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The e-newsletter of the American Library Association | November 23, 2011

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Dallas Update
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American Libraries Online

Penguin: Stop library lending of ebooks, since that's the real problem with the publishing business model. Image by Andy WoodworthPenguin week: When licenses attack!
Late-breaking news: Penguin has restored Get for Kindle ebooks (the backlist, but not new releases) until the end of the year only, pending a redefined agreement. Christopher Harris writes: “Sharks are usually considered the scariest beasts in the sea, but this week penguins are giving their toothy water friends a run for their money. On November 21, Penguin took back its ebooks and left OverDrive and libraries who had purchased Penguin books through that service standing around wondering what happened. But new information raises some critical questions about how and why this happened. OverDrive’s role in this could have more serious implications. ALA President-Elect Maureen Sullivan released a timely and hard-hitting statement November 22 that took Penguin, OverDrive, and Amazon to task for restricting readers’ access to books.” ALA’s Carrie Russell, Nora Rawlinson, Matt Weaver, Laura Hazard Owen, and Bobbi Newman also weigh in on the situation....
AL: E-Content, Nov. 22–23; Associated Press, Nov. 23; Publishers Weekly, Nov. 23; ALA Office for Information Technology Policy, Nov. 22; Digital Library Blog, Nov. 21; District Dispatch, Nov. 22–23; EarlyWord, Nov. 22; Library Renewal, Nov. 22; paidContent, Nov. 22; Librarian by Day, Nov. 22

A locked monitorWide backlash greets internet antipiracy bill
Groups from both ends of the political spectrum—and everything in between—have come out against a congressional bill that would require internet service providers to police users’ online activities for potential copyright infringement. What’s more, it would empower the U.S. attorney general to order the removal from the domain name system of any website that “engages in, enables, or facilitates” infringement. Introduced October 26 by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Tex.), chair of the House Judiciary Committee, the Stop Online Piracy Act (H.R. 3261) has a number of high-profile supporters. Among them are Register of Copyrights Maria Pallante, who said that without SOPA, “the U.S. copyright system will ultimately fail.”...
American Libraries news, Nov. 22; Ars Technica, Nov. 16

Talking turkey about school libraries
Beverly Goldberg writes: “An online petition is demanding that the Obama administration mandate the full funding and staffing of school libraries. The petition was initiated by a teacher-librarian in California who must really mean business since she calls for the ‘immediate withdrawal of all federal monies’ from any school that fails to comply. Since the one sure-fire predictor of a student’s academic success is attending a school with a fully funded and staffed school library, why haven’t policymakers taken heed?”...
AL: Inside Scoop, Nov. 23

Thanksgiving Week serves up net neutrality
The concept of net neutrality became a reality November 20, when long-sought rules slipped into effect to protect equitable access to online content. However, an unresolved lawsuit filed by Verizon in January continues to challenge the underlying principles codified by the Federal Communications Commission. Specifically, FCC regulations (PDF file) forbid mobile and fixed telecommunications providers from blocking or delaying the transmission of constitutionally protected content or online devices for any reason....
American Libraries news, Nov. 23

YMCA Afterschool outreach program at the New Albany–Floyd County (Ind.) Public LibraryYouth Matters: Reach out through outreach
Abby Johnson writes: “Some of the most important library work I do is outside the library’s walls. Outreach—traveling offsite to bring service to potential users—is essential to serving my community and especially its children. Outreach allows librarians to put a friendly face on library services and to meet our patrons where they are (which is all the more important when you’re serving children who don’t have their own means of transportation to the library).”...
American Libraries column, Nov./Dec.

Israel Idonije at BookamaniaBookamania in Chicago
More than 7,000 children and parents filled the Winter Garden at Chicago Public Library’s Harold Washington Library Center November 19 for Bookamania, CPL’s annual celebration of children’s books and authors. Participants included Chicago Bear Israel Idonije (right) reading to the kids, as well as authors Nina Crews, Arthur Dorros, and Robert Burleigh....
AL Focus, Nov. 21

Rhonda Puntney Gould and Michael Gould at the Racine (Wis.) Public LibraryBook-themed nuptials
Rhonda Puntney Gould, youth services and special needs consultant at Lakeshores Library System in Waterford, Wisconsin, and her betrothed Michael (right) shared nuptials October 29 at Racine (Wis.) Public Library. The ceremony, dinner, and dance were all held at the library, with a book-themed cake. Gould is president of the Wisconsin Library Association and a member of ALA’s governing Council....
AL Focus, Nov. 22

ALA News

STEM Video Game Challenge logoNational STEM Video Game Challenge
The National STEM Video Game Challenge opened November 21, aiming to motivate interest in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) learning by tapping into students’ natural passion for playing and making video games. The annual competition is accepting submissions of original video game concepts and designs from students and educators in four categories (middle school, high school, collegiate, and educator) through March 12. ALA is participating as an outreach partner this year....
OLOS Columns, Nov. 21

Media focus shines on National Gaming Day
As hundreds of libraries across the country celebrated the fourth annual National Gaming Day @ your library on November 12, a variety of media outlets took notice and highlighted the programs and events happening in their own communities. Participating libraries held a variety of gaming activities including board games, role playing games, an international “Epic Super Smash Bros. Brawl” tournament, and a retro 30th anniversary Frogger contest....
Public Information Office, Nov. 22

Empower your community at the Advocacy Institute
Mobilizing Community Support for Your Library” is the focus of the Advocacy Institute Workshop at the ALA 2012 Midwinter Meeting in Dallas. The workshop will focus on engaging and mobilizing friends and trustee groups, opinion-makers, and civic organizations to support all types of libraries. Presenters include Jennifer Martin, Ed Palmer, and Rocco Staino. The institute will take place January 20....
Office for Library Advocacy, Nov. 22

Ingrid AbramsIngrid Abrams named ALSC Emerging Leader
ALSC has chosen Ingrid Abrams (right) of the Brooklyn (N.Y.) Public Library as its representative in ALA’s 2012 Emerging Leader program. As a children’s librarian, Abrams makes a difference in the lives of users of her local branch library every day. As an Emerging Leader, Abrams will attend the 2012 Midwinter Meeting in Dallas, as well as the ALA Annual Conference in Anaheim, California....
ALSC, Nov. 22

Alicia LongReforma selects its Emerging Leader
Reforma has selected Alicia Long (right), library assistant at the State College of Florida and a recent MLIS graduate from the University of South Florida, for the 2012 ALA Emerging Leaders program. Long was a 2009 ALA Spectrum Scholar. In addition to her new position at the State College of Florida, she currently serves as recording secretary for the newly reactivated Reforma de Florida Chapter....
Office for Diversity, Nov. 22

Submit a poster session proposal for Annual Conference
Poster sessions will be held on June 23–24 (Saturday and Sunday) of the ALA Annual Conference in Anaheim, California. They are an effective forum for the exchange of information and a means to communicate ideas, research, and programs. Submit your proposal by January 6....
ALA Poster Sessions, Nov. 22

Cover of Graphic Novels in Your School LibraryAn eye-opening look at graphic novels
Many educators now agree that graphic novels inform as well as entertain, and to dismiss their educational potential is to throw away a golden opportunity to reach out to young readers. Graphic Novels in Your School Library by Jesse Karp and illustrated by Rush Kress, is a one-stop resource with the school library at center stage. Published by ALA Editions, the book explores the ways in which graphic novels can be used in the library and in the classroom....
ALA Editions, Nov. 21

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Booklist Online logo

Cover of The Winter PalaceFeatured review: Historical fiction
Stachniak, Eva. The Winter Palace. Jan. 2012. 436p. Bantam (978-0-553-80812-4).
Polish-Canadian author Stachniak’s brilliant, bold historical novel of 18th-century Russia is a masterful account of one woman’s progress toward absolute monarchical rule. For Catherine the Great, the path to her eventual coup d’état involves 20 years of subtle strategizing, intelligence gathering, and patience. Born Sophie of Anhalt-Zerbst, this “pale, appealing sliver of a girl” arrives in St. Petersburg in 1743 as a potential bride for Peter, Empress Elizabeth’s weak-willed nephew and heir....

