American Libraries

Articles from Vol. 39, No. 8, September

ACLU Challenges Expanded FISA Powers
President George W. Bush signed into law July 10 the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, a bill expanding legal authority for wiretaps by spy agencies that has been hotly debated since the February expiration of the Protect America Act (AL, Apr., p. 20)....
A Fundamental Freedom: Celebrate during Banned Books Week
Values, like muscles, atrophy without exercise. Each fall, Banned Books Week--September 27--October 4 this year--offers an exceptional opportunity for all who value First Amendment rights. Celebrated nationwide with displays, events, and read-outs,...
A Privacy Victory in Vermont: A New Law Protects Patron Confidentiality
Astate police detective entered the tiny Kimball Public Library in Randolph, Vermont, June 26 and attempted to seize the public access computers. A 12-year-old girl was missing, and the police had received a tip that she sometimes used the terminals....
Back to School; Continuing Your Education
Many librarians are committed to life-long learning, practiced year-round. Still, there is something energizing about the back-to-school season. Remember the beauty of a box of fresh crayons, and the anticipation of all the new classroom discoveries...
Consider the Jaybrarian: Newly Minted Professionals Offer Fresh Eyes
We've all heard of jaywalkers, right? A jaywalker crosses the street outside the marked lines of a crosswalk. I've been a jaywalker, and chances are you have too. But quick--do you know where the word "jaywalker" comes from? In the early 20th century,...
D.C. Mayor Finds Funding to Avert Cuts in Staffing, Hours, Kiosks
District of Columbia Mayor Adrian Fenty and Ginnie Cooper, chief librarian for D.C. Public Library, announced at an August 4 press conference that funding has been found to reverse $2 million in projected budget cuts that would have drastically slashed...
Delusions of Privacy
You know those privacy statements you receive regularly from banks and credit card companies? I generally throw mine in the wastebasket without reading them. Don't get me wrong, privacy is important to me, but it's also something I have always taken...
FBI Ties Seized Library Computers to Anthrax Case
A week after removing two public-access computers from the Frederick County (Md.) Public Libraries' C. Burr Artz Library, the FBI obtained a court order to search the machines for clues to their July 24 use by army scientist Bruce Ivins. A suspect...
Feelings Run High as Funding Falters in Hartford
On July 3, officials of Hartford (Conn.) Public Library narrowed an $870,000 budget shortfall for FY2009 by closing the Mark Twain and Blue Hills Avenue branches and laying off 40 staff members. Six weeks later, trustees announced they would reopen...
Gannett Releases Database Tracking Public Library Trends
Gannett News Service released a searchable database July 17 that compares trends affecting public library systems between 2002 and 2006. The analysis used data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) as well as statistics collected...
Global Reach
UNITED KINGDOM 1 The British Library is embarking on a major project with its collection of medieval and Renaissance royal illuminated manuscripts, which will culminate in the first-ever exhibition of the collection in 2011-12. In 1757, King George...
Historic Maine Library Destroyed by Lightning
The Swan's Island (Maine) Library burned to the ground July 24 after it was hit by lightning during an early morning thunderstorm. Librarian Candis Joyce said in the July 25 Bangor Daily News that in addition to more than 10,000 volumes, the library...
How the World Sees Us
"I suppose it's possible that Mayor Perez has in mind a kind of Mad Max gladiator spectacle in which ragged, yellow-eyed librarians would battle against docents from the Old State House and tour guides from the Mark Twain House for scraps of public...
Law Librarians Hold Parley in Portland
If more library conferences had sessions about beer and Harry Potter, attendance would skyrocket. Those were two of the more eclectic subjects covered in the 91 programs at the American Association of Law Libraries' 101st Annual Meeting and Conference...
Missing Durham First Folio Found?
A British man arrested over the theft of a First Folio edition of Shakespeare insists he is innocent. Ray mond Scott, 51, walked into Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C., June 16 seeking authentication for a 17th-century book that experts...
Modular Management: Using Drupal to Create a Dynamic CMS
As library services continue to move online, having a powerful internet presence becomes even more important. Just having a library website is no longer enough. With increasing levels of interactivity and social connectedness in the commercial Web,...
Newsmaker: Cory Doctorow
Cory Doctorow is a Canadian journalist, privacy activist, coeditor of the Boing Boing blog, proponent of liberalized copyright law, and science-fiction author. His most recent novel, Little Brother, revolves around a group of teens who use technology...
Novel Encounters: Remembering What Centers Us
It's the conversations that tend to linger in my mind following ALA's Annual Conference--the chance meetings that create a sense of human connection amid thousands of unfamiliar faces and the exchanges that spark new ideas and richer understanding....
Oregon Libraries Regroup without Timber Subsidies
On August 9, the town of Tualatin, Oregon, celebrated the dedication of its new $9.1-million city library. Four years in the making, Tualatin Public Library was built thanks to a combination of capital-improvement bonds approved in 3004 and revenue...
Rule-Benders Rule: It's the Humanity, Stupid
When I was in library school, I was given an assignment to go to three different retail stores and observe how well each store treated its customers. I have never forgotten that assignment. In fact, as my library career progressed, I couldn't enter...
Technology Goes Local: Collecting Local Knowledge with Social Software
When I first moved to Vermont, I searched the Web for information about the area and found very little. In Chicago, it's easy to go online and find the best place to get curly fries, the best dry cleaner, and the best park to take your kids to. In...
The Association's Associations: LITA
NATIONAL FORUM HEADS TO CINCINNATI The Library and Information Technology Association hosts its 11th annual National Forum, "Technology and Community: Building the Techno Community Library," October 16-19 in Cincinnati, with more than 30 concurrent...
The Future of Privacy: With Privacy under Attack from All Quarters, Many Wonder Whether It's an Outdated Expectation
Can we expect privacy anymore? At every turn, it's under assault. Businesses are collecting an unprecedented amount of personal data, recording the items we buy at the supermarket, the books we buy online, our websurfing activity, our financial transactions,...
The Right Question: Knowing What to Ask Is the First Step in Facing the Future
People often ask if I still enjoy writing this column (six years and 66 columns after I started, the answer remains an enthusiastic yes!). And do I struggle finding ideas? Regular readers know my inspirations have been ecumenical (The New York Times,...
Winners
Call them movers, shakers, or just plain overachievers, this year's crop of ALA award winners represents an impressive array of accomplishments. From the top award of Honorary Membership for the stellar careers of Pat Mora, Effie Lee Morris, and Peggy...