|American Libraries Online
Los Angeles school district doubts that teacher-librarians can teach
Hector Tobar’s news story in the Los Angeles Times, “The Disgraceful Interrogation of L.A. School Librarians,” is a heart-wrenching description of a week’s worth of hearings in which attorneys representing the Los Angeles Unified School District asked Kafkaesque questions such as “Do you take attendance?” of dozens of teacher-librarians appealing their layoffs. What does taking attendance have to do with being a highly trained educator? A recency rule says a teacher-librarian who has not taught (or taken attendance) in a classroom for five years is no longer, by definition, a qualified teacher. ALA President Roberta Stevens and AASL President Nancy Everhart sent an open letter May 18 to LAUSD objecting to the librarians’ treatment and the defunding of their positions....
American Libraries news, May 18; Los Angeles Times, May 13; ALA Public Information Office, May 18
How overdue books caused the Civil War
Rob Lopresti writes: “I admit that the title is a bit of an exaggeration. For one thing, most of the books were not actually overdue. Also, some people claim there were other causes for the Civil War: slavery, states’ rights, and stuff like that. Nonetheless, the fact remains that 150 years ago, when this country was debating whether to go to war with itself, one issue on the table was missing library books. I discovered this odd scandal in the Congressional Serial Set, an endless fountain of primary source data about American history.”...
American Libraries feature
Renewing our mission in New Orleans
Librarians, library support staff, vendors, and guests will once again bring their economic and muscle power to assist New Orleans’ public libraries, schools, and community rebuilding projects during ALA’s 135th Annual Conference, June 23–28, taking place at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center (right), area hotels, and other venues. ALA held the first major conference in the city during the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005. New Orleans is still in need of a helping hand as rebuilding efforts continue....
American Libraries feature
President’s Message: Wrapping up a busy year
Roberta A. Stevens writes: “For my last message as ALA president, I’d like to update members and others on the initiatives that were kicked off at the Inaugural Banquet last June and offer a brief comment on recent events that affect the future of libraries. With “Our Authors, Our Advocates: Authors Speak Out For Libraries,” we tapped into a rich source of support using widely recognized individuals who understand and value libraries.”...
American Libraries column, May/June
Warsaw Book Fair makes way for librarians
Leonard Kniffel writes: “Draped on the exterior of the Palace of Culture and Science, a gigantic digitally altered photograph of Marie Składowska Curie (right) welcomed readers to the May 12 opening day of the four-day Warsaw Book Fair in Poland. The poster featured a yawning Curie inviting people to the May 14 late-night museum crawl, when entry fees are waived and many libraries and museums stay open as late as 3 a.m.”...
AL: Global Reach, May 13
Ursula Meyer (right), 83, director of library services in the Stockton–San Joaquin County (Calif.) Library System from 1974 until her retirement in 1994, died April 15. Meyer served as president of the California Library Association in 1978 and was on the ALA Council from 1974 to 1979. Larry D. Black, 61, director of the Columbus (Ohio) Metropolitan Library for 18 years until his retirement in 2002, died February 22....
Education Department abandons school libraries
The Improving Literacy Through School Libraries program was zeroed out under the Department of Education’s allocation for FY2011 funding (PDF file) released May 17. It was the only federal program solely supporting school libraries in the United States. ALA is asking Congress to include a dedicated funding stream for school libraries in the upcoming reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act....
ALA Washington Office, May 17
Copyright reform proposals
The Library Copyright Alliance, of which ALA is a member, released a statement (PDF file) May 16 describing the key features copyright reform proposals should include in order to constitute significant improvement over current law for libraries and their users. Interested parties are discussing with renewed vigor the issues of orphan works, mass digitization, and even modernization of Section 108 of the U.S. Copyright Act in the wake of the Google Books settlement rejection....
District Dispatch, May 16
ALA and PLA partner with America’s Promise Alliance
ALA and PLA are partnering with the America’s Promise Alliance, the largest bipartisan alliance dedicated to the support and development of children, to ensure the personal and educational success of America’s youth through the delivery of the APA’s Five Promises: caring adults, safe places, a healthy start, an effective education, and opportunities to help others. Your library can be directly involved in this campaign by registering as a Promise Place....
ALA Development Office, May 17
Donate to the Japan Library Relief fund
The massive 9.0-magnitude earthquake on March 11 triggered a tsunami that struck the east coast of Japan, devastating much of the Tohoku area. Libraries in the region were also devastated. The Minamisanriku Town Library disappeared without a trace. Its chief librarian was killed. Rikuzentakata City Library (above) also suffered catastrophic damage, and all staff members were either killed or are still missing. ALA has set up this site to help take in donations from the United States for the Japan Library Association, which is leading the effort to help provide services and support....
International Relations Office
Twenty-six poets and authors LIVE! at Annual Conference
The ALA Public Programs Office will present 26 critically-acclaimed and best-selling authors and poets on the LIVE! @ your library Reading Stage on June 25-27 at the ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans. Located in the back of the 1400 aisle in the exhibits hall, the Reading Stage is free for all conference attendees. Most readings will be followed by an autograph session and the opportunity to purchase the authors’ latest works....
Public Programs Office, May 16
ALA’s special Conference registration packages
ALA is offering an affordable way to attend events at its 2011 ALA Annual Conference, June 23–28, in New Orleans. Those purchasing the Exhibits Plus package ($35) will have access to hundreds of vendors on the exhibits floor, programming on the PopTop Stage, the Opening General Session, and all nonticketed ALTAFF programs. Those purchasing the Exhibits Supreme package ($75) will have access to all of the above, plus the Auditorium Speaker Series....
