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20jun... ALA pre-conf
14aug... PNLA, Boise
01oct... book chapter
Man, the imperfect librarian, may be the product of chance or of malevolent demiurgi; the universe, with its elegant endowment of shelves, of enigmatical volumes, of inexhaustible stairways for the traveller and latrines for the seated librarian, can only be the work of a god...
- Jorge Luis Borges
search me:
NY & LA Times login
user: corporatemedia
pass: stillsucks

Hi. Today my home state of Vermont became the third state to go on record as opposing the PATRIOT Act. Woo!
PATRIOT Watch: Also see Philadelphia city council, and Wyoming librarians. [ thanks dirk & bill ]
Got time for another survey? Rachel from LISjobs is looking for library managers for a book she's working on. [ thanks priscilla ]
No one should have to make the choice between new taxes or no libraries. [ NYT, thanks chris ]
Obligatory Japanese earthquake library destruction photo. [ thanks Ieleen ]
Blue Jean Online, a creative space for young women is sponsoring a Why Librarians Make a Difference contest. Write 3-4 sentences, win some YA books.
Hi. I am still planning to go to ALA despite the SARS issues, though I may change my mind. ALA now has a SARS FAQ on their website. I'm a little steamed at ALA keeping $40 of my registration fee if I cancel, but I'm sure things are tougher for them than for me with the vendors dropping out or scaling back their presence. Who wants to make SARS masks that say "I've been gagged by the USA PATRIOT Act"? [ thanks naomi ]
Interview with me about library stuff in Friction Magazine this week. [ thanks keidra ]
What crap! French librarian kept from visiting Iraq with the UNESCO team this week because US occupying forces denied him a visa. Why? Who knows. [ thanks al ]
World's oldest multiple-page book -- written in Etruscan -- goes on display in Sofia Bulgaria. [ thanks dsdlc ]
Everyone knows the way to make any mousy gal/librarian "beautiful" is to just take their hair out of a ponytail and switch them from glasses to contacts. Oh yeah and have them show some cleavage. [ stuff ]
Hi. The communication preferences page on the ALA website no longer 404's. I suggest you update your preferences right now, since until you do you are allowing ALA to give your personal information to "carefully screened outside organizations"
You can all change your .sig files now.
"Beware the lustful fires that burn in a librarian's heart. They can rage beyond all control." [ thanks all ]
PATRIOT Watch: Barbara Boxer has introduced Senate Bill 1158 "Library and Bookseller Protection Act" and it has been referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.
A bill to exempt bookstores and libraries from orders requiring the production of tangible things for foreign intelligence investigations, and to exempt libraries from counterintelligence access to certain records, ensuring that libraries and bookstores are subjected to the regular system of court-ordered warrants.
What's the best way to research that new library president job you are looking at? Ask the librarians. They'll appreciate knowing that you think their jobs are important. [ thanks bill ]
ALA Web Watch: I found a secret page on the web site that gives me some hope.
Italian state archives are dealing with budget cuts of 40-60% of their funding. [ thanks brandon ]
Hi. RSS feed is still acting up a bit. I'm working on it, albeit slowly.
ALA Web Watch: You can now update your communication preferences on the My ALA part of the site. You might want to go do this since the default setting is "Keep me in the know! I want to receive communications about opportunities from ALA..." My preferred option, a completely reasonable "Official communications only" isn't by itself an option. I'm sure this is just a bug, but selecting it does NOT unselect the other option(s). But it hardly matters anyhow, because when I click the "save my settings" page, I get the 404 error, I've grown to know and love. The fun never stops.
Remember the Hawai'i state librarian who was getting so much heat because she tried to cut library hours in the face of terrible budget cuts? She's resigning. [ thanks brandon ]
PATRIOT Watch: more on Alaska's fight against the USAPA. [ thanks mike ]
I never tire of librarian pin-up stories.
How long did it take you to realize this article was a joke? Welcome back and everyone on dangpow!
BDSM librarian fantasties get even juicier after the USAPA, some think. [ SFW ]
Hi. There was some weirdness with the Voidstar feed , so I have changed my feed URL to the LISFeeds feed. Please make a note, and thanks Aaron for the notice. Also, I got subscribed to the ALA Council listserv without my permission yesterday ... so it begins.
One of our favorite web advocate librarians is getting married. Mazel tov! [ thanks hanan ]
PATRIOT Watch: the big news about the USAPA lately is that basically, according to the justice department and others, it doesn't really expand the search and seizure powers of federal agents over libraries. I qwould really like to hear from someone who is not right wing back this up. I know my Congressman is saying something different.
