Who owns Iraqi Jewish history? A personal story

In 2013, Maurice Shohet, an Iraqi Jew who now lives in Washington, D.C., received a surprising email from the National Archives. A librarian had recovered his elementary school record that was left behind nearly 40 years ago when he and his family fled Iraq. The record is part of a cache of thousands of personal documents and religious texts that were found at the start of the Iraq War, drowning in the cellar of a building run by one of the world's most wanted men.

French economist Piketty takes on inequality in 'Capital'

On a recent U.S. press tour for his bestselling book "Capital," French economist Thomas Piketty spoke to standing-room-only crowds about his examination of growing, global economic inequality. Economics correspondent Paul Solman interviews Piketty for his take on why inequality of wealth has reverted to a lofty level last seen in 19th century Europe.

Why Aren't Teens Reading Like They Used To?

NPR piece discussing the reading habits of teens. The comments section has over 100 comments. Commentators point to parents, video games, and the lack of a great american novel as a cause for the decline in reading.

‘We’re all hitting the same wall’: Maine’s community libraries seek funds to stay open

http://bangordailynews.com/2014/05/12/news/down-east/maines-community-libraries-seek-funds-t...

“In this tough economy many libraries are working with a lot less financial support but are holding their own,” said Valerie Osborne, a consultant for the Northeastern Maine Library District who works from the Bangor Public Library. “The budget season isn’t over yet, so I suspect we will hear of more cuts in the next six weeks,” she added.

Another Library Moves Books Into Storage - Save Our Stacks

http://www.slate.com/articles/life/education/2014/05/college_libraries_should_keep_their_boo...

This is, then, one way in which books are far from obsolete: They are the best intellectual chaperones money can buy, both the creators and the preservers of the contemplative space that every university needs if it’s not to turn fully into a strip mall with frats. Yes, it is expensive to house a robust, accessible collection of what will soon be a forgotten format. But it would be more expensive to come up with an adequate replacement that still had the same irreplaceable effect on students—so expensive and involved, in fact, that it wouldn’t be worth doing at all. Not when the boosters could pay good money to use that space on game day, for a 95-foot TV.

Library Websites: Three Truths

Laura Solomon, a creator of library websites passes along what she believes to be the three major rules in creating a website for your library.

People primarily visit library websites for the following reasons:
Access to their account
Search the catalog
Phone number and address
Program information

But there are always other reasons.

Wondering whether printed books will outlast printed money, or football

When you’re trying to figure out what will happen in the book publishing business in the years to come, any prediction depends on how things work out that are beyond the control of the business, and sometimes well outside it. This will be increasingly the case if the book business, in what has remained a fairly lonely expectation of mine, is increasingly the domain of people who aren’t publishing or selling books as a primary commercial activity, but as an adjunct or complement to some other principal objective.

Full post at -- The Shatzkin Files

Hachette Says Amazon Is Delaying Delivery of Some Books

Amazon has begun discouraging customers from buying books by Malcolm Gladwell, Stephen Colbert, J. D. Salinger and other popular writers, a flexing of its muscle as a battle with a publisher spills into the open.

The Internet retailer, which controls more than a third of the book trade in the United States, is marking many books published by Hachette Book Group as not available for at least two or three weeks.

Full article

Larry McMurtry Loves The West, But Knocks The Cowboy Off His High Horse

Larry McMurtry may well be the only Academy Award winner who used some of the precious moments of his acceptance speech to thank booksellers: "From the humblest paperback exchange to the masters of the great bookshops of the world, all are contributors to the survival of the culture of the book, a wonderful culture which we musn't lose," he told the audience in 2006 as he accepted the Oscar for his screenplay for Brokeback Mountain — which was based on a short story.
Full piece

BREAKING: The New York City Flagship Plan is SCRAPPED

From the New York Times:

In a striking about-face, the New York Public Library has abandoned its plan to turn part of its research flagship on 42d Street into a circulating library and instead will renovate the Mid-Manhattan library on Fifth Avenue, several library trustees said.

“When the facts change, the only right thing to do as a public-serving institution is to take a look with fresh eyes and see if there is a way to improve the plans and to stay on budget,” Tony Marx, the library’s president, said Wednesday in an interview.

The renovation, formerly known as the Central Library Plan, would have required eliminