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work stuff
20jun... ALA pre-conf
14aug... PNLA, Boise
01oct... book chapter
06nov... NH Lib conf.
Take away all the 'Silence' signs and let the people come and talk about the books in an atmosphere of social happiness.
- George H. Locke, 1926.
"Some warnings in regard to planning libraries"
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Hi. I know that no one who reads this likely lives anywhere near me, but if you'll be in or near Central Vermont for the 4th, or if you are interested in a road trip and possible moose observation, come to my BBQ and Couch Destruction party this weekend.
PATRIOT Watch: a personal reason to be against USAPA.
Lesbian librarians in love legally link amid library legslation, lounging & loot-receiving.. [ NYT, thanks katia ]
An editorial about the CIPA decision that doesn't mince words.
As passed by Congress, CIPA required any library that receives certain forms of federal aid to install the blocking programs. Librarians could only disable the screening programs for "bona fide research or other lawful purpose." When did intellectual curiosity become a scourge to Congress? Grown people should not have to explain their reading interests to anyone, not even librarians. [ thanks taylor ]
Karen Schneider's personal report to PUBLIB about the June 7th meeting we all went to in Chicago is in the Juice. Also worth reading is an anecdote from Yale: Overzealous police arrest researcher at the Yale library
One positive comment about ALA this year. Many of the keynote speakers seemed to be appropriate. That is, they had something to do with readers, reading or publications. Several had good information to relate about free access to information or freedom of speech or freedom of the press. This has NOT been the case in the past [ahem, Colin Powell]. Library Journal had a good article on The Trouble with Trophy Speakers that I thought was very astute.
Hi. I'm writing up a longer ALA retrospective sometime soon, so I'll just dive back into the links here.
Some chitchat about the CIPA decision. ALA and co are still working out their responses but not only does CIPA mandate filters, it also sort of sidewaysly mandates that filters be turn-offable so that adults are not having their free speech rights abridged. This means that you must be able to disable a filter on a terminal by terminal basis. Needless to say, this is not always easy. [ thanks jonathan ]
Scroll down to read some interviews with Birmingham [AL] librarians about their decisions to filter or not to filter. Some more opinions: Kenton County [KY], briefs from WA Post, obligatory anti-ALA screed. [ thanks all ]
The Public Domain Enhancement Act now introduced into Congress. I still have my "Save Fair Use" pin from the conference. I think this is great news, so does Larry Lessig. [ thanks heidi ]
Funny Orrin Hatch anecdote.[ thanks nathan ]
"You think you can rag on me just 'cause you're a librarian?" an anecdote from the refdesk trenches.[ thanks lisa ]
Found Trash Objects library art exhibit accidentally tossed out by janitor. [ thanks ken ]
Hi. To the person who sent me "anonymous" email from the University of Texas Pan-American saying, in part, "Maybe, unlike you, the vast majority of attendees aren't as hell-bent and obsessive about the web site as you are. Get over it, already!" My response is "No." Feel free to send email with a return address if you'd like to have a real discussion about the site, or anything else. I am back from ALA and fairly tired. Updates resume tomorrow.
Hi. I am at the Web Advisory Committee meeting at this very minute which is the only meeting room I have been to with internet. You know, everyone I talk to seems to dislike the website, but except for me and maybe one or two more people, plus maybe five people from the committee, this room is nearly empty. There is no quorum. They can't review their charge. Free internet, website debates, no people. It's weird.
Hi. Safely at ALA. Went to the big luncheon, gave my big talk which went really much better than I had expected. Hung out with my friends the progressive librarians. It's like I never left which is both what is wonderful and what can sometimes be stifling about this community. More reportage in a bit.
Hi. I just finished an article for Computers in Libraries, got a big box of Revolting Librarians Redux in the mail, and am preparing to leave for Toronto tomorrow. Updates sporadic for a week, and this one will be a little paltry as well, I'm afraid. Also, I need a ride back to the East Coast someplace from Toronto, if at all possible. Tuesday or Wednesday. If you can oblige, please drop me an email. I am a charming travel companion and can drive stick.
Got this from a number of people, better late than never, though you may have already read it. Toronto Star talks about the upcoming conference, and librarians in general. [ thanks all ]
Local radio station helps out with raising funds for beleaguered Denver Public library.
"I couldn't believe that private citizens are funding multi-million dollar sports stadiums, but a $3.5 million dollar shortfall threatens The Denver Public Library's status as number one in the country," [ thanks tammy ]
A man walked into the Kansas City Public Library's Southeast branch and paid off more than $600 in outstanding fines for everyone whose last name is Muhammad. He paid in ramen. [ thanks michael ]
"Closing the book" on a 40 year career, Hawai'i's state librarian moves on afterong and sometimes contentious career.
