Saturday, February 13, 2010

Today's Idea Box: Libraries & Independent Bookstores

Link to February 11 An American Editor blogpost, "An Immodest Proposal V: Libraries and Indies in the eBook Age. (via Twitter)

Excerpt: Recent posts on some blogs and forums I visit have questioned the future viability of libraries in the future ebook world. These got me thinking about libraries and independent bookstores.

I think libraries are the repositories of knowledge; it would be tragic if they disappeared, removing a fantastic resource for learning and knowledge. Libraries are a great way to introduce children to the wonders of books and reading. When my children were young, library visits were a weekly excursion and I expect to repeat the same with my grandchildren.

But now libraries – and independent bookstores – face a threat of extinction through the growth of ebooks. I admit that my power in Washington is nil and that getting Congress to do anything to protect libraries in the digital age is beyond my abilities. So, instead, I’m offering a modest proposal that, hopefully, doesn’t take an act of overpaid politicians to accomplish. I admit that the idea is in the germinal stage, but I also think it’s one worth exploring.

I modestly propose that libraries and independent bookstores combine and create a new entity that I’ll call the Lindie for want of better imagination (shall we hold a contest for a better name?).

Retiring Guy responds.

1. Wait a minute. People have been questioning the viability of libraries in an Internet world for 15 years now. And what's happened in the meantime? Libraries are busier and more highly valued than ever -- a reality that some elected officials seem to be deliberately tuning out. So all of a sudden the ebook is gonna do libraries in?

2. A red flag is raised and starts flapping furiously in the breeze whenever I read/hear someone refer to libraries as "repositories". Libraries are not storage facilities.

3. I have to wonder how old the author's children are? When was the last time he actually spent some time in a library?

4. Libraries are already in the independent bookstore business. They're called Friends' book sales. During my last year as Director at the Middleton Public Library, the Friends' monthly and ongoing book sales generated nearly $25,000 in revenue, all of which was used to enhance the library's service program.

5. I'm sorry, but I wouldn't go anywhere near something called a "Lindie".

Branch Library Closures Likely In Warren Michigan

Link to January 31 Detroit News article, "Warren library warns branches may close".

Excerpt: Library administrators for the state's third-largest city say residents like Bidinger should prepare to do without its three branch locations. They are out of money and expect closures before July 1.

The City Council opted to take no action last week on a request for a special May election to ask voters to support a tax increase to keep the buildings open. City officials said a special election would cost the city about $85,000. Instead, the issue may go before voters in the August primary.

"At this point, it looks like things are going to close and layoffs are going to happen," said Warren Library Director Amy Henderstein. "I feel hopeful we will still be able to take it forward in August. I think the citizens would like a chance to be able to vote."

Library administrators plan to ask residents to support a tax increase of 0.85 mills. It would cost residents with a $100,000 home about $42.50 per year. Right now, they pay about $25

Warren Public Library blog.

Public libraries are the ultimate reusable resource

Link to a February 10 post. (via Twitter)

Excerpt: Even in this age where reduce, reuse and recycle are three ideas that are on the minds of many, one place may get overlooked for it's green services. I'll give you a hint ...Shhh... if you enjoy books, like to save money and are an eco-conscious person look no further than your local public library. Instead of purchasing a book, see if your local public library has it in stock. As you probably know, when you are finished with the book, just return it and repeat the process. The best part is that is that all of this is free. Now public libraries not only carry books, but also audio-books, CDs, DVDs, magazines and more.

Basic stuff, but as one commenter noted, "I used to go to the library all the time and this review has been a great reminder that I need another trip. Thanks!"

The Pay Phone: Still a Life Line in Some Neighborhoods

Link to February 13 New York Times article, "Listening In on a Pay Phone in Queens". (Print headline: "Diary of a Queens Pay Phone, Where a Link to Life Costs 25 Cents".)

Excerpt: Everybody knows the public pay phone is dying, but nobody inclined to watch this one would believe it. It sits across the street from Queens Criminal Court, on a patch of sidewalk facing Fast & Fresh Supermarket Deli & Grocery. In the age of the iPhone and the BlackBerry, in a city where cellphones are cheaper and more plentiful than toasters, the pay phone outside Fast & Fresh is outdated, outnumbered, outperformed.

