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I rarely feel happier than when I am in a library -- very rarely feel more soothed and calm and secure. and there in the soft gloom of the stacks, I feel very much in my element -- a book among books, almost.
-- randall jarrell

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30may02
Your friends the FBI can now surveil your activities at your library with no evidence of potential crime activity. I think my mother used to call this "looking for trouble" and she usually advised me aginst it. [ thanks chris ]
The folks on Metafilter are discussing the school librarian mess we've been finding ourselves in. I'm surprised anyone can make a cogent argument against school libraries. Discussion based, in part, on this article about firing Philadelphia school librarians and this one about Canadian school libraries.
[the principal is] replacing Carver's full-time librarian with a teacher on staff who is a certified librarian - but who will be paid at a lower classroom rate. In addition to being able to manage the library, the instructor is certified to teach math and computer networking. "I am getting three for less than the price of one librarian," she said. "It is called creative budgeting."
DC libraries not doing too well either, underfunded and underlovad
Librarians say that if the decision to share one book turns even a few people on to reading, it has done its job. Fine, read the book. But better than that, visit the city's libraries and see what kind of message disinvestment and disdain send. That's a story the city should read together. [ thanks amy ]
Mildred Benson, Nancy Drew author, RIP. Here is her last column where she discusses her lifelong love of books. [ thanks carol & amy ]
More great stuff sent to the dumpster because people don't have places to put it
Fifteen or more years of newsfilm from the early 1960s and 1970s - enough to fill a 30-foot-long dumpster - went to the city landfill two months ago when KARK, Channel 4, could find no one willing to take the collection [ thanks brandon ]
Someone broke into the library, and stole.... the barbecue? They came back next time for the cash. [ thanks michael ]
Carol Anne Duffy poem challenged as part of exam syllabus in Yorkshire. [ thanks sarah ]
Sarah Jessica Parker, ridiculed for looking like a depressed librarian. [ thanks rebecca ]
UNESCO libraries portal -- cool organized lists to library info on the web. [ thanks jim ]
Anti-nuclear protestor librarian uses his smarts to extend his appeal time. [ thanks bill ]
27may02
Hi. sorry for the improptu vacation there. When I get really going with trivia questions I don't want to do anything else online and my eyes kind of glaze over. I changed the link on the left to the new php version of my booklist. Neat, huh?
Call your library on their shit. In multiple languages, if possible. A great article by Bruce Jensen who also runs the PLUS [public libraries using spanish] website.
Librarians seldom meet anyone but satisfied customers. The people the library ignores, you see, don't come in. It doesn't much matter if those people represent a majority of the citizenry. None of this is gonna change until somebody calls the libraries on their shit because the librarians are not about to call their own shit on themselves. [ juice ]
More on the book thievery from the London Library. [ thanks owen ]
Remember the Public Library of Science, the group of folks who were threatening to withdraw support from those spendy science journals until they provided free content? Apparently their plan was too tough to keep to and it didn't have the desired results.
If all of those scientists had lived up to the pledge, they could have seriously disrupted the current journal publishing system, sapping the content and labor of many journals. But doing so might have also disrupted those scientists' careers, since very few journals follow the practices called for in the boycott, and academics need to publish to survive. [ thanks owen ]
The new library got money for staffing but not much for books in a turnaround from the usual funding morass. [ thanks brandon ]
It is very odd to see some cities opening new branch libraries at the same time they reduce funding for all libraries. Librarians are considered to be one of the "creative class" of workers who keeps a city vital and flourishing, so let them do their jobs! [ thanks bill ]
Newberry Library is asked by the National Endowment of the Humanities to remove their name as a sponsor from an awarded fellowship to Emory Professor Michael Bellesiles. The controversial topic? Gun culture. Some good commentary over at postwatch and richardpoe. [ thanks dsdlc ]
Couple gets married in the library. Woe to my next husband who will probably find this fate befalling him. [ thanks bill ]
Teeny tiny books in a travelling exhibit from the Miniature Book Society. Love them? They are looking for libraries to host them. [ stuff ]
21may02
Factual Error Found on Internet. [ thanks michael ]
Librarian Laura Sophiea wins ironman triathalon. [ thanks donna ]
A thoughtful essay on the One Book,One City phenomena "You Read Your Book, I'll Read Mine"
Even if the chosen book is great, I can't imagine a reader getting a thrill out of something officials have designated a tool of civic improvement unless he miraculously manages to wriggle free of that crushingly unsexy concept. Despite what your high school English teacher may have told you, literature does not make us or our society better. To be seduced by fiction is to live at cross-purposes with most of the really important things in life. I've never entirely succumbed to a story without blowing off housework, neglecting social obligations and flubbing career-critical deadlines. [ thanks lis ]
And lets not forget Anchorage Alaska.The mayor has finally gotten around to introducing a policy on library exhibits, and it's ridiculous.