"Congress did not authorize a new innovation with section 215 (production of tangible records including books, records, papers, documents, etc.). Grand juries investigating ordinary crimes traditionally have the power to issue subpoenas to all manner of businesses, including libraries and bookstores. For example, federal grand juries subpoenaed records from numerous libraries during the Unabomber investigation." [ thanks dave ]
PATRIOT Watch: Alaska represent! Sort of odd how the last two states in the USA are the first two to get serious about fighting the PATRIOT Act. [ thanks daniel ]
And we all know that the FBI is not the biggest threat to libraries in these tough times. [ thanks tom ]
Are libraries doing enough to try to collect library fines? Some Houston city Councillors think not, they are balking at hiring a collection agency [a collection agency with something of a sweetheart deal with library vendors]. And, like many libraries, the fines collected go to the general fund, not the library directly
Collected fees and fines would do little to alleviate the department's financial problems, Fernandez said, because they go into the city's general fund rather than the department budget. But the library is responsible for replacing lost and stolen items through its materials budget... [ thanks steve ]
The Special Libraries Association Branding Task Force deals with FAQs from their membership over the name change vote that is coming up. They even address the Symbionese Liberation Army issue. Note: you must be pesent in New York to vote on the name change. Guh. [ thanks bill ]
"Monster" librarian scaring kids away from the school library.
Hi. I wrote a letter to Laura Bush today.
Dear Ms Bush,

I read with interest the grants that the Laura Bush Foundation for America's Libraries gave to 132 school libraries. I also was interested to note that over 6,000 schools applied for these grants indicating a tremendous need in our country. I can't help but think that perhaps the real issue is the terrible funding crisis in our schools. I had always thought that public education, free public education, was a right in this country and it saddens me to see public schools having to turn to philanthropy just to support a basic educational need like a school library.

In short, maybe if your husband was more interested in funding education [not pseudo-educational inititatives like No Child Left Behind] instead of giving massive tax cuts to the rich and the super-rich as we have seen recently, just maybe there would be no need for your foundation, nice as it is.

Hopefully and cynically yours,

Jessamyn West
update: I got an out-of-office reply to my email that said "If you are inquiring about the grantees for the Laura Bush Foundation for America's Libraries, please visit our website at" at the main contact address for the Foundation, the day of their big press release. How embarassing
Hi. A little bird told me that ALA is making their long URLs a priority action item in fixing their website. My #1 priority for the site is getting the "members area" to function at least as good as it did on the old site. Right now, the privacy policy refers you to your communications preferences page, which has said for over six weeks now "check back soon."
PATRIOT Watch: Arcata criminalizes compliance with the USAPA.
Starting this month, a new city ordinance would impose a fine of $57 on any city department head who voluntarily complies with investigations or arrests under the aegis of the Patriot Act [ thanks all ]
Winner of the Dublin Literary Award -- a worldwide award selected by librarians -- announced this week. Consider nominating a book for next year.[ thanks eoin ]
The 800x600 project collects collages of a certain size. Here's a picture of library books.[ thanks john ]
Does your public library have an Amazon wish list? 307 do.[ thanks rikhei ]
Map thief at work again in European libraries.[ thanks eoin ]
If you ever search Ebay for librariana, you know that a lot of what you find is dowdy dresses which someone has seen fit to label "librarian" garb. Someone has finally done a study of the image of librarians, as seen by Ebay. Fun. They also have a questionnaire where you can help them determine the truth. [ thanks heidi & sandy ]
Hi. I added three more libraries to my library crawl page and I have found a roomate for Toronto and am probably staying in this wonderful hotel. Thanks to everyone who responded.
Library Journal had a brief article on the negative reception the ALA website has received. It mentioned that ALA was recreating re-directs for and page that received more than 2,000 hits. I wonder if this includes pages that lead to the dreaded [and unhelpful] 404 page. And yes, there are 183 checkboxes on the advanced search page.
The Library's Legal Answer Book may be a way to answer all those nagging questions we have about the PATRIOT Act, and CIPA, and COPA, and fair use, and .... [ thanks tara ]
Speaking of ALA, Michael Moore has finally ponied up the money he'd said he was going to give them. Nice job. [ thanks mrpants ]
Sure enough, Denver libraries going to close one day a week. One weekday a week. Here's more specifics.
PATRIOT Watch: Boston Globe discusses the USAPA but leaves the last word to the DoJ who is, as usual, not all correct. Lis comes in with a fact-loaded rebuttal.
Yale law librarian Step Schmitt is doing a survey to collect data on staff consorship in library collections. If you could take some time and fill out a survey, she'd really appreciate it.