ALTAFF, May 17
Literacy at a glance @ ALA 2011
Interested in learning more about literacy trends and initiatives across the profession at ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans? The ALA Committee on Literacy and the Office for Literacy and Outreach Services Advisory Committee have compiled a list of programs that highlight literacy efforts across the Association....
OLOS Columns, May 11
Placement center open house in New Orleans
As part of its continuing effort to help job seekers retool their skills and prepare for job searches in the current economy, the ALA JobLIST Placement Center will host an Open House on June 26 in the Placement Center during the ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans....
Human Resource Development and Recruitment, May 16
ALA Advocacy Flash Mob and Freeze
PC Sweeney writes: “The plan is to have a large convergence of librarians at Jackson Square in New Orleans on Sunday, June 26. All participants should wear some kind of red library-related t-shirt, pose in some position, and bring something that identifies them as a librarian. Converge on the park grounds at 5:45 p.m. for the mob and freeze from 5:50 to 5:53 to show our large presence at ALA and show that we care about New Orleans communities and that communities should care about libraries. (ALA is not involved in the planning of this at all.)”...
PC Sweeney’s Blog, May 17
Why do I have to join ALA to be a member of a division?
Jenny Levine writes: “When I hear this question, there are usually one of two motivations behind it: 1) ‘It’s too expensive to join ALA so I want to just join the division,’ and/or 2) “I don’t like ALA and don’t feel like I should have to support it just to be a member of a division.’ The reason division dues are less expensive than ALA dues is because all of the support departments and staff are folded into the larger organization.” Watch the video (3:49) with ALA Senior Associate Executive Director Mary Ghikas (right)....
ALA Marginalia, May 15; AL Focus, May 15
Nine new CPLA graduates
The Certified Public Library Administrator program congratulates the nine new graduates who have completed courses since January and the 139 librarian candidates who are now progressing through it. There are 45 CPLA graduates thus far....
ALA-Allied Professional Association, May 16
Implement web-scale discovery services
Learn the entire process of evaluating, purchasing, and implementing web-scale discovery services in this new ALA TechSource workshop with Jason Vaughan and Tamera Hanken from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Libraries. Registration is available on the ALA Store. The two-session workshop will take place on July 13 and July 20....
ALA Online Learning, May 17
Our e-books are everywhere
Rob Christopher writes: “Okay, perhaps not everywhere, but certainly in more places than ever before. We’ve been working hard to make our e-books more accessible. Twelve outlets either carry our e-book titles already or will in the near future, and these are just the beginning.”...
ALA Editions blog, May 12
Featured review: Science fiction for youth
Arntson, Steven. The Wikkeling. Illustrated by Daniela Jaglenka Terrazzini. May 2011. 256p. Grades 5–8. Running Press, hardcover (978-0-7624-3903-4).
Though this is very much a dystopian novel at heart, don’t mistake it for the sort of gritty, hellish version that dominates the current awful-future trend. Instead, this world is kind of a dull place, especially for a kid like Henrietta, subjected to rigorously standardized education and zealously overprotective safeguards: everything from tools and matches (only ever seen in old-timey movies) to triple-harnessed bus seats to live-feed BedCams. In the massive, gridlocked, advertising-pummeled city of the Addition, Henrietta discovers a hidden attic, from which she peers out of a window onto a pastoral street long lost to time. That’s the nice part. The scary part is that she and two new friends are being followed around by a lurching apparition called the Wikkeling that demands to know, “Where do you go?”...
Top 10 SF/fantasy for youth, 2011
Ian Chipman writes: “Though several of the books in this year’s list of top youth SF and fantasy titles return to well-loved worlds, and two wrap up high-watermark YA series, you won’t find mere victory laps here. These books, all reviewed in Booklist in the past year, mine rich thematic veins while delivering some of the most exciting reading around.”...
Gillian Engberg has new position
Booklist has a new Books for Youth editorial director. Gillian Engberg brings extensive expertise in children’s and young adult literature to the role, having started with Booklist Publications in 1998 as assistant editor for Book Links. Engberg will be responsible for all children’s and YA content in Booklist and Book Links, on Booklist Online and in Booklist’s many e-newsletters and youth-themed webinars....
@ Visit Booklist Online for other reviews and much more....
Magical meals: A dining guide to New Orleans
Kathy Cannata (right) writes: “To understand why generations of people have found dining in New Orleans such an enchanting experience, you really must understand the culture of this city. The food in its own right is amazing, to be sure. But it is not just about the food. It is also the music, the history, the architecture, the creativity, and the quirky, gracious people that make eating in New Orleans an experience unique to this magical city. And I should know. I am married to ‘The Man Who Ate New Orleans.’ In compiling this list of restaurants, the most difficult task was deciding what to leave out.”...
American Libraries feature
The po’ boy: New Orleans comfort food
Po’ boy sandwiches represent bedrock New Orleans. The shotgun house of New Orleans cuisine, po’ boys are familiar but satisfying. The sandwich is as diverse as the city it symbolizes. The distinctive crisp loaves have served as a culinary crossroads, encasing the most pedestrian and exotic of foods: shrimp (right), oysters, catfish, soft-shell crabs, roast beef, cochon de lait, and Cajun duck. And it all started in 1929 with Bennie and Clovis Martin and a violent strike by streetcar motormen and conductors....
New Orleans Po-Boy Preservation Festival; New York Times, Nov. 10, 2009
The American Italian Museum
The American Italian Museum at 537 South Peters Street tells the history of American Italians in the Southeast and their contributions through photographs, articles, family histories, and memorabilia by themes such as Societies and Festivals, Music, the Immigrant, Geneology, and Personalities. The museum’s library houses the Giovanni Schiavo Collection, the world’s most significant collection of American Italian history. Outside, the Piazza d’Italia (right), created in 1978, offers an evocative look at Italianate architecture....