Wuerch's new policy, which takes effect immediately, would limit exhibits from outside the library to the first floor, which is beneath the library's main floors and next to the Assembly chambers. It would prohibit certain types of exhibits, including ones that "advocate or editorialize personal, commercial or political subjects except the importance of voting," and exhibits that are interactive. [ thanks mike ]
Fun book projects profiled on NPR [ newbreed ]
More technology -- even the kind that means you may not lose books as easily -- seems to me to mean less money for actual books, at libraries. [ reread ]
20may02
Hi. I'm breaking one of my own rules and posting a linkless bit of lovliness here because it's from a nutty old book about librarians that I have a pretty good feeling almost no one has read and if so no one has jotted down this particular gem. Without further ado...
The principal character in the following dialogue was not engaged in a flirtation, but merely requisitioning a few novels.

Young Lady (reading from a list): Engaged to be Married?
Librarian (referring to shelf): No, madam.
Lady: Thou Art the Man.
Lib: Yes, madam.
Lady: Thank you. Two Kisses?
Lib: Out, madam.
Lady: After Dark?
Lib: Yes, madam.
Lady: Thanks! Love Me Forever?
Lib: No. Wooed and Married?
Lady: No, thank you. Under Love's Rule?
Lib: No, madam.
Lady: Good-bye Sweetheart. Thank you very much.

17may02
Hi. An interesting thing happened to me at the library. I was using one of the OPAC terminals to look something up in one of the literature archives [some Gale Group thing] one of the options is to mail the articles you retrieve to yourself. I used my default spam address which is jessamyn [at] hotf*ckaction.com [without the asterisk, you get my drift, we're a family show here] and the database, while it did send my article, could not show me the next screen that said "your article has been sent to youremailhere" because my address had a dirty word in it. Now, I know email addresses like this are unusual, but what a strange little bug on an otherwise unfiltered terminal.
I've been getting some feedback from Star Wars fans about Jocasta Nu, the librarian in the new Attack of the Clones movie. The bun, the skirt, the insistence "well, it's not in the archives, it must not exist." Anyone else have any strong feelings about her?
Radiation used to protect LoC staff from anthrax is ruining materials
But in an irony lost on no one, irradiation affected another project launched by the Folk Life Center: recording and assembling Americans' reactions to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11. Students at Michigan State University sent in six computer discs of photographs recording memorials they witnessed and 10 taped interviews they conducted in East Lansing. The photo discs have been replaced, but eight of the nine students neglected to make copies of their interviews, leaving the melted mess part of the library's database of the country's encounter with terrorism. [ thanks rteeter ]
Why are the UK libraries' circulation dropping precipitously? Are they really losing a place in our lives?
Libraries face a range of fixed costs such as staff and buildings. A lot of effort has gone into providing technology and it costs money to extend opening hours. That means there is often no money for books [ thanks bill & eoin ]
Ooooo, cuneiform document library [ thanks dsdlc ]
Tacoma implements personal belongings size rule similar to one SPL already has in place. Your stuff now has to fit under your chair. [ thanks michael ]
More on the North Carolina budget mess.
In Elkin's Northwestern Regional Library, officials facing a $71,000 shortfall in state money opted out of a contract with a cleaning service, and the library's 11 employees are taking over the cleaning duties. [ thanks autumn ]
Librarians and geologists have many of the same job requirements and rough work expectations, yet librarians are paid almost 20% less. An in-depth report from the New South Wales Industrial Relations Commision. [ thanks gordon ]
Interview with copyright critic and author Siva Vaidhyanathan
discuss this measure with your local librarians. Librarians are very active in opposing it. In 1998, very few groups actively opposed the DMCA, but librarians were at the front lines of its opposition. And once again, librarians are our best friends in this battle. [ thanks liane ]
15may02
Hi. I helped my friend register the domain dirtylibrarian.com the other day. I also finished a book called The Librarian at Play. Written in 1910, it's library satire of the highest order. It's amazing that library humor translates so well over the decades, or is it?
Librarian works for free, post-retirement, because there's no money to pay her. In Seattle there are union rules against this sort of thing, but you know, if I didn't have to pay for rent and food, I would do this as well. Living in the library. [ thanks bill ]
Our attachment to our books.
I still haven't decided what to do with A Librarian Looks At Readers. I should chuck it. On the other hand, surrounded by all these piles - books to be kept, books to be stored, books of uncertain destiny - I've come round entirely to the idea of libraries. Such sensible institutions. You borrow a book, you read it, which is what it exists for, and then you take it back. [ thanks sarah ]
Should you excavate the ancient library if, in doing so, you damage the papyri within?
