Implications of the Macmillan ebook embargo.

American Library Association • October 22, 2019
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#eBooksForAll update


With less than two weeks left before Macmillan Publishers’ planned embargo of new ebooks to libraries, one library system announced last week that it will not buy affected titles from the publisher. King County (Wash.) Library System—which has led the US in digital lending for five consecutive years, with more than 4.8 million checkouts of ebooks and digital audio—has decided to protest against Macmillan Publishers’ decision to embargo ebook titles. “We don’t like them dictating our business model. They’re making a business decision, and so are we,” said KCLS Director Lisa Rosenblum. “It just really cuts into what our main goal and purpose is, which is access to all.”...

AL: The Scoop, Oct. 22; King County (Wash.) Library System, Jan. 18

Newsmaker: Megan Rosenbloom

Megan Rosenbloom. Photo by Scott Troyan

When Megan Rosenbloom (right) meets someone at a cocktail party who inquires about the book she’s working on, she braces for one of two reactions. Her research on the history of anthropodermic books (books bound in human skin) is both fascinating and eerie. “In general people are more intrigued than outwardly horrified,” Rosenbloom says. Dark Archives (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2020), traces these books and their intersection with the sometimes gruesome history of medicine and medical ethics. She spoke with American Libraries about death positivity, the cultural importance of creepy materials, and how she balances awareness of mortality with joy....

American Libraries Newsmaker, Oct. 22

Sponsored Content

Colleen Lyon, head of scholarly communications at University of Texas at Austin

Navigating copyright

How do librarians help educators and students navigate copyright restrictions for research projects or for creating art? They can turn to Gale’s digital archive collections—such as Amateur Newspapers from the American Antiquarian Society—that offer digital rights management–free content.

Alexis McQuigge, writing coordinator at University of Regina, says she likes Gale’s model because “once we’ve paid for a database, we don’t have to pay again. It’s ours.”

Read the third of this five-part series on how librarians are building and growing relationships within the academic community.

Congress set to rush through CASE Act

Potential $30,000 penalty for small copyright claims

Mike Masnick writes: “Congress has misleadingly referred to the CASE Act, scheduled for a vote October 22, as a small claims court for copyright claims. Supporters say that this is needed because going to federal court is too expensive for smaller copyright holders. There are multiple problems with this, starting with the fact that an entire industry of copyright trolling firms has been built up around ‘helping’ smaller copyright holders demand payment from anyone who uses their works. Second, the CASE Act is not actually a court, but a tribunal within the Copyright Office that can order accused infringers to pay up to $30,000, which is not very small at all.”...

Techdirt, Oct. 21; Electronic Frontier Foundation, Oct. 15; Re:Create, Oct. 21
ALA news

US Congressional Serial Set to be digitized

Volumes in the US Congressional Serial Set

The Law Library of Congress, in collaboration with the US Government Publishing Office, has started a large, multiyear effort to digitize and make accessible volumes of the US Congressional Serial Set dating back to the first volume published in 1817. The Serial Set is the official, bound compilation of all numbered reports and documents of the House and Senate, including executive reports and treaty documents, issued for each session of Congress. The term “Serial Set” derives from the fact that the volumes have been numbered consecutively beginning with the volumes of the 15th Congress....

Library of Congress, Oct. 22

Michelle Obama surprises students at Edgartown library

Michelle Obama with Herb Foster (left) and Edgartown (Mass.) Public Library director Lisa Sherman

Every day after school, a group of students from the Edgartown School walk next door to the town library for after-school programming. But October 18 was an afternoon for the books. Around 4 p.m., former First Lady Michelle Obama (center) showed up. “We were going about our normal business, and then a woman walked in and said, ‘Who would like to meet Mrs. Obama?’” said Lisa Sherman (right), director of the Edgartown (Mass.) Public Library. According to Circulation Assistant Chris Look, Obama heard the library was a fan of her book, Becoming. “With her having a house here, I’m assuming she was in the neighborhood and decided to stop by,” Look said....