Yet this grimy phone — in a silvery booth that Superman would have skipped over, for it is doorless and not fully enclosed — survives and, in its own nickel-and-dime way, thrives.

In seven days last week, more than 100 people deposited a total of $52 in the phone, at 25 cents per call. Last month, hundreds of people put in a total of $210 worth of coins. Those who stepped into the booth last Thursday and Friday provided a snapshot of New York’s pay phone user, an elusive, rather anonymous demographic sometimes viewed with suspicion.

This type of offbeat, fascinating, and instructive slice-of-life story always renews Retiring Guy's appreciation for newspapers. (Mr. Patir's vignette is likely to make your eyes water.)

Friday, February 12, 2010

Friday Miscellany

Politics Blog: Poll shows Barrett and Walker are in a tight race for governor.

Will people leave Facebook for Buzz? Fat chance. (cnet news).
Based on his limited experience with Buzz, Retiring Guy tends to agree.

Vibrant newspapers here to stay. (Wisconsin State Journal editorial.)

State details Milwaukee Public Schools failures. (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)

Politician fear dealing with flakes. (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)
Retiring Guy thinks there's another story to be told under this headline.

It's "mixing," not plagiarism, says much-lauded 17-year-old author. (boingboing)
Gullibles' travails.

@ Your Library: Help for Job Hunters

Link to February 6 Silicon Valley article, " Libraries offers eager job-hunters more help in difficult economy".

Excerpt: The doors on the Campbell Library were still locked Saturday morning when an anxious crowd gathered in the drizzling rain.

They didn't come to listen to children's story time or to check out a best-seller. They came for free job-hunting advice. And this group — barely a fraction of the 11.5 percent unemployed workers in Silicon Valley — not only showed up on time, but early.

"You see jobs online, you apply and it's just dead silence," said Connie Davis, who was laid off from Sun Microsystems nearly two years ago. Still, "you get up every day and you keep at it, keep at it, keep at it, and say, 'Today might be the day.' "

Headlines are heralding the start of an economic rebound and listing major Silicon Valley companies that are starting to hire again. But to Davis, the job market remains "a dead zone." So here she stood in a raincoat on the long ramp outside the library, hoping today would be her day, if only to learn an interview tip that might make a difference in what has been a fruitless quest.

Report: Broadband in the Mississippi Delta, a 21st Century Racial Justice Issue

Link to executive summary of Center for Social Inclusion report. (via boingboing)

Excerpt: Communities of color in the Mississippi Delta are disconnected from the twenty-first century information economy and the social benefits it brings with it. Broadband in the Mississippi Delta, shows the link between economic opportunity and broadband access in one of the poorest regions of the country. Mississippi’s rural areas need investment in broadband to grow and thrive. As new federal resources under the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program become available this year CSI’s report, Broadband in the Mississippi In the Delta, demonstrates the strategic and social importance of the federal government directing those funds to poorly connected communities in Mississippi, which are often communities of color.


• People of color are the majority in zip codes with zero access to high speed Internet.

• Mississippi’s Second Congressional Districts has the largest population of people of color and the lowest levels of broadband access.
• Broadband builds the economy. Therefore, poor communities of color are less able to build their economies or the state and national economy.

New York Times "Room for Debate": Do School Libraries Need Books?

Link to February 10 New York Times article.

A sampling of opinion.

James Tracy, headmaster of Cushing Academy, a boarding and day school in Massachusetts for grades 9 to 12.

A small collection of printed books no longer supports the type of research required by a 21st century curriculum. We wanted to create a library that reflected the reality of how students do research and fostered what they do, one that went beyond stacks and stacks of underutilized books.

Matthew G. Kirschenbaum, associate professor of English at the University of Maryland and director of the campus honors program in Digital Cultures and Creativity.