American Italian Museum
Sharon Keating writes: “Harrah’s New Orleans is one of the biggest tourist attractions and locals love to party there. The casino opened in New Orleans in 1999 and has been a consistent favorite with locals and vistors alike. It has been a wonderful corporate partner for the city, sponsoring community and sporting events all over the area. Harrah’s offers one of the best buffets in town and is open 24/7. Besh Steak (as in Chef John Besh) has great food and a relaxing atomosphere, while the Fulton Street Mall adjoining the casino is home to Grand Isle and Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse.”...
Wild in the streets
Kevin Allman writes: “If you think you’ve noticed a wildlife population explosion in New Orleans lately, it’s not your imagination. Squished armadillos, flocks of wild chickens, the famed Uptown coyotes, and raccoons everywhere. The current population explosion is real, and the reasons are complex, according to Rick Atkinson, curator of the swamp exhibit at the Audubon Zoo.”...
Gambit, May 17
10 things to take with you on the plane
Meg Massie writes: “Airlines have always had carry-on luggage size restrictions, but it seems like they’re actually enforcing those rules for the first time ever as of late. If your bags are over the limit, you’ll probably be asked to check them, so it’s important to stay within the size guidelines when you plan what to carry on. Here are 10 essential items that should go with you on the plane—and that all fit nicely in a small carry-on bag.” Yes, one is a book....
AOL Travel News, Apr. 25
Seven tips for conference networking
Elizabeth Berman and Breanne Kirsch write: “Networking is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as ‘the action or process of making use of a network of people for the exchange of information or for professional or other advantage.’ In other words, it’s like Facebook, but in person. Networking is an advantageous skill to develop, opening you up to new information and knowledge, creating contacts and a professional support system, and improving your reputation. Here are our seven tips to help you become a networking ninja.”...
ACRLog, May 13
Registration open for WrestleMania Reading Challenge
Registration is open for the seventh annual WrestleMania Reading Challenge, sponsored by WWE and YALSA. Librarians and educators who register have the opportunity to win $2,000 for their school or library and will receive free promotional materials. Youth wishing to enter and compete for a trip to WrestleMania XXVIII will submit a special project during Teen Read Week, which is held October 16–22. The registration deadline is July 31....
YALSA, May 17
Turning the Page 2.0
Registration has opened for the second six-week session (July 5–August 8) of “Turning the Page 2.0,” a free, comprehensive advocacy training program, developed and presented by PLA. The program is an extension of the popular and successful “Turning the Page: Building Your Library Community” program previously offered by PLA. The 2.0 training addresses the same core issues of advocacy, communications, and relationship building....
PLA, May 18
ACRL 2011 videos
Relive your ACRL 2011 experience, or see what you missed, in these videos that were shown at the conclusion of the conference in Philadelphia. And make sure to mark your calendar for ACRL 2013, to be held April 10–13, 2013, in Indianapolis....
ACRL Insider, May 18; YouTube, May 18
A tribute to Helen Hill
Join the Video Round Table in New Orleans June 26 for a panel discussion on the work of local artist Helen Hill (right), followed by an evening gala celebrating her life and work at the Zeitgeist Multi-Disciplinary Arts Center at 1618 Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard. Hill was an award-winning filmmaker of experimental animation who was active in the New Orleans community. Her films and materials were damaged by Hurricane Katrina, and her tragic murder in 2007 has inspired fellow artists and librarians to preserve her legacy....
Video Round Table wiki; ABC Nightline, Jan. 24, 2007
Bound to Stay Bound Books grants awarded
Thirty members of AASL will receive a $750 travel grant to attend their first AASL National Conference, October 27–30, in Minneapolis. The grants are sponsored by Bound To Stay Bound Books. Grant recipients will use the grant to secure housing, transportation, and registration for the conference....
AASL, May 17
Dottie Bell wins ALTAFF trustee conference grant
ALTAFF has awarded its Gale Outstanding Trustee Conference Grant to Dottie Howard Bell, a trustee of the Shreve Memorial Library in Shreveport, Louisiana. Bell will receive $850 to attend the 2011 ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans. The grant is awarded annually to a public library trustee who has demonstrated qualitative interests and efforts in support of his or her local library....
ALTAFF, May 17
FLICC awards for federal librarianship
The Federal Library and Information Center Committee has announced the winners of its national awards for federal librarianship, which recognize the many innovative ways that federal libraries, librarians, and library technicians fulfill the information demands of government, business, and scholarly communities. The 2010 Federal Librarian of the Year is Eleanor G. Frierson (right), deputy director of the National Agricultural Library....
Library of Congress, May 13
2011 Independent Publisher Book Awards
The IPPY Awards bring recognition to the deserving but often unsung titles published by independent authors and publishers. They recognize 12 outstanding books of the year in various categories and to gold-, silver-, and bronze-medal winners in 69 categories. The Regional Awards honor books published with a regional focus in the U.S., Canada, and Australasia. The gold-medal winner in the Horror category for 2011 was Drew Stepek’s Knuckle Supper (Alphar)....
2011 Encore Award
The Society of Authors has awarded its Encore Award for the best second novel of 2009 and 2010 to Adam Foulds for The Quickening Maze (Jonathan Cape, 2009). The novel recreates the poet John Clare’s first incarceration in High Beach Private Asylum in Epping Forest, where the brother of another poet, Alfred Tennyson, is a voluntary patient. The £10,000 ($16,197 U.S.) biennial prize was presented to Foulds in London on May 10....
Society of Authors
Orwell Prize 2011
The winners of the Orwell Prize 2011, Britain’s most prestigious prize for political writing, were announced May 17 at a ceremony in London. Tom Bingham’s The Rule of Law (Penguin) was the unanimous choice of the Book Prize judges. The book sets out to examine the oft-used but little scrutinized phrase, tracing its historical origins, setting out eight conditions which capture its essence, and looking at its relationship with sovereignty and society. Bingham, a former Lord Chief Justice, died in 2010....
