Infighting in Libraryland

From The Annoyed Librarian in LJ:

A librarian named Joe Murphy is suing two female librarians for $1.25 million for claiming he sexually harasses women at library conferences. As sex scandals go, that’s pretty mild, but the standards for scandal are lower in libraryland.

You can go give them a donation or sign a petition asking Murphy to drop the lawsuit if those are your kinds of thing.

I haven’t seen a corresponding Support Joe Murphy’s Lawsuit website or petition, but if there is one someone can post it in the comments.

He’s also suing them in Canadian court, even though as far as I can tell both he and one of the defendants are Americans. Canadian libel laws are more friendly to plaintiffs, it seems, whereas American libel laws tend to favor something librarians are supposed to favor, free speech. So he’s a cunning little fella, you have to give him that.

I’m seeing the story pop up in more and more places, so it looks like Murphy has a growing reputation among librarians.

Nebula award winner: Eugie Foster

Eugie Foster, the Nebula Award-winning writer/editor had been raising money for cancer treatment; she died September 27th. Her husband posted the following in an update: Eugie Foster, author, editor, wife, died on September 27th of respiratory failure at Emory University in Atlanta. In her forty-two years, Eugie lived three lifetimes. She won the Nebula award, the highest award for science fiction literature, and had over one hundred of her stories published. She was an editor for the Georgia General Assembly. She was the director of the Daily Dragon at Dragon Con, and was a regular speaker at genre conventions. She was a model, dancer, and psychologist. She also made my life worth living.

Memorial service will be announced soon.

We do not need flowers. In lieu of flowers, please buy her books and read them. Buy them for others to read until everyone on the planet knows how amazing she was.

–Matthew M. Foster (husband) -- Read More

When robots join the library

New Iowa State Librarian Chosen, He's Searching for the Next Big Thing..."Whatever That Is"

From From KIMT, Minnesota:

Michael Scott, who currently works at SELCO in Rochester, MN has been tabbed the new librarian for the Hawkeye state. Scott works with libraries across the area, including those in Olmsted County, but his new gig will find him working with many, many more. “I think it’s a great time for Iowa libraries,” Scott said. “It’s a great time for them to move forward to do that next thing, whatever that is,” he added.

Scott says he is excited to start his new job in November and get to know the great people of Iowa even better.

More Librarians Required in NYC Middle and High Schools

The New York City Department of Education must stop violating rules on the minimum number of librarians required at city high schools, state education Commissioner John B. King Jr. has decided.

The United Federation of Teachers had appealed to the commissioner several times in recent years to force the city to comply with regulations spelling out how many librarians are necessary, depending on enrollment. City school officials argued last year that fewer were needed because of advancements in technology and the ability of small schools to share them.

In a decision signed Sept. 15, Mr. King said the union didn't have standing to argue on behalf of students deprived of librarians' help, but the city must comply with the staffing minimums.

A spokeswoman for the city education department said it would work on a plan to address the issue, noting that school libraries have "tremendous value." Article from The Wall Street Journal.

An Alleged Ban

Is it Band (sic) Books Week yet? I’m not sure, and the propaganda is so hyperbolic I don’t have the heart to read it to find the dates. Anyway, let’s see if the Band Book people mention this very odd case.

Full piece here:
http://lj.libraryjournal.com/blogs/annoyedlibrarian/2014/09/22/an-alleged-ban/

A knowledge of books

I conceive a knowledge of books is the basis upon which other knowledge is to be built.

-- George Washington

Are Amazon exclusives the next big challenge for everybody else in publishing?

Somebody smarter (or more patient about wading through data) than I am could probably figure out how far along this bifurcation is already, but Amazon is doing its very best to build a body of content that is desirable and available from nobody else but them.

This is something you can do when you’re in the neighborhood of 70 percent of ebook sales and already more than half the total sales for many works of fiction, which is where the self-publishing world is strongest. It is not an opportunity that is really available to any other retailer. Apple has given it a try for more complex ebooks for which they provide ebook-building tools and, presumably, offer the most productive distribution environment for complex content. But they’re playing on much less fertile ground and they don’t have anything like the audience share necessary to drive this strategy very far.

It is hard, if not impossible, to imagine that any other ebook ecosystem could offer benefits that would make it worth skipping Amazon.

http://www.idealog.com/blog/amazon-exclusives-next-big-challenge-everyday-else-publishing/

The Maker Movement

Via Medium, an exploration of the maker movement and what its future might be.

"There seems to be a misconception about what 3D printing does and does not enable. Does it allow us to delight a four-year-old by pulling a mini Darth Vader toy seemingly out of thin air? It does. But the object doesn’t materialize from nothing. A 3D printer consumes about 50 to 100 times more electrical energy than injection molding to make an item of the same weight. On top of that, the emissions from desktop 3D printers are similar to burning a cigarette or cooking on a gas or electric stove. And the material of choice for all this new stuff we’re clamoring to make is overwhelmingly plastic. In a sense, it’s a reverse environmental offset, counteracting recent legislation to reduce plastic use through grocery bag bans and packaging redesigns. While more people tote reuasable cloth bags to the supermarket, plastic is piling up in other domains, from TechShop to Target."

It's Banned Books Week!

Tell us what your library is doing to celebrate.

New York City Librarian Gets Covered in Pasta.

Talk about dedication to her line of work! Click here to find out why.