Books and libraries are working (or living) models of knowledge formation. We need them for the same reason we need models of atoms and airplanes. They are hands-on. They are immersive. Holding a book in our hands, we orient ourselves within a larger system.

Liz Gray, library director at Dana Hall School, a girls’ school in Wellesley, Mass., and president of the board of the Association of Independent School Librarians.

My other responsibility as a school librarian is to encourage reading, which all the research shows is crucial to student success. Focused, engaged reading occurs with printed books, and far less with online material.

Nicholas Carr, author of “The Big Switch: Rewiring the World, from Edison to Google.”

But if we care about the depth of our intellectual and cultural lives, we’ll see that emptying our libraries of books is not an example of progress. It’s an example of regress.

William Powers, author of the forthcoming “Hamlet’s BlackBerry: A Practical Philosophy for Building a Good Life in the Digital Age.”

This is indeed the start of a new era. Digital devices are transforming how we live in all kinds of thrilling ways, and we’ve only begun to explore their potential. But embracing these new tools doesn’t require us to simultaneously throw out all the old ones, particularly those that continue to serve useful purposes. Who says it has to be an either-or decision?

Now, on to the next question. Do school libraries need professional trained staff?

Waupaca Area Public Library to Host Lincoln Exhibit

Link to January 13 post.

Excerpt: The Waupaca Area Public Library is one of 25 libraries in the nation and the only one in Wisconsin that will be hosting a traveling exhibit about Abraham Lincoln this year.

Titled “Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War,” the panel exhibit is a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Library Association.

It will be on exhibit at the Waupaca Area Public Library from Aug. 16 to Sept. 25

Wisconsin payday lending bill: The real cloud over the issue

Link to February 10 Appleton Post-Crescent article, "Republicans want to slow Wisconsin payday lending bill".

Excerpt: Republican Senate Minority Leader Scott Fitzgerald [$7,250 and #5 on the hit parade] says the Legislature should slow down because there’s a cloud over the issue.

Cloud over the issue? Yeah, I'd say.

Take a look at this R-45/D-17 tally.

(That's what it's all about ALFie.)

Arizona's Vail School District: The Internet as School Bus Monitor

Link to February 12 New York Times article, "Wi-Fi Turns Rowdy Bus Into Rolling Study Hall".
Excerpt: Students endure hundreds of hours on yellow buses each year getting to and from school in this desert exurb of Tucson, and stir-crazy teenagers break the monotony by teasing, texting, flirting, shouting, climbing (over seats) and sometimes punching (seats or seatmates).

But on this chilly morning, as bus No. 92 rolls down a mountain highway just before dawn, high school students are quiet, typing on laptops.

Morning routines have been like this since the fall, when school officials mounted a mobile Internet router to bus No. 92’s sheet-metal frame, enabling students to surf the Web. The students call it the Internet Bus, and what began as a high-tech experiment has had an old-fashioned — and unexpected — result. Wi-Fi access has transformed what was often a boisterous bus ride into a rolling study hall, and behavioral problems have virtually disappeared

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Grammys: Who ya gonna believe?

Grammys give sales a boost. (Variety)


Grammy 2010 sales boost off to a slow start. (Billboard)


Grammy 2010 sales boost just don't seem to be happening this year. (Routenote Blog)

Don't even ask Retiring Guy for his opinion. Those who know him will already know.

(As in it takes until 2010 for Neil Young to win his first Grammy.)

10 luminaries look ahead to the business of reading

And, according to Fortune, they are................

1. Kurt Andersen, novelist and public radio host.

2. Katharine Weymouth, Publisher, the Washington Post, and CEO, Washington Post Media.

3. Jimmy Wales, founder, Wikipedia, the collaborative online encyclopedia.

4. Steven Brill, founder, The American Lawyer, and co-founder, Press+, an online payment system for news sites.

5. Marc Andreessen, co-founder, Netscape and Andreessen Horowitz, a venture fund.

6. Jeff Jarvis, author, What Would Google Do?

7. Jeannette Walls, author, The Glass Castle and Half Broke Horses.

8. Paul LeClerc, president and CEO, New York Public Library.

9. Kevin Rose, founder, Digg.

10. Matt Mullenweg, founding developer, WordPress.

Kirkus Gets a Bounce

Link to February 10 New York Times article, "Kirkus Gets a New Owner — From the N.B.A."