Orwell Prize, May 17
Irish literary prizes
Two 2011 Irish literary prizes, the Bisto Children’s Book of the Year Award and the Eilis Dillon Award, were announced at the National Library in Dublin on May 16. Chris Haughton, author and illustrator of A Bit Lost, won the 21st Bisto Award as well as the 2011 Eilis Dillon award, which is awarded to a first-time author or illustrator. It is the first time in the history of the two awards that they have gone to the same person....
Children’s Books Ireland, May 16
2011 Tir na n-Og Awards
The winners of the 2011 Tir na n-Og book awards were announced at a ceremony in Llandrindod Wells, Wales, on May 12. The winner of this year’s English award, which recognizes the exceptional quality of books written in English but with an authentic Welsh story background for children and young people, was Rob Lewis for Three Little Sheep (Pont Books/Gomer Press). These prestigious Welsh literary awards were established in 1976....
Welsh Books Council, May 12
The disgraceful interrogation of Los Angeles school librarians
School librarians in Los Angeles are guilty of nothing except earning salaries the district feels the need to cut. But as they were cross-examined by determined Los Angeles Unified School District attorneys the second week of May, they were continually put on the defensive. A court reporter took down testimony. A judge heard objections. Armed police officers hovered nearby. On the witness stand, one librarian at a time was summoned to explain why she should be allowed to keep her job. For an in-depth report by a librarian who was there, read Nora Murphy’s blog post. ALA President Roberta Stevens and AASL President Nancy Everhart sent an open letter May 18 to LAUSD objecting to the librarians’ treatment and the defunding of their positions. See the American Libraries news story....
Los Angeles Times, May 13; The Library Is Not a Fruit, May 9; American Libraries news, May 18
School board vows to discipline students protesting library cuts
Hundreds of Catholic high school students in Windsor, Ontario, will be disciplined for walking out of class May 16 to protest budget cuts that will effectively close school libraries. An official at the Windsor Essex Catholic District School Board said principals have determined there would likely be some form of action taken against many of the protesters who had no permission to be away from classes. But the students say they have given school officials a lesson in civil disobedience by staging the walkout to protest a decision that was made behind closed doors. 15-year-old student Michael Lajoie (above) organized the strike....
Windsor (Ont.) Star, May 7, 16
School library staffing down in Ontario
Staffing at school libraries across Ontario is declining, a trend that could affect children’s ability to think critically about information, according to a report released by an education advocacy group. The report (PDF file) by the group People for Education found that only 56% of Ontario elementary schools in 2010 have at least one full- or part-time teacher-librarian, down from 80% in 1997–1998. Other provinces have even fewer: Nova Scotia has none, and the full-time equivalent of just three are left in all of New Brunswick....
CBC News, May 16; People for Education; Toronto Globe and Mail, May 16
Outdoor story-hour protest over Oakland library cuts
Cyclists in downtown Oakland, California, got more than free pancakes and bike repairs May 12 at East Bay Bike to Work Day. Over a loudspeaker, two Oakland librarians had something else to share with them. “I went walking, what did you see? I saw a brown horse looking at me,” Amy Martin (right) said as she stood in front of City Hall and read aloud from Sue Williams’s I Went Walking. Martin, children’s librarian at Oakland’s main branch, also told her listeners that 13 of the city’s 17 library branches may be closed come June. Save Oakland Libraries has a Facebook page. Another group is planning a May 21 Zombie Crawl....
Oakland (Calif.) North, May 12
University of Sydney to slash staff and holdings
One of of Australia’s most prestigious university libraries is to get rid of 30 staff and remove 500,000 books and journals. In a fiery question-and-answer session May 11, John Shipp, librarian at the University of Sydney’s Fisher Library, told staff and students of plans to reduce the main stacks by nearly half. The weeding is part of a redevelopment funded by the federal government. In response, history graduate student Jo Ball organized a Facebook protest urging a May 18 Read-In where students and staff will borrow vulnerable books to prevent their removal....
Sydney (N.S.W.) Morning Herald, May 12–13
Students who read ride in a fire engine
Four lucky students at Mountain Valley Elementary School in Ammon, Idaho, got to ride to school in a fire engine May 13. To reward the winners of the school reading contest, firefighters picked up the top three readers in the 1st grade to take them to school. This week the winners in the other grade levels are getting a lift too. Librarian Lori Lenderink said if the district cuts its librarians to part-time employees, programs that encourage children to read like this one will be much harder to come by....
KIFI-TV, Idaho Falls, May 13
Privacy matters even if you have “nothing to hide”
Daniel J. Solove writes: “When the government gathers or analyzes personal information, many people say they’re not worried. ‘I’ve got nothing to hide,’ they declare. This argument is everywhere. One can usually think of something that even the most open person would want to hide, but such responses attack the nothing-to-hide argument only in its most extreme form, which isn’t particularly strong. Privacy involves so many things that it is impossible to reduce them all to one simple idea.”...
Chronicle of Higher Education: Chronicle Review, May 15
Social-media sites face privacy battle in California
California could force Facebook and other social-networking sites to change their privacy protection policies under a first-of-its-kind proposal that is opposed by much of the internet industry. Under SB242, social-networking sites would have to allow users to establish their privacy settings—like who could view their profile and what information would be public to everyone on the internet—when they register to join the site instead of after they join. Sites would also have to set defaults to private so that users would actively choose what information is public....
