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A library ... should be the delivery room for the birth of ideas -- a place where history comes to life.
-- norman cousins

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Hi. I can't seem to go offline for two days before the entire country goes to heck in a handbasket.
More on the Librarian of Congress selling out to the RIAA.
the LoC's new rates ensure that webcast survivors will belong to very wealthy companies who can afford them. Clearly, that's now government policy, summed up by the LoC's rationalization: "...many Webcasters are currently generating very little revenue, [so] a percentage-of-revenue rate would require copyright owners to allow extensive use of their property with little or no compensation." ... That the Librarian of Congress views songs solely as property, discarding their status as culture, is even more appalling. [ thanks brandon ]
27 school librarians laid off in Philadelphia. 14 library staffers laid off at Dever Public. You know, I read about these layoffs as news articles and then when I went to the library websites, the basic message was "all is well". We do NO ONE a service pretending that the library can function just as well with 14 fewer staff members. There are ways for a library to publicize layoffs and understaffing without jeopardizing the next bond vote. Be creative. I'm picturing big signs saying "due to staffing shortages, you will now have to reshelve your own books." or something. Don't let people think your library has suddenly gotten worse, stress that times are tough at your institution.[ thanks tammi & bill ]
Oh and speaking of doing your part. Do not, under any circumstances, willingly reveal the reading preferences of a patron to the FBI if you honestly believe that what you read is your own business. If your OPAC doesn't clear patron records once they have returned a book, consider looking into software that does. Call the ALAOIF if you need more help in this matter.
It's unfortunate because these records and this information can be had with so little reason or explanation.... It's super secret and anyone who wants to talk about what the FBI did at their library faces prosecution. That has nothing to do with patriotism [ thanks all ]
An astute reader pointed out that the initiative to get boys to read even has its own web site: [ thanks liz ]
Hi. Howabout that Librarian of Congress huh? Whose rights does he appear to be backing? This whole decision is, of course, bullshit.
Dear smalltown library, please stop using your mouse to encourage children to read. We prefer to use our mouse to encourage children to buy things. Love, Disney. [ thanks nat ]
The Kensington Ladies Erotica Society founded by a UC Berkeley librarian 26 years ago and still going strong. [ thanks tricia ]
Why boys don't read, by the author of the Stinky Cheese Man. [ thanks robert ]
I know some of this is just who they are. Not every child is a reader. But I worry that more girls than boys are readers because we're not showing boys that reading is as much a guy activity as a girl activity.
Hi. Woo woo we have internet connection sharing in the house, so we each get 22k. Also, we have a bat.
Neil Gaiman -- who lacks permalinks on his journal but is otherwise completely charming, has called librarians "the thin grey line between literacy and barbarism" after giving a few talks at ALA and being impressed by our overall smarts and coolness. You'll have to scroll down to June 14th, but you won't be disappointed. [ thanks dawn ]
Just when you thought it was still "unsafe" to go back inthe library: Bush takes library filtering battle to Supreme Court. I'm curious to see how they'll make library filters seem less buggy and more reliable in the intervening months before this case gets heard. [ thanks kteela ]
What's in a subject heading? Plenty. People looking for books similar to Dave Foreman's Ecodefense will find themselves browsing the Terrorism category while books associated with Christine Darg's Guns of God can be found in Religion & Spirituality. [ thanks benjamin ]
Diving right back into the controversial stuff here, an older link but a good one. How far is too far, with bibliophilia? [work safe link]
his weird form of self-publication gave "bibliophilia" a whole new meaning, or it could have if anyone discussed the matter. Kiefer asked me to write a text for a catalogue of the masturbation books. I tried. Between lingering shock and fits of giggles, I failed. Other critics simply clammed up and tip-toed away. Ever since, it has been as if the show never happened. [ thanks allison ]
More sane talk from a transgendered school librarian whose school district was sued because she was allowed to use the women's restroom while technically still biologically male.
The fact that I exist as a transgendered person doesn't discriminate against other's religious beliefs. [ thanks michael ]
Hi. The ALA FAQ is fixed now, sorry about that. Also, I have started editing the Ask a Librarian category over at Dmoz, if your library does any sort of online reference, consider submitting it to the site.
