Librarians with personal commitment, a "code," do not play follow the
leader. They do not take orders as hacks, apologists, or nitpickers. Their
responsibility is not to any power structure at all, but to the patron and
to the profession. True professionalism implies evolution, if not
NY & LA Times login
Hi. I am still looking for papers on Aska and online researcher sites for The Reference Librarian. Please drop me an email if you are interested in writing.
State Library for the Blind Deathwatch: Oklahoma. [ thanks mac ]
Library school students act up and hopefully keep U of AZ School of Information Resources and Library Science from closing.[ thanks lori ]
Meanwhile, Australia's libraries seem to be doing okay and this is even with the fee the government pays to local authors in compensation for their books being checked out from the library.
Without extra income from government schemes, Jennings said many would-be Australian authors would be forced to give up. ... "If the Australian authors go, then our own culture gets ignored." [ thanks bill ]
Lucky Canadians, their libraries are "porn palaces" They don't seem too happy about it though... [ thanks walter ]
A homeless man's take on The Library From Hell.
How to get rid of books, a tutorial for the desperately attached.
Hi. ALA did the right thing and extended subscriptions to their publications to those libraries hit by the Divine/Rowecom diaster. Their FAQ also points to the SLA page which has news on the debacle as it becomes available.
A happy new library story that doesn't mention budget cuts, shorter hours or terrible scandals. Ypsilanti District Library has been open for a year, and all is well. [ thanks thomas ]
Budget cuts are leading some libraries to only order 500 copies of Harry Potter's latest, not 900. Though I disagree that this is a tragedy for the future literacy of America's youth, maybe this will help drive the point home? [ thanks kevin ]
Reader to Reader gets seemingly unwanted books to poorer libraries who need them. [ thanks carolyn ]
Electric Ink, hyper-attractive library & archive blog.
I personally do not have a problem with boring libraries, but it's nice to see libraries taking a responsible approach to not being boring. [ thanks natalia ]
Rock & Roll library still looking for space in the Boston area. [ thanks hanan ]
King County Library -- one of my local ones -- has a bond on the ballot this February. [ thanks natalia ]
Hi. Interesting thing to know about ALA membership: your membership begins on the first day of the month that you send in your money. So if you send in money towards the end of the month, as I did, you are really paying for eleven months of membership, not twelve. Of course, nowhere does it say this on their website. They don't seem to answer customer service email, but if you call on the phone they will not only tell you this membership gaffe is true [and try to convince you how logical this system is] but they also admit that "many other people" complain about it. So next time you renew, check your expiration date. I got them to extend my membership for a month, since I told them it was that or cancelling it outright. I don't want to become monomaniacal about ALA, but my membership experience so far has been terrible.
Library Link of the Day. You know, I've missed this "one link a day" thing ever since Jenny's Cybrary [gloriously reborn as The Shifted Librarian and her travelling RSS show]. This looks like a neat substitute. [ thanks jeremy ]
"Strange-smelling" foreigner arouses supicion at St Lousi library, FBI comes in and snaps up the computer access records. Executive director doesn't see what the big deal is.
Holt, the executive director of the St. Louis Public Library, said the system does not notify its patrons of its policy that the computer sign-up list is considered a public document. "I don't think we've warned them in writing," Holt said. "Why would you warn somebody their name is in a public document in a public place?" [ thanks michael ]
Extra books in Boston? Donate them to the Prison Book Program.
Maybe in these uncertain times we should start a State Library Deathwatch. Florida seems to be next. Anyone? [ thanks shelly ]
Hi. I have been doing the MIT Mystery Hunt all weekend, my eyes are all boggley. Our publishers have decided to go with "dumbass" instead of "moron" in one of our essays. I hope readers will not mind the obvious bowlderization of our book.
Steven "Stuff" Cohen has started a Save Our Libraries blog. It covers all those "our library is slowly going out of business" articles that have sadly been so commonplace around these parts lately.
