[link to it] 30Jul04hi - 30jul

Hi. I'm back and exhausted. I hope you had an okay time reading my posts from the DNC and don't think I totally embarassed librarians everyplace. I got some nice feedback, some good media exposure for me and some of the political issues libraries have been dealing with, asked Howard Dean how to advance rural technology initiatives, and met some wonderful fellow bloggers. Please check out some of the posts and pictures if you haven't already. I'll be ramping up here quite slowly, since tomorrow is the all-day street fair in Rutland and guess who's signing people up for library cards?

This was a happy announcement/email to come back to. The following was quoted from ALACOUN, the ALA Council listserv.

As you know, on July 22, 2004, a notice was posted to FDLP-L advising depository libraries that the Department of Justice had requested the withdrawal of five publications that were intended for internal use only.

In response to the Government Printing Office's further inquiry into this matter, the Department of Justice has requested that I advise depository libraries to disregard the previous instructions to withdraw these publications. In making this request, the Department of Justice said, although these materials were "intended only for the internal training use of Department of Justice personnel and, as such, were inappropriately distributed to depository libraries through an administrative oversight," the Department has determined that these materials are "not sufficiently sensitive to require removal from the depository library system."

Since 1995, GPO has issued recall letters for 20 publications at the request of the publishing agencies. Seven of these publications were recalled because they were for official use or internal use only, as occurred in this instance.

Both GPO and the Department of Justice regret any inconvenience resulting from the initial request for withdrawal.

Judy Russell

Judith C. Russell (jrussell@gpo.gov)
Managing Director, Information Dissemination (Superintendent of Documents)
U.S. Government Printing Office
Phone: 202-512-0571
Fax: 202-512-1434
[link to it] 28Jul04YourBrarian

Please tell me when they start hiring for this job. I feel that my experience here at the DNC might qualify me. Please see the DNC blog for some more recent observations.

[link to it] 25Jul04hi - 25jul

Hi. I'm off to Boston for five days today. Updates here will be sparse after today. Updates on the DNC blog should be much more frequent.

While I was looking for Michael McGrorty's page to link to another wonderful essay of his, I found this interesting page about library dust.

This is the entry I was trying to link to: On Reviewing Books by Michael McGrorty. I heartily concur. My book reviews are online here.

A librarian should review books because the product of that effort is a useful tool; because the exercise is an expression of the special relationship between the librarian and the book, and because the practice provides proof, practice and reinforcement of the librarian’s essential role.

Meanwhile, while the DoJ's memo trying to get depository documents destroyed has made the big time, OutragedModerates.org is offering goverment documents via P2P networks, including a draft of PATRIOT II, a DoJ report on USA PATRIOT Act violations and the 9/11 Commission's report. Please check out Download for Democracy. Remember: "the net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it"

[link to it] 23Jul04libraries accentuating the digital divide?

The People's Library Army

[D]ue to recent legislation and court decisions, libraries have been forced to take steps which restrict, and sometimes monitor, the information available to library patrons via the Internet. As a result, fewer and fewer public libraries in the United States are allowed to offer free and equal access to information to their patrons. State and federal legislation as well as bureaucratic procedural decisions have firmly entrenched the perpetuation of the Digital Divide as the great un-sung reality of public library services in the United States today. Instead of hanging their heads in shame at these developments in librarianship, some librarians continue to deceive their patrons and to applaud these reprehensible decisions. The purpose of this web site is to provide everyone interested in these developments with information about such things as the Patriot Act and CIPA and the implications they have for services to library patrons.

Baghdad Biblio-Files an infrequently-updated blog about rebuilding Iraq's libraries.

Thursday's meeting at the University of Baghdad went really well. They are probably going to be the library in the best shape. It does have some burned out areas, but like the national library did, the dean sealed the doors and bricked them over, so their collection, and their cataloging records are intact. Probably the biggest problem that they have is white ants. They have to treat once a year, and I think they weren't able to treat for a few years. [thanks pauline]

There's been a memo sent by the Department of Justice to depository libraries calling for the destruction of more documents. Harbinger of doom or just housecleaning of materials freely available elsewhere?

Google circa 1960

The Librarians Against Bush web site now has its own blog. [thanks pam]

[link to it] 22Jul04hi - 22jul

Hi. If you are looking for the DNC part of this blog, I've put it on another page.
You can get to it here: http://librarian.net/dnc.
RSS feed is here http://librarian.net/dnc/index.xml.
Please update your links, thank you. I leave for Boston on Sunday morning.