San Francisco Chronicle, May 15
Alice pulled from Phoenix school libraries
Judging from its cover, Hilary Lockhart thought her daughter's new book with a teenage girl on the front was harmless. Then she read it. “Shocked,” was how she described her reaction. Now, Lovingly Alice by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor has been pulled from the shelves at Lockhart's daughter’s school in Phoenix until the district can decide appropriate action for the next school year. Lockhart said the book described sex in detail....
KNXV-TV, Phoenix, May 12
Former Friends treasurer pays back $71,000
Elizabeth Wilk, the former treasurer of the Friends of the Chicopee (Mass.) Public Library who pleaded guilty to stealing $115,000 from the group, has paid back more than half of the money she took. Friends President John L. Michon said he received a check for $71,000 from Wilk’s lawyers on May 12. In March, Wilk pleaded guilty to siphoning the money from the Friends accounts by using her positions as vice president of mortgage lending for Chicopee Savings Bank and Friends treasurer....
Springfield (Mass.) Republican, May 12
New Jersey librarian faces theft charges
The former director of the Haledon (N.J.) Free Public Library has been arrested on charges of official misconduct and theft for purchases she allegedly paid with library funds. Judith Erk was arrested at her home April 29 following an extensive investigation into online purchases billed to and paid through library funds conducted by the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office. Earlier this year, Erk was removed as director of the library, although she is currently an assistant librarian at Manchester Regional High School in Haledon....
Hawthorne (N.J.) Gazette, May 12
Slave Lake Library destroyed by wildfire
On May 15, at least one-third of the buildings in Slave Lake, Alberta, were destroyed by wildfires that pushed their way into the town. The new Slave Lake Municipal Library, housed in the Government Centre completed in July 2010 (right), was completely wiped out. Firefighters, confronted with hundreds of burning structures and inadequate water supplies, were not able to protect and save the facility. Miraculously, no injuries or deaths have been reported, and all the town’s schools were untouched. The Morinville (Alberta) Public Library, 112 miles to the southeast, is accepting donations to purchase books to replace the collection....
Wildfire Today, May 17; Deesonly, May 16; Edmonton (Alberta) Journal, May 18; Morinville (Alberta) News, May 18
Flooding damages Lancaster library
History books dating back to the 1700s are in jeopardy at the Lancaster (Pa.) Public Library after water came pouring into the building during heavy rainfall May 16. Security cameras caught footage of puddles forming on the floor and chunks of the ceiling coming down, compromising the future of local genealogy materials and Lancaster County history books. Library spokesperson Heather Sharp said the library’s drains were backed up during the storm and failed to keep up with the excessive rainfall....
WHP-TV, Harrisburg, Pa., May 17
Lorain library branch gets some water
It was nearing closing time on May 14 at the Columbia branch of the Lorain (Ohio) Public Library when a library patron dared to make a dash to her car in her flip-flops through the driving rain. “As the door was closing, all this water came rushing in,” said Branch Manager Sandy Mitchell. About an inch of water flowed into the library, covering about half of the floor surface area and forcing a cleanup that lasted through May 17....
Elyria (Ohio) Chronicle-Telegram, May 17
Go back to the Top
Quick tips for technology trainers
Michelle Boule writes: “Summer is the season when we take the time to conduct training for our staff, because for many libraries, summer is slower than other seasons (I know, public libraries, not for you). For those of you planning some technology training for your staff, I have compiled a list of technology training tips to keep in mind.”...
ALA TechSource Blog, May 17
Six reasons why Chromebooks are a bad idea
Tom Simonite writes: “When it took the wraps off its stripped-down, nothing-but-the-browser Chromebook May 11, Google was attempting its own iPad moment. The web-only laptops fundamentally reinvent what computers are, said the Google VP leading the project, Sundar Pichai. Unsurprisingly, a lot of people are skeptical. Here’s a rundown of the reasons that the tech press gave in demonstrating that Chromebooks might be a bad idea.”...
Technology Review, May 11–12
The top 5 best business desktops
Laarni Almendrala Ragaza writes: “Let’s face it: When you think of a business desktop, sexy is not the first word that comes to mind. But if you’re in the market for one (or several) such systems to deploy to your staff, you know that it's not as easy as picking up a consumer desktop from a retail store. But which to choose? We take some of the angst out of the equation for you. Check out our picks for the top 5 business desktops in the market today.”...
PC Magazine, May 12
Top 8 Android apps for education
Jolie O’Dell writes: “A plethora of Android apps are just waiting to enhance your students’ knowledge base, expand their skill sets, and improve their memory.We’ve picked a few of the top applications in a number of categories, including math, music, geography, and astronomy.” Need to work on language skills? Try CueBrain, which offers vocabulary training in at least 12 different languages....
Mashable, May 12
Six things that block your Wi-Fi and how to fix them
Does your wireless network seem slow? A recent study by Epitiro, a UK-based broadband-analysis firm, shows that consumers lose an average of 30% of the data speed their broadband connection supplies when they use Wi-Fi connections in the home. Nandan Kalle, networking business unit manager for router manufacturer Belkin, explains the slowdown....
PC World, May 16
How to jailbreak your Kindle to create a custom screensaver
Jason Fitzpatrick writes: “If you’re less than delighted with the default screensaver pack on the Kindle, relief is just a simple hack and a reboot away. Read on to learn how to apply a painless jailbreak to your Kindle and create custom screensavers. Installing the jailbreak and the screensaver hack to replace the default screensavers is so simple, you will spend much more time making fun screensaver images than you will actually installing the hack.” Warning: This hack will void your warranty with Amazon.com, but the hack can be uninstalled....
How-to Geek, Apr. 11; The Shifted Librarian, May 15
SEO and website redesign
Josh McCoy writes: “Redesigns can make an ugly website pretty, but they can also make a high-traffic site invisible. Keep these tips and no-nos in mind. A redesign is the perfect time to rethink the direction of the site. Go beyond the need for a refreshed look and analyze the hierarchy of your content. Google is looking at this, so be sure there is a clear view of the overall site theme as well as subthemes flowing into the site through an appropriate folder structure.”...