Library director get in trouble for high salary. Hey, why shouldn't library directors get paid well? Well, if they're hiking the fees on the copy machine and replacing professionals with clerks, then maybe they are getting paid too much. [ thanks bill ]
Library launches appeal to make "remarkable" UK library more accessible, also more popular. [ thanks eoin ]
Programming for Librarians. No, not really. [ thanks martyn ]
Justice Department says "Go ahead and sue us, we won't tell you what libraries and bookstores we are spying on!" [my paraphrase] [ thanks daniel ]
And speaking of the Justice Department, Wired News has a somewhat clueless article about librarians and the PATRIOT Act. The writer was the same woman who wrote the article I was mentioned in last month. I spoke to her on the phone and she was really nice, but this article really misses the point which is: The PATRIOT Act creates laws that directly conflict with existing state laws about patron privacy as well as federal laws about freedom of speech. It's not about being "good librarians" it's about bullshit legislation with very little actual efficacy besides appearing to be "tough on terrorism" while collecting data on anyone with a foreign last name or unconventional tastes.
Hi. Amazon.com says that it's a "feature" that they have no authority control over author names. Ha ha.
Don't you like how they are calling money that goes to public libraries "subsidies" like it was some sortof freaking handout that libraries should be lucky to have? California is looking as some really drastic changes to library services to help deal with budget cuts. [ thanks lynsey & ann ]
Rachel from LISjobs has come out with a book The Accidental Systems Librarian based on some of the information she got from on-line surveys about the ways people got into systems librarianship.
How they get the pictures in the encyclopedias. Gale setting up to release a new edition of Grzimek's Encyclopedia of Animals. [ thanks tom ]
University of Arizona library school in danger of closing due to budget cuts. [ thanks lori ]
[recent graduate] Whitaker is confident the college can be saved. "You don't ever really want to get librarians mad. We can organize anything. And I think our grass-roots support will serve SIRLS well,"
Ronald Sturt, librarian who brought talking newspapers to Britain, RIP. [ thanks owen ]
W. A. Munford, fan of "dead librarians" RIP. [ thanks owen ]
Thoreau as problem patron. [ thanks chris ]
he went to the University Library to procure some books. The librarian refused to lend them. Mr. Thoreau repaired to the President, who stated to him the rules and usages, which permitted the loan of books to resident graduates, to clergymen who were alumni, and to some others resident within a circle of ten miles' radius from the College. Mr. Thoreau explained to the President that the railroad had destroyed the old scale of distances,—that the library was useless, yes, and President and College useless, on the terms of his rules,—that the one benefit he owed to the College was its library,—that, at this moment, not only his want of books was imperative, but he wanted a large number of books, and assured him that he, Thoreau, and not the librarian, was the proper custodian of these.
Hi. Revolting Librarians Redux is in the McFarland catalog and has an ISBN number now. I am still debating the usefulness of linking to the Amazon page that shows it available for pre-order. You can find it if you are determined enough.
We know that freedom of speech is still sickly and/or dead in some academic arenas, but Berkeley? UCB Emma Goldman Papers Project not allowed to use Goldman quote for fundraising.
"It seems the administration is mocking freedom of expression by limiting it," Professor Litwack said. "The First Amendment belongs to no single group or ideology, but that message is often difficult to implement even at the University of California, Berkeley." [ thanks all ]
How many news articles can you spot that have "brand new library" and "cutting hours" in them? Add Denver Public Library to the list. You know, Denver, where you need a passport to go to the library and everyone there is out of a GQ ad [well, I didn't understand the article, that's what I read].
While I don't equate the new copyright ruling with the burning of the Library of Alexandria, it is a sad day in the world of public domain works, and sharing in general. [ thanks josh ]
Campaign for America's Libraries now Campaign to Save America's Libraries.
Did you know that there is a special edition of Farenheit 451 with an asbestos cover? True. [ thanks all ]
All volunteer, all-free, no-fine, no-card library in Oregon celebrates its 75th anniversary. The author seems unclear on the use of card catalogs, however. The library sounds lovely, but this sort of "ain't it quaint? anyone can run a library!" doesn't really help the librarian cause much.
The little library has one of the few old-fashioned library card files still in use anywhere.