The Booklist Interview: Karen ArmstrongThe Booklist interview: Karen Armstrong
Ilene Cooper writes: “Karen Armstrong has long been recognized as one of the world’s most thoughtful and insightful writers about religion. Included in her books are A History of God: The 4,000 Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam (1993); Jerusalem: One City, Three Faiths (1996); Buddha (2001); Muhammad: A Prophet for Our Time (2006); and The Bible: A Biography (2007). In November 2007, Armstrong learned that she had won a prize. Each year the nonprofit organization TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) honors a person who has made a difference in the world. There is a monetary award, but, more important, each winner is given ‘One Wish to Change the World.’ Armstrong knew what she wanted her wish to be. Booklist spoke to Karen Armstrong by phone at her home in London.”...

Screen shot from Youngblood HawkeWhat happens when you invite a Booklist editor to your book launch
Daniel Kraus writes: “Being celebrated by the literati as the most venerable of critics, we editors are inevitably invited to stand before the assembled gala crowd, looking smashing in our tuxes and holding our martinis, to give our opinion of the about-to-be-published book. Sometimes this goes well. Other times it goes really, really, really badly. To give you an idea, take this scene from the 1964 film Youngblood Hawke (above), based on the excellent Herman Wouk novel, which is itself loosely based on the life of Thomas Wolfe.”...

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

Dallas Update

Barbara Hepworth's Square Form with Circles, a 1963 bronze sculpture created by the famed artistThe J. Erik Jonsson Central Library
The Dallas Public Library’s downtown facility at 1515 Young Street, named in honor of former mayor J. Erik Jonsson, opened in 1982. Its eight floors feature many permanent exhibits, including an original broadside print of the Declaration of Indepedence, a Shakespeare First Folio, a collection of Navajo blankets, celestial globes, a scale model of a Viking ship, and art by Harry Bertoia, Robert Rauschenberg, and Barbara Hepworth (right). Self-guided tours (PDF file) are permitted during open hours....
Dallas Public Library

Main door of 508 Park Avenue, the former Brunswick recording studioPreserving the legacy of Robert Johnson
A Dallas church has purchased the site where legendary bluesman Robert Johnson made his final few recordings. In June, the First Presbyterian Church of Dallas bought 508 Park Avenue, the dilapidated, three-story, Zig-Zag Moderne downtown building where Johnson recorded almost half of the 29 songs that make up his entire discography. The church plans to renovate it in 2012, creating a cultural center complete with a museum, a performance space, an art studio, and a music education center called The Spirit of the Blues. Johnson’s “Me and the Devil Blues” (2:38) was recorded here on June 20, 1937, in the former Brunswick Records studio on the top floor....
New York Times, Nov. 19; Dallas Observer, May 16; YouTube, May 27, 2007

Liquis compact carry-onGifts for the compact traveler
As airlines continue to hike fees for checked bags and overweight suitcases, fitting everything into one compact bag—whether it is a carry-on or a lightweight suitcase—is more important than ever. Spotting an opportunity, luggage and accessory makers have introduced a host of new packing products. Here are 12 gift ideas for practical travelers on the go....
New York Times: Practical Traveler, Nov. 21

Division News

January 2012 page of Printz calendarPerfect for holiday giving
Do you have someone on your holiday gift list that loves YA books? Do you know someone that is a Michael L. Printz Award aficionado? If so, then the 2012 YALSA Michael L. Printz Award calendar is the perfect item to put on your holiday gift-giving list. The calendar is filled with information about Printz authors and other YALSA award winners. Each month sports a high-quality image of the cover of a Printz-winning title....
YALSA Blog, Nov. 22

PLA Conference graphicEleven preconferences at PLA
Attendees at the 2012 PLA Conference in Philadelphia will have an opportunity to get a head start on professional development before the conference is fully underway. On March 13–14, 11 preconferences for public library administrators, managers, and staff will offer practical education in a focused and interactive environment. Several are a perfect fit for public library trustees as well. These intensive programs range in length from half a day to a day and a half and feature knowledgeable, professional instructors....
PLA, Nov. 21

ACRL offers e-Learning scholarships
ACRL is offering e-Learning scholarships to help librarians, library staff, and library school students stretch their professional development dollars. Fifteen e-Learning scholarships will be awarded, 10 covering the registration cost of a webcast and five covering the cost of an online course. Scholarships can be redeemed for ACRL e-Learning events offered between February 1 and August 31, 2012. The application deadline is December 8....
ACRL, Nov. 21

Graphic novel webinar will help you reach tween readers
Tween readers have shown a healthy appetite for graphic novels, but finding age-appropriate materials for middle schoolers can be difficult. Discover how you can build a great graphic novel collection for your middle-grade readers in YALSA’s December 15 webinar, “Graphic Novels and Teen Readers,” presented by Robin Brenner. Brenner will discuss company age ratings and how the savvy librarian can demystify the variety of ratings that exist. Registration is now open....
YALSA, Nov. 22

Easily integrate technology into your library
Technology is part of the everyday life experience for most teens—and by integrating it with standard teen services, librarians can better serve and support teens’ learning needs. Find out how in “Connect, Create, Collaborate: Supporting Teen Needs with Technology,” a new online course offered in winter 2012 by YALSA. The self-paced course takes place February 6 to March 19 and will be taught by Linda Braun....
YALSA, Nov. 21

Linked data and the Semantic Web at the ALCTS Symposium
“Libraries, Linked Data and the Semantic Web: Positioning Our Catalogs to Participate in the 21st-Century Global Information Marketplace,” the ALCTS Midwinter Symposium, brings together the leading experts in the fields of linked library data and the Semantic Web in Dallas on January 20. The speakers will be Peter Brantley, Karen Coyle, Corey A. Harper, Eric Miller, and Ross Singer. You can register for the symposium through the ALA Midwinter Meeting registration site....
ALCTS, Nov. 21

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Awards & Grants

National Friends of Libraries Week Awards
ALTAFF is accepting applications for the National Friends of Libraries Week Awards through December 1. For the fifth year, awards will be given to Friends groups in conjunction with National Friends of Libraries Week, which was held October 16–22. Two awards of $250 will be given to groups in recognition of activities held during the week. Applicants must provide a one- to two-page summary of all activities and efforts....
ALTAFF, Nov. 21

Nominations sought for 2012 Madison awards
The ALA Washington Office is calling for nominations for two awards to honor those who have championed public access to government information and the public’s right to know. The James Madison Award celebrates an individual or group who has brought awareness to these issues at the national level, and the Eileen Cooke State and Local Madison Award honors a leader who has built grassroots awareness of the importance of access to information. The deadline for nominations is December 30....
District Dispatch, Nov. 24

Gale Cengage Learning logoGale Cengage Learning Financial Development Award
ALA is currently accepting nominations for the Gale Cengage Learning Financial Development Award, given to a
public, school, or academic library for carrying out a financial development project to secure new funding resources. The award includes $2,500 and a gold-framed citation....
Office of ALA Governance, Nov. 22

