American Libraries

Articles from Vol. 29, No. 7, August

ALA Thinks Globally, Acts Federally
Although an ALA meeting held in Washington, D.C. -- particularly one occurring the week before the Fourth of July -- might be expected to have a red-white-and-blue coloration befitting its capital setting, the Association's 117th Annual Conference...
A New Pragmatism
A prediction I made last fall is unfortunately coming true. Public libraries are rapidly becoming the main battlegrounds where our political wars are being fought. Bills have been introduced in state after state that would mandate internet filtering...
Canadian Library Association Checks Reality in Victoria
A sunny, west-coast welcome greeted 1,200 delegates to the 53rd Canadian Library Association conference, held at the splendid, historic Empress Hotel and Conference Centre in Victoria, British Columbia, june 17-21. The conference theme, "Reality Check:...
Changing of the Editorial Guard
Minced words are never on the menu when Lillian Gerhardt is serving up an editorial, but the outspoken editor-in-chief of School Library Journal ends her 32-year career at SLJ with retirement at the end of this month, leaving behind a respected legacy...
Chapter Report: Library Assistants and Professional Development
To say that library assistants present an untapped market for chapters isn't meant to ignore the enormous amount of activity that already exists. But despite an array of programs and membership growth among support staff, the appetite and demand for...
Continuing Education, Social Responsibility Top Agenda
Continuing education for librarians and social responsibility topped the agenda of the ALA Executive Board at its three meetings during Annual Conference in Washington, D. C., June 25-July 1. The Association's management body also approved the 1998-99...
Creating a Muniversity: Palm Springs Goes Virtual
The mayor of Palm Springs, California, sits near the front of the room. Around him sit, among others, a city council member, a representative from the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, several architects, and a number of community activists....
Diversity Takes Children to a Friendly Family Place
Not since the launch of Sputnik in the late 1950s has there been so much anxiety about improving education. From President Clinton's "America Reads Challenge" aimed at all children reading independently by third grade to magazine cover stories about...
FCC Votes to Scale Back E-Rate Program
As expected, the Federal Communications Commission decided June 12 to scale back rather than eliminate the universal-service telecommunications discount program money for schools and libraries. The commissioners voted by 3-2 to provide $650 million...
Give Me a Break
We were in her office in Washington and U.S. Register of Copyrights Marybeth Peters was patiently explaining the delicate balancing act her office is performing on the issue of "fair use" in proposed copyright legislation. My eyes glazed over; my...
Jersey City Board Ignores Protests, Votes to Privatize
Despite strong objections from library staff and the city council, the Jersey City (NJ.) Free Public Library System board of trustees voted July 14 to turn over the library's management to Library Systems and Services, Incorporated. The contract "for...
Lamenting Librarians' Linguistic Lapses
Match the following quotations with their authors: 1. You would be surprised how hard it often A. Melvil Dewey is to translate an action into thought. 2. it is better not to express what one means B. Peter Drucker than to express what one...
Librarians Scarce at BookExpo America
Hundreds of exhibit booths filled with the latest book titles and publishers' catalogs; dozens of bestselling authors making speeches and signing autographs; programs on topics ranging from "Finding Books on the Internet" to "Reaching Generation X."...
Medical Librarians Return to Philadelphia for Centennial
Some 2,300 health sciences librarians convened May 22-27 at the Marriott Hotel in Philadelphia to celebrate the centennial of the Medical Library Association (MLA) in the city of its founding. Following a kickoff birthday bash, MLA President Rachael...
Medina Director Resigns, Foes Quick to Take Credit
After 12 years of service -- the last two embroiled in an often contentious battle over age-neutral access policies -- Medina County (Ohio) District Library Director Bob Smith announced June 4 that he would resign, effective at the end of the month....
Mom and Me: A Difference in Information Values
She called me in early 1992 and wanted to know if I'd come to Manitowoc to help her buy a new car. Mom had never bought one before; Dad had always taken care of that, but he died in 1986 and this purchase would be the largest financial transaction...
Network, Network, Network
A lot of moxie and a little luck brought the 70,000-volume Lenox (Mass.) Library Association some $125,000 closer to its $2-million capital-campaign goal on May 23. On that evening, some 1,000 people paid $45-$100 per seat to attend a library benefit...
Open Society Institute in Budapest Examines Role of Associations
What would you do if the local and national funding for your library were to disappear? What would you do if the salaries for your library's staff had not been paid for months? What would you do if the members of your library association couldn't...
Postponements, Referrals, Routines Outpace Actions
What had promised to be an agenda fraught with debate over issues such as education for librarianship and ALA's relationship with the Boy Scouts of America became instead three sessions devoted largely to routine reports, referrals, and postponements....
President-Elect Long Wants to Boost the Public's View of Libraries
Sarah Long, who won the 1999-2000 ALA presidency in May with 57% of the votes cast (AL, June/July, p. 8), told American Libraries in a June interview that though she has yet to fully formulate her presidential theme, "it will be partly based on looking...
Satan's Shelving: Urban Library Legends
Librarians love to tell stories, especially about libraries and other librarians. As in other professions, many of their stories are true; some are, well, not so true; and some are just plain false. In many cases the veracity of the story is not...
Service Quality and Customer Satisfaction Do Matter
Many librarians maintain that only they, the professionals, have the expertise to assess the quality of library service. They assert that users cannot judge quality, users do not know what they want or need, and professional hegemony will be undermined...
Special Librarians Do It Knowledgeably in Indianapolis
Although not as well attended as previous conferences in Seattle and Montreal, the Special Libraries Association's 89th annual conference June 6-11 drew more than 5,500 librarians, vendors, and information professionals to Indianapolis. They came...
The OCLC Connection
In June, K. Wayne Smith stepped down as president and chief executive officer of OCLC (the Online Computer Library Center), a post he had held since January 23, 1989. During his tenure, Smith steered the bibliographic utility giant through a period...
Ultra-Cool Cyber Tools
You may think catalog cards are a thing of the past. However, when I put out an online call for favorite digital tools, no fewer than three people wrote to tell me the wonderful ways these anachronisms can be put to use. Christine Drew, coordinator...
Who Are These People?
It is a well-known fact that most of the nation's 8,921 public libraries have boards of trustees and that those trustees have a lot to say about how public libraries operate. Trustees are important enough to public library development that most state...
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