, then organically, in the four stand-alone, built-from-the-ground-up buildings that have replaced some of the most obsolete and ugly of the Washington’s 24 neighborhood facilities....
Washington Post, Jan. 23

Unruly tweens disrupt Upper West Side branch
A librarian at the Bloomingdale branch on New York City’s Upper West Side says unruly tweens have become such a threatening menace to her and her staff that she needs increased police protection. Bloomingdale branch manager Rebecca Donsky said she asked her husband to get her pepper spray because she’s worried the preteens might jump her one night as she’s locking up at the end of a shift. New York Public Library spokeswoman Angela Montefinise said disruptive behavior isn’t acceptable, and the library has worked with its own security team to improve the situation....
DNAinfo, Jan. 24

Harvard joins Borrow Direct
In a move that will allow Harvard University students, faculty, and staff to borrow circulating materials from the libraries of Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, MIT, the University of Pennsylvania, Princeton, and Yale, the Harvard Library has joined the Borrow Direct Partnership. When fully implemented at Harvard, Borrow Direct will enable users to search a combined catalog of more than 50 million volumes at all nine participating institutions and request prompt delivery of circulating items. MIT also joined in January. Borrow Direct was developed from a pilot project conducted in 1999–2001 by Columbia, Penn, and Yale....
Harvard Gazette, Jan. 24; The Dartmouth, Jan. 25; RLG Focus 50 (June 2001)

Westmount Public Library Children's Room, ca. 1922Quebec’s first children’s library is 100 years old
It was 100 years ago that the former Westmount News trumpeted the news on its front page: the opening of the province of Quebec’s first children’s library. Constructed as a separate building next to the main library in Westmount Park, the Children’s Library boasted its own librarian, child-sized furniture, lower shelves so that children could reach the books themselves, and a wood-burning fireplace with delightful tiles showing scenes from Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. A full century later, the Westmount Public Library’s Children’s Department is celebrating those early days....
Montreal (Quebec) Gazette, Jan. 22

Girl Scouts of Troop 70181 prepare to ship books to AfricaGirl Scouts give books to African school library
Through the efforts of Junior Girl Scouts in Troop 70181 of McKinleyville, California, the children of Rehauhetsoe Primary School in Butha-Buthe, Lesotho, will have a school library. Working on their Bronze Award, 10 girls helped to gather, sort, and pack 585 pounds of books into 12 boxes for shipping in time to catch the December container ship destined for southern Africa. The Scouts partnered with the African Library Project, a nonprofit organization based in the Bay Area....
Eureka (Calif.) Times-Standard, Jan. 23

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Tech Talk

Knowing how to disassemble a laptop is not an essential library staff tech skill (but it couldn't hurt)Technology skills library staff should have
Sarah Houghton-Jan writes: “I was recently asked to draw up a list of technology skills that I thought library staffers should possess. I wrote my list in very broad strokes, before making it really specific to different tasks or specifying certain items only for certain positions. I thought I would share this rough list with the rest of the library world in case it helps you too. I advise getting more specific if you’re having staff self-assess on what skills they have, or actually provide training in these areas.”...
ALA Learning, Jan. 22

Google Cloud Print graphicGoogle launches Cloud Print for mobile devices
Jason Griffey writes: “Google enables mobile printing for Gmail and gDocs via its Cloud Print service for any of its supported mobile platforms (Android 2.1+ and iOS 3+). This means that you’ll be able to print using these services from your Android phone, iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch to any printer attached to your Windows 7 PC. Clever, and potentially very useful, especially as the tablet form factor becomes more central in offering library services.”...
AL: Perpetual Beta, Jan. 24

How the Firefox Do Not Track header might work. Click to enlarge“Do Not Track” feature for Firefox
A month and a half after Microsoft made a splash announcing the Tracking Protection feature for its upcoming Internet Explorer 9 browser, Mozilla announced a Firefox 4 feature with the same intent—protecting users from being tracked for targeted ads. Like IE9, Firefox 4 is still at the beta stage, but Google’s Chrome browser now allows users to opt out of cookies. Perhaps John C. Dvorak says it most plainly: “Cookies are bad. Tracking on the internet is bad. The ability for a website to track your activity is bad. The fact that browsers allow cookies is bad. The fact that your computer is a document of all your personal activity is bad. Do I make myself clear on this?”...
PC Magazine, Jan. 24