Excerpt: Mr. [Marc] Winkelman [who seems to have lotsa connections], who previously worked for Barnes & Noble, said that the company would continue to publish Kirkus as a print magazine while beefing up its digital offerings. He said he planned no immediate changes to the print edition, but hoped to make improvements over time.

"This Book is Overdue". Chapter 2, Information Sickness

Link to Marilyn Johnson's website.

Link to November 1, 1981, New York Times book review, "Fun Dolphin, Smart Whale". Mooney's novel is reviewed in tandem with one by Rob Swigart, who is (was? -- it's been a long time) the husband of a teaching assistant I had for freshman English at SUNY Buffalo.

From August 31, 2007, Townblog post, "Information Sickness": Ted Mooney's 1981 novel Easy Travel to Other Places introduces the idea of "information sickness," whereby the collection of information only leads to an increased need for more information, and this process -- somewhat like an intenstinal worm -- leaves us hungry and sick.

Whoa! Coming up with the concept of "information sickness" in 1981. Most libraries didn't offer public-access Internet until the mid-1990s. Thirty years ago, we were still in card-catalog, print-reference mode. I hadn't even formulated my "Top 40 Ready Reference Sources" yet.

Yeah, I even updated it last year. But only the top 20.

WorldCat record

LINKcat record (just 2 copies among 49 library locations)

Variations of this next item now found at hundreds of library websites.
Massachusetts Library Association

"Long Time, No Hear" (November 14, 2008)
Excerpt: Our computer facilities are maxed out. Before this summer, a five or ten minutes wait was the most patrons could expect. There are now often 25 people in line with a 30-40 minute wait.

Computer classesHedberg Public Library Janesville, Wisconsin

Search engines.
Two of my UW-Madison SLIS students have chosen WolframAlpha as the topic of their reference demonstration assignment in LIS 635.

Link to Reference Question of the Week - 11/9/08.

A patron walks up to the desk, slides me this piece of paper, and says,

I was walking in the woods behind my house and found a plaque with this written on it. Can you tell me what it says?

Miscommunication: "bootyism"/Buddhism.

"Oranges and Peaches: Understanding Communication Accidents in the Reference Interview", by Patricia Dewdney and Gillian Michell, RQ, Summer 1996.

Abstract: Librarians often have communication "accidents" with reference questions as initially presented. This article presents linguistic analysis of query categories, including: simple failures of hearing, accidents involving pronunciation or homophones, accidents where users repeat earlier misinterpretations to librarians, and accidents where users "creatively reconstruct" the terminology of their need. Restatement techniques and neutral and follow-up questioning are discussed.

A required reading for Session 5 of LIS 635, Reference and Information Service.

The Mosman Library challenge.

Mosman Library vs. that search engine

Buildings, Books, & Bytes, a report published by the Benton Foundation and funded by the W. K. Kellogg Foundation.

Excerpt from executive summary: T his report is about libraries and the challenges they face in the digital world. But it is also about every noncommercial institution -- from public TV to the freenets -- that provides information to the public. It uses libraries as an exemplar of what can happen to even our most cherished public institutions when they face the onset of the digital revolution, a seismic societal shift. The report's findings about the intersection -- and divergence -- of library leaders' visions with those of the public hold lessons for everyone who values and wants to promote the public sphere of information and communications.

Public Libraries, Public Support? The Mission Behind Buildings, Books and Bytes, by Laura Weiss.