Hi. Here is the Call for Papers. Read it thoroughly and ask me if you have any questions. I am really hoping to attract a well-rounded group of papers, both academic and more personal and how-to. Deadline is April first; please distribute wildly.
Hi. I will be sending out a Call For Submissions in the next 2-3 days for an upcoming issue of The Reference Librarian on the topic of the "ask a librarian" services and their analogs in the Internet realm. I'll have a link to a full page of details, but if you're really interested in the topic, as I am, start thinking about it.
Another thing wrong with censorship, it's more complicated than free and open access.
Listen: American citizens have the right to assemble peacefully to talk about whatever the heck they want. It's supposed to be messy. [ stuff ]
Michael has a new Library Rakeheel column up over at Bookslut: Library Public Policy Manual 2004
Make sure that patrons checking out suspicious material (this material is flagged in the database with a red check) have their address and contact information, as well as the titles in question, passed on to the Office of Homeland Security. This does not restrict the freedom of our patrons to read, but it does give our battle to preserve freedom a valuable insight.
Your Fairy Bookmother has a very easy to use site that helps adults find new children's books to read. Good for librarians, parents, whoever.
Destroyed books in Poulsbo due to a fire in a reptile cage.
Hi. RSS feed is fixed, thanks Mark Pasc!
This is really priceless: the mailto links to the webmaster and information links at the bottom of the ALA Customer Service Center [itself an outsourced product] go nowhere. I repeat, you cannot get information from the ALA Customer Service Center without loggging in. Would be funny if it weren't so sad.
Malcolm X's papers, almost accidentally on the auction block, wind up in NYPL's care instead.
Hi. Something seems to be wrong or inaccessible about the RSS feed. I'm looking into it. Also, I got membership email saying "Welcome to ALA!" at the email address I had when I was a member before. I specifically gave them no email address this time around. I wrote them a nice note saying "pretend you never had this address" and we'll see what happens.
Boondoggle of the week is the Faxon meltdown. What do you do when you are held up by subscription services that want all the money up front and then go out of business, fast? So fast they didn't even update their website to let people know. There is a Yahoo group set up for RoweCom creditors. I wonder if it's embarassing to be named a Premier IT leader in the year your company goes bankrupt? [ thanks all ]
More subscription woes. Elsevier has been removing articles fom its database with terse notes that give no reason for the removal.
... part of the historical record, some scholars argue, is highlighting missteps and unethical behavior. If a journal article proves to have been plagiarized or to reveal scientific fraud, they say, other researchers should know to be wary of the authors. And they argue that even if Elsevier decides to make the deleted articles available through the [Royal Dutch] library, an overseas database that is not readily available to American scientists will do little to forewarn them of the tarnished authors' behavior [ thanks brandon ]
Here's an article that conflates two dissimilar issues. The author describes the massive amounts of cash being funnelled into Big Beautiful Library projects and concludes "If libraries aren't alive and well, our nationwide accounting system needs an audit" The author also notes that federal and state monies for these projects were about 5% of total costs of these projects, indicating that 87% of the money came from "local" sources [i.e. bond issues and levies]. What a suprise then, that these people think they've already paid for the library, and don't want to pay any more. While I'll stop short at calling these BBL projects counterproductive, many of them could do a better job at getting the word out about all the library system's needs, not just capital projects.
Dear Abby, or whoever she is now, gives some advice on how to deal with library fines for children. when I was a kid, the first thing we would do when we got back from the library was go to the calendar and write Return Library Books in big letters on the calendar on the due date. [ thanks dsdlc ]
Vikas Kamat has written a buyer's guide for those who are having to make the decision to choose between the new, fee-based EBSCO-online and the watered-down EJS Basic. He also wrote a really snappy and concise list of What Library Patrons Do Not Know.
Hi. Except for the CSS-ing of this, I think it's all put back together, as nice as it ever was. This means that archives are accessible and content is all back where it was. As always, please let me know if something works differently than you expected. Older pages are less attractive because I didn't know what I was doing as well as I do now, but they should all work, at least.