I have decided that my ideal library would not be called the Free Library but would instead be called The People's Library. Like this one. [ thanks brandon ]
San Jose Library tries out new role as a safe place for teens to be, though they still draw the line at pizza delivery.
...libraries aren't just for bookworms anymore. "The kids aren't our enemies, and it's not their fault, nor is it their parents' fault," said City Librarian Jane Light. "A situation exists in our society today, and we have to look at it as a potentially positive thing." [ thanks robert ]
Hi. I'm not sure if I ever mentioned... when I was touring ALA a few months back, they showed me the beta version of their new web site. I didn't talk too much about it because I figured it would be up sooner or later and I could link to it. Well, there's still no new web site, but they added a FAQ to the front page and it's a really nice nearly hype-free introduction to the organization.
I am sad that Cognotes is not in HTML anymore, for those of us playing along at home.
The Bodybuilding Librarian has a really great list of women's online zines.
While we're at it, here's the Gumshoe Librarian: learning to access the Invisible Web for fun and profit. [ stuff ]
And damn if I don't leave Seattle right before the liberation of the librarians.
Hack the PAC: Raleigh Muns shows you how to gain more local control over your WebPACs. My favorite page, "the AWFUL example"
Hi. I got into Vermont sometime Wednesday morning. Got to my house on Thursday. Got a reliable ISP today. That about covers it.
Michael Porter is not library man, but he does own the domain. Michael works for the Gates Foundation which may explain why these pages are a bit ... um ... obtuse on the MacOS, but persevere, he's amusing. [ thanks john ]
Public Library Board to librariuan "please stop throwing away stuff in the archives." [ thanks all ]
An argument for less patron confidentiality? No, but an amusing lesson nonetheless.
....when Mr. Kennedy burglarized a home in that suburban town, he left his book behind--and police were able to track him down through the library where he'd checked it out. [ thanks taylor ]
A lovely illustration: Books are Weapons in the War of Ideas [ thanks michael ]
If I already mentioned, it's time to do it again. Lots of reader's advisory, a library of the month section and even a bookstore browser that isn't just all "rah rah" [ thanks katia ]
Rock & Roll Library evicted! What is the Rock & Roll Library, you say...? Well, after reading their web page I'm still not totally sure. [thanks sarah ]
The bookshelf of books never to be read...
he became impressed by a sweep of unexpected subject matter and the acute seriousness of certain obscure authors—which, when combined, promised extremely low sales. He began to pluck out some of the unlikeliest volumes—"The Law and Your Dog," "Septic Tank Practices," "Successful Fund Raising Sermons"—and stashed them in a bookcase in his office.
Another grand argument for using open source platforms and programs in your library or organizaton, it can help combat terrorism!
The FBI -- and much of the rest of the federal government -- has unwisely chosen to build its technology atop specialized software that's hard to use and expensive to maintain and update. Staying out of the commercial-software loop, where malicious hackers share information about programs' vulnerabilities on the Internet, was an effort to maintain security through obscurity. [ thanks kteela ]
Hi. I am heading to Vermont this evening so I may not update for a few days. For all of you librarians interested in trivia, the trivia archive of the bar trivia questions that I have been working on are all archived here. I also just finished reading In the Stacks, a collection of short stories about librarians, it was great.
Meanwhile, library spokespeople continue to treat the public like children when they ask reasonable questions like "Well, if the new library is twice as big, can we get twice as many books?" Check this answer:
But that ís not how the library system works, said Seattle Public Library spokesperson Caroline Ullmann. Every library in Seattle is getting overhauled either improved, expanded or replaced. With this level of expansion, according to Ullmann, the entire library system can move more books between branches. So the individual capacity of each library makes less of a difference than the expansion of the library system.
So, you don't need more books because you can get them from other libraries. But if all the other libraries are also not getting new books....? perhaps I am just bitter, but getting all-new facilities when we have to close all the libraries for two weeks [without pay to staffers] because of awful budget crunches, seems like really messed up priorities. I woke up angry at the library today. I have been reading too much fiction.