The new learning labs will include digital media and recording facilitiesLibraries selected to build learning labs for teens
The Institute of Museum and Library Services and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation announced the first 12 winners of a national grant competition to build 21st-century learning labs in libraries and museums around the country. The winners—eight libraries and four museums—will receive a total of $1.2 million in grants to plan and design the labs. Inspired by YOUMedia, the teen space at Chicago Public Library, as well as innovations in science and technology centers, these labs will help young people move beyond consuming content to making and creating it....
Institute of Museum and Library Services, Nov. 17

Salem Press Library Grants Center imageSalem Press launches the Library Grants Center
Salem Press has launched the Library Grants Center, a free web tool to help librarians navigate the world of library grants. Its website says: “At a time when the word ‘library’ is inseparable from the phrase ‘budget cuts,’ librarians need help finding help. So we scoured the web in search of free funding for libraries and discovered that the options extend far beyond national and state opportunities. Hundreds of grants are available to libraries of all types from local foundations, family trusts, small and large corporations, professional organizations, and the publishing community.
Salem Press, Nov. 16

Cover of Salvage the Bones2011 National Book Award winners
The National Book Foundation announced the winners of the 2011 National Book Awards on November 16, bestowing the fiction award on Jesmyn Ward, author of Salvage the Bones (Bloomsbury USA), which chronicles 12 days in the life of a poor African-American family attempting to weather Hurricane Katrina in coastal Mississippi. The nonfiction award went to Stephen Greenblatt for his book The Swerve: How the World Became Modern (W. W. Norton), about a 15th-century book lover who almost singlehandedly spawned the Renaissance’s rediscovery of classicism....
Washington Post, Nov. 16

Cover of Inside Out & Back AgainNational Book Award for Young People’s Literature
Mark Flowers writes: “Congratulations to Thanhha Lai, who was named the winner of the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature on Wednesday for her verse novel Inside Out & Back Again. There’s a great interview with Lai on the National Book Foundation website. After all the controversy last month over the Young People’s Literature nominations (see our initial coverage and a follow-up), it was easy to forget there was still a winner to be chosen, but hopefully now we move the focus to where it belongs: debating whether the right book won.”...
YALSA The Hub, Oct. 17–18, Nov. 18

Cover of MistakenNeil Jordan takes novel of the year at Irish Book Awards
Neil Jordan’s Mistaken has been named novel of the year at the Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards 2011 in Dublin. The film director, who won an Academy Award for The Crying Game, clinched his prize at the awards ceremony, held November 17. Mistaken tells the tale of two Irish boys who bear an uncanny physical resemblance to each other. They come of age in the Dublin of the 1960s. One attends a good school, the other does not. One lives in south Dublin, has a solicitor for a father, and aspires to a serious literary career. The other does not. Later, the confusions caused by their likeness grow increasingly complex and sinister...., Nov. 18; The Guardian (U.K.), Jan. 14

Cover of The Wavewatcher's Companion (U.S. edition)Winton Prize for Science Books
Gavin Pretor-Pinney, founder of the Cloud Appreciation Society, was awarded the £10,000 ($15,640 U.S.) Royal Society Winton Prize for Science Books November 17 for his latest observations on laid-back living, The Wavewatcher’s Companion (Bloomsbury). The book explores all types of wave, not just the ones you find on the water—everything from sound waves to light waves, brain waves, Mexican (stadium) waves, waves of traffic, and waves of emotion....
The Independent (U.K.), Nov. 18

Seen Online

Libraries in Crisis logoHuffington Post debuts new Libraries in Crisis series
Nora Rawlinson writes: “A new series, Libraries in Crisis, debuted in the Huffington Post in mid-November. As described by Books Editor Andrew Losowsky, it will look at ‘how today’s libraries are about more than books [ed note: oops, someone neglected to communicate this to the logo designer], and how they can be a community resource where reliable information and guidance is provided, free of bias and commercial influence.’”...
EarlyWord: The Publisher | Librarian Connection, Nov. 21

How will we read: In public libraries?
C. M. Rubin writes: “Libraries across the United States need our help as they are being closed or having significant cuts made to their budgets. The public library service has affected each of us at some point in our lives whether as a child, a student, or as an adult. So before you read my interview with ALA President Molly Raphael, take a moment to look at 10 important things you need to know about our American libraries.”...
Huffington Post, Nov. 21

Video loans on the rise in libraries
Video lending has exploded during the past five years, rising at a far higher rate than the lending of books or audio, according to information from the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners. Video lending statewide more than doubled between 2000 and 2010, from 6.6 million videos to 14.1 million. People like to borrow from libraries because it saves them money over Netflix or other services....
Boston Globe, Nov. 24

Occupy Wall Street Library's "returned books" display at press conferenceOccupy Wall Street librarians hold press conference
The volunteers who organized the People’s Library during the Occupy Wall Street demonstration in New York’s Zuccotti Park held a press conference November 23 with renowned civil rights attorney Norman Siegel to discuss the library’s removal by New York police. The library demanded that the city replace every missing book and provide a space to recreate the library. Staff and patrons from the library gave testimony. An Occupy Wall Street statement read: “So far, the People’s Library has received 1,099 books back (right) from the Dept. of Sanitation after last week’s raid (some of which were not library books to begin with), and out of these, about 800 are still usable. About 2,900 books are still unaccounted for, and less than one-fifth of the original collection is still usable.”...
Occupy Wall Street Library blog, Nov. 22–23; LibraryThing; Metro, Nov. 23; Washington Post: Blog, Nov. 23

Limitless Libraries logoNashville’s Limitless Libraries draws interest nationwide
An agreement between the city school district and the Nashville (Tenn.) Public Library called Limitless Libraries is drawing new attention. Metro middle and high schoolers can use their home or school computers to check out books, DVDs, and CDs from the public library and have them delivered to their schools. Library officials in New York City, Boston, and St. Paul, Minnesota, have called Metro in recent months, interested in implementing similar initiatives. Limitless Libraries is sending more than 7,000 items a month to Metro schools and circulation has increased as much as 140%....
Nashville Tennessean, Nov. 21

Cover of The WarsOntario school board rejects book ban
An award-winning Canadian novel, which one parent wanted removed from classrooms for what she called exploitive sexual references, will stay on an Ontario school board’s list of approved books. Carolyn Waddell wanted the Bluewater public school board to ban Timothy Findley’s The Wars, complaining about the book’s explicit, detailed descriptions of often violent sexual encounters. In mid-November, trustees endorsed a report by Bluewater’s textbook appeals committee, which recommends keeping The Wars on the board’s list of approved, optional teaching materials....
Quebecor Media Inc. Agency, Nov. 17

Arabic book on homosexuality on display in LibyaBanned books now available in Libya
For decades the late Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi kept a tight grip on power and public information. Now for the first time, books banned by the regime are on display in Tripoli, opening a door that was closed for many years. Some of the banned books are on topics like homosexuality or human rights in the Arab world, but the regime’s ban was mostly on books of a religious nature, like those on Wahabbism and others on the Salafi movement. Watch the video (2:06)....
CNN, Nov. 21; KTHV-TV, Little Rock, Ark., Nov. 21

Thanksgiving by the numbers
Steve Barnes writes: “Some stats, courtesy of the Census Bureau: 248 million: The number of turkeys expected to be raised in the United States in 2011. That’s up 2% from the number raised during 2010. The turkeys produced in 2010 together weighed 7.11 billion pounds and were valued at $4.37 billion. 2.4 billion pounds: The total weight of sweet potatoes—a popular Thanksgiving side dish—produced by major sweet potato producing states in 2010. North Carolina (972 million pounds) produced more sweet potatoes than any other state.”...
Albany (N.Y.) Times-Union: Table Hopping, Nov. 17