Excerpt: The result of this exploration was "Buildings, Books and Bytes," a study released in November that has elicited widespread, positive reaction from the library community -- both individual librarians and professional associations alike -- as a needed call to action to a profession struggling to carve out a meaningful role for itself in a rapidly changing information landscape. Briefly, the study found significant gaps between library leaders' expectations for their profession and those of the public. The public lends libraries a degree of overall support rarely enjoyed by other American public institutions. Yet, Americans are not yet ready to cede to libraries the role of technology leader. And, in a finding that shocked many members of the library community, Americans appear to have low regard for librarians as a cadre of skilled, highly trained information professionals, believing that volunteers can staff libraries just as well -- and for fewer tax dollars. Thus, the public's message to the library world was clear: "do not simply assume that if you say 'we are now technology leaders, follow us,' we will follow. We need to be convinced. "

What Is a Shifted Librarian?
So I call myself "The Shifted Librarian," but what does that mean? I took the name from a presentation that I do called "Information Shifting" about how the change from pursuing information to receiving information is and will be affecting libraries.

All about Jenny.

ALA 2007 conference on flickr

Kathryn Shaughnessy
End of annotated chapter 2.

Position Opening: University of Wisconsin-Rock County Director of the Library

From UW-Rock County Viewbook

Position Overview: The Director of the Library is responsible for the management of the campus library and reports directly to the Campus Executive Officer/Dean. The position is an academic staff, 12‐month, 83% position. Starting salary is $49,058 with excellent benefits. The Director develops, promotes, maintains and evaluates library services to faculty, staff, a varied student population, and the community. The Director trains, supervises, and evaluates two support staff and several student employees and supports the curriculum through active collaboration with faculty and staff.

Link to full text of position description.

Link to Gary J. Lenox Library homepage.

Plans for New Waunakee Library Stall

Waunakee Public Library: the current facility

Link to February 10 Waunakee News article, "Village may seek proposals for downtown sans library".

Excerpt: Although a library is not in the cards for now, the Waunakee Village Board may seek other development proposals for the E. Main and N. Madison Street site.

Waunakee’s Economic Development Commission Monday offered their suggestions for how a request for proposals (RFP) should be crafted and recommended that the village board move forward – even without a library plan.

“We [village trustees] asked staff to develop an RFP without a library, hoping that something good would happen,” said John Laubmeier, village board president and commissioner.

Although at its previous meeting, economic development commissioners had recommended that the board move forward with a library plan at that site and forego a referendum, village board members declined to.

Laubmeier cited many reasons. In the end, many board members said they could never move ahead on a library plan without a referendum, he said. Laubmeier added that the cost for a library would force the village to exceed its self-imposed borrowing cap.

DeForest: A Library at the Heart of Its Community

Link to February 10 DeForest Times Tribune article, "Downtown DeForest: A decade of change".

Excerpt: Eight years ago this month, the DeForest Area Public Library opened in its new downtown location, 203 Library Street.

With 35,000 square feet of space over three levels, the library hosts approximately 65,000 volumes in print, 6,300 audio materials and 9,800 video materials as well as software, children’s multi-media kits and public computers. It features a large children’s story-hour room, multiple meeting spaces and three non-profit organization offices.

Upon its opening, the new library quickly became the hub of the downtown area, drawing more than 200,000 visitors through its doors each year.

Like the appearance of the library, from its cramped space in the strip mall north of the post office to its unique Scandinavian-style downtown centerpiece, the entire downtown district has put on a new face over the past decade. It’s almost hard to envision some of the dilapidated buildings and grain towers that once occupied the approximately four-block area which has been redeveloped into the bustling residential and commercial center of downtown DeForest

And the library led the way.

Position Opening: University of Wisconsin-Barron County Director of Library Services

The Director of Library Services is responsible for the management of the campus library and reports directly to the Campus Executive Officer/Dean. The position is an academic staff, 83% appointment (8 months at 100%, 4 months at 50%). The director develops, promotes, maintains and evaluates library services to faculty, staff, a varied student population, and the community. The director supports the curriculum through collaboration with faculty and staff, works with the Instructional Technology (IT) staff to enrich the library's operations, and is proficient in library computer technology. The director oversees the campus textbook rental program and is responsible for training and supervising support staff and student employees.

Full text of job announcement found here.

Link to UW-Barron County library & technology website.