Books in Iraq's National Library were not stolen, simply removed for safekeeping, according to the keepers of the books.
Librarians say that as American troops pressed into Baghdad April 9, they pleaded with soldiers to protect the site from looters and Kuwaiti arsonists. They said the Kuwaitis were bent on revenge for the 1990-91 invasion and war. But the troops were involved with the business of the day, toppling Saddam Hussein's regime.
Library memes collide with the sighting of a library ghost cat! [ thanks mom ]
Hi. I have a copy of Revolting Librarians Redux in my hot little hands. While I have some major stylistic objections to some of it, in general it looks good and I can't even tell you how happy I am to be done with it. Of course I'll be asked to talk about it from now until eternity, so I'm sure I'll never really be done with it. Please order it for your library. Also, my roomate for Toronto dropped out last-minute and I am looking for cheap accomodations for a few days at ALA.
Seattle Public has a new mascot, an Lulu the "library fairy", for the re-opening of the branch in Seattle's gayest district. Gotta love this metaphor...
"Because words ARE free, books ARE food -- it's Free Food at your Seattle Public Library branch!"
The Kunst- und Museumsbibliothek [Art and Museum Library] in Cologne, one of the largest libraries of its kind in Germany, is in danger of being shut down. You can sign an online petition to voice disagreement and send support to the art librarians. [ thanks klaus & maaike ]
Looks like Austin has Big Beautiful Libraryitis, bad. Remind me again why we are laying off librarians nationwide...? [ thanks bill ]
Bill gates tours library, learns a little known secret about the library world.
"Good to see you at the library," Gates said to the young people as he strolled through the stacks of books. "You check out books here? Super!" [ thanks bill ]
Ever wonder how all those books get digitzed? Read this press release article from the NY Times that tells you all about these spiffy new robots. What are they scanning? Well, documents from the WTO apparently. Shouldn't those have already been digital to begin with? [ thanks kami ]
Book title association game.[ stuff ]
You know, I think 24/7 reference is a wonderful idea, I really do. But has anyone been considering that the "contract librarians" that get hired for these positions are often paid hourly, have no organizing ability, no community ties, no health care, and have to provide all their own technology for these jobs? It strikes me that this may be the new outsourcing boondoggle for libraries as these companies realize they can hire librarians in other countries and pay them even less.[ stuff ]
Hi. I have a guest column over at Moby Lives about the USA PATRIOT Act this week.
Library fundraising director takes library painting worth 50K, sells it at his personal garage sale for $200. [ thanks marv ]
What would a library-themed first person shooter video game look like... Library Bookbomber?[ thanks caterina ]
More naked "librarians". [ NSFW, thanks ian ]
Berlin marks the anniversary of Nazi book burning.
"The lesson is - don't burn ideas ... even if they're not good ideas, you don't have to burn them." [ thanks martyn ]
Underneath the Lintel ["that librarian play"] getting good reviews all over. [ thanks anna ]
Noted without comment: The ALA Library: Terrorist Sanctuary [ thanks marge ]
Noted with comment, "this looks terrible": Librarian TV Movie.[ thanks mac ]
Hi. It's irascible day here at It's what comes from trying to surf the commercial web at 44k.
Dear Margaret Atwood,
Thanks so much for agreeing to be the keynote speaker at our annual conference. While we can't reimburse you as much as we'd like to [it's been tough since the Colin Powell debacle] we can offer you increased book sales with our new pork barrel literacy-enhancing program One Conference, One Book in which we encourage all conference attendees to purchase your book. As you know, no one buys books like librarians, especially when they are on a work-sponsored junket networking and skillsharing. Here's hoping the royalties mak for what we could not pay you directly. Love, ALA.
p.s. sorry about all the broken incoming links when trying to access the conference pages via Google, this new "Internet" thing has us a little confused.
Notable online gal Pamie was so distraught when she heard about Oakland PL's funding cuts that she decided to do something about it. While I am really impressed with her spunk, at some level isn't it pathetic that we've sunk to this? [ thanks all ]
PATRIOT Watch: Since the news articles are flying fast and furious lately, we'd better make sure we have our facts straight. [ thanks jeremy & dave ]
PATRIOT Watch: My state Rep discusses his newly-introduced bill The Freedom to Read Protection Act in the LA Times. [ thanks taylor ]
More suckiness involving budget cuts at Denver PL
Meanwhile, there's still lots of money floating around for important things, like a "glittery, black-tie evening" to celebrate the opening of a new scholars-and-politicians only segement of the Library of Congress [correct me if I am wrong, but this place is not open to the public, right?] From the man who brought you Fritos... [ thanks dsdlc ]
Hi. Oh right, ALA has a retired level for conferences.... Big news here is, due to some miscommunication, I have a few more slots to fill in the AskA issue of The Reference Librarian. If you have a paper on the topic of virtual versus literal reference, or think you could put one together in a few weeks, please drop me a note. Click on the "call for papers" link to the left for more info.