UK court rules library closures unlawful
Campaigners attempting to stop the closure of local libraries in the United Kingdom won a surprise victory in the high court November 16 when a judge ruled that the decision to ax services in Gloucestershire and Somerset was unlawful and should be annulled. Judge Martin McKenna found that local authorities had failed to comply with their public sector equality duties when pushing through the closures and ordered the councils to revisit their plans....
The Guardian (U.K.), Nov. 16

Librarian in Black finds cult fame
Sarah Houghton, the new acting director of the San Rafael (Calif.) Public Library, has cultivated an international reputation as the edgy, darkly attired, tattooed author of the Librarian in Black blog. She launched the blog in December 2003 to filter relevant tech news to other digital librarians. It has evolved into a platform for her thinking on a range of subjects, such as vegan cooking, household gadgets, her cats Dorian and Fiona, and the way women who speak in public can get stalked and harassed....
Novato (Calif.) Marin Independent Journal, Nov. 20

Graph showing average number of links from one arbitrarily selected person to another, 2008-2011Facebook reduces degrees of separation
Adding a new chapter to the research that cemented the phrase “six degrees of separation” into the language, scientists at Facebook and the University of Milan reported November 21 that the average number of acquaintances separating any two people in the world was not six but 4.74. The original “six degrees” finding, published in 1967 by the psychologist Stanley Milgram, was drawn from 296 volunteers. The new research used a slightly bigger cohort: 721 million Facebook users....
New York Times, Nov. 21; Facebook Data Team, Nov. 21

The Richard branch of the Detroit Public LibraryDetroit Public Library to close four branch locations
At its meeting on November 15, the Detroit Library Commission approved the closure of four of the city’s 23 branch libraries. The branches approved for closure, effective December 22, are Lincoln, Mark Twain, Monteith, and Richard (above). The commission pointed to declining property values and the shrinking population of the city (PDF file). The library is funded by a millage, but revenue has declined 12% each year for the past three years and is expected to continue to decline for the next three years....
Crain’s Detroit Business, Nov. 17; Detroit Public Libary, Nov. 15

Former Bettendorf director won’t face charges
The Scott County, Iowa, attorney’s office will not file criminal charges against former Bettendorf Library Director Steven Nielsen after investigating allegations that he acted improperly in his leadership role of the RiverShare library consortium as it looked for a new software system. The group voted in March to award a contract to Polaris Library Systems. Nielsen announced in August that he was accepting a job with Polaris, and competitor SirsiDynix filed a complaint alleging ethical impropriety....
Davenport (Iowa) Quad-City Times, Nov. 17

Koha logoNew Zealand library in dispute over Koha trademark
Koha is a free, open-source library management system created by the Horowhenua Library Trust, a New Zealand public library. This software has been the subject of an ongoing fight with LibLime, a U.S. company that wants to make the software proprietary. Now Horowhenua is asking for funds to support an expected legal battle. Library Director Joann Ransom says LibLime has been only been granted provisional rights to the name Koha by the Ministry of Economic Development...., Nov. 22; Koha Library Software Community, Nov. 21; Radio New Zealand, Nov. 22

Fired clerk sues Huntington Beach library
A deaf woman with cerebral palsy claims she was wrongfully fired from her job as a clerk in the Huntington Beach (Calif.) Public Library. A response from the city lists more than 25 reasons the city is not responsible for Merrie Sager’s firing, saying she did not go through proper channels to report any alleged discrimination or harassment. Sager is accused of throwing a book, yelling, and making an inappropriate hand gesture. She is suing for lost wages and emotional distress....
Orange County (Calif.) Register, Nov. 17

Kitchener and Waterloo streets, 1955 and 2011 overlayWaterloo map librarians create historical street map
Staffers at the University of Waterloo’s Map Library have painstakingly overlaid 1955 street maps of the Waterloo, Ontario, region onto modern Google Earth images, creating a digital database that shows with stunning clarity how much the area has changed and expanded in a half century. The street map is the latest phase in an ongoing project to document local visual history. The first phase scanned over 2,000 aerial photos of the region from the 1930s–1950s. The maps were built by Steven Xu and a team of part-time workers at the library over a period of several years....
Waterloo (Ont.) Record, Nov. 15

Library Red cabernet, from Sorensen CellarsWould you like a book with that wine?
Red wine and cheese. Red wine and chocolate. Red wine and a good book. Port Townsend (Wash.) Library Director Theresa Percy proposed a novel idea for a fundraiser: Release a limited edition of wine, with sales going to the city library and the county library. “It will mean around $7,000 for the libraries,” said Richard Sorensen, a local winemaker who agreed to donate a barrel of 2005 “Library Red” cabernet after being approached by Percy....
Peninsula Daily News (Wash.), Nov. 15

Librarian was one of the first to try penicillin
For 10 years, Lydia Bogner had been crippled by osteomyelitis. But one day in 1943 she was given the gift of a new medicine called penicillin. It was a gift from a cousin who had worked on this new wonder drug and was given a special wedding present by the Eli Lilly pharmaceutical company to offer penicillin to someone who might qualify for its use. Bogner went on to become the medical records librarian at Mansfield (Ohio) General Hospital for 28 years....
Mansfield (Ohio) News Journal, Nov. 20

Few visitors to Baghdad’s American Corner
In a nook of the library at Baghdad University, sturdy histories of the American Revolution and the Vietnam War line up next to Alexis de Tocqueville and John Updike. Yet, the readers never come. As far as Kamal Yunis, a research librarian who oversees what is formally called the American Corner, can tell, no student has ever opened one of the books. The collection was assembled by the American Embassy and is an example of the sort of cultural programs the State Department will emphasize after the troops leave....
New York Times, Nov. 22

Children's section of the Municipal Public Library Dámaso Alonso in Madrid, SpainMadrid to streamline its city and regional libraries
Jennifer Riggins writes: “After three years of negotiations, Mayor Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón of Madrid, Spain, and regional president (similar to a governor) Esperanza Aguirre are nearing an agreement to merge the municipal and regional libraries. There are 16 regional libraries and 29 city libraries that maintain essentially the same catalogs and are often located near each other. A merger would create a uniform library catalog across the city.”...
SmartPlanet, Nov. 22

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Tech Talk

The supposed HD capabilities of the Nook TabletNook’s specs are exaggerated, again
David Pogue writes: “I’ve always been a little bothered by the way the Nook is advertised—or at least suspicious. Last year, I caught Barnes & Noble misreporting the Nook’s weight. Well, guess what? Barnes & Noble is at it again. On the Nook website, the very first bullet point is, ‘HD movies and TV shows.’ But the Nook’s screen resolution is 1024 by 600 pixels. That’s not even close to high definition.”...
New York Times: Pogue’s Posts, Nov. 17

The HP TouchPadHP is #2 tablet maker in 2011
Nate Hoffelder writes: “A very odd thing happens when you sell a tablet for 80% off the retail price; people go nuts trying to buy it. More than a million tablets were sold in the U.S. in the first nine months of the year, according to a report released by the NPD Group. Analysts also beleive that the 1.2 million tablets brought in more than $415 million in revenue.”...
eBookNewser, Nov. 22; NPD Group, Nov. 22

Smartphone in useHow to buy a cellphone
Jamie Lendino writes: “If you thought choosing a cellphone was difficult before, it’s even tougher today. That’s a good thing, though, because it demonstrates how innovation in the wireless industry has skyrocketed. We’re seeing rapid progress across all fronts, including displays, data networks, user interfaces, voice quality, third-party apps, and even mobile gaming. So what should you be looking for when buying a cellphone? Here are some key points to consider.”...
PC Magazine, Nov. 16