Social Network Dropouts

Retiring Guy thinks it's a slow day in the not sure why this is a story. Social networks are a fluid development. New users sign on every day. Current users decide, for a variety of reasons, that it's no longer for them. And some folks profess no interest from the get-go. As Laura LeNoir has clearly shown us -- twice -- it's a matter of personal choice.

Link to February 12 USA Today article, "Some ditch social networks to reclaim time, privacy".

Excerpt: Facebook reports that it has 400 million active users worldwide. Make that 399,999,999. Laura LeNoir is done.

"I feel better, I feel lighter, I got my privacy back," says LeNoir, 42, an office manager at an educational software company in Birmingham, Ala., who logged off a few weeks ago. "People say, 'You'll be back.' But I read more, walk the dogs more. I'll be fine."

As the social networking train gathers momentum, some riders are getting off.

Their reasons run the gamut from being besieged by online "friends" who aren't really friends to lingering concerns over where their messages and photos might materialize. If there's a common theme to their exodus, it's the nagging sense that a time-sucking habit was taking the "real" out of life

Mid-1800s Plantation Owner's Diary Called "Sensational" Find

Link to February 11 New York Times article, "Diary That Inspired Faulkner".

Excerpt: The climactic moment in William Faulkner’s 1942 novel “Go Down, Moses” comes when Isaac McCaslin finally decides to open his grandfather’s leather farm ledgers with their “scarred and cracked backs” and “yellowed pages scrawled in fading ink” — proof of his family’s slave-owning past. Now, what appears to be the document on which Faulkner modeled that ledger as well as the source for myriad names, incidents and details that populate his fictionalized Yoknapatawpha County has been discovered.

The original manuscript, a diary from the mid-1800s, was written by Francis Terry Leak, a wealthy plantation owner in Mississippi whose great-grandson Edgar Wiggin Francisco Jr. was a friend of Faulkner’s since childhood. Mr. Francisco’s son, Edgar Wiggin Francisco III, now 79, recalls the writer’s frequent visits to the family homestead in Holly Springs, Miss., throughout the 1930s, saying Faulkner was fascinated with the diary’s several volumes. Mr. Francisco said he saw them in Faulker’s hands and remembers that he “was always taking copious notes.”

Specialists have been stunned and intrigued not only by this peephole into Faulkner’s working process, but also by material that may have inspired this Nobel-prize-winning author, considered by many to be one of the greatest American novelists of the 20th century

Key player in this story: Sally Wolff-King, scholar of Southern Literature at Emory University. It was she who made the connection between Faulker's books and Leak's diary. She previewed her findings in the fall 2009 issue of The Southern Literary Journal. Her book, Ledgers of History: William Faulkner, an Almost Forgotten Friendship, and an Antebellum Diary" will be published by LSU Press in June.

E-Book Buyers Balk at...and Bloviate Over...Price Hikes

Link to February 11 New York Times article, "E-Book's Price Increase May Stir Readers' Passions", compared to the bland "E-Book's Cost Is Going Up" in the print edition.

Excerpt: In the battle over the pricing of electronic books, publishers appear to have won the first round. The price of many new releases and best sellers is about to go up, to as much as $14.99 from $9.99.

But there may be an insurgency waiting to pounce: e-book buyers.

Over the last year, the most voracious readers of e-books have shown a reflexive hostility to prices higher than the $9.99 set by and other online retailers for popular titles


This book has been on the shelves for three weeks and is already in the remainder bins,” wrote Wayne Fogel of The Villages, Fla., when he left a one-star review of Catherine Coulter’s book “KnockOut” on Amazon. “$14.82 for the Kindle version is unbelievable. Some listings Amazon should refuse when the authors are trying to rip off Amazon’s customers.”

Always Something Happening at the Library

HTR provides links provided to detailed information.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Wednesday Miscellany

Former Music Exec Tells Book Publishers They're Acting Just Like the Recording Industry 10 Years Ago. (from techdirt and definitely worth your time)

Spel chek.

Those were the days. (For anyone who can remember that far back.)

Ironic headline of the day. (Washington Post)

"This Book is Overdue": Chapter 1, The Frontier.

Notes and links.