Google Reader appThe five best Android newsreaders
Jason Fitzpatrick writes: “First we took a look at the five most popular newsreader apps for iOS. Now we’re back to balance things out with a peek at the five most popular newsreaders for the Android. Google Reader (right), the long-awaited official app from Google, took its sweet time getting to the market. Nonetheless, despite being on the market for less than two months, it’s one of the most popular RSS apps.”...
Lifehacker, Jan. 23

The IBM 2250 Display Unit, with the cursor being moved with a light penThe evolution of computer displays
Jim Belcher writes: “Current computer graphics are fairly well-known and understood. But how did we get here? The evolution of computer graphics is intertwined with textual display, and it is difficult to consider the two separately. Computer graphics are taken for granted today. But it has been a long and painful struggle, with hardware rarely keeping up with the demand for better images. In English, there are a relatively small number of characters which comprise text. The same is not true of images: graphics are computationally intensive.”...
Ars Technica, Jan. 23

Muybridgizer app iconYALSA App of the Week: Muybridgizer
Wendy Stephens writes: “19th-century English photographer Eadweard Muybridge was challenged by California Gov. Leland Stanford to take a picture of one of his prize racehorses with all four legs off the ground. Muybridge managed to use sequential exposures from a series of cameras to capture that elusive moment. The Tate Britain recently showcased Muybridge’s studies, and though its exhibit has ended, the iPhone Muybridgizer app brings a little of the Muybridgian magic to the masses.”...
YALSA Blog, Jan. 26

Doomed: Handheld gaming consoles12 technologies on the brink of extinction
Gord Goble writes: “Predictions are like crazy relatives. Everyone has a few, but none should be taken too seriously. It is with that mindset that we offer our own set of predictions. We call them the Dirty Dozen—six technologies we feel will soon meet their maker, and six more that might seem on death’s door but likely aren’t. Our little prognosticatory wrap-up focuses on 2020 as the end point.”...
Maximum PC, Jan. 11

Computer caseHow to buy a PC case
Matthew Murray writes: “Chances are that when you think about your desktop computer, you don’t think too much about its case. In fact, as long as a few basic requirements are met, everything else is probably pretty much okay. That doesn’t mean, however, that there aren’t plenty of places to go wrong. Understanding what the case does, how it works, and why it’s designed the way it is will help you make smart buying choices.”...
PC Magazine, Jan. 23

Set in the far off year of 2000, the 1964 anime series Gigantor played to the dreams of every young boy, centering around 12-year-old Jimmy Sparks who had his very own pet flying gigantic robotThe 10 geekiest animated series of all time
Brian Heater writes: “With news of an impending Angry Birds animated series, it seemed like an appropriate time to ask the PC Magazine staff what they considered the geekiest animated series of all time. We got plenty of answers—and even more nostalgia—but somehow managed to cut the list down to 10 shows and a lengthy honorable mention list. Check out the winners and let us know what we left out.”...
Gearlog, Jan. 21

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ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans, June 23–28, 2011. Attend the Virtual Conference, July 6–7.

Cover of In the Words of the Winners

Winners of the most respected prizes in children’s literature speak out in In the Words of the Winners: The Newbery and Caldecott Winners, 2001–2010, an exclusive collection of acceptance speeches culled from the archives of ALSC and The Horn Book magazine. NEW! From ALA Editions.

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Businesswoman Holly Landau was among the speakers who appeared live at the Princeton (N.J.) Public Library during the TEDx Women conference in December

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Great Libraries of the World

Frederick Ferris Thompson Memorial Library, Vassar College

Frederick Ferris Thompson Memorial Library, Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, New York. The Thompson building was completed in 1905 by Mary Clark Thompson as a memorial to her husband, a Vassar trustee and banker. Built in Perpendicular Gothic style, the library consists of three wings around a central tower. Below a frieze of university seals in the central hall hang five 17th-century Flemish Gobelin tapestries portraying the tale of Cupid and Psyche. In the west wing, a stained glass window depicts Elena Cornaro Piscopia, the first woman in Europe to earn a doctorate in philosophy. The Media Cloisters were created in 1999 as a state-of-the-art space for collaborative learning and instructional technology exploration.