Oddly enough, I almost never dream of libraries, unless it's a dream about my future home which I am convinced will actually be in a library. Even so, bookish people dream more bizzarely than the average reader. Here's the actual survey they based the article on.[ thanks all ]
Denver Public Library consideres adding a replica of the former mayor's office to an exhibit in the new planned branch.
the Denver Library Commission has determined that one permanent exhibit should be a replica of Webb's office at City Hall. It's supposed to be a scaled-down replica -- but at a planned 1,200 square feet, the exhibit could actually be a supersized version of the mayor's current pad, and bigger than many homes in Denver. [ thanks tammi ]
I take back what I said about UC Press. Their index is free, the articles sure ain't.
You know, I don't think "quirky" is a reasonable balancing trait for "spinster librarian" but in the new librarian romance Open Season, apprently this reviewer did.
What was even sadder was that she wasn't going to have any of those things she wanted. Plain, mousy, boring, spinster librarians weren't likely to have their breasts admired and appreciated. She was simply going to get older, and plainer, and more boring; her breasts would sag, and eventually she would die without ever sitting astride a naked man in the middle of the afternoon -- unless something drastic happened...something like a miracle.
Afghanistan's legal code must be recreated since the Taliban burned all local copies when they torched all the libraries. [ thanks sarah ]
Hi. I am working to be a better correspondent. What this means is keeping my inbox cleared out. What this means, in turn is getting more links from inbox to weblog more quickly and more efficiently. Hence, two posts in two days. Don't get used to it. For any librarians [or librarian fans] in Central Vermont, I will be having a BBQ over 4th of July weekend that all are welcome at. I've also update the links page, gotten rid of dead links, added a few new ones, reminded myself to read more websites, not just my email.
Marylaine has another strong column up: In Defense of Oprah Winfrey.
What the pundits utterly failed to understand is that the quiet habit of reading books itself is in decline, endangered by our restless, noisy, click-through, media-soaked environment. And with the decline of books comes a decline in the habits of mind inculcated by reading: patience, contemplation, logic, linear thought, and the ability to follow complex arguments, analyze the evidence, and arrive at a reasoned opinion on the truthfulness of the work. In short, all the habits of mind required to appreciate and understand good punditry in action.
Baptist churches protest Chigago Public Library's anti-filtering stance. Apparently CPL librarian Laura Morgan has been a part of the pro-filter protests.
Wow. UC Press is offering free electronic versions of mostof its journals and a bunch of books online, and searchable! [ acmebook ]
And I nearly missed the New Pages Zine Rack librarian zine issue. [ juice ]
Hello, we are the library. And while in the past we have said nasty things about hackers, we find ourselves in a bit of a sticky situation......
The man in charge of archiving and maintaining electronic copies of Norway's most important historical documents is dead and so is access to those archives. So the director of the Norwegian cultural center is pleading for hackers to help him crack the center's password-protected database. [ thanks kteela & john ]
A thoughtful editorial on how the profession of librarianship has been changing in response to the many hurdles, including the recent CIPA boondoggle.
Your image of a librarian may be a prim spinster whose idea of proper communication is to put a finger to her lips and say, "Shhhh!" This time, though, the librarians' message to the federal government is: "Don't you dare shush my patrons!" [ reg req'd, same as NYT thanks taylor ]
How do I get around my library filters? This writer seems to think that librarians would filter everything, if only we were more technologically savvy. Ha!
Since few librarians possess the technical chops or the zeal to secure their censorware.... [ thanks liz & amy ]
Hi, for all of your LiveJournal [and other freebie website] users out there,please remember that linking directly to images on other people's machines [loading them directly into your page] is the equivalent of stealing bandwidth. I have now started some sort of accidental row with the LJ libraries community because I asked them, politely, to not do this and changed the image in question to one that would not look so good on their website. In response, they took the post down and blocked my IP address from viewing their site anymore. So, I had to move across the living room and confirm this on one of my other computers. It seems like sort of a juvenile and ineffective response, coming from librarians, but maybe I'm missing part of the larger picture here. And, on second glance, I appear to be able to check the site now [with my image removed] so maybe it's LJ's serversbeing flakey again?