Libraries, a Neglected market an article by the guy who wrote the ebook How to Market Your Book to Libraries. I can give you a few tips for how not to market your book to libraries, and a few suggestions.... [thanks robert]

  • Don't pretend you are a patron and send us email telling us how good the book is. We know if you are or are not a patron, and we have Request for Purchase forms you can come in to the library and fill out, or we wil happily email you one. Patrons requests are taken quite seriously, non-patron requests are frequently not.
  • Don't generically email us your press release and a link to your Amazon.com online store. We have distributors that we purchase the bulk of our books through, and we would prefer to go through them if we can. It takes extra effort to order from smaller presses and publishers, let us know why that effort is worthwhile.
  • Don't tell us that the book is just right for our patrons if you know nothing about the community we serve. If you have local knowledge, please include it.
  • Do feel free to send us an inquiry as well as some information about the book and -- most importantly -- reviews that have appeared in print or online; the larger or more local the review the better.
  • Do look at our online catalog and see if we have books similiar to yours that you could compare your book to, or perhaps that your book would improve upon.
  • Do realize that purchasing decisions are not made immediately, and are not made by all staff. Be prepared to take "We'll see" as an answer, feel free to politely follow up at a later date.
  • Do try to attend local or national library conferences with professional and interesting promotional materials. Librarians get a lot of good ideas at these events, perhaps your book could be one of them.

What do a hotel chain and the public library system of Georgia have in common? They're both using SmartFilter which, among other things, blocks access to blogging tools.

"I'[ve] often jokingly comparing bloggers to pamphleteers of yore, but within blogging there are definitely some significant cases where people have a message to get out that can change the world. To find out that an institution of democracy like a library might be barring someone from sharing their perspective with the world saddens me."

[link to it] 21Jul04ADD librarian requests ADA accomodation and sort of gets them

Long poignant story about a librarian and others who do [and lose] their jobs while having attention deficit disorder.

By April, it was clear that the fight was over. [The librarian] was told that she had taken too much time with too little result preparing a display for Black History Month and too little time updating the library's emergency and disaster manuals. She had introduced items in meetings that were not on the agenda. She had recommended the purchase of books without realizing that the library had already ordered them. She had recommended the purchase of electronic devices without first conferring with the electronic-services librarian. (''Your response when I questioned your recommendation was, 'Whoops!''')

The smartie library students at McGill have created a Library Jobs and Internships page for people seeking library work in Canada. LISJobs also has a good list of links to try looking for non-US library jobs.

I would be happy to see robots in libraries fetching and shelving the books for me, though I think the term "mechanical husher" [see the actual URL name] may not catch on.

[link to it] 20Jul04why give it away for free when you can pay for it across the pond?

I didn't realize that Eldred from Eldred v Ashcroft lived near me. Apparently he's been at Walden Pond giving away some of Thoreau's works. But there's been in trouble because he may be cutting in to the profits of the bookstore. I'll see if maybe he'd like to come to my library.

Who is Jonathan Rundman and why is his latest album called Public Library? Be sure to download the title track Librarian.

I bring order out of chaos, I shine light into the dark
because power comes from knowledge just like fire from a spark
and like Gutenberg and Luther with press and pen in hand
I take the message to the masses in a form they understand

I’m a librarian, I’m a librarian
and I like it quiet so the pages can be heard
I’m a librarian, I’m a librarian
and I do it for the love of the word [thanks jonathan]

[link to it] 18Jul04why people don't read... underfunded libraries?

ALA's new president Carol Brey-Casciano responds to NEA's "Reading at Risk" article. Basically instead of ending with a "The NEA needs your support more than ever" note, it ends with "Libraries need your support more than ever" note. While I'm skeptical that simply funding libraries more will alleviate this problem, it certainly couldn't hurt, could it?

Slate chimes in with its own muddled analysis on why people aren't reading and finds as an unlikely blame-target: Dr. Seuss? It's an interesting article with the Seuss connection being drawn more for linkability and compelling headlines than actual malice. The argument being that the sort of superego narrative characters like The Cat in the Hat make even making a mess a quick tidy affair, and that our imaginary lives and our "literary" choices aren't always compelled by such tidiness.

Devoted readers are hoping for a chance to discover, in the narrated lives of other selves, what it's like to be an individual confronting the unpredictable. Maybe it's time to stop spreading fears about "reading at risk," and try generating more excitement about reading at your own risk. How? I wish I could say you could look it up, but you can't.