Frick Art Reference Library

Frick Art Reference Library, New York City. The library was founded in 1920 by Helen Clay Frick as a memorial to her father, industrialist and art collector Henry Clay Frick, and to serve “adults with a serious interest in art,” among them scholars, art professionals, collectors, and students. The library’s book and photograph research collections relate chiefly to paintings, drawings, sculpture, prints, and illuminated manuscripts from the 4th to the mid-20th century by European and American artists.

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 in 2011 by ALA Editions.

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Head of Technical Services, Texas A&M University–Commerce Libraries, Commerce, Texas. This 12-month position gives the applicant the opportunity to work in a dynamic library on a growing campus. Provides leadership, oversight, and hands-on management of library acquisitions (materials budget of approximately $1.3 million), materials processing, cataloging, serials, e-resources, and the integrated library system; develops goals, priorities, and strategies for the department; and supervises a staff of four professional librarians and six paraprofessionals. The head of technical services is also expected to lead in collection analysis and the implementation of processes such as preprocessing of materials, PromptCat, and an approval plan....

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Digital Library of the Week

Business card of Cal Johnson, who was born a slave in 1844 and eventually became very successful financially. He made money in real estate, saloon ownership, and race horses. He donated money to build a fountain in a city park that Knoxville named in his honor in 1922

Volunteer Voices is Tennessee’s statewide digitization program involving the state’s archives, libraries, repositories, historic homes, and museums. Its goals are to develop digital collections that document Tennessee’s history and culture; facilitate use of these collections in K–16 classrooms and by the general public; and offer training opportunities for personnel to learn digitization standards and best practices. In 2005, Volunteer Voices received a three-year grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to build its first digital collection, The Growth of Democracy in Tennessee. Three digital-content specialists traversed the state, scanning and creating records for more than 10,000 items (photographs and historic documents) from approximately 100 institutions. Researchers can search the database by keyword, or browse by broad topic (e.g., “Trade, Business, and Industry”), era, county, or institution. Volunteer Voices is managed through Tenn-Share by an advisory board of representatives from several institutions.

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.

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“The library represents that branch of government that’s like the smart kid—the teacher’s favorite. And the library always wins. They get whatever they want. Everybody loves them—nobody can say anything. People who work in the library think they are so much better than everyone else. And what’s really funny is we’ve been doing Q&As about our show, and people from local governments have said, ‘You guys nailed it about the library.’ We were just making it up as a joke on the show, but I guess everyone hates the library.”

Parks and Recreation actress Amy Poehler, in response to the question, “How much does Parks and Recreation hate the library?” in the Q+LA column, Los Angeles Times Magazine, Jan.

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Digital Book World, New York City, Jan. 24–26, at:

EduCon 2.3, Philadelphia, Jan. 28–30, at:

Australian Library and Information Association, Information Online Conference, Sydney, Feb. 1–3, at:

Ontario Library Association, Super Conference, Toronto, Feb. 2–5, at:

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


Feb. 4:
Rolando Hinojosa / Miguel Méndez Literary Symposium,
Wittliff Collections, Alkek Library, Texas State University-San Marcos.

Feb. 11–13:
44th California International Antiquarian Book Fair,
Concourse Exhibition Center, San Francisco.

Mar. 16:
National Freedom of Information Day Conference,
Knight Conference Center at the Newseum, Washington, D.C.

Apr. 2–9:
Money Smart Week @ your library.

Apr. 15:
May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture,
delivered by Lois Lowry, St. Louis County Library, 1640 S. Lindbergh Blvd., St. Louis.

May 11–13:
African Library Summit 2011,
Misty Hills Country Hotel, Conference Centre and Spa, Muldersdrift, Gauteng, South Africa. “The Future of African Librarianship.”

June 21–26:
Oxford American Summit for Ambitious Writers, Petit Jean Mountain, Arkansas.