Martha’s Vineyard (Mass.) Times, Oct. 19

Alexandria dismisses charges against 1939 sit-in protesters

An officer escorts five men from the Alexandria (Va.) Library in August 1939. They were arrested and charged with disorderly conduct

The Alexandria (Va.) Circuit Court on October 18 dismissed all charges against the participants in a 1939 sit-in to protest the city’s whites-only public library. After recent research by Alexandria Library staff determined that the original judge in the case never issued a ruling and the charges were technically still outstanding, attorney Bryan Porter asked the court to dismiss the charges. Although the five African-American residents were charged with disorderly conduct, the court has now found that they were “lawfully exercising their constitutional rights to free assembly, speech, and to petition the government.”...

Alexandria (Va.) Living, Oct. 20

Strike closes Santa Clara County libraries for one day

Members of the SEIU strike outside of the Department of Social Services on North King Road in San José, California, on October 2. Photo by Randy Vazquez / Bay Area News Group

The Santa Clara County, California, union workers strike entered its 10th day October 19, affecting several public libraries. Workers at libraries in Gilroy, Morgan Hill, Campbell, Cupertino, Los Altos, Milpitas, and Saratoga participated in the work stoppage, resulting in their closure for the day. Picketing workers instead gathered at the Cupertino Library to protest what they say are unfair labor practices. They also criticized the county for worker shortages and failure to hire and keep new staff.”...

San José (Calif.) Mercury News, Oct. 19
Latest Library Links

The stolen letters of Christopher Columbus

Columbus letter, viewed online. Screenshot from CBS 60 Minutes

On his journey home in 1493, Christopher Columbus wrote a letter to his royal patrons, describing his remarkable arrival in the Americas. His letter was copied and multiple printings were made. Today these letters are valuable treasures, as well as fixtures in the collections of some prestigious libraries. But their value has also made them a perfect target for thieves. Jay Dillon, a rare book dealer in New Jersey, first tipped off authorities to the thefts in 2011. Following his instincts, Dillon discovered forgeries had replaced the original letters at the National Library of Catalonia in Barcelona, the Vatican Library in Rome, and the Riccardiana Library in Florence....

CBS: 60 Minutes, Oct. 18

Snakes are not service animals

Interim Library Director Peggy Goforth

Peggy Goforth (right) knew the Madison County (N.C.) Public Library needed a new policy governing service animals when a man walked into the Marshall branch carrying a bag of snakes. “Another patron kept noticing the bag and she told us she was going to have to leave because a man’s got a bag with a snake in it,” said the library’s interim director. Goforth asked him about the bag. “He said, ‘My pets are harmless. Here, let me show you.’ And he poured a dozen of them out on the front desk. They just wriggled everywhere.” She added, “There was another woman in the library, it frightened the lady so badly that we had to call 911.”...

Asheville (N.C.) Citizen Times, Oct. 20

New design for Google Books

Google Books entry for A Wrinkle in Time

Haimin Lee writes: “Fifteen years ago, Google Books set out on an audacious journey to bring the world’s books online. Now we are unveiling a new design for Google Books on desktop with additional helpful features. We’ve redesigned Google Books so people can now quickly access details like the book’s description, author’s history and other works, reader reviews, and options for purchasing or borrowing the book from a library. Each book’s bibliographies are located prominently on the page, and the citation tool allows you to cite the source in your preferred format.”...

Google: The Keyword, Oct. 17
Dewey Decibel podcast

Storytime books that will make grownups laugh

Cover of Be Quiet! by Ryan T. Higgins

Tori Ann Ogawa writes: “Storytime is an integral part of being a children’s librarian. One of the biggest frustrations I’ve come across is keeping the grownups engaged. The ALSC Early Childhood Programs and Services Committee’s Cookies and Conversation programming has demonstrated that one way to engage parents is by reading books with jokes that adults will also find funny. Finding these books is not easy. After only coming up with a few on my own, I asked some librarian friends for help. Here are a few favorite storytime reads that are fun for both the children and the grownups.”...

ALSC Blog, Aug. 22, Oct. 22

54+ terrible library puns

Books on tape

Kelly Jensen writes: “One of the convenient things about library puns (and book puns more generally) is how nice they are for putting together book displays and book lists. They’re perfect for engaging patrons because they’re impossible to walk by and not take a second glance. Here is an assortment of 54+ delicious, hilarious, and downright cringeworthy library puns. I’m starting this list with the 13 that I put in my larger book puns collection, and from there, I promise nothing but some smiles, somewhere, from fellow pun lovers.”...

Book Riot, Oct. 22; Nov. 12, 2018

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