Schools and Libraries Division (SLD) of the Universal Service Administrative Co. has been investigating reports of E-rate fraud. Nothing shows up on the SLD page about it, however. ALOnline has a bit more[ thanks lee ]
In one case, federal agents recorded Angelides asking an Islamic Elementary School official to tell auditors that they had received company bills for its share of the cost, but “because of the events of September 11,” the school did not have the money. He said that they “should use 9/11 as a wedge”
I may be a curmudgeon, but every time I read an eBook press release masquerading as an article, I wonder if the libraries who are getting this new technology have recently shortened hours, cut programs or dealt with other budget cut woes. Cleveland, the library in this example, seems to be doing okay. [ thanks michael ]
Why are union bugs not cataloged? [ thanks jude ]
When push comes to shove with the Seattle Public OPAC, I can always default to their text-only catalog that is accessible from anywhere, via telnet. Here's an article from 1995 on why we should hesitate before making the leap to a GUI.
Hi. I'm aware that this new style has mangled the archives. I expect to be fixing them next week, sorry for the mess. This design should be shifted to a CSS format within the same timeframe. Let me know if something doesn't work for you.
New OPACs are showing up with weird vendor driven features. The new one at Seattle Public displays only ten records per page, a page that scrolls over three screens. Why? So there is room for showing the book covers that display next to the records, of course. I dropped them a note expressing my displeasure [I like to browse wildly in the OPAC] and was told that this was a "vendor decision." I would be happy if I thought this was a well-researched decision by the local library staff based on patron input, but I'm pretty sure this is an in-house "feature" devised by Epixtech and partners.
This enriched content feature, of course, costs extra. The covers database has 650,000 covers [and growing]. Which books do you think are most represented in the covers database? Which books do you think patrons will gravitate to when they search the iPac? My feeling is that this new service is tantamount to labeling some books as worthy of greater coverage [and reviews!] and as such, is discriminatory. The books that are face out at your local megabookstore are that way because someone paid for them to be that way. Is the OPAC any different? I don't know. To reiterate, I don't think my library is evil, I just think that by allowing vendors to drive the look and feel of how people interact with the library collection, libarians are doing themselves a disservice as well as the library in general.
Today's library patrons expect more from library catalogs than just the name of a book and its location. Services such as author notes, excerpts and first chapters, professionally written annotations and book reviews are just some of the services savvy library patrons look for [syndetics website]
Publishers, industry groups, and distributors sometimes add ratings to material or include them as part of their packaging. Librarians should not endorse such practices. [ALA bill of rights interpreted]
Oh hey, here's the Oakland resolution against the PATRIOT Act, if you wanted to crib from it or something.
Spies in the Stacks, a play about librarianship and paranoia after the Cuban Missle Crisis has opened in NYC. I recommend it.
King County library system has WiFi!
Hi. Happy New Year. I was hoping to have librarian.net redesigned -- mostly the same, a bit more readable -- for 2003, but I'd rather get the ball rolling and wait until I have some time to really do it right. [update: scratch that, here is the mostly done redesign]
"We knew your taste was in question when the coffee cart opened" a patron emailed "and this confirmed it." Librarians raise money with a pin-up calendar. [ thanks all ]
Remember the International Children's Digital Library hype when it came out? Remember that I was a bit underimpressed? It looks like other people are also starting to recognize flaws in this ambitious new system. [ stuff ]
My sources tell me that there is a naked librarian in this photo [ thanks david ]
Troubled kid uses library computer to send threats and hate mail to President Bush. [ thanks michael & lis ]
"It turns out there's an exemption to the DMCA for the exercise of religious freedom. So ... "
Hi, my name is Jessamyn and I'm a library activist and my religion involves fair use and freely sharing information. [ thanks lis ]
Some librarians are speaking out about budget cuts making their jobs tough or impossible to do.
Checkout lines are longer. Reserve lists for books are growing. The library system used to buy 120 copies of a best seller; now, it buys 84. Librarians no longer give out plastic bags for people to carry their books. Miniature pencils for jotting down book catalog numbers are scarce.
thanks to eskimo.com for hosting librarian.net.