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Cover of '46 Chicago, a neo-noir novel by Steve Monroe that is too-little-knownRousing Reads: 1946
Bill Ott writes: “The war was over, soldiers were returning to civilian life, and governments were beginning to rebuild. Beneath the euphoria, though, the Cold War was gathering steam, and a peculiar mood—a mix of relief, ennui, and alienation—was taking hold in the minds of survivors. Out of this cauldron of emotions came film noir, which critic Nicholas Christopher has called ‘the dark mirror reflecting the dark underside of American urban life.’”...
American Libraries column, Jan./Feb.

How to publish your book on Amazon Kindle
Dylan Love writes: “The only reason A Confederacy of Dunces was ever published is because author John Kennedy Toole’s mother pulled the manuscript out of the garbage after his death. Your book shouldn’t have to travel that rocky of a road on its way to publication. Amazon makes it a piece of cake for you to set a book loose on the Kindle e-reader platform.”...
Business Insider: Tools, Jan. 12

Nook 3G e-readerBarnes and Noble discontinuing Nook 3G?
David Carnoy writes: “We’re not sure quite what to make of this rumor, but Engadget is reporting that Barnes and Noble is phasing out its Nook 3G e-reader. The company is apparently encouraging retail partners to not send out any ‘bulk requests’ for the Nook 3G, as there simply ‘will not be sufficient quantities to fulfill those orders.’ The fact is, Amazon offers both a 3G/Wi-Fi Kindle and Wi-Fi-only Kindle, and Barnes and Noble will most likely continue to offer models that compete with what Amazon has.”...
CNET News: Crave, Jan. 24; Engadget, Jan. 24

African Game Trails, by Theodore Roosevelt (Scribner's, 1910)Beautiful books inspired by Africa
From colonists to adventurers and big-game hunters to conservationists, many generations have been fascinated by Africa. Countless books have been produced about the world’s second largest continent—some have faded into obscurity but others have become collectible. This selection ranges from the wildlife to ordinary life on the veldt. Books inspired by African fauna have generated many beautiful bindings and intricate cover designs over the years....
Reading Copy Book Blog, Jan. 25

Actions & Answers

Cover of OCLC Perceptions of Libraries, 2010 reportNew OCLC report: Perceptions of Libraries, 2010
According to a new membership report by OCLC, Americans are using libraries much more because the economic downturn has impacted their lives, careers, and incomes. Perceptions of Libraries, 2010: Context and Community provides updated information and new insights into information consumers and their online habits, preferences, and perceptions. Particular attention was paid to how the economy has affected information-seeking behaviors and how those changes are reflected in the use and perception of libraries....
OCLC, Jan. 20

The 21st-century customer
Steve Matthews writes: “Public libraries have been slow to figure out that the 21st-century customer does not need 20th-century library services. School, academic, and special libraries have been dealing with the new Millennial Customer for several years. Unless we want to see brick and mortar libraries go the way of the rotary-dial telephone, the transistor radio, and the cathode-ray tube, we need to understand the Millennial Customer and adapt library services to meet their interests—because they do not appear to have library service needs and may not seek services from public libraries.”...
21st Century Library Blog, Jan. 26

Explore the Dashboard graphicFeds launch new education data tool
The U.S. Education Department has launched a website that aims to provide easy access to key state and national education data for all school stakeholders. The United States Education Dashboard, which debuted January 24, highlights the progress being made across the country at every level of public education, and it reports on several indicators of progress toward President Obama’s goal that, by 2020, the United States once again will have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world....
eSchool News, Jan. 25

What you need to know about the New York Times pay wall
Nicholas Jackson writes: “The New York Times has been talking about erecting a pay wall that could—executives hope—help to bring in some new money. Readers (customers?) long accustomed to getting all of their content from the paper for free could be in for a bit of a shock. Not all of them though. Only about 15% of the paper’s current readers access the site enough to trigger the pay wall that executives hope to put in place sometime in February.”...
The Atlantic: Technology, Jan. 24

Snapdragon Book Foundation logoFoundation gives books to needy schools
Rocco Staino writes: “Cash-strapped school libraries serving low-income kids can now supplement their book budgets, thanks to Anne Knickerbocker. The former Texas media specialist at the Spring Branch Independent School District in Houston is giving back to her profession with the Snapdragon Book Foundation, which has the sole purpose of supplying school libraries with funds to buy new books. And the next deadline to apply is April 15.”...
School Library Journal, Jan. 20