Mac Barnett: Why a good book is a secret door

How to Make Libraries More Exciting

THE central branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia is an impressive building—its neoclassical facade looming over most of a block. But inside, though chandeliers still hang from the ceilings and the floors are of polished marble, there is a feeling of neglect. A musty taste hangs in the air; many of the books are rather battered. “The building opened in 1927 and we’ve really not touched it since then,” says Siobhan Reardon, the library’s president and director. “And you can tell.”

That, happily, is now changing. On September 11th Philadelphia announced it had secured a $25m grant from the William Penn foundation to update its old libraries. Yet libraries in general are struggling. Americans tell pollsters they love them, but fewer use them. In June the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), a federal agency, published data showing that library visitor numbers have declined in recent years. Polling published on September 10th by the Pew Research Center, a think tank, revealed that more people say they are going to the library less than going more, with a sharp gap among the young.

More from The Economist.

New Kindle Voyage


Amazon’s new flagship e-reader has a flush glass screen that's sharp, new ways to turn pages, and a lighter, thinner design.

See the Kindle Voyage here.

Bi-Literate Reading

Paper or screen? There's a battle in your brain. The more you read on screens, the more your brain adapts to the "non-linear" kind of reading we do on computers and phones. Your eyes dart around, you stop half way through a paragraph to check a link or a read a text message. Then, when you go back to good old fashioned paper, it can be

harder to concentrate. "The human brain is almost adapting too well to the particular attributes or characteristics of internet reading," says Maryanne Wolf of Tufts University. She says we have to develop a 'bi-literate' brain if we want to be able to switch from the scattered skimming typical of screen reading to the deeper, slow reading that we associate with books on paper. It is possible. It just takes work. One person who has done it well is Maria Popova, founder of Brainpickings.org. In this episode, Manoush visits her home, marvels at the piles of books everywhere, and learns how Maria manages to read about a dozen books a week and still retain the information, organize ideas around a myriad of themes, and churn out multiple smart, insightful, original posts every day. She does it using a mix of digital and analog tools and techniques to help her read better. Story from NPR's New Tech City and their delightfully peppy host, Manoush Zomorodi.

Which Version of American History to Teach Texas High Schoolers?

From ABC News:

Debates over academic curriculum and textbooks have for years thrust Texas' Board of Education into the national spotlight, sparking battles over issues such as how to teach climate change and natural selection. In 2010, while approving the history curriculum standards that this year's round of new books are supposed to follow, conservatives on the board required that students evaluate whether the United Nations undermines U.S. sovereignty and study the Congressional GOP's 1994 Contract with America.

This long-running ideological dispute over what gets taught in Texas classrooms flared anew over proposed history textbooks Tuesday, with academics decrying lessons they said exaggerate the importance of Christian values on the nation's Founding Fathers while conservatives complained of anti-American, pro-Islam biases.

The Board of Education will approve new history textbooks for the state's 5-plus million public school students in November. But it heard hours of complaints about 104 proposed books during a sometimes heated public hearing.

Jacqueline Jones, chairwoman of the University of Texas' History Department, said one U.S. history high school book cheerleads for President Ronald Reagan and the significance of America's free enterprise system while glossing over Gov. George Wallace's attempt to block school integration in Alabama. She also pointed to a phrase stating that "the minimum wage remains one of the New Deal's most controversial legacies."

"We do our students a disservice when we scrub history clean of unpleasant truths," Jones said "and when we present an inaccurate view of the past that promotes a simple-minded, ideologically driven point of view."

How Ninja Librarians are Ensuring Patrons' Electronic Privacy

Librarians in Massachusetts are working to give their patrons a chance to opt-out of pervasive surveillance. Partnering with the ACLU of Massachusetts, area librarians have been teaching and taking workshops on how freedom of speech and the right to privacy are compromised by the surveillance of online and digital communications -- and what new privacy-protecting services they can offer patrons to shield them from unwanted spying of their library activity.

Library Patrons Are At Risk

One of the authors of this Boing Boing article, Alison Macrina, is an IT librarian at the Watertown Free Public Library in Massachusetts, a member of Boston's Radical Reference Collective, and an organizer working to bring privacy rights workshops to libraries throughout the northeast. Librarians know that patrons visit libraries for all kinds of online research needs, and therefore have a unique responsibility in helping keep that information safe. It's not just researchers who suffer; our collective memory, culture, and future are harmed when writers and researchers stop short of pursuing intellectual inquiry.

In addition to installing a number of privacy-protecting tools on public PCs at the Watertown library, Alison has been teaching patron computer classes about online privacy and organized a series of workshops for Massachusetts librarians to get up to speed on the ins and outs of digital surveillance.

Book bike

More information here.

No Devices, No Talking...Just Silence and Reading

Wesleyan U. Librarian Fired for Disagreeing

Patricia A. Tully, a 10-year veteran with the university, served as the Caleb T. Winchester university librarian from March 2010 until her firing last month. The news was first reported by the campus blog Wesleying.

In a Sept. 2 email to the faculty listserv, Tully said she was fired because of her ongoing disagreements with Ruth S. Weissman, provost and vice president for academic affairs, “about how to lead people effectively in an organization.” The letter was later posted online.

“Both of us tried, at various times, to resolve these differences, but our efforts seemed always to be at cross-purposes,” Tully wrote.

Speaking to Inside Higher Ed, Tully said it was an “accumulation” of problems, and not a particular incident, that led to her firing. She declined to elaborate, saying she would be happy to have that conversation with Weissman.

Syndicate content Syndicate content