Search Engine Watch, May 16
Seven tips to better landscape photos
The photographer Ansel Adams is reputed to have said, “Landscape photography is the supreme test of the photographer—and often the supreme disappointment.” But there are some guidelines to landscape photography that can elevate anyone’s game. Landscape and adventure-sport photographer Tom Bol agreed to share a few....
New York Times: Gadgetwise, May 15
ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans, June 23–28, 2011.
Writer-producer David Simon (producer of Treme, the hit HBO series about New Orleans) and his wife, mystery author Laura Lippman (author of What the Dead Know and Life Sentences) are the keynote speakers at the PLA President’s Program, Sunday, June 26, 1–2:30 p.m.
“Our Authors, Our Advocates: Authors Speak Out for Libraries” is an initiative of ALA President Roberta Stevens, uniting authors who speak passionately on the importance of sustaining and increasing support for libraries. As natural allies, authors understand the key role libraries and library staff play in the economic, social, and educational fabric of our nation. This new poster features 12 authors: Carmen Agra Deedy, David Baldacci, Tony DiTerlizzi, Sharon Draper, Neil Gaiman, John Grisham, Brad Meltzer, Pam Muñoz Ryan, Sara Paretsky, Kathy Reichs, Scott Turow, and Mo Willems. NEW! From ALA Graphics.
Great Libraries of the World
Suzzallo Library, University of Washington, Seattle. The library is named for Henry Suzzallo, university president from 1915 to 1926. Designed by Seattle architects Carl Frelinghuysen Gould and Charles Bebb, the first wing with its famous reading room was completed in 1926. A 1927 article in The Pacific Builder and Engineer proclaimed, “This room has been pronounced by experts to be the most beautiful on the continent and is ranked among the most beautiful in the world. It is comparable only to the nave of a cathedral.” Oak bookcases in the reading room are topped with a hand-carved frieze representing native plants of Washington State.
Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison. The oldest historical society in the United States to receive continuous public funding, the society’s library, which also serves as the library of American history for the University of Wisconsin–Madison, has the second largest collection of newspapers in the United States after the Library of Congress. The reading room dates from 1900 and was restored to its original grandeur in 2010.
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.
College Librarian and Instructional Technology Consultant, Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, Massachusetts. Serve as liaison to one or more academic departments; support those departments in collection development, library research and instructional technology; lead the team’s communications initiative; provide library research and instructional technology consultation in a variety of modes and settings; work with Research and Instructional Support team to create a welcoming environment in which a diverse population of students, faculty, and staff can thrive....
Digital Library of the Week
The Yale University Digital Commons is now offering scholars, artists, and others free access to online images of millions of objects housed in Yale’s museums, archives, and libraries, thanks to a new open access policy announced May 10. More than 250,000 images are already available through a newly developed collective catalog that unites the collections of the university and allows discovery of related content held by different campus units. No license will be required for the transmission of the images and no limitations will be imposed on their use. The Yale treasures that are now accessible are as wide-ranging as the collections themselves and include such diverse items as a small limestone stela with hieroglyphic inscription from the Peabody Museum of Natural History, a Mozart sonata in the composer’s own hand from the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, a 15th-century Javanese gold kris handle from the Indo-Pacific collection of Yale University Art Gallery, and a watercolor by William Blake from the collection of prints and drawings in the Yale Center for British Art.
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.
“Glam culture is ultimately rooted in obsession, and those of us who are truly devoted and loyal to the lifestyle of glamour are masters of its history. Or, to put it more elegantly, we are librarians.”
—Lady Gaga, declaring her librarianness in “From the Desk of Lady Gaga,” V magazine, no. 71 (Summer 2011).
American Association of Museums, Annual Meeting, Houston, May 22–25, at:
American Society for Training and Development, International Conference and Exposition, Orlando, Florida, May 22–25, at:
BookExpo America, American Booksellers Association Annual Meeting, New York, May 23–26, at:
American Library Association, Annual Conference, New Orleans, June 23–28, at:
American Libraries news stories, blog posts, tweets, and videos, at:
Society for Scholarly Publishing, 33rd Annual Meeting, Boston. “It’s What Counts: How Data Transforms Our World.”
Rhode Island Library Association, Annual Conference, Smithfield.
Association for Computing Machinery, 22nd ACM Conference on Hypertext and Hypermedia, Eindhoven, Netherlands.
American Theological Association, Annual Conference, Chicago.
Association of Jewish Libraries, Annual Convention, Marriott Montréal Château Champlain in Montréal, Québec.
Association of College and Research Libraries, Rare Books and Manuscripts Section Preconference, Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Pacific Northwest Library Association, Annual Conference, Spokane.
International Association of School Librarianship, Annual Conference, Kingston, Jamaica.
International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions, Free Access to Information and Freedom of Expression Committee, preconference on libraries and intellectual freedom, Miami.
Second International Conference on Joint Use Libraries, Mercure Grosvenor Hotel, Adelaide, South Australia. “Connection and Convergence.”
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The brighter side of piracy
Jason Griffey writes: “Go the F— to Sleep: The Case of the Viral PDF is an excellent example of piracy and the free sharing of electronic copies of a book that wound up being #1 on Amazon. A digital copy of the book was leaked several months before its publishing date, turning it into a viral hit. It’s led to increased interest in preorders and a speed-up of its release to June. Crowdsource, Please is another excellent example of piracy as a positive force. Author Walter Jon Williams asks people to scan and post his out-of-print works so that he can clean them up for distribution.”...