More fun from my alma mater: There is No Biting in Librarianship [as much as we might wish there could be sometimes] [thanks all]

[link to it] 16Jul04hi - 16jul

Hi. Just a pointer, the DNC blog is over here, but I do have a library related anecdote to tell about the DNC that is really about librarians. The DNC is in the Fleet Center. They tell us that the Fleet Center will have wireless. While I am sure they have the best wireless intentions, all good librarians have back-up plans. My plan was to find the nearest BPL branch which has free wireless for people with BPL library cards, of which I am one. I go to BPL.org, note their spiffy MassAnswers logo and decide to communicate my favorite [and cheapest] way, online.

Please note the text, once you click through, says "Once you submit a question at the right side of this screen, it will be picked up by a Massachusetts Librarian from one of the MassAnswers participating libraries. If all are busy, or if it is off-hours for Massachusetts, a librarian from one of our nationwide cooperating libraries will pick up." I figured any librarian in the BPL system could answer my question quickly. My question was "Which is the nearest BPL branch to the Fleet Center?" My librarian was in Maryland. I wonder how often you actually get a librarian from Boston, or even Massachusetts? I had to make two connection attempts to stay connected. On my second connection, I was typing but the nice woman at 24/7ref couldn't, for some reason, read what I wrote. We swapped a lot of messages that went like this

her: Here is the page which lists BPLs branches. If you click the link closest to Fleet Center you will see their contact information. Your best be is to contact them directly to ask about wireless access. Does that resolve your question?
me: No. I don't know where the Fleet Center is. Can you help me?
her: It appears that you may have disconnected.
me: I'm right here!

etc etc. This took up 20 minutes of my lunch break and at the end, I still had no idea what the answer was. I called the BPL main reference line and the woman who picked up the phone said "Oh, that's the West End Branch, do you need their number?" Total time, less than a minute, plus no disconnects. I generally try not to take up a librarian's time when I'm capable of looking up the answer in an equivalent amount of time myself. However, this latest exercise has taught me a thing or two about knowing things versus knowing how to find them.

CLA president Susan Hildreth has been selected by Governor Schwartzenegger to be the new state librarian of California. Guess she's not going to Tuscon after all.

Divine marketing opportunity. Collect donations for people not to buy your book, but to put your book in a public library. The indie press No Media Kings crowd would like you to do just that in their NO MEDIA KINGS, YES LIBRARY BLING drive. Don't miss their how to make a book section.

I'm interested in strengthening the ties between indie culture and public libraries, because it's a political alliance: we both fight corporate power. Just by being there we provide an alternative to our increasingly commodified culture and preserve the diversity of the public sphere. I think there's a lot of really interesting things that can be done between these two communities, once we become aware of each other's intersecting mutual interests.

[link to it] 15Jul04Michael McGrorty - writer/librarian/advice columnist

Does anyone read Michael McGrorty's blog over at Library Dust and say "Man, that guy is almost too erudite to be a librarian"? I know I sometimes do. One of his latest gems is about Nancy Pearl, and what makes her so special, and by a related tangent, what we are all looking for in a special librarian.

I certainly expect you to know, and to say, and then to show. What that means is that I consider it necessary that the librarian have done a considerable amount of reading—close, critical reading at that, and that she keep reading as if her livelihood depended upon it. Because it does. If it were up to me, I wouldn’t hire anybody to work a reference desk who couldn’t be awakened from a dead sleep to give a book talk to a reading club.

The Justice Department has just released a report [pdf] that gives over 30 examples of how the USA PATRIOT Act has been used so far to fight terrorism. The ACLU responds.

The report also sidesteps any mention of the Patriot Act’s use against innocent Americans whose records have been turned over to the FBI, and fails to mention the frequency of intrusive investigations that did not result in prosecutions.

[link to it] 14Jul04are advertiser-supported search engines really giving us the answers we need?

Search Engines: Clogged with Commerce and Begging for an Upgrade asks whether our search engine results are being clogged with for-profit sites at the expense of solid information. For commerce sites can afford good design, placement and Googleability. Can your local community-based center?

"The consensus opinion across all these sources is that families should seek local, community-based programs that treat the whole family, not just the teen. And luckily, plenty of community-based programs are available.... I was stunned to discover that none of this information appeared when I searched on the phrase ‘troubled teen’ at Google and Yahoo, even when I waded through 100 search results at each site. Instead, I was confronted with a staggering number of listings all pointing to one commercial option: coercive residential treatment centers (RTCs) that include boot camps, wilderness programs or behavior modification programs."