[Andrew] Wallace-Hadrill also points out that only about half of the papyri that have been discovered have been read. The other half are too blackened for scholars to study them with the technology now available. "It is very difficult to argue that we need to look for new papyri when we have not read the ones we already have," he says. [ thanks belva ]
Speaking of ancient writings, you can buy some of them online, for cheap.
Every day on auction sites like eBay, the artifacts of the ancient Sumerian world -- some of the earliest examples of human writing -- are being sold off like so many mass-produced Tinkerbell tchotchkes. [ thanks jen ]
Irish library wins Europeans Museum of the Year award. [ thanks eoin ]
Eesh. Saskatoon school system votes to pull teacher-librarians in the same budget that they allocate $55,000 for staff receptions and $50,000 for wine and cheese. [ thanks bill ]
New Hanover [NC] library savaged by budget cuts. What gets cut? Part-time employees, summer reading programs, oh and Fridays. [ thanks bill ]
13may02
Hi. I think I am going to be writing an article for Searcher Magazine about my Google Answers experiences.
Radical collections find a home at Minnesota Community and Technical Colleges
Four years ago, the Legislature appropriated $3 million a year to bring chronically underfunded libraries of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system up to par. They earmarked 20 percent of the money for unique collections to be shared systemwide....."We talked about 'What do we want?' It was pretty clear that nobody had an alternative-press collection," Eland said. "There are a lot of very conservative journals in mainstream databases. What you don't have is the 'true left' -- socialists, anarchists, other alternative economic systems." [ thanks chris ]
Library poetry:
This book saved my life.
This book takes place on one of the two small tagalong moons of Mars.
This book requests its author's absolution, centuries after his death.
This book required two of the sultan's largest royal elephants to bear it;
this other book fit in a gourd.
Andy Rooney, still cranky, but this time I sort of agree with him.... sort of.
7. While I oppose capital punishment, anyone caught cutting a page out of a book in a library should be put to death. [ thanks michael ]
Sandy Berman came to my town and all I got was this lousy weblink. Go watch him in all his streaming glory. [ thanks jill ]
11may02
Hi. Our contract for Revolting Librarians Redux has now been signed and returned to the publisher.
Does anyone but me see the oozing irony in this sentence about the BPL gala that got interrupted by gunfire...?
A stray bullet ripped a hole in the wall of the tent and narrowly missed several socialites who had just finished the veal. [ thanks don ]
How to destroy information, or try to. [ newbreed ]
Mr. Rosenzweig goes to Washington: My microfilm matinee at the Library of Congress by Mark Rosenzweig
The Assistant Legal Counsel of LC responded that the question of [patron] confidentiality was covered in the US Code of Federal Regulations and I could find that... at the library. [ juice ]
10may02
Hi. I have hit the $100 mark at Google Answers. I made $4 telling someone a joke they had never heard before.
Library cutbacks increase angry patrons, angry patrons increase library disharmony. A cautionary NYPL tale. [ thanks jes ]
Ugh. Librarian caught stealing old books and reselling them. Wanted to open his own bookshop. [ thanks bill & thaddeus ]
Maybe we can put a dent in the sanctions to Iraq by helping them rebuild their ancient library?
Ashurbanipal's library was the first indexed and catalogued collection in history, and consisted of clay tablets written in what's called cuneiform script. Some 25,000 fragments are held in London and Iraqi archaeologists have asked for replica casts to be made of the most important, as the centrepiece of the new library [ thanks kirsty ]
Library Poetry: On Being Kicked Out of the Harold Washington Library Center for Napping on the Floor [ thanks bill ]
Do you think all this "what is the best book" consolidation is just an exercise by publishers to be able to print more copies of popular titles and no copies at all of anything else? Don Quixote named the most meaningful book of all time. And hey, fully 10% of the books selected to be voted on were by women. woo woo. [ thanks eoin & william ]
And let's get them started on all reading the same book early. I think this event is mercifully over and this website is a cobranded mess. Better than allkidsread.com, I guess.
What do our patrons like about our libraries anyhow? [scroll down]
dear brainfixer,
first of all, let me just say exactly how much i love the library, and not just because they don't bother you while you shoot heroin in their bathroom [ thanks jude ]
The librarians' love affair with the graphic novel.
"Librarians see our books and they just squeal, "What are these? They look so cool!' " said Drawn and Quarterly's new marketing rep, Elizabeth Walker. "It started about 6 months ago and just took off,"
Custom publishing and traditional publishing moving closers together. Can you spot the product placements in your books?