Deadwood received a grant of $15,000 from Andrew Carnegie's Library Building Program in 1902. Three years later, the library, designed in a classical style, opened with a collection of 4,353 volumes. (Source)

Deadwood Public Library's South Dakota Room/Geneaological and Local History Resources.

The next two reproduced pages are from the South Dakota Library Bulletin, "History of South Dakota Libraries" (Click on pages to enlarge.)

Newspaper index. Warning about terms now considered slanderous or derogatory. (Click to enlarge.)

Aside: Best advice I ever received in college. On the first day of a class on Chaucer, in the spring (1970) semester of my sophomore year at SUNY Buffalo, Professor Vic Doyno exhorted the class to escape our present-day mindset and values if we wanted to fully appreciate and understand Chaucer's pilgrims and the world in which they lived. Beloit College Mindset List.

Deadwood in Second Life.
Watch more videos of Second Life

Lena Kjeller is Remembered
. (rez libris)

Lena Kjeller InfoLib.

Dave Mewhinney's Second Life Librarian page.

Marilyn Johnson's visionary librarians.

Frederick G. Kilgour
OCLC obituary. (August 1, 2006)

Excerpt: Kilgour is widely recognized as one of the leading figures in 20th-century librarianship for using computer networks to increase access to information in libraries around the world. He was among the earliest proponents of adapting computer technology to library processes. At the dawn of library automation in the early 1970's, he founded OCLC Online Computer Library Center and led the creation of a library network that today links 55,000 institutions in 110 countries.

Judith Krug
New York Times obituary. (April 14, 2009)

Excerpt: Judith F. Krug, who led the campaign by libraries against efforts to ban books, including helping found Banned Books Week, then fought laws and regulations to limit children’s access to the Internet, died Saturday in Evanston, Ill. She was 69.

The cause was stomach cancer, her son, Steven, said.

As the American Library Association's official proponent of the First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech since the 1960s, Ms. Krug (pronounced kroog) fought the banning of books, including “Huckleberry Finn,” “Mein Kampf,” “Little Black Sambo,” “Catcher in the Rye” and sex manuals. In 1982, she helped found Banned Books Week, an annual event that includes authors reading from prohibited books.

She also fought for the inclusion of literature on library shelves that she herself found offensive, like “The Blue Book” of the ultraconservative John Birch Society. The book is a transcript of a two-day monologue by Robert Welch at the founding meeting of the society in 1958.

Henriette AvramWashington Post obituary. (April 28, 2006)

Excerpt: Henriette D. Avram, whose far-reaching work at the Library of Congress replaced ink-on-paper card catalogues and revolutionized cataloguing systems at libraries worldwide, died April 22 of cancer at Baptist Hospital in Miami. Mrs. Avram, 86, had recently moved to Florida from her home in California, Md.

The practical effect of her complicated mathematical formulations was to make library collections more readily accessible to scholars and the general public. Her work greatly expanded interlibrary loan programs throughout the nation and allowed people to sit at computers and look through automated card catalogues at libraries everywhere.

We'll have to ask Marilyn for a copy of her screenshot of the "chin vaginas" Wikipedia post.

Leveling the playing field. Sno-Isle Libraries blogpost, "Why We Need Libraries". (Click to enlarge)

Name changes

Rutgers Faculty Agrees To Drop “Library” from SCILS Name. (Library Journal, 2/10/2009)

Librarians at Rutgers protest vote to drop 'library' from name of school. (, 4/2/2009)

A day when many library staff would prefer to be at a meeting, on vacation -- perhaps in a dentist's chair.

Connecticut librarians challenge FBI.
Link to May 26, 2006 ACLU report, Librarians' NSL Challenge.

Excerpt: In August 2005, the ACLU disclosed that the FBI used an NSL to demand patron records from the Library Connection, a consortium of 26 Connecticut libraries. At the time, Congress was in the midst of a critical debate over reauthorization of the Patriot Act. One of the key issues was whether the government had used the Patriot Act to demand information from libraries.

Library of Congress Digital Collections & Services

New York Public Library Digital Gallery