PATRIOT Watch: I went to a town meeting the other night where my state representative spent a long time singing the praises of librarians as he explained the bill he was introducing: The Freedom to Read Protection Act that specifically attempts to overturn section 215 of the PATRIOT Act. Now would be a really good time to contact your elected officials and tell them to support this bill.
Return those overdue books, or else you will be the subject of formulaic major media stories by people who can rarely be bothered to write about real library issues. [ thanks kteela ]
Quickly bookmarking... libraries with WiFi [wireless internet access] across the US, an old link but much expanded. [ thanks john j ]
PATRIOT Watch: Patriot registration form from the White House. Humor, actually. [ thanks john h ]
Carol has another of her devilish First Sentence Tests over at The Constant Reader, and she swears this one is somewhat easier.
It's fun news day here at Here's a review of library-oriented anime Read or Die.
"Yomiko Readman is mousy girl, the type of sweet, smiling introvert that Sandra Bullock typically plays. She's a fiendish biblio-junky, scourge of book stores, a substitute teacher, and the Library Special Operations' chief field agent" [ thanks charles ]
Hi. I have been thinking about ALA Council some. Things that I personally am interested in are: if not fixing the website at least getting the inbound links fixed [easy at some level, and dramatically increases functionality], and getting ALA to have a low-income/retired fee level for conferences. Just thinking out loud.
Remember how parts of the library used to be named for particularly influential benefactors or [gasp] authors? Selling naming rights for libraries is the new big fundraiser.
Naming rights for dozens of library-related packages are for sale at prices ranging from $10,000 to $500,000. And, of course, they'll all be tax deductible once the Grosse Pointe Library Foundation gets Internal Revenue Service approval. [ thanks tom ]
PATRIOT Watch: Looks like the folks over at Unshelved are having a little trouble with the feds... in the fictional universe, of course.
Google Answers: so you want to buy a library... [ thanks leep ]
Frequent contributor Lis wrote up some of her impressions of the MIT Talk.
Romania library contemplates purchasing porn to help library shed dowdy image. This is, of course, a typical Anova article with little in the way of facts or details. It's also talking about Romania where people regularly do crossword puzzles in papers with pictures of topless women, and where they don't have the same puritanical ideas about porn as we do in the US. [ thanks rebecca ]
A few personal libraries of note: Iris Murdoch's is for sale, Hitlers is revealing. [ thanks brandon ]
Who knew there were so many interesting special collections in Michigan's library system? And, of course, they are in danger of being decimated by funding cuts. [ thanks tom ]
Hi. It may be restrospective week here at I've got a backlog of mail, a lot of things I have observed, and a few things to say. Plus I'm back on 44K dialup. Thanks for your patience, support and continued attention. turned four last week and I was too busy to mention it.
Links to the talks from the ASIS conference last week are now on the conference page. You may have seen mine but I really recommend reading all the others, there was some really good information flying around.
If you insist on continuing to link to the ALA website, might I recommend a shorter URL generator? Here is a comparison chart of some options. [ thanks anna ]
Watching Bowling for Columbine this weekend made me suddenly renew my interest in moving to Canada. Of course, they also have filtering issues in libraries that are even somewhat different because of a different national approach to freedom of speech. Library porn surfers, your days are numbered. [ thanks jen ]
Why does the Cambridge [MA] public library have one of the best sci-fi collections around? Librarian Donald York, of course. [ thanks susan ]
PATRIOT Watch: I think I have a Library Journal subscription now that I let them use my signs in an upcoming issue. Anti-PATRIOT sentiment seems to have reached a tipping point lately. Recent activity in Juneau Alaska. [ thanks daniel ]
Bookstores vs Libraries, the non-story that just won't die. [ NYT, thanks jonathan ]
New naked librarian links: one and two [ NSFW ]
I just became aware of Gondwanaland: Radical Librarians Save the World when I received a Swedish librarian newsletter which reprinted both the comic and some signs of mine. The new episodes are starting this week. [ thanks jude ]
Hi. Regular updates resume tomorrow, but oh my gosh I got elected to ALA Council [you can tell it's the new me because I'm trying very hard not to swear or "blaspheme"]! Thanks very much to all who voted for me, I'm truly honored.

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