[link to it] 13Jul04hi - 13jul

Hi. I've started a DNC blog that is different from this one because I'm sure not all my readers care about the DNC. It's linked over on the left with its own RSS feeds and slightly different look and function. If something particularly librarianish happens there, I'll cross post.

The Center for Democracy and Technology is keeping track of legislative efforts to fix parts of the USA PATRIOT Act.

Librarians, repeat after me "one time use, one time use" More on fair use from Eli. [copyfight]

[link to it] 12Jul04wherefore art thou luddite librarian?

Luddite Librarian, MIA. And we were just starting to like you... [update, seems to be back with some of the old comments missing, hmmmm]

[link to it] 11Jul04hi - 11jul

Hi. I hear that there are six "lady bloggers" at the DNC but like much else at this point, it's just so much hearsay. I plan to use this opportunity to, among other things, answer "reference" questions about the whole event in case anyone is interested. I'm overwhelmed even thinking about it, so back to the daily parade of links.

Please keep in mind that any non-fiction you read last year would not have been counted as "literary reading" for the purposes of the NEA's Reading at Risk report that has been getting a lot of discussion lately. While I think it's really important to try to raise a nation of readers, creating distinctions like "literary reading" and then handwringing over its decline as if it were reflecting an actual drop in literacy [it isn't] seems disingenous and divisive. I'd like to see the NEA take on the incredible backwardness of No Child Left Behind to see what effect incredible testing pressure in schools has on kids' interest in reading for fun. Or do some statistical analysis into how many Americans feel they have time to do anything for fun lately. [thanks eoin]

I would be remiss at this juncture if I did not mention the Librarians for Kerry-Edwards Yahoo group that has been picking up steam lately. In the interests of full disclosure I'd like to say that while the Kerry-Edwards ticket has my support, Kucinich or Dean were really who I was rallying for. I've embraced national level voting for tactical reasons lately. [thanks kathleen]

So, back to one of my favorite kind of stories: Adult web site run by University of Washington students apparently uses UW rooms and buildings for backdrops, specifically the Suzzallo library which used to house the library school back when I was there. I can't find any actual shots that seem to be in the library though. If you can, drop me a line. [lisnews]

RIP J. William Matheson, LoC rare book librarian, who got his Masters in Librarianship at UW -- same as me, same as where they are now making amateur porno.

[link to it] 10Jul04hi - 10jul

Hi. Just so you don't read it anywhere else first. It seems that I may have "blogger press credentials" for the Democratic National Convention in Boston in a few weeks. This is exciting but quite unexpected and I still don't have the piece of paper in my hand that says "You're in!"

Here's how it happened. Back in May I read over at Eclectic Librarian that bloggers were able to get press passes for the DNC. The Boston Globe - normally an okay source for good information - stated that "This summer, [the DNC will] grant some of their 15,000 coveted credentials to blogs, the online diaries that link to news reports, post comments from readers, and critique the political process with unrestrained abandon." Somehow I got it in my head that a whole lot of bloggers would be going, and despite the fact that I'm not reallly in the thick of blogger goings on, I decided to try my luck at getting credentials. I tend to be a lucky sort with this type of thing.

On this past Monday, I got a letter saying "Thanks but no thanks." turning down my application, which I didn't find too surprising. On Thursday, I got a call from someone at DNCC saying "Call me back," which I did. After a bit of phone tag, I got Francesca on the phone who told me they were giving me credentials, to ignore the previous letter, and to look for a letter this week explaining it all. Later in the day I heard that there had been a bit of a dust-up earlier in the week when the credentialling bloggers started announcing themselves and it became clear they were mostly [all? I have no idea] men. So, I figure I got in on an affirmative action plan, though really I have no idea. Maybe I'll get a letter on Monday, perhaps I won't.

In the meantime, I'm boning up on the convention process, adding blog feeds like crazy to my RSS reader, and writing lists of Democrats that I would like to have a word with, if given the chance [Zoe Lofgren for example]. My boyfriend Greg who is a local intern for Senator Jeffords is schooling me on what happens at conventions, and I'm debating if I can get through it all without a cell phone, blackberry device, or heels. I may set up a separate page for DNC news, I may not. And, just in case you're curious, I am not a Democrat, registered or otherwise.

[link to it] 9Jul04USA PATRIOT Act stays as is, suck

Sanders-Paul-Conyers-Otter-Nadler Freedom to Read Amendment barely fails. USA PATRIOT Act stays as is with regards to surveillance rights in bookstores and libraries. Democrats chant "shame, shame, shame" over GOP tactics. One vote would have made the difference. Shame indeed. How did your rep vote?

