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I suspect that the human species
is on the road to extinction
while the Library will last on forever
illuminated, solitary, infinite
perfectly immovable
filled with precious volumes

- Borges

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Hi. I went to the downtown branch of Chicago Public Library this weekend. While I was there, I figured I'd try to find the recent copy of American Libraries that I've heard has a picture of me in it! Well, easier said than done. When you enter CPL from street level, you need to go up two flights to get to the actual gates of the library. From there, the map [there is a sideways map but no floor plan in any obvious place] took me to periodicals. They sent me to social sciences [periodicals are shelved in their subject areas, if there was a general periodical reading area, I didn't find it], the three teenagers there told me that CPL didn't get American Libraries [untrue], and when I persisted they told me that April was the last issue they had and that it was at a branch library. I asked the person at the social sciences ref desk who slowly finished his Google search and went downstairs to talk to the surly teenagers again and ask, I suppose, if we had American Libraries there. He came back, shrugged, told me to ask the librarian who actually took me back downstairs, past the teenagers and to the shelflist where he confirmed that the downtown library does have a subscription to American Libraries [duh] but that the October issue wasn't in yet. The Borges exhibit in special collections was amazing, but the rest of the library was confusing and uninviting and the customer service was lacking. I went to the web site to try to feel better about the whole place -- even bad libraries often have good websites -- but found a graphics-only interface [one small "text only" link on page one] and a non-functioning search button.

Are you starting to feel that Banned Books Week and the semi-sensational way it is promoted, causes librarians more harm than good? Read the spin the Boston Globe took on it "...according to the American Library Association, moms and dads are the enemy." [ thanks taylor ]

What is wrong with Baltimore's library system and how can we [maybe] save it? [ thanks rebecca ]

SLA has printed a list of WTC librarians who have reported that they are safe.

Maine library smucked by nimda virus. "The good news, however, McCarthy said, is that 10 new advanced computers contributed to the library by [Bill Gates] - computers which use a different operating system less susceptible to viruses -were hooked up and being made ready for public use. " The article fails to mention that the old computers also used a Gatesian operating system which made them MORE susceptible to the virus in the first place..... [ lplanet ]

Think you can write a 50,000 word novel in a month? You have one month to decide. [ larkfarm ]

Contentville is dead, it fell on its head. [ stuff ]

Another librarian who held a minority opinion during wartime: "All citizens were under pressure to assign money, and public employees were instructed it was public duty to commit part of their paychecks. Louise Hunt thought otherwise. She was a pacifist and made no secret of it. '[She said] that it might be a good business proposition to loan the government money at 41/2 percent . . . but she wasn't subscribing under any circumstances.'" [ lisnews]


Hi Library Journal readers. I will be so happy when this month is over.

Folklorists take to the streets to get people talking about WTC events. Did you know they were also doing this on Deceber 8th 1941 as well? [ thanks jenny]

"Secretary of [FL] State Katherine Harris, who heads the state library division, announced Tuesday her staff is working with county librarians to develop new "protocols" that would require "better identification" for using Internet-connected computers at libraries, such as those suspected of being used by some of the terrorists. Library patrons are now required to give only their first names when they use public computers to enter Internet 'chat rooms.' " [ thanks rebeccah ]

Porn filmed in Budapest library, video circulating around the internet somewhere.... [ lisnews ]

Is looking for a library job in New Zealand any different than here? [ stuff ]

Why Johnny Can't Catalog. "The problems: There are at least seven insurmountable obstacles between the world as we know it and meta-utopia. I'll enumerate them below.... " Cory Doctorow, my new straight-talking hero.

A history of modern book cover design. Who says we don't judge books by their covers?

"In 1956 Orange's first library opened in a vacant store, staffed by volunteers and operating at irregular hours. As the town grew and the library became a town department, the 9,500-square-foot space became obsolete.... In 1992 the organization was astonished to receive a $1 million bequest from Marjorie Case, a resident who apparently had no heirs... in drawing up her will she recalled the kindness of a librarian who brought books for her to read at home during an illness. With the addition of other bequests and government grants, the new 23,500-square-foot $4 million Case Memorial Library... opened on Orange Center Road in May 1999."


My apologies to Library Journal. Their site is free, it only requires an awkward sign-up routine to access articles and archives. My version of Linux/Mozilla was choking on the sign-up process. So, it's still cookie-hell like the New York Times, but it does work and there is more information there than in the old version -- like this new article on library weblogsby Marylaine Block.

Oh yeah, it's Banned Books Week. And, by "banned" I mean "challenged." [ LACK ]

September is also Back to Books month. Or it was in the Forties.

Apparently they did keep the old URL for the Free Trial Zone.