Doodle 4 Google contest logoDoodle 4 Google is back
Google has launched its fourth annual Doodle 4 Google contest. Open to K–12 students in the United States, the contest is an opportunity of a lifetime: Design the homepage doodle for millions to see, and while you’re at it, take home a $15,000 scholarship and a $25,000 technology grant for your school. The theme this year is “What I’d like to do someday,” which gives talented young dreamers an opportunity to flex their creative muscles. The deadline to register is March 2; submissions are due by March 16....
Official Google Blog, Jan. 19

The Library of Congress Cooper's Hawk. Photo by Abby BrackThe Library of Congress hawk
Matt Raymond writes: “A juvenile female Cooper’s Hawk (Accipiter cooperii) has come to visit the Library of Congress Main Reading Room (right). It has captured the imagination of the public, the media, and researchers in the Main Reading Room, as heads are constantly craned upward for a glimpse.” After seven nights in the building, the hawk, nicknamed Jefferson, was safely captured the morning of January 26 by experts from the Raptor Conservancy of Virginia and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife and Service, who laid a trap with two starlings inside as bait. LC’s Mark Hartsell provides a firsthand report of the happy ending....
Library of Congress Blog, Jan. 20–21, 24, 26; Washington Post, Jan. 26

Google’s decreasingly useful, spam-filled web searches
Marco Arment writes: “I’ve been frustrated by Google’s apparent defeat by spam. It’s not a sudden issue—it’s been gradually worsening for a few years. It’s now nearly impossible to find good results for many commonly asked types of queries. Searching Google is now like asking a question in a crowded flea market of hungry, desperate, sleazy salesmen who all claim to have the answer to every question you ask.”..., Jan. 5

Cover of Glacier National Park Tourist Survey (Montana State Highway Commission, Planning Survey, 1951)Montana adopts the Internet Archive as its repository
Chris Stockwell writes: “The Montana State Library has just completed moving 3,070 born-digital state publications from OCLC’s CONTENTdm to the Internet Archive. This is a key piece of the library’s institutional repository for other state publications now hosted by the Internet Archive.” Here is how MSL came to make the decision....
Internet Archive Blog, Jan. 14

Chinese sculpture of a book with a face. Photo by laikolosseReconsidering Facebook
Hilary Davis writes: “Last year there was a revolt against Facebook. Lots of people were weighing the pros and cons of becoming a Facebook dropout, including librarians. A lot of people left Facebook, including myself. Until recently, I didn’t think I was missing out by not being on Facebook. A lot about the way that Facebook supports the profession of librarianship has changed in the past few years, even since the mid-2010 uproar. For me, the benefits now outweigh the risks.”...
In the Library with the Lead Pipe, Jan. 26

Four successful library social-media campaigns
Aaron Tay writes: “Libraries are some of the most active users of social media, and it is no surprise that many have taken to using new media to spread their message and promote their causes. Some of these campaigns are started by librarians; others have purely grassroot orgins. Some are targeted mainly to their fellow librarians, while others are meant for everyone. In recent months, I have noticed a few campaigns that have resulted in actions that go beyond the purely online realm.”...
Musings about Librarianship, Jan. 23

La Prensa (Panama) profiled on NewspapermapThe world’s newspapers on Google Maps
Keir Clarke writes: “Newspapermap provides a great way to browse nearly 10,000 of the world’s newspapers. The newspapers are categorized on the map by language. Each information window contains links to the websites of the listed newspapers and links to read the papers through Google Translate. If you visit the site on your mobile you can view a special Google Map customized for phones.”...
Google Maps Mania, Jan. 25

Bumper sticker: Libraries: More loans than a bankLibrary bumper stickers
Phil Bradley writes: “I clearly had way too much time on my hands the other evening, because I started creating library comparison bumper stickers. The first one was ‘Libraries: older than books.’ I then got onto a bit of a roll. I had a deluge of emails asking me to collate them (oh ok, it was one email), and so here they are. All in threes, around a common theme.”...
Phil Bradley’s Weblog, Jan. 21