AL: Perpetual Beta, May 16; Bay Citizen (San Francisco), May 12; Walter Jon Williams, May 15
10 uplifting books for lonely souls
Kathleen Massara writes: “In response to Russ Marshalek’s excellent post on devastatingly sad books last week, we’ve decided to try and lift your spirits a little by suggesting books that are great escapes from the incessant grind of daily existence. Many of the selections on our list involve affairs of the heart, although we are also inspired by political nonfiction and comedy when they are done well.” The first is Tom Robbins’s Still Life with Woodpecker (1980), which “explores the difficult terrain of modern relationships while also questioning if redheads are indeed supernatural.”...
Flavorwire, May 16
Around the world in 24 books
Lucinda Everett writes: “Argentinian thrillers, Tuscan farce, love in the Australian outback: Wherever you’re jetting off to this summer, there’s a story to suit your surroundings. If you’re joining the jet set on the Riviera, pick up Tender Is the Night, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s tale of 1920s debauchery. Those with more contemporary tastes should try Manuel Vázquez Montalbán’s Barcelona-set The Man of My Life, a gripping installment in the series centered on Pepe Carvalho, a fiery detective with a penchant for fine food and women.”...
The Telegraph (U.K.), May 9
Are librarians missing the point on libraries?
Buffy J. Hamilton writes: “Twitter lit up May 16 with divergent responses to Seth Godin’s post, The Future of the Library. I think Godin is spot on with his thoughts and observations, particularly the idea that libraries ‘ought to be the local nerve center for information.’ The value of these kinds of posts by nonlibrarians is that they can initiate and sustain conversations about how we can better improve the work we do and the roles we play in better helping our communities.” Others beg to differ, including Bobbi Newman and Daniel S. Taylor. Andy Woodworth offers a reasoned perspective....
The Unquiet Librarian, May 16; Seth Godin’s Blog, May 16; Librarian by Day, May 16; Dreaded Purple Master, May 16; Agnostic, Maybe, May 17
Clay Shirky on health sciences librarians
Marcus Banks writes: “Clay Shirky (right) was the John P. McGovern Award lecturer at the Medical Library Association annual conference, and his talk this morning was full of insight. Taken as a whole, his work offers fundamental questions of purpose for health sciences librarians. Shirky argues that cognitive surplus—what we might do in our free time, such as blogging or editing Wikipedia entries—can be an incredibly powerful force for social good if aggregated.”...
Marcus’ World, May 15
NYPL’s 100-year exhibit
The curators at the New York Public Library have spent a century amassing the library’s extensive research collection—everything from 4,300-year-old Sumerian cuneiforms to Malcolm X’s briefcase. Now they are putting a vast selection on display in “Celebrating 100 Years.” The exhibit opened May 14 in the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, which is celebrating its 100th birthday. The library gave Wired a sneak peek at some of the sometimes funny, sometimes bizarre, items going on display....
Wired: Underwire, May 14
Know the story, find the book
Liz Dwyer writes: “It’s the 100th anniversary of the New York Public Library’s iconic Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, and the library wants Gotham residents to celebrate by reading a special centennial text, Know the Past, Find the Future, featuring vignettes from 100 noteworthy New Yorkers. Starting May 19, NYPL will leave 25,000 free copies of the paperback in public spaces like subway stations and park benches.”...
Good: Education, May 13
NYPL’s Biblion app will showcase its holdings
The New York Public Library’s new iPad digital publication, Biblion: The Boundless Library, was released May 17 as part of its centennial celebration. The app is free and allows users to search, scroll, and zoom around more than 700 items currently available. The first edition features the library’s holdings on the 1939–1940 World’s Fair. Biblion uses a metaphorical landscape to allow the user to dive into the photos, documents, multimedia, and scholarly essays that put the information into virtual and intellectual context. Watch the video (2:58)....
New Yorker: The Book Bench, May 17; New York Public Library
NYPL on postage stamps
Larry Nix writes: “For the New York Public Library’s centennial celebration I have assembled a philatelic tribute that features representations of this landmark building on stamps. The postage stamp showing one of the famous lions in front of the building (right) was issued by the United States in 2000. The stamps were in widespread use for a number of years by bulk mailers.”...
Library History Buff Blog, May 16
QandANJ: Further on
Andy Woodworth writes: “On May 13, I attended a special meeting of the New Jersey Library Association Reference Section addressing the future of QandANJ and virtual library service overall in New Jersey. I can now say that the service has been given a nine-week reprieve. At the Princeton Public Library, 60 librarians from all over the state representing both public and academic libraries as well as the State Library came together to talk about the future of the service. I’ve started a Facebook group called Friends of QandA NJ for people to join if they want to continue the conversation.”...
Agnostic, Maybe, May 13
17 tips for becoming a master Twitter user
Ben Parr writes: “On May 12–14, several hundred of the world’s digital leaders gathered in Orlando for the first-ever Mashable Connect, an intimate three-day conference focused on the impact of social media and digital on entertainment, media, technology, and society. Connect attendees had the chance to hear about the biggest trends in digital. Here’s the sage advice Connect attendees had to give.”...
Mashable, May 16
10 ways to find more time in your schedule
Dawn Foster writes: “Most of us would like to have just a little more time: How much more could you get done if you had just an extra hour or two a day? Read on for a few tips that will help you take control of your schedule and make it seem like you have a few extra hours.”...
GigaOM, May 13
New U.S. digital literacy portal
Bobbi L. Newman writes: “On May 13, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration announced the launch of their National Digital Literacy Portal. While I applaud these efforts, I’m not sure that this online resource will reach the people who need it the most. The good news is that it makes a great tool for those of us in libraries teaching these skills. It includes sections such as Learn the Basics and Learn Job Skills that appear to be aimed at the general public (but also useful for us), in addition to educator-specific sections.”...