Librarian who banned "Proud to Be An American" stickers who was, if you will remember, trying to be considerate, has been suspended without pay. If you, like me, think this is excessive, you can email the decision-maker, provost Brad Bartel, at This sort of thing has been happening all over, apparently. Be kind to eachother. [ thanks sean ]

Huge photo archive of theater history lost in WTC collapse. [ buzz ]

"We undersigned librarians from all over the world implore the United States government and its allies to halt the preparations for all-out war against the nation of Afghanistan in retaliation for the alleged actions of the Bin Laden ring against US targets."


Hi. I went to the Milwaukee Public Library yesterday which means I have crossed another * URL off of my list [,, etc etc]. MPL is lovely, has a great video selection and seems to deal with the bookstore/library dichotomy well by having a Friends of the Library used bookstore inside the library. You can drink your coffee there, and buy a book or two and when you come out, you're still in the public library. Cool.

MPL also has cool-looking library cards. [ thanks jeremy ]

This month is Library Card sign-up month after all.....Though by sign-up month, what I mean is product placement month. Here's an older sponsor-free set of links for sign-up month.

I've been working on my links page, planning to replace it with a text-y version, updating it in the process. The URL does not go where you think it might go. And I'm still annoyed at the Library Journal buyout that has resulted in a great library news source not only being made fee versus free, but also being made ugly even if you do pay. Please note that older issues from LJ from before the site was fee-based, are also being sequestered under the subscription umbrella, it seems.

FL librarian says she's sorry for attempting to ban "Proud to be an American" stickers.I do think that calling her decision "a terrible mistake" is a bit hyperbolic, however.[ stuff ]

Remembering September 11th stories are coming in to NYPL's Wordsmiths.

While I was updating links I noticed that Brian the Laughing Librarian has a few neat library t-shirts for sale.Sign me up for this one.


Hi. I like these little intros so I'll be adding more of them than usual in the months to come. I'm in Milwaukee and will be for the next good chunk of days, maybe even a week. Things are far from back to normal around here.

Florida Gulf Coast University's head librarian asked some employees to remove "Proud to be an American" stickers this week, saying she didn't want to offend international students. [ newbreed ]

Another Florida library provided Internet access to hijackers [maybe]. Relatedly "[library director Betty] Dejean said she had sent out a memo to staff members at the 37 Broward County branches, which include three in Hollywood, reminding employees they are not allowed to comment on books checked out by clients or on client computer use." You all remember the "librarian" who was quoted all over everyplace about the Unabomber's reading habits. Please try to remember that there are also good reasons for wanting to communicate anonymously and not everyone who wants privacy has something to hide. Really. [ thanks thaddeus & katie ]

To wit: " I have never been so aware of how much my well-being depends on the right to read and communicate freely (and, sometimes, with privacy)." -- Library Juice editor Rory Litwin.

Also in my inbox: "two FBI agents came into [our mutual friend's] branch Monday and wanted to seize the hard drive on one of the public internet computers claiming it had been used to access military sites. They told to return with a search warrant." provides useful tools to help people help them create an archive of online documents abotu the Current Situation. " Drag this link onto your links toolbar. Surf the web as you normally would. When you are viewing a site that should be added to the Sep11 Attack Archive, simply click your new ArchiveThis toolbar button"

Another great resource. The Detroit Free Press has put together a list of 100 Q&A about Arab-Americans. "At the Detroit Free Press, published in the city with the United States' most concentrated Arab-American population, we try to better understand and explain these issues daily. After consulting with others, we offer this guide as a step toward more accurate journalistic portrayals of Arab Americans. The 100 questions and answers contained herein only touch on the issues. We urge you to give these issues the attention they deserve by continuing to read, to interview sources on all sides and to make a long-term commitment to increasing your understanding. For it is only with understanding that we can practice fair and accurate journalism." Good reading, even if you think you're pretty on the ball. [ newbreed ]

Resources abound! Librarian Michael Sauers -- a frequent contributer here -- has made an excellent resource page on the WTC events "The intent of this page is to create a single page with resources and information of potential interest to readers regarding the events of 11 September 2001." Gary of FreePint also has made a good list of high level information. Library Juice this week seems to have the best list of lists.

You may or may not have heard of Clear Channel Communication's list of "banned" songs. Here's the scoop on a good Urban Legends page about the Current Situation. Upshot? Clear Channel did not technically ban anything.... but when your employer is issuing memos with suggestions that certain songs not be played, what do you think the result would be? The phrase "a chilling effect" comes to mind.

