American Libraries

Articles from Vol. 39, No. 5, May

$1-Billion NYPL Expansion to Add Branches, Technology
New York Public Library announced a five-year, $1-billion expansion March 11 with the goal of doubling its number of unique users. Adopted after an 18-month study, the improvement plan has three major elements, the library said in a press release....
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Agreeing on Advocacy
Warm fuzzies about libraries have always been easy for me to take. Through the years, I've listened as ALA conference speakers--celebrities and authors and ordinary people--issued dozens of sentimental reflections and waxed poetic on the special place...
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ALA Unveils Study on Library Service to New Americans
About 21 million people in the United States speak limited or no English, 50% more than a decade ago. As the country's demographics continue to change, U.S. public libraries continue their efforts to meet the service needs of non-English users. In...
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Alta
NEW NAME PROPOSED A joint steering committee made up of select board members from the Association of Library Trustees and Advocates and Friends of Libraries U.S.A. (FOLUSA) met in March during ALA's Public Library Association conference in Minneapolis...
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Candidates Sought for 2009 Election
The ALA 2009 Nominating Committee is soliciting nominees to run on the 2009 spring ballot for the offices of ALA president and council-or-at-large. The committee will select two candidates to run for president-elect and no fewer than 50 candidates...
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Digital Defense: A Primer for the Preservation of Digital Materials
Digital preservation is a set of activities aimed at ensuring access to digital materials over time. Materials to be preserved must be assessed, selected, and brought under the control of the custodial institution. Descriptive metadata, including persistent...
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Family Challenges Two Books over N-Word
The parents of an 11-year-old student at the Hillsborough County (Fla.) School District's Turner Elementary School in New Tampa announced in mid-March that they would seek the removal of two media-center novels that contain the n-word: The Land by...
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First Lady Laura Bush Reveals Post-White House Agenda
In an exclusive interview at the White House March 19, First Lady Laura Bush told American Libraries that she would definitely play a role in the establishment of her husband's presidential library at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. "I'm really...
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Global Reach
UNITED KINGDOM 1 Two primary schools in Bristol, England, have withdrawn storybooks about same-sex relationships after objections from Muslim parents. Up to 90 parents gathered at the schools to complain about King and King and And Tango Makes Three....
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How the World Sees Us
"Kindle includes wireless access to Wikipedia. I do not need wireless access to Wikipedia. I would prefer to stir-fry my own small intestines than to have continual access to a site where the entry for Klingon is longer than the entry for Latin." University...
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Information Invigoration: The 2008 List of Outstanding Reference Sources Indicates a Renewed Interest Via Print and Online
Gross, chair of the 2007 Reference and User Services Association (RUSA) Outstanding Reference Sources Committee and electronic resources librarian for the Missouri Library Network Corporation in St. Louis, says that this year's choices for outstanding...
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Jon Scieszka
Popular children's author Jon Scieszka was recently named the first National Ambassador for Young People's Literature by the Library of Congress (AL, Mar., p. 25), a role he calls "the perfect opportunity to tell people the things that we know from...
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Killed by Kindness: How Well-Intentioned Nostalgia Harms Today's Library
"I have always imagined that paradise will be a kind of library." That oft-quoted remark by Jorge Luis Borges sounds so sweet, so gentle and civilized, so inordinately flattering to libraries. Alas, it is not. Why? Because paradise is a place to...
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Let's Meet over Books: Authors Rule as Public Librarians Gather in Minneapolis
In Minneapolis for the 12th biennial National Conference of the Public Library Association (PLA), March 25-29, public librarians from across the country and around the world gathered for a week of discussions, seminars, exhibits, and programs. Many...
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Librarian, Inform Thyself: It Takes a Knowledge Manager to Relocate a Family
After living in the same house in Tempe, Arizona, for the past 25 years, I recently moved to Livermore, California. It was a retirement move. I wanted to be near my children and grandchildren. Do-it-yourself moving is a marathon. My first stop was...
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Librarians Stop Abortion Stop-Listing
The March 31 discovery by an academic librarian that the administrator of the reproductive-health database Popline (Population Information Online) had placed the search word "abortion" on its stop list, or file of blocked terms, has led to the dean...