Kid drives car into library. [ thanks bill ]
Controvery over nearly before it started. The NY Regents realized that writers would be able to sue them like crazy for using expurgated versions of their work, so they decided to use unedited passages in the Regents exams. [ NYT, thanks lis ]
The Data Quality Act allows people to object to errors on government websites and have them removed. However, critics fear that this will be the new loophole for corporate apologists to request removal of information they merely dislike. OMBWatch is trying to monitor what gets removed, and why.
The [United States Global Change Research Program] also asked the Environmental Protection Agency to modify its Web site on global warming to reflect the scientific uncertainties about global climate change. [ NYT, thanks pete ]
Oh yeah and while you're freaking out about diminishing legal footing in the Internet frontier, consider this article. Called Solving Kid Porn's 'Real' Problem [and I'm sorry is kid porn porn for kids? don't we all call it kiddie porn around here?] it showcases the technologies of self-appointed Internet Police Bay Total Service Provider who currently have software that "scours the Internet for copyrighted images" and then goes on to brag that their software "could" also be used against child pornography. They go on to say:
"There is a federal database of fingerprints to identify criminals, why shouldn't there be another with images to prosecute pedophiles?" Zboralske asked.
Well, for starters, how about the fact that such a database itself would be illegal as well as a target for hackers from day one. Add to it that it doesn't address the real problem of the exploitation of actual children which I believe is what we are trying to stop even more than the trafficking in their images. It's horrible that we've reached a point where being pro-privacy puts you in league with the child pornographers and immediately suspect of having something to hide.
Librarian Avenger get-together at ALA, June 15th. I will be sad to be missing this.
Authors getting peeved because their works are being substantially altered -- without permission and without notice -- on the NY Regents tests. Some example excerpts are here.
In an excerpt from the work of Mr. [Isaac B.] Singer, for instance, all mention of Judaism is eliminated, even though it is so much the essence of his writing. His reference to "Most Jewish women" becomes "Most women" on the Regents, and "even the Polish schools were closed" becomes "even the schools were closed." [ thanks lis ]
In the wake of the lousy StarWars movie and the regrettable librarian, I am even more interested in Respect Your Librarian links than I once was.
Librarians are the front line of the defense of democracy since they preserve and protect information and, to a great extent, create access opportunities. Though there is a lot of information available on the Internet these days, librarians offer precision searching that ensures speedy, reliable information retrieval [ thanks pauline ]
Memories of Miss Pickle, much missed librarian.
Some librarians already had ingenious ways of getting around CIPA before the suit was overturned. [ thanks brandon ]
It's rare that I see a new [to me] online reference source that really makes me all excited, but is that new source, a searchable directory of glossaries, woo.
Great new article by Steven Cohen [of Stuff fame]: RSS For Non-Techie Librarians [ newbreed ]
Matt Wilcox, ranting over at NewBreed Librarian today.
So here we are walking down the road, thinking we are cool, the Emperors of Information, outfitted in the clothes of our knowledge and good intentions. Although in this story we sold ourselves the clothes ó the librarians' new clothes. There is no one else to blame. So where does that leave us? Come on, you remember the story. It leaves us naked. A bunch of naked librarians. And, no offense, I don't want to see you naked.
A ha ha ha!
we are constrained to conclude that the library plaintiffs must prevail in their contention that CIPA requires them to violate the First Amendment rights of their patrons, and accordingly is facially invalid
If you like your good news bite-sized, here it is: Judges Strike Down Web Filtering Law, or the always factual, if dull, ALA CIPA site.
All about librarianship without any specious talk about stereotypes.
Librarians are always early adaptors to new technology. I remember the first fax machine I ever saw. It must have been in the late 1970s and it was a round, cylindrical contraption with a needle that drew the images being transmitted. Frankly, it didn't work very well, but librarians were experimenting with it. [ thanks bill ]
Secret passageways, ancient monestaries and more library theft.[ thanks jen ]
Why a library at ground zero would be the best monument possible. [ newbreed ]

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