The Cotton Candy USB stick will appear around mid-2012USB stick brings Android to PCs, TVs
Mike Isaac writes: “Google has made no secret about its plans for Android. The company wants Android everywhere. And thanks to FXI Technologies’ Cotton Candy USB device, we may not have to wait long to see Android on more than just our mobile devices. FXI essentially built an ultra-lean computer inside a small USB stick. Stick it into any device that supports USB storage, and Cotton Candy will register as a USB drive. From there, you can run the Android OS in a secure environment inside your desktop.”...
Wired: Gadget Lab, Nov. 18

World Press Photo 11 appiPad apps for photojournalists
Alex Garcia writes: “Search the iTunes store with the term ‘photography’ and you’ll easily get lost among more than a thousand apps. Many apps are useful for professional photographers, such as those for tethered shooting, model releases, and portfolio apps, but they don’t seem crucial for photojournalists. I did find several with interesting functionality for photojournalists that you can’t easily replicate elsewhere. There are also a number of inspirational apps for those long days waiting for politicians or defendants to show up. Here are some that you might consider.”...
Chicago Tribune: Assignment Chicago, Nov. 15

Kindle Fire appsThe best Kindle Fire apps
Jill Duffy writes: “Amazon’s new 7-inch Kindle Fire ($199) is one of the most affordable tablets on the market. If you’re a new Kindle Fire owner, you need a starter kit. The 16 apps that we recommend downloading first are available right in the Amazon Appstore, so you can nab them simply and quickly. Your first dozen or so apps that you install should, in theory, be the ones you end up using the most. But again, because the Amazon Appstore holds only a limited subgroup of the Android apps ever made, the best of the bunch may seem a little lackluster, so far.”...
PC Magazine, Nov. 16

Proposed contact lens circuitryReceive emails through your contact lenses
A new generation of contact lenses that project images in front of the eyes is one step closer after successful animal trials, say engineers at the University of Washington. The technology could allow wearers to read floating texts and emails or augment their sight with computer-generated images, Terminator-syle. But there are still wrinkles to iron out, like finding a good power source. The researchers describe their computerized contact lens in the latest issue of the Journal of Micromechanics and Microengineering....
BBC News, Nov. 21; J. Micromech. Microeng. 21 (2011): 125014

House and Senate Guide appGPO releases its first app
The U.S. Government Printing Office has released its first mobile app, which provides the public with quick, easy access to information about Members of Congress. Based on the Guide to the House and Senate Members and information in the Congressional Pictorial Directory, the app allows users to browse for Members of Congress by last name, state, chamber, or party. Additionally, users can search by first and last name....
FDLP Desktop, Nov. 15


It’s time for a National Digital Public Library
Susan Hildreth writes: “I have just returned from the exciting and inspirational conference, ‘Creating a Blueprint for Building a National Digital Public Library.’ Held at the Los Angeles Public Library’s grand Central Library, this was an opportunity for public libraries to become engaged in the creation of the Digital Public Library of America. The DPLA represents the work of many institutions in digitizing a tremendous variety of content and envisions a future where this content and much more is freely available in all libraries and easily discoverable by all.”...
UpNext: The IMLS Blog, Nov. 21

Map of ebooks in U.S. Public Libraries, 2010-2011Ebooks in U.S. public libraries
In addition to free public access to computers and the internet, public libraries provide their communities with robust electronic collections. One area of significant interest and growth has been the provision of ebooks. Nationwide, 67% of public libraries report offering free access to ebooks to library patrons—up 30% since 2007....
ALA: 2011 Public Library Funding & Technology Access Study

OverDrive’s Test Drive program for libraries
OverDrive has launched Test Drive, a program for libraries to support the demonstration and lending of ebook reading devices and tablets to their patrons. The program includes device recommendations and guidelines for setup, maintenance, and support, as well as best practices for institutions that want to stock and lend ebook readers and tablets to patrons. OverDrive has also selected the Sony Reader Wi-Fi (Model PRS-T1) as the first “Test Drive Approved” device....
Digital Library Blog, Nov. 22

Kindle device license limits are stupid
Jow Wikert writes: “There, I said it. I’m betting most consumers and quite a few publishers don’t realize that Amazon has limits in place to prevent you from loading one Kindle ebook on more than 6 devices within the same account. Once you try to get it onto the 7th device, you are greeted with an error message saying, ‘License Limit Reached,’ and they nudge you to buy another copy of the product. No way. This is yet another example of why DRM sucks.”...
Joe Wikert’s Publishing 2020 Blog, Nov. 22

For their children, some ebook fans insist on paper
Matt Richtel and Julie Bosman write: “Print books may be under siege from the rise of ebooks, but they have a tenacious hold on a particular group: children and toddlers. Their parents are insisting this next generation of readers spend their early years with old-fashioned books. This is the case even with parents who themselves are die-hard downloaders of books onto Kindles, iPads, laptops, and phones. They freely acknowledge their digital double standard.” But others question the assessment that ebooks are bad for kids....
New York Times, Nov. 20; Digital Book World, Nov. 21

It’s beginning to look a lot like election archiving season
Abbie Grotke writes: “The national elections are a year away, but the Library of Congress is already busy archiving presidential campaign websites and preparing to archive House and Senate campaign sites and more starting in March 2012. This actually isn’t the earliest we’ve started: For the 2008 archive we began a full 19 months before the election. We began collecting the presidential campaign sites earlier this month, and our Web Archiving Team is reviewing the results of the crawl. We’ve noticed that some of the sites we started archiving a few weeks ago have already changed their look and feel.”...
The Signal: Digital Preservation, Nov. 17

Find your way in a book
Nate Hoffelder writes: “Have you ever wondered exactly where in the world an event in a book occurred? Book Drum—a two-year-old community of book lovers working to build a wiki-type collection of information about their favorite books—now has you covered. It recently launched a map feature marked with the key locations from 150 books. However, it’s a collection of points, not paths. There are a number of entries for the Grapes of Wrath, but no way to place them in order. But this is still a fun feature. I wouldn’t have known where Interview with a Vampire took place or what the street looked like.”...
eBookNewser, Nov. 22

Super Cliff provides "edutainment"When reading CliffsNotes is too much trouble
AOL, Mark Burnett, Coalition Films, and Josh Faure-Brac have joined forces to present to the world CliffsNotes Films—The Fastest Way to Learn. These short, jokey animated films, each narrated by a superhero dork named “Super Cliff,” promise to guide the reader through classic works of literature. The shorts are interactive, including in-video links to related content such as commentary from college professors. There are even “helpful cheats” that allow the viewer to win Shakespeare and Cliff badges. Watch Hamlet here (7:14)....
Publishing Perspectives, Nov. 21

What I learned while digitizing our backlist
Vicky Hartley, head of digital development for Duncan Baird Publishers, writes: “As simple as e-publishing seems in your head, it’s really quite involved and always more complex than you or anyone else in your company thinks it will be. To start with, the logistics of publishing an ebook are not filled with the most efficient processes. There are different formats, each with their own limitations and eccentricities. Then there are the internal difficulties.”...
FutureBook, Nov. 21

Young iPad userCirculating iPads in the Darien children’s library
Kiera Parrott writes: “In September, the Darien (Conn.) Library began circulating iPads for use with young children. What began as a ‘Hey-this-would-be-neat-let’s-try-it-and-see-what-happens’ project has evolved into an immensely popular service that has both our patrons and fellow librarians buzzing. What follows will describe how and why we developed this new service, with tips on helping other librarians jump into developing their own model.”...
ALSC Blog, Nov. 15

ProQuest business dissertations on ebrary
To offer libraries a new avenue for providing patrons with full-text access to scholarly dissertations and theses in a key discipline, ProQuest announced November 22 a new business and economics subscription collection available on the ebrary platform. With a growing selection of more than 2,400 titles, the new Business Dissertations and Theses Collection enables scholars to mine emerging research from world-renowned business schools for new ideas and comparative study....