"...cultural observers around the country have long decried the concentration of American publishing onto a single island off the coast of New Jersey. But this lack of literary biodiversity turns out to have another, unsuspected drawback: the ease with which one catastrophe has now disrupted -- and perhaps paralyzed -- the entire apparatus by which books in the United States are distributed and promoted." [ newpages ]


Hi. I updated the link to Tara's page yesterday to reflect its permanent location. She really has done an exceptional't speak for her, but I know I've taken some refuge in keeping my hands busy typing over the last few days. I will be driving to Chicago starting tomorrow and then resuming my flight from there, sometime in a week or so. Anyone anxious to head east? I may have an extra seat. Email me.

NYPL is collecting teen poetry for their next edition of Wordsmiths on the topic Remember September 11. [ thanks carrie ]

Carol from Constant Reader has compiled a nice gallery of WTC photos spanning the years.

Queries and responses compiled by the folks at NewsLib. Very very helpful resource for answering common reference questions about the disaster. [ newbreed ]

Craig has had some good things to say over the past few days.

The Army's Chief Librarian, Ann Parham, discusses her escape from a burning Pentagon.

"The librarians of New York Public Library, despite short staff and repeated bomb scares, kept on doing what they do best: informing people about the emergency and available assistance" a quote from Marylanie who has a good essay on the recent events as well.

I find ALA's response a bit underwhelming, but it's been a tough week for everyone.


Hi. I didn't fly yesterday. I probably won't fly home today either. Tara has put together some good resource links on the recent tragedy here. Please give blood, donate time or money, and remember to tell all the people you care about how much they mean to you.


Hi. I'm in San Francisco. All this travelling nonsense will be ended in less than one week's time. Thanks for being patient, sending links and birthday wishes, and continuing to read.

Toss your library card in the trash?? More e-library marketing posing as news. Will people really stop reading paper books just because they can check books out online for free? Will this signal the demise of pre-ebook history? I don't really think so, honestly. [ thanks thaddeus ]

More library porn, sort of...

"Good thing I'm not studying Library Sciences for a career then."

"There's really a degree for that?" Jenn asked.

"Yeah, maybe not at Elston, but it exists. But its about as useful as a degree in communications!" Sara said, poking fun at Jenn's undergraduate degree. [ thanks cerebus ]

"'[Catcher in the Rye] is a filthy, filthy book,' Bagwell said. 'It has 269 some odd pages or so, and if you took out all the (profanity), the sarcasm, the mockery of old people, the mockery of women and decent people, you would get to read about 10 minutes' worth.'" You know, some people say that Holden Caulfield is a bad example for young people, but I guess I'm thinking lately that Gary Condit et al are worse examples. Shall we ban C-Span too? [ thanks sean ]

Aztec UFO crash, hoax or reality? New research center will help people explore the subject and all proceeds benefit the public library. [ thanks jack ]

"I made my own bookcases out of half-inch galvanized steel pipe. And now I'm going to teach you how to do the same!" Woo hoo, Jamie Zawinski. Did I mention that I found his walkie-talkie at Burning Man this year. How smart to include your URL on your radio. [ thanks rebecca ]

What does intellecutal property mean to you? "As a librarian, I have to delete back articles from the New York times because the paper can't be bothered to pay authors fairly for their intellectual products that the Times continues to make revenue from." Got another answer? Enter the contest. I mean, enter the contest. [ thanks denise ]


Hi. Did you miss me? One of my favorite parts of Burning Man was the Black Rock City Bookmobile [not this one, they have no URL unfortunately], though I never did quite get to the Black Rock Public Library. Got back to an email from an editor at American Libraries who said they were doing an article on library weblogs and did they mind if I used the picture on my website of me and my cat? Can you guess what I told them? Stay tuned as fame ruins me, thanks for reading.

Or, if cold libraries are more your style.... [ thanks pete ]

Perhaps we should all take and keep one book from our local libraries so that 25 years from now we can be the subject of headlines like these. I am kidding, of course. [ thanks simon ]

Do you think people really don't take jobs as librarians because of the librarian image? Or because the jobs have insulting salaries for someone with an advanced degree? [ thanks all ]

Speaking of the librarian image, here's some surfing librarians. [ newbreed ]

Learning about sex in the public library, an argument for open stacks. [ thanks andrew ]

More cities are getting on the "everyone read the same book at the same time" bandwagon -- a program started in Seattle. [ thanks miriam ]

Guess who finally got her own card catalog? I asked for the cards too but they said they'd be "too heavy".

Seattle Public Library tries to work out rules for unsupervised children in their libraries as public opinion mounts.

Vague library dress codes and "hygeine codes" deemed illegal in DC. [ newbreed ]

"putting therarin' back in librarian since 1993"

thanks to for