hi – 29sep

Hi. I just wanted to toot my own horn briefly and talk about two things happening at my library. One of them is a fines reduction program that we are running with the local food shelf. They are having a Rock and Roll for Hunger food drive with some bands and a voter registration drive next weekend. We are one of the collection sites for food and, this is the good part, offer people twenty cents off of their fines for each non-perishable food donation they bring in, up to two bucks. Slick huh? The next project isn’t mine but involves our library. The Department of Libraries Regional Co-ordinator has been trying to get the libraries in our region to work together more. To that end, she created the Rutland County Fall Tour of Libraries over two consecutive high-tourist weekends here in the Land of Amazing Fall Colors. The tour highlights the history of the library buildings, is self-guided, and offers refreshments at some stops. I’m out of town this weekend but may try to do it next weekend. It’s the sort of thing I’d be doing anyhow, really.

Posted in hi

gag orders unconstitutional says federal court. duh, says jessamyn.

Federal court finds gag order provision of Section 505 of the USA PATRIOT Act [a gag order eeerily close to the one found in Section 215] to be an “unconstitutional prior restraint” on free speech.

The ACLU noted that the Patriot Act provision was worded so broadly that it could effectively be used to obtain the names of customers of websites such Amazon.com or Ebay, or a political organization’s membership list, or even the names of sources that a journalist has contacted by e-mail…. Judge Marrero’s decision enjoins the government from issuing National Security Letters or from enforcing the gag provision. The judge stayed his ruling for 90 days in order to afford the government an opportunity to raise objections in the district court or the Second Circuit Court of Appeal.

why aren’t the vendors blogging?

Jenny tosses down the gauntlet “Why don’t OCLCs blog or news releases talk about the new OCLC stuff?” OCLC [or the staff that maintain a non-official blog] responds. This sort of notification would have been really handy during the whole OCLC sues the Library Hotel flap where we had to dig through press releases from them to get any news. I’m not sure we would have seen more than a few official announcements but it’s better than nothing at all. ALA could benefit from this as well. Right now most of the rotating content on the ALA front page is sales and marketing and public information office news. Nothing wrong with that, but I’d like to read the news that’s relevant to me as a member of the organization, not as just a potential buyer of products or services. Things like “The search engine wasn’t working earlier, it’s fixed now” or “A list of hotels is now available on the conference site” or “New councilors added to roster” or “List of new committee appointments made by incoming ALA President.” Part of the problem is that this sort of effort requires either coordination [to get news in] or trust [to get people using the tools that affect publicly viewable content] both of which are hard to come by in an organization that is tight on funds and short on IT staffing. As it stands there is currently no way to figure out what content has been newly added to the site which means users spend a lot of time clicking through to all the pages that reflect their interest. What was it that Ranganathan once said…? Incidentally, if you want to help out with the “What We Want In Our OPACs” wiki, please email me and I’ll give you the URL.