ebrary, Nov. 22

Go back to the Top

Books & Reading

Cover of The Demon's Lexicon, by Sarah Rees BrennanStaking the vampire
Maria Kramer writes: “Breaking Dawn, Part 1 premiered November 18, and it’s only a matter of time until Part 2 wraps up the series in a happy little bow. Astute commentators agree that the Twilight saga changed the shape of teen literature, propelling paranormal romance and vampires to the top of the charts. But have the blood-drinking sophisticates overstayed their welcome? The Hub is here to ask the question ‘What next?’ Towards which creature should we direct our adulation—or mockery? Who will put the stake in the vampire trend? Let’s examine the options.”...
YALSA The Hub, Nov. 22

Screen shot from "The Book Job" on The SimpsonsD’oh! Neil Gaiman on The Simpsons
Geoff Boucher writes: “The Simpsons delivered one of its most ambitious episodes November 20—an elaborate heist spoof that finds Homer, Bart, and guest star Neil Gaiman trying to steal the thunder of today’s megasuccessful publishing series. The episode, titled ‘The Book Job,’ is a parody of Steven Soderbergh’s Ocean’s Eleven (and, yes, that is Andy Garcia playing the wealthy, cold-blooded heavy) but it saved its most savage parody for today’s paranormal romances that target young-skewing audiences.” Read an interview with Neil Gaiman about his role in the episode. Sarah Debraski and Gretchen Kolderup discuss the episode....
Los Angeles Times: Hero Complex, Nov. 18; The DeadBolt, Nov. 21; YALSA The Hub, Nov. 23

Nine reasons why publishers should stop acting like libraries are the enemy
Bobbi Newman writes: “I know you think that if it weren’t for libraries more people would buy your books. I have bad news for you: If it weren’t for libraries, people would read less and not buy more books. Let’s face it, no one who is willing to spend four months on the waiting list for their favorite author is going to buy that hardback copy and probably not the trade paperback or paperback either. Instead of seeing that library book as money out of your pocket, consider it the gateway drug to your author.”...
Librarian by Day, Nov. 23

Cover of Assassin of SecretsTinker, tailor, soldier, plagiarist
Tim Vines writes: “There’s been quite a recent buzz about Q. R. Markham’s recently published book Assassin of Secrets, but for all the wrong reasons—it’s apparently plagiarized from a blend of a dozen spy fiction authors including James Bamford, Charles McCarry, and Graham Greene. The author, whose real name is Quentin Rowan, has expressed profound regret, and explains in a comment that it’s all a result of wanting too much, too soon. In fact, he’s never really been into writing his own material, as plagiarism checks on his previous work also show plenty of evidence of cutting and pasting. Little, Brown is in the stew as well, as this is the second book in five years they’ve published that has been found to be largely copied.”...
Scholarly Kitchen, Nov. 21; Reluctant Habits, Nov. 8; The Debrief, Nov. 9

Cover of Flaherty's RunRetired Fort Myers librarian now a novelist
Bill (“Henry”) Hoffman, former director of the Fort Myers–Lee County (Fla.) Public Library, has taken up writing since his 1998 retirement. His new historical novel, Flaherty’s Run (Lachesis), takes the main character, Will Flaherty, on a journey in a bookmobile with his sister Carol and an ex-German prisoner of war named Max, from North Florida to the Keys in 1946. Hoffman forced himself to write a disturbing scene when the bookmobile is stuck in mud and the three characters use books as tools to free the vehicle....
Fort Myers (Fla.) News-Press, Nov. 19

Cover of The Boxer Rebellion, by Diana PrestonTop 10 shocking books about China
Zhengyi Mei Mei writes: “China’s history is so vast, its geography so massive, its politics so controversial, and its customs so perplexing, that it was nearly impossible to reduce this list to 10 books. The country’s long record of human rights abuses, rampant government corruption, heartless property confiscation, and categorical censorship of information make China fertile ground for fiction and nonfiction alike. Some of these books are shocking, some scholarly, some simply entertaining, but each reveal a different facet of Chinese culture.”...
Listverse, Nov. 18

Bookseller experiments with online handselling
Longtime bookseller Roxanne Coady, owner of R. J. Julia Booksellers in Madison, Connecticut, has unveiled, a subscription model that aims to wed human-to-human customer service with the convenience of online shopping. This is how it works: Readers take a quiz on the website, which will determine their reading mood. The questions are tame and direct. The answers are studied by R. J. Julia Booksellers staff, who in turn, select a book for the reader....
Publishing Perspectives, Nov. 22

From the cover of A apple pie by Kate Greenaway (1900)Pie-ology: A full-filling story
Jennifer Harbster writes: “Pie season is upon us and I predict that you will be making or buying a pie sometime in the near future. There is something about this delectable dish that provokes childhood memories and many of us have no qualms about stating our opinion on what constitutes the best pie. The A–Z of Food and Drink (2002) suggests that the word pie (pye) first appeared in English in the early 14th century, and by mid-century it became commonplace. Even Geoffrey Chaucer mentions pie in his ‘Cook’s Tale.’”...
Inside Adams: Science, Technology, and Business, Nov. 18

A questionable cookbookThe 10 weirdest cookbooks
Thanksgiving is almost here, and while most families will roll out the turkey, stuffing, and mashed potatoes, a select few out there will get a little adventurous and might dig deep into the cookbook archives. For the sake of the children, hopefully none of them have these cookbooks....
Publishers Weekly: PWxyz, Nov. 22

Le Nouveau Testament, c’est à dire, la Nouvelle Alliance de Nostre Seigneur Iesus-Christ, published in Montauban for Pierre Braconnier, in 1685Sleuthing a bibliographic mystery
Rebecca McCallum writes: “The other day, I discovered a mystery in Special Collections: an extremely skimpy catalog record for a book in our collection. All it said about this book was: ‘Bible. N.T. French [Nouveau testament] [S.l. : S.n., not after 1762.] 665 p. ; 19 cm. Title page missing.’ Because the book had been missing its title page for a very long time, we had no idea where or when it was published, by whom, or even what its real title was. It was time to do some detective work.”...
Wesleyan University Special Collections and Archives Blog, Nov. 14

2012 ALA Midwinter Meeting in Dallas

Fun fact: The precursor to the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Round Table had a kissing booth (called “Hug a Homosexual”) at ALA Annual Conference in Dallas in June 1971. See the photo in the New York Public Library Digital Gallery.

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Snowy Days and Books poster

“Crunch, crunch, crunch, his feet sank into the snow.” The Snowy Day, Ezra Jack Keats’s classic story of Peter, who treks through his neighborhood into the deep, deep snow, is now a Timeless Treasures poster. Peter’s adventures making a snow angel, packing a snowball, and taking a cozy hot bath evoke the simple pleasures of being a child in winter. This vibrantly illustrated Caldecott Medal winner celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2012. NEW! From ALA Graphics.

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Penguin: Stop library lending of ebooks, since that's the real problem with the publishing business model. Image by Andy Woodworth

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AL Focus

Great Libraries of the World

Duchess Anna Amalia Library

Duchess Anna Amalia Library, Weimar, Germany. The library, a public research center for German literature and art and music history, is named for Anna Amalia, duchess of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, who arranged in 1766 for the books belonging to the ducal court to be moved into her remodeled residence. A major part of the collection was destroyed or severely damaged by a fire in September 2004. The Rococo hall was restored and reopened in 2007, along with a modern reading room called a “Book Cube”; some of the damaged volumes have now been replaced or restored.