So you want to go to library school
Abby Johnson writes: “You’re thinking about going to library school for children’s services. Or maybe you’ve decided to go, but you’re wondering what you can do to make yourself marketable after you finish. Speaking as a librarian who had a job lined up before she graduated, I have some advice for you.”...
Abby (the Librarian), Jan. 25

Unemployment in Libraryland
Andy Woodworth writes: “As it stands currently, the profession cannot find places for everyone who graduates, and therefore the supply remains woefully higher than the demand. What can be done about this? Here is the real question: What is stopping unemployed librarians (either new graduates or current ones) from finding new applications for their education and experience or becoming entrepreneurs? We are surrounded by a vast and expanding information landscape that will not level off or slow down for the foreseeable future.”...
Agnostic, Maybe, Jan. 21

40 words and terms to keep off your résumé
Sid Kirchheimer writes: “Don’t use common buzzwords such as ‘innovative,’ ‘team player,’ and ‘results-oriented.’ These and others are so overused that they’re now seen as clichés and ‘have lost their impact altogether,’ says Krista Canfield of LinkedIn, a networking website for professionals that recently analyzed millions of member profiles and compiled a list of the 40 most commonly used phrases on member profiles.”...
AARP Bulletin: Ask Sid, Jan. 21

Bachtrack logoDatabase of divas
Tom Service writes: “Here’s a fun game: What was the most performed work of classical music throughout the world last year? Who was the busiest conductor? Which was the most performed opera? And who was the most overpaid diva? At last, answers to all of those questions and more (apart, alas, from the last one) are revealed today by Bachtrack, the classical music listing site. The data is based on trawling through the thousands of orchestral concerts and operas that Bachtrack lists annually, and the crunched numbers throw up some surprising facts.”...
The Guardian (U.K.): On Classical, Jan. 24

Are library managers born or made?
Will Manley writes: “What is the best preparation for management in a library? This is a question I thought about over and over again in my 35-year management career. I especially thought about it whenever I had to fill an admin or supervisory position. The most important thing that the CEO in any organization does is hire managers and supervisors because no one can wreck an organization quicker than a bad boss. So, to phrase the question in another way: Are good managers born or made?”...
Will Unwound, Jan. 25

Book drops at Chelmsford LibraryWho empties your book drop?
Brian Herzog writes: “There’s a situation at my library that doesn’t seem to have a good solution, and a recent conversation with a friend prompted me to ask other librarians how you handle it: Who empties your book drop box on long weekends? On long weekends when we’re closed on Monday, someone needs to come in to empty the book drop—otherwise, it would overflow and patrons would have to leave items sitting in the parking lot. And by someone, I mean me.”...
Swiss Army Librarian, Jan. 25

Peak books
Thom Hickey writes: “Are we close to ‘peak books’? You often hear about ‘peak oil,’ the idea that at some point soon the world will extract less oil from the earth each year. How about books? Here are some measures of library activity that may have already passed their peak, others that probably haven’t, and some that seem nowhere close to peaking.”...
Outgoing, Jan. 25

Cover of Warhol: Le grand monde d'Andy WarholBarack Obama’s state gift library
Jason Boog writes: “On January 18, the State Department released in the Federal Register its annual report (PDF file) detailing ‘Gifts to Federal Employees from Foreign Government Sources Reported to Employing Agencies in Calendar Year 2009.’ We’ve collected all the identified books given to our president in 2009, among them Warhol: Le grand monde d’Andy Warhol, received from French President Nicolas Sarkozy.”...
GalleyCat, Jan. 21

Screen shot from Nancy Pearl interviewAuthor Magazine interviews Nancy Pearl
Book Lust author and former librarian Nancy Pearl discusses books, reading, and growing up in Detroit in this Author Magazine interview (5:32) held in Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park, Washington....

Author Magazine, Jan. 11

Still from the Corpse in Libraryland videoThe corpse in the library video
Sam Wallin (right), community librarian for the Woodland (Wash.) Community branch of the Fort Vancouver Regional Library District, discovers just how many library books have the word “corpse” in the title in this video (2:06), which is one of several he put together for fun—and to show that “librarians (and library staff) are normal people with our own foibles.” This one costars Jeffrey Stiles as the patron with the reference question. Watch his other videos on the CrashSolo YouTube channel....
YouTube, Jan. 21

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