Libraries and Transliteracy, May 13
Robots retrieve University of Chicago books
Angela Watercutter writes: “If Google Books was a physical place instead of a web service, it would probably look a lot like the University of Chicago’s new Joe and Rika Mansueto Library, opening next week. The structure’s large spaces are made for computer work and have no traditional bookshelves. Instead, the library boasts a massive underground high-density storage area holding 3.5 million volumes on 50-foot-high shelves.” The video (2:37) explains how books are retrieved....
Wired: Underwire, May 11; YouTube, May 10
TCAF 2011: A librarian’s report
Robin Brenner writes: “On May 7–8, I and fellow contributor Eva Volin attended the Toronto Comic Arts Festival. One of the most smoothly run and welcoming conventions I’ve ever attended, TCAF is organized by the indefatigable Chris Butcher and a veritable army of volunteers and staff in partnership with the Toronto Reference Library. Well over 10,000 people stream into the library during the weekend, keen to meet their favorite artists face to face and discover new titles, creators, and publishers.”...
School Library Journal: Good Comics for Kids, May 13
Jesus wants you to send this to 20 people
Elizabeth Watts Pope writes: “Anyone who has an email account is all too familiar with the forwarded email, as well as the accompanying guilt-laden demands to keep forwarding it. The threat: vague but ominous bad things will befall you if you fail to do so. It turns out chain letters are nothing new to this century. The American Antiquarian Society in Worcester, Massachusetts, has a couple dozen copies of a very popular early 19th-century chain letter titled: ‘A Copy of a Letter written by our Blessed Lord and Saviour.’”...
Past Is Present, May 13
Library cuts and student achievement
John Rosales writes: “Because they work behind the scenes, librarian positions are often targeted by legislators looking for a fast way to balance the budget, to the detriment of student learning. ‘Sadly, the school library is increasingly becoming simply a warehouse for outdated materials and outdated technology, as opposed to a vibrant center of collaborative, inquiry-based, cutting-edge learning,’ said Cathy Collins, a veteran librarian–media teacher at Sharon (Mass.) High School.”...
NEA Today, May 14
ULC tapped to lead youth learning labs project
The Urban Libraries Council, in partnership with the Association of Science-Technology Centers, has been selected to lead “Learning Labs in Libraries and Museums,” a national initiative to create and support youth digital media learning labs in up to 30 libraries and museums nationwide. Using the inspiration of the YOUmedia model at the Harold Washington Library Center of the Chicago Public Library, the labs will engage young people in learning, socializing, and participating civically through the use of digital technologies....
Urban Libraries Council, May 16
Create your own space exhibitions
Daniella Scalice writes: “Greetings from the NASA Astrobiology Institute. To celebrate NASA’s Year of the Solar System, we have put together a collection of high-resolution images to showcase the excitement of planetary exploration—our journey to understand the origin and evolution of the solar system and our search for life elsewhere. Called ‘From Earth to the Solar System,’ the collection features images that are freely available to organizations worldwide to use to create their own exhibitions.”...
Programming Librarian, May 17
Karen Coyle writes: “As we can easily see with Google, the search engine is the gatekeeper to content. If content cannot be found, then it does not exist. There is a danger that when the mass of library materials becomes of the web that we could entirely lose control of its discovery. We must provide the entry point that brings users to information materials without that access being mediated through a commercial revenue model. Really, if we don’t do this, the future of libraries and research will be decided by Google. There, I said it.”...
Coyle’s InFormation, May 13
Libraries are not in the construction business
Lane Wilkinson writes: “Social constructionism, constructivism, post-structuralism, standpoint epistemology, deconstructionism—ever heard of these? Chances are, if you’ve taken a look at recent literature in the philosophy of librarianship, you’ve come across these relativist theories. I want to explain why relativism, in all of its forms, is harmful to librarianship. This type of thinking is self-refuting, it impedes learning, it disenfranchises those who most need our help, it obstructs social progress, and it erodes the value of libraries in society.”...
Sense and Reference, May 18
Use Wikipedia as an authority file?
Jonathan Rochkind writes: “What if instead of maintaining our own subject and name authority files, we simply used Wikipedia as an authority file? What if when cataloging a book, you just looked up the relevant Wikipedia article for its subjects and controlled authors, and linked that? The relationships and lead-in synonyms could be used in a browse list or other interface in similar ways to how we can use our existing library authority data. This would potentially be more feasible today for subjects than names.”...
Bibliographic Wilderness, May 17
Librarian completes Lewis and Clark bike tour
Terri Wortman, youth services librarian at the Wilsonville (Oreg.) Public Library, completed a fully loaded bike tour that covered the last 400 miles of the Lewis and Clark Expedition route on May 5–14, starting at the Lewis and Clark Trail State Park in Washington and finishing at Fort Clatsop (right) near Astoria, Oregon. She kept a blog throughout the trip, posting entries on her cellphone....
Lewis and Clark Bike Tour Blog, May 14
San Francisco Public Library in its own words
Artist Wendy MacNaughton writes: “Last week I put out a new ‘Meanwhile on The Rumpus’ set of drawings, this time about the San Francisco Public Library. It tells the story of the people who work there, what they do, and who they serve in their own words. The response has been overwhelming. I think this has more to do with the subject matter than the art (it really is an amazing place).”...
Wendy MacNaughton, May 15; The Rumpus, May 13
What is a library? What do librarians do?
Kathryn Greenhill, associate lecturer in information studies at Curtin University, Perth, Western Australia, interviewed some attendees during breakfast at the Australian Library and Information Association’s Information Online conference in Sydney, Australia, in February for this video (14:09). They answered questions about what librarians do and shared information on what new librarians ought to know....
YouTube, May 16
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