Francke Foundations Historical Library

Francke Foundations Historical Library, Halle, Germany. Founded as a charity in 1695 by the Pietist cleric August Hermann Francke, the Francke Foundations possess a library with a strong emphasis on religious and cultural history. The collection, which includes a cabinet of curiosities, has been housed in a well-preserved building dating from 1728.

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 2013 by ALA Editions.

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Dean of the Library, University of Texas at Arlington. Provides administrative leadership for a system of three campus libraries and eight program areas within the Library. The dean reports to the provost and vice president for academic affairs and serves on the appropriate academic, technological, and administrative councils. The dean will provide strategic planning and policy direction in the areas of collection development, public and technical services, facilities planning, and personnel policy, and is responsible for the coordination of the branch campus libraries in conjunction with the managers of those libraries....

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Digital Library of the Week

Byzantine Empire, Basil II, AV Tetarteron Nomisma. This coin was minted during Basil II's reign over the Byzantine Empire (976–1025 AD). On the obverse is a bust of Christ who is holding a cross with pellets, a book of the Gospels, and a raised right hand. The reverse shows a crowned bust of Basil, who has a short beard and is standing on the left side. His brother Constantine is also wearing a crown and is beardless. Constantine is standing on the right side, and the brothers hold a cross together

The Alwin C. Carus Coin Collection was donated to Hillsdale (Mich.) College by Alwin C. Carus of La Salle, Illinois. It is a large collection that contains a broad range of coins and currency, including coins from ancient Greece, Macedon, and Rome, medieval English coins, Byzantine coins, Islamic coins, Chinese coins and currency, United States coins, and coins from all over the world, including Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, India, Mexico, Russia, and many others.

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.

American Libraries' Solutions and Services column

Public Perception
How the World
Sees Us

“The internet is an accumulation; a library is order. I have nothing against the electronic library, it’s just not a replacement for the library of ink and paper.

—Argentine-born Canadian writer Alberto Manguel, interviewed in the Ottawa (Ont.) Citizen, Nov. 20.

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Dec. 4–9:
Special Libraries Association Military Libraries Division, Military Libraries Workshop, Norfolk, Virginia. “Riding the Information Wave.”

Dec. 7–9:
Specialized Information Publishers Association, Annual Marketing Conference, Eden Roc Renaissance Hotel, Miami Beach, Florida.

Dec. 10:
International Human Rights Day.

Dec. 12–13:
Coalition for Networked Information, Fall Membership Meeting, Crystal Gateway Marriott, Arlington, Virginia.

Jan. 20–24: American Library Association, Midwinter Meeting, Dallas.

Feb. 1–3:
Association of American Publishers Professional Scholarly Publishing, Annual Conference, Mayflower Hotel, Washington, D.C. “Prospering with Digital: Making Investments Pay.”

Feb. 8–9:
International Association of School Librarianship / Zimbabwe Library Association, Regional School Library Seminar, Masiyephambili College, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. “School Libraries in Africa in the 21st Century: Learning from Each Other.”

Mar. 21–23:
Computers in Libraries, Conference, Hilton Washington, D.C.

Mar. 29–
Apr. 2:

Art Libraries Society of North America, Annual Conference, Sheraton Centre, Toronto. “Colouring Outside the Lines.”

Apr. 11–14:
Popular Culture Association / American Culture Association,
Annual Conference, Boston Marriott Copley Place.

Apr. 17–20:
Texas Library Association, Annual Conference, Houston. “Relevant, Responsive, Revolutionary, Right Now.”

Apr. 24–27:
Alabama Library Association, Annual Convention, Wynfrey Hotel, Hoover.

June 10–14:
Association for Computing Machinery/IEEE Computer Society, Joint Conference on Digital Libraries, George Washington University, Washington, D.C. “#preserving #linking #using #sharing.”

Sept. 19–23:
Joint Conference of Librarians of Color, Kansas City, Missouri. “Gathering at the Waters: Celebrating Stories, Embracing Communities.”

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Actions & Answers

What is the definition of a library?What is a library?
Bobbi Newman writes: “After recently tweeting a link to ALA President Molly Raphael’s statement regarding the destruction of the Occupy Wall Street Library in New York, I became engaged in a conversation on Twitter about what constitutes a library. To me this seems obvious, but I had a hard time coming up with a hard and fast definition. I discovered that, like Justice Stewart, I’m of the know-it-when-I-see-it mindset when it comes to identifying a library.”...
Librarian by Day, Nov. 19; ALA Public Information Office, Nov. 17

Why I am not signing the “Save Libraries” petition
Buffy Hamilton writes: “A steady barrage of discussion list messages, tweets, Facebook postings, and blog entries have been making the rounds in recent weeks urging people to sign a petition to the White House on school libraries. While I know the intent was noble in creating this, petitions like these are often a slippery slope, so I’m going to be politically incorrect and offer a dissenting perspective. I do not mean any disrespect to those who think this petition will make a difference, but I would encourage us a profession to unpack the language and assumptions laden in the wording.”...
The Unquiet Librarian, Nov. 18; School Library Journal, Nov. 8

Internet chain of intermediariesFree speech is only as strong as its weakest link
Rainey Reitman writes: “From Mubarak knocking a country offline by pressuring local ISPs to PayPal caving to political pressure to cut off funding to WikiLeaks, this year has brought us sobering examples of how online speech can be endangered. As internet users, we rely on a chain of intermediaries—such as social networks, search engines, and ISPs—to help ensure that creative expression and information reach a broader audience. Unfortunately, weak links in this chain can operate as choke points to accomplish widespread censorship. Click here to explore the different intermediaries in the chain, the vulnerabilities they face, and examples of how they have been targeted by those who would squelch online expression.”...
Electronic Frontier Foundation, Nov. 21

Cover of Public Libraries Survey, Fiscal Year 2009Library visits at historic high
The ways in which Americans use libraries changed significantly in the decade ending in 2009 as libraries adapted to meet the evolving needs of their users. In 2009 (the most recent data available), libraries were visited a record-breaking 1.59 billion times, according to the Institute of Museum and Library Services’ report on the FY2009 Public Library Survey, a census of public libraries in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the territories conducted annually by IMLS....
Institute of Museum and Library Services, Nov. 18

National Day of Listening, November 25
StoryCorps, the national nonprofit oral history organization, is asking Americans to take a few minutes to pay thanks to a beloved teacher on the day after Thanksgiving. This can include acknowledging a teacher on Facebook, sending a tweet, posting a video tribute on YouTube, or recording a face-to-face interview using StoryCorps’ do-it-yourself guide....

Professional codes of ethics for librarians
Librarians all over the world are well aware of their profession’s ethical implications. In more than 60 countries, library associations have developed and approved a national code of ethics for librarians. The IFLA Committee on Freedom of Access to Information and Freedom of Expression has collected nearly 40 of them and brought them together in the list “Professional Codes of Ethics for Librarians.”...
Freedom of Access to Information and Freedom of Expression, Nov. 19

Cover of the Dec. ILA Reporter shows the Poetry Foundation LibraryCreation of the Poetry Foundation Library (PDF file)
Katherine Litwin writes: “When the Poetry Foundation Library opened its doors on June 25, it became the only library in the Midwest dedicated solely to poetry, and one of a small number of poetry libraries around the world. As the first librarian hired by the Poetry Foundation, my fantastic task was to create a new library out of a singular collection of resources to be housed in an architecturally distinctive space. Located at 61 West Superior Street in Chicago, the building was designed to be an artistic, cultural building in an urban environment.”...
ILA Reporter 29, no. 6 (Dec.): 8–11