"A public library is by definition not a political entity. It is a limited public forum where as long as you obey the rules and do not infringe on the rights of others, you -- whoever you are -- can use the library." ...As far as playing the political game, Lowell is unapologetic about staying on the sidelines. "I say what I mean and believe in, and I am upfront about it. If I've been too loud, then that's good. I maintain the responsibility of being an advocate for libraries." [ thanks brandon ]
Hi. My schedule for ALA is now online. If people would like to get together, might I suggest some of the starred events? I am staying at the Neill-Wycik which is sort of a student hotel. I'm on a mega-budget, so going out for lunch or dinner is likely out of the question, though I love coffee.
PATRIOT Watch: Patriot Act enhances our freedoms by Senator Orrin Hatch. [ thanks bill ]
Current chair of the IFLA Free Access to Information and Freedom of Expression elected IFLA president. Congrats Alex Byrne![ thanks eoin ]
Contrary to its name, Booksfree is not free. This piece of information is not included in their booksfree vs libraries list. [ thanks zach ]
Do you suppose Booksfree could get me a copy of Dewey Decimal System of Love? [ thanks heidi ]
Not all ALA-assisted websites are completely terrible. Have you seen the Washington Office's Info-Commons site, and their blog.
Medical library closing because more journals are available electronically. We all know that all a librarian does is shelve books anyhow, right? Remember, no librarian means no inter-library loan... [ thanks bill ]
Howard County is the first public library in Maryland to have public WiFi. [ thanks rebecca ]
Boston Public dealing with funding issues by selling reproductions of library photos, maps and posters through an online store. Apparently many museums and libraries are using this route.[ thanks shoe ]
Hi. You know, in all the hubbub I completely missed one glaring issue with parts of the ALA website -- the visited link color is the same as the regular link color. Only in some places, like the home page, but still... So, when I go as I do every day to the regrettable "latest information regarding Toronto and SARS" page, I can't tell which pages I have been to and which I have not. I guess this is not surprising since the site has no style guide. None of them even link to pages that mention the new SARS-like outbreak a few days back at a hospital outside of Toronto. Also, didn't we learn in library school that just handing someone a newspaper when they asked a specific question about a news item was poor form?
Minneapolis Public, faced with budget cuts, cancels earthquake insurance, keeps flood insurance. [ thanks john ]
Southfield Michigan's Big Beautiful Library is "more than just a place to put books"
The new library cost Southfield taxpayers $36.8 million. And, by most accounts, it also cost former mayor Don Fracassi his reelection bid. Fracassi... tried to derail plans to build the library in its present form. He complained the library was too large, too expensive and in the wrong place. "It belongs to someone who can afford it," he said recently [ thanks bill ]
Berman/Freedman Bibliographic Database [yes that Berman, and that Freedman] now available to the public. [ thanks steve ]
Just because it looks like a comic book, it isn't always for kids. Ghost World finds its way to children's section of UK library. Whoops.[ thanks bill ]
Batgirl was a librarian, you know. [ thanks philip ]
Detroit Public in danger of getting "special grant money" cut from 2.68 mil to 100,000. [ thanks tom ]
Hi. I am back from the meeting and still getting my thoughts together. I know Karen Schneider is putting together some of her observations so I may get to just either link to them or forward them around. My brief observation is this: while lots of time, care and attention went into the new site, it was the wrong kind of time, care and attention in many cases. Even though the people involved are mostly good, well-meaning, intelligent people, this project seemed to be beyond their capabilities and required more training, resources and input than they solicited or had available. This was hard to notice until the site went live, then it became glaringly apparent. Some organizational structures do not lend themselves well to large scale, distributed, coordinated projects. ALA's organization structure, combined with some early poor choices that went into planning the new website, resulted in the mess that is today. I will be more specific either in future days, or via email. In the meantime, please put on your politest email voice and continue to send your comments on the site to At least now I know they're reading them. Here is the list of notes I brought with me to the meeting. Nearly all of the bullet points were dealt with in one way or another.
Former library worker jailed in connection with Yale bombing. Remember the Yale book thief? Pleaded guilty, got 15 months, was in a transitional supervision program. Sad.[ thanks daniel ]
Meanwhile, he's another Prozac and library worker story. You don't think maybe the faact that her husband is a leading chemical weapons expert may have had something to do with her unhappiness?
What is it that Cuba's independent librarians are independent of ?