For Artisan's The Ford Century, a history of the company and its effect on culture and commerce that features a foreword by Paul Newman, Ford is shelling out approximately $150,000 in marketing costs..... [editor] Tehabi, however, stressed that Ford's involvement will not compromise the quality of the book. "We wanted to make sure it's not a promotional piece for Ford but a history book consumers will enjoy reading," said Marty Remmell, Tehabi's director of trade relations. [ thanks howard ]
07may02
Hi. I managed to get an answer of mine "removed" from Google Answers. The question was this "Can you fore see the future and tell me if the company my employer has made an offer to acquire will go through?" I tried to make the best of it and indicate that while we couldn't foresee the future, we had many reference materials to use, none of which would help to answer this completely fact-lacking question, and could we please have more information. The answer was found to "contain material that falls outside our editorial guidelines" and thus was stricken. Meanwhile, other answers I've given have been given low ratings primarily due to -- in my opinion -- the question asker requesting something that may not be possible and IS not possible for a $4 fee. Google Answers has no appeals policy if question askers are being unreasonable. Incidentally, if I don't manage to make more than $25 at this Google Answering, I will not be paid until the end of the year, those are their terms.
Mild-mannered librarian on trial for murder. I can't decide if these killing sprees buy into the stereotype or refute it.[ thanks jenny ]
How can you get away with stealing the Readapalooza truck?
If you see a big yellow International truck with Readapalooza splashed on the side but think there may be more than one, the California license plate number is 6E91250. Call 911. [ thanks howard ]
Maybe everyone's reading To Kill A Mockingbird in Chicago, but in Nova Scotia they want it banned for its racist language.[ thanks jen ]
Out of control mold and exhausted volunteers in a rural Hawai'i school library. [ thanks brandon ]
Sharon Anne Hogan, a Librarian of the Electronic Age, RIP.
Ms. Hogan was a national leader in getting libraries to function as information retrieval systems. To that end she devised a system to teach library users the basics of the Internet so they could perform some of their own research.[ thanks jen ]
33 year old British book thief sentenced to four years in prison for stealing $1.5 million dollars worth of rare books. [ thanks kerri ]
The article "lighter loads for travelling readers" seems to care abotu me and my pervasive problem of having 10 pounds of book sand eight pounds of luggage when I travel. However, it seems to think the solution is ebooks. Bah. My books are all free from the library. The cheapest ebook $400 and there's no way to buy used books for them. Just say no to consumerism that begets consumerism.[ stuff ]
03may02
Hi. I made $3 working for Google yesterday and resisted the impulse to answer many other terrible questions with simply the word "no." Removing the option of an actual reference interview from the answering process turns many questions into a "guess which number I'm thinking of" exercise where the researcher says "um... 4?" "no" "6?" "no" "19?" "no. you're really bad at this aren't you?"
It doesn't strike me that online reference materials necessarily spell the death knell of public libraries.
Can you hear it? That's the sound of another nail being driven into the coffin of reference libraries. They put the lid on when they invented the Internet. [ thanks jill ]
In Oprah's absence, now everyone wants a book club.
Then USA Today announced it planned to host a book club, too, as soon as editors could figure out how to represent multi-syllabic words with colorful charts [ thanks rebecca ]
One for the bulletin board. Homage to librarians
IF human beings were endowed with the ability to hear what goes on in the mind, the library would be as noisy as a market place. Thank God we were not given that ability, otherwise, librarians would be the most tormented creatures on earth. [ thanks kelly ]
Library Awareness Program alive and well in the US. FBI asking librarians to spy on anyone with a foreign sounding name or foreign sounding accent.[ thanks jeremy & rebecca ]
Couple donates 450,000 local obituaries to library [ thanks michael ]
I was thinking to myself that the Get Caught Reading campaign is not terribly different than the ALA's Read campaign but then I realized one subtle difference. GCR posters are free, not $12. Don't miss Free Comic Day tomorrow. [ newbreed ]
Incidentally ALA's annual report is online for the first time ever. Dues account for only 18% of ALA's revenues, so don't think you're so special.
01may02
Hi. Happy May Day a celebration of the date when the working classes demonstrated and rabble roused to help give everyone the right to an eight hour workday. And it's a big holiday for fertility and general summer carousing.
I tried to write Michael Moore to see if he'd like to do a quickie "good luck" paragraph for our book. His AOL mailbox is full. [ thanks rachel ]
A fun library groundbreaking at Medford Public.
"I always wanted to race a book cart," said children's librarian Kim Wolfe, dressed as a clown and dancing while pushing a cart as part of the library Book Cart Precision Drill Team. [ thanks meghan ]
Free smut for children, just go to your library, according to tisconservative pundit.
thanks The practice of trusting the American Library Association for guidance in age-appropriate materials for our children has become as dangerous as looking to Playboy and Penthouse for such advice. [ thanks thaddeus ]
Is it auction mania that is causing people to destroy old books in libraries to sell them at auctions?
Detectives found about 60 books in safety deposit boxes in Jacques' name at banks in Cambridge, York and London. They also discovered scores of yellowing pages, with holes where library stamps had been cut out, and bookplates marked "ex libris" latin for "from the library of" in one deposit box. [ thanks eoin & owen ]


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