15 secondsYouTube: The first 15 seconds
David Lee King writes: “What’s important in your YouTube videos? The first 15 seconds. According to YouTube’s Creator Playbook, you have 10–15 seconds to hook your viewer into watching the rest of your video. What do many of us do with those first 15 seconds? A slow fade-in. Cheesy music. A flashy branded intro and titles. Exciting stuff, huh? Instead, here’s what Youtube says we should do.”...
David Lee King, Nov. 22

Google Scholar opens up its citations
Anyone can now track his or her citations via Google Scholar. The free citation service is billed as “a simple way for authors to compute their citation metrics and track them over time.” Google had announced a limited-release test of the service in July. Google Scholar automatically sorts articles into groups. Authors can go through those, identify which articles are indeed theirs, and edit the list. Google Scholar collects citations for each author and graphs them over time to calculate different metrics....
Chronicle of Higher Education: Wired Campus, Nov. 17; Google Scholar Blog, July 20, Nov. 16

Screen shot from Planes Overhead videoPlanes overhead and other cool Wolfram Alpha things
Richard Byrne writes: “This Wolfram Alpha demo (2:32) shows you what you happens when you enter the term ‘planes overhead’ in Wolfram Alpha. As you’ll see, Wolfram Alpha doesn’t act like Google, Bing, or any other search engine. I think the video is a great demonstration of what makes Wolfram Alpha neat. Watching this got me to dive into my archives for other Wolfram Alpha posts. Consider this my Wolfram Alpha round-up post.”...
Free Technology for Teachers, Nov. 20; YouTube, Nov. 18

How to become an essential librarian (PDF file)
Breanne Kirsch writes: “Becoming an essential or indispensable librarian will allow new librarians to have increased job stability and other benefits. Based on personal experiences and research, I have compiled a list of six steps to becoming an essential librarian: Find a mentor, read the literature, collaborate, adapt, become a leader, and be persistent.”...
Endnotes: The Journal of the New Members Round Table 2, no. 1 (Nov.)

Things to do: Completely transform the library
Dan Messer writes: “Transformation is not only desirable, but 100% necessary. Are we ready? Some ideas about what we could do to enhance our services and further that transformation arose in comments and through conversations. Here’s a short list. However, it’s easy to say we need to reimagine the library, but to do it we’ll need resources, skill sets, a willingness to learn and adapt, and the administrative vision to make it happen.”...
Not All Bits, Nov. 22

Chart of web-based email usageWeb-based email
Stephen Abram writes: “I am a huge fan of web-based email, although I do get email through our corporate client as well as Facebook, LinkedIn, and DMs through Twitter. As you can see in this chart (right), web-based email usage is cratering for people aged 12–34. From personal experience I know all my friends and relatives in this younger age group generally contact me through either Facebook or texting instead of email. I believe this demographic is a really important segment for libraries—teens, students, and young parents.”...
Stephen’s Lighthouse, Nov. 21; Business Insider, Nov. 18

Joe Klett, deputy director of archives, and Deborah Mercer, documents librarian for the State LibraryNew Jersey State Library returns missing 1716 document
Having valuable public documents go missing is not a rare occurrence, but having them turn up in good condition certainly is. In mid-November, the New Jersey State Library returned to the New Jersey State Archives a 1716 legal document that outlined a procedure for the laying out of roads between towns. It had originally been discovered at the Orange County College Library, but was later found to have been stolen from the archives when it was stored in the basement of the State House....
New Jersey State Library, Nov. 21

Sample page of the Muncie Public Library accession catalogWhat Muncie read, 1891–1902
John Plotz writes: “What Middletown Read is based on an incredible trove of unprepossessing ledger books found in an attic during the renovation of the 1904 Muncie (Ind.) Public Library and brought to light by Ball State University English Professor Frank Felsenstein. No previous project includes a database that supplies, to ordinary casual web visitors, this kind of in-depth history about a library’s acquisitions and patrons. It’s the interlinked combination of three different sorts of data—patron records, borrowing records, and library catalog—that makes this such a revealing cache.”...
Slate, Nov. 17

Frederick W. True, mammalogist and memo-writer, 1910The evolution of the memo, 1849–2011
Mitch Toda writes: “In practically every collection of Smithsonian records I acquire and accession, I can expect to find the humble memorandum. Primarily used to communicate within an organization, the memorandum plays a role in documenting the history of the Smithsonian. As you will see from this tour (video or slideshare) of memoranda found in our collections, their form has changed over the years, but the information they contain can be both mundane as well as enlightening.”...
The Bigger Picture, Nov. 22

Gerstenslager bookmobile from Washington County (Md.) Free Library on a postcardThe Gerstenslager bookmobile
Larry Nix writes: “For many years the Gerstenslager Company in Wooster, Ohio, was synonymous with bookmobiles for public library extension librarians. Although the roots of the company date back to 1860, it was not until after World War II that the company began designing and building custom bodies for specialty vehicles including bookmobiles. One of my postcard collecting interests is bookmobiles, and in my collection is a group of cards that include advertising on the back for the Gerstenslager Co. and its bookmobile business.”...
Library History Buff Blog, Nov. 18

SSA extends FOIA restriction to 100 years
Megan Smolenyak writes: “Unfortunately, it’s now official. I have been ordering Social Security applications for several decades, and have found them especially valuable. But recently, without any announcement, the Social Security Administration extended the restriction to 100 years from the birth of the applicant, so you can now only obtain this record in an unaltered state for those born prior to 1912. I can apparently receive the full application if I can prove that the parents are deceased, but that’s a catch-22.”...
Smolenyak’s Roots World, Nov. 17

Libraries on Google+
Google+ was launched in June and has since built up a membership of more than 40 million users. Early in November, Google began allowing organizations to create their own pages on the site. In the past few weeks, dozens of libraries have created Google+ pages, from large public libraries such as the New York Public Library, to smaller, tech-savvy ones like Darien (Conn.) Library and Skokie (Ill.) Public Library. Several academic libraries have staked out Google+ pages as well....
Library Journal: The Digital Shift, Nov. 18

Evernote Clearly logoEvernote takes on web reading with Clearly
Evernote, an application that has gained momentum by providing an easy way for people to quickly capture things they want to remember, is determined to branch out past its humble note-taking origins. On November 16, the company unveiled its latest addition: Clearly, a browser extension that aims to simplify online reading by stripping away links, advertisements, and other clutter from web articles. Users can also save articles to their Evernote accounts....
New York Times: Bits, Nov. 16

404 error from CSSTricksHow to deal with broken URLs
Daniel Cornwall writes: “Web resources have their drawbacks, the most dramatic of which is link rot. Some URLs are more durable than others, but chances are good that at some point you are going to visit a site and get a 404 (File Not Found) error. In most cases, especially with U.S. federal government materials, this is not the end of the world. There are several techniques that you can use to find the missing resource.”...
Alaskan Librarian, Nov. 19

Cover of 2012 Mildly Atractive Men of SLISAnother year of mildly attractive men
Zack Frasier writes: “Our student group at the University of South Carolina, LISSA, has a fundraiser that happens around this time every year, The Mildly Attractive Men of Library Science. It is a calendar that we make and sell annually to raise money for our student organization, and each year we do a variation on a theme. It features some of the most mildly attractive men in USC’s School of Library and Information Science. All proceeds from sales directly support student involvement in and attendance at professional conferences.”...
Hack Library School, Nov. 17

Sexiest librarian alive
Stephen Abram writes: “OK, I took some cold pills and I’m thinking strange. Has American Libraries or Library Journal ever considered a sexiest librarian alive issue? Too much fun LMAO. Some business tactics just might not translate but it could work for #partyhearty and #makeithappen at ALA Midwinter. Here is a start on an anthem.”...
Stephen’s Lighthouse, Nov. 17

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