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Libraries Blasted for Pulling Programs
Two public libraries in Ohio have become embroiled in charges of censorship from local community groups. In a decision sharply criticized by the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio, the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Library cancelled a...
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Library Worker's Firing Sparks Firestorm
The firing of a worker at the Tulare County (Calif.) Library two days after she defied a supervisor by alerting police to a patron viewing what she believed to be child pornography has sparked controversy and the threat of a lawsuit. When Brenda...
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Living the Dream: Take a Moment to Appreciate What You've Got
Have you had the experience of telling a new acquaintance that you work in a library, and having them proclaim how lucky you are? I think it is taking a while for librarians to wake up and recognize that we are working in what others recognize as...
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Memphis Mayor Draws Fire for Branch Closings, Political Appointments
Memphis, Tennesse, Mayor Willie Herenton, who had already drawn the ire of library supporters for placing political appointees in charge of the Memphis Public Library and Information Center, announced March 18 that the city will close five library...
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Minds at Play: Teens Gain 21st-Century Literacy Skills Designing Their Own Computer Games
The effects of video games on learning and skill development are being widely studied, and the findings are impacting the way educators envision the shape of the 21st-century classroom. Most research has focused upon the learning behavior of young...
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Money Watch: General Fund Mysteries Unveiled
In my first Treasurer's Report to the governing Council during ALA's 2008 Midwinter Meeting in Philadelphia, one of the financial themes was the importance of the Association's General Fund. What is the General Fund, and why is it important to us as...
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Music Downloading Looks to Big Labels
Banks of CDs for borrowing may slowly disappear from libraries in the years ahead, but the idea of lending music to patrons is still very much with us. As more and more libraries begin offering digital downloads, however, the big music labels have...
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Sacramento Judge Indicts Trio in Scam
Two contractors and a former facilities supervisor for Sacramento (Calif.) Public Library made their first court appearance April 2, following their arrest the previous week on felony charges in an alleged billing scam, the Sacramento Bee reported...
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Skype[TM] as Conference Tool
Using familiar technology such as Skype in groundbreaking ways doesn't have to be difficult or costly: just ask library staff who are taking advantage of it to plan or participate in conferences. Skype is used by millions of people every day as a means...
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Spring Awakening: Creativity Is Busting out All Over
Spring is gorgeous in Seattle, from the crocuses in late January through cherry blossoms on the Quad in March and tulips and flowering trees in April, and the promise that the sun will, one day, return. This spring was set off for me this year by a...
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Spurning "Burning": School Librarians Must Avoid Despair and Remain Constant Gardeners
This library print collection is, for all intents and purposes, lifeless." This is the final line of "Burning with Frustration," Thomas Washington's September 2007 "On My Mind" column on weeding collections and the lack of interest in reading among...
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Stalking Your Favorite Authors
Literary biography, literary criticism, and what I'll call memoirs about reading are probably the three most common kinds of books about books, and frankly, I have bones to pick with all of them. Let me clarify: There are good literary biographies...
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Syndicate to Communicate: Exert Greater Control over Your Web Presence with RSS
Libraries are constantly changing--with new collections, technologies, services, and events. Consequently, a library's website must be frequently updated to reflect these changes. Some libraries have no access to the server that hosts their website....
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Tech Giants Form OpenSocial Foundation
Yahoo, MySpace, and Google announced March 25 that they have agreed to form the OpenSocial Foundation to ensure the neutrality and longevity of OpenSocial, which is a set of common application programming interfaces (APIs) for building social applications...
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The Elusive E-Book: Are E-Books Finally Ready for Prime Time?
In the 12 years I've been researching electronic publishing, a lot of predictions have been made. Had the pundits been correct, half of reading material today would be delivered electronically. In spite of these rosy predictions, individual e-book...
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Trusting in the Answers: Ready for Patrons Who Have Questions about Everything?
A child said, What is the grass? fetching it to me with full hands; How could I answer the child? --Walt Whitman Some librarians who didn't expect to serve young people may find themselves answering questions from the child, rather than about Whitman....
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Working Well Together: Budding Flowers Moon Month or Zaagibagaa-Giizis
This year of service as your president has brought many gifts--chief among them the opportunity to reconnect with old friends and colleagues and establish strong, new connections. This has also been an educational experience for me as I continue to...
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