The amendment, facing threat of a Presidential veto, received a majority of votes in the U.S. House when the time for voting expired. However, the House Republican Leadership then held open the vote twice as long as scheduled, an additional 20 minutes, as they “persuaded” Republicans to switch their votes.

[link to it] 8Jul04hi - 08jul

Hi. Word on the street is that Mr. Marker is no longer employed by Flory & Associates. Yesterday's story may be a non-issue.

Who among us has not removed a staple from our thumb at one point or another. Only me...?

One of the interesting side effects of bad policy like the USA PATRIOT Act and counterintuitive copyright laws, just to name a few, is that people have a tendency to be self-policing in the absence of any real hard facts on how the laws are implemented, "fair use" laws in particular. Oftentimes people, in the absence of solid legal counsel, will be over-cautionary just to avoid being on the receiving end of a lawsuit. Librarians need to make sure that they are not being cowed by nebulous copyright boogeymen and instead advocating for fair use rights for their collections and for their patrons. That's what access is all about. So says the MLA, the other MLA, AALL and many more.

Section 504(c)(2) of the Copyright Act provides special protection to nonprofit libraries, educational institutions and their employees. When we act in good faith, reasonably believing that our actions are fair use, in the unlikely event we are actually sued over a use, we will not have to pay statutory damages even if a court finds that we were wrong. This demonstrates Congressional acknowledgement of the importance of fair use and the importance of our using it!

I added some of the more prominent conservative librarian blogs to my links page. Agree or not, this page on one of them made me laugh.

The Librarians Against Bush web site was launched on Independence Day and contains top notch sets of links and information ot help mobilize librarians [and educate everyone] about some of the harmful policies of the Bush administration.

If you know someone who met and fell in love in a library, please tell them about Library Romance and have them submit their story.

Speaking of chilling effects, the student body president of the Faculty of Information Studies at U of T is ending the livejournal that he [she?] was keeping to share information with the student body. Read it quick while it's still online.

Law student asks questions about the USA PATRIOT Act, gets the brush-off locally, then gets called by Homeland Security... really? Anecdotal tales from the livejournal libraries community.

[link to it] 7Jul04requests for patron info under FOIA?

Law student requests patron information at over 85 Michigan libraries under FOIA. Libraries say no, and are supported by Michigan's privacy laws. Law student/clerk may sue. Interestingly, the head of the firm the law student is clerking at is the Chairman of the Michigan Federation of Young Republicans. And I'm not sure if the law student, Caleb Marker, is the same Michigan Caleb Marker as this one, or maybe this one, but I bet he's this one.

[link to it] 6Jul04hi - 06jul

Hi. The big weekend BBQ went well with not one but two librarian guests in addition to all the other folks that showed up. I hear that 2300 people showed up to see Farenheit 9/11 at ALA last weekend, raising some serious cash for ALA-APA. In my life, I am thinking about applying for another part time job, managing a small town library for ten hours a week. Any idea what that might pay? I can't wait to find out.

I was interviewed for a brief segment of a radio show called Been There Done That discussing library activism in the wake of the USA PATRIOT Act, along with Judith Krug. It's a short bit in an hour-long show, but you can hear my squeaky voice starting about 11 minutes in.

In the Bloodhag vein, it's Harry and the Potters, coming soon to a library near you with their quirky brand of rock.

The idea is that the Harry Potter from Year 7 and the Harry Potter from Year 4 started a rock band. And now, no one can stop the wizard rock.

This week's Library Juice has some good ALA wrap-up including Councilor James Casey's report and an English translation of a paper giving some analysis of the Cuban library situation w/r/t the independent librarians.

Chuck has posted some of his impressions of the ALA Conference

Radical librarians continue to make waves within the library profession and libraries and the library profession are becoming increasingly politicized in the direct of radical ideas and values. There is tremendous potential for the development of an anarchist library workers tendency and movement within ALA and the rest of the profession.

Anti-USA PATRIOT Act activities are still going strong. If you're the call-your-representative type, today is a good day to do it and tell them to support the Sanders-Paul-Conyers-Otter-Nadler Amendment to the Commerce, Justice, State and Judiciary Appropriations Bill of 2005.

"Illiterate clock" in library has IIII instead of IV. Librarian has minor freakout, gets schooled on roman numerals by clock manufacturer. [thanks steven]

Also from the Juice, and many other places, the Providence Public Library workers who are incensed over staff layoffs and administrator pay raises now have a snappy website and URL.

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