Hi. I am off to Chicago. Sorry for misspelling Pittsburgh. As someone who grew up in a town that was alternately called Boxboro and Boxborough [on the two town signs even!] I can sympathize.
If you really love books then why aren't you using your library? No, I mean seriously, if you really love books then why aren't you using your library? [ thanks lisa ]
Reality TV + books = The Big Read. Yes of course it's not American.[ thanks chris ]
Hi. I got email from ALA Registration saying basically that the lady who wrote me the other day was wrong and that the processing fee is still $40. They will let me get away with $25, should I decide to cancel, but that really wasn't what I was looking for.... My registration confirmation does say the processing fee is only $25, but on the other hand it also says that all cancellations have to be processed by May 19th to get a refund at all.
Hi. The world works in strange and mysterious ways. Looks like I will be going to Chicago on Friday to take part in this weekend's ALA Web Advisory Committee Meeting. I would have told you sooner but I just got invited yesterday. If anyone has any feedback they'd like me to bring to the meeting, you know how to reach me.
Is the paperless office going to affect our ability to archive historical documents? Or, alternately, are they affecting our abilities to investigate, prosecute and/or learn from our history? [ thanks janet ]
Pittsburgh has a Save the Library rally in response to the governor proposing a 50% budget cut to all public libraries. [ thanks miriam ]
Public Domain Enhancement Act. The concept is simple, make copyright holders may a miniscule fee to maintain their copyright after 50 years. Anyone who does not renew copyright sees their works enter the public domain. If you like the idea, sign the petition. [ thanks all ]
The law library is going the way of the three piece suit.
Many lawyers, particularly partners, view the library as a place to come and commune with the law, away from their e-mail and clients and phones and secretaries, according to librarians. ..."It's comforting to them," she says. "Lawyers are tactile people. They go to the library to touch things." [ thanks bill ]
Hi. ALA has changed their refund policy back. If you feel the need to cancel your ALA registration and not go to Toronto, they will only withhold a $25 "processing fee" per registration, not $40. Now, since many ALA attendees are getting their trip paid for by their libraries, I guess this means that ALA is taking less money away from American's Libraries than they were previously. I understand that planning a conference is risky and time-consuming and fraught with peril generally, but even $25 is still 1/4 of my registration fee. Meanwhile, because of dropping registration ALA gets a "significant" rent-reduction on the Toronto convention center. I'm glad they did the right thing.
PATRIOT Watch: educators and politicians chime in on the USAPA, good and bad.
The GOP chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. James Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin, said he would let the law's 2005 sunset provision be repealed over his "dead body." [ thanks tom ]
Meanwhile, the Information Acess Alliance is talking to the Justic Department about preventing more academic publishing consolidation. Is it really possible these people have no website? Their press release is a good primer on the Serials Crisis.
"The large science publishers are now offering electronic versions of their journals to libraries primarily as large bundles of titles, and these bundles increase in price each year at several times inflation... If one refuses to buy the whole bundle, and opts instead for individual journals, the prices of those single journal titles are greatly increased by the publisher -- so that a library is left with the choice of either buying the whole bundle or being able to afford only a limited number of journal titles from that publisher. Buying the whole bundle also places enormous strain on library budgets, leaving little funding left over to purchase the equally important journals of smaller, often not-for-profit publishers." [ thanks sarah ]
Toy library.
Hi. Quick correction -- Rachel's survey is for a book, not a chapter of a book. My apologies for the error. You still have time to fill it out.
One Word From Librarians That Speaks Volumes: the word NO.
No. That is the answer, our answer to the Patriot Act. No to disclosure formation, no to violations of privacy; no to complicity with these activities in any form. The reason for this answer is because of what we are and what we have been. To g even if only through our silence, would be to say to ourselves that what we have stood for was nothing; only a collection of fine words, erased by a collection of other words, orders from a distant source that had more meaning for us than the history and creed of our craft. [ LATimes, thanks dan ]
Here are some library/book destruction photos a little closer to home: Photos from the Yale law School bombing. [ thanks step ]
Some interesting discussion on where that phrase about the Internet being like a big librarary -- but with all the books on the floor. [ thanks hanan ]
Carol has posted the answers to the First Sentence Test in this month's issue of Constant Reader.
Smart library politics: The "what's your library worth" column.
How to make your librarian happy.
Librarians generally like their jobs - they like helping people find books and information that is of use to them. The parts of their jobs most people don't like are having to tell people to be quiet, asking them to keep to the library rules, or picking up after people who are causing more than 'usual' mess.... So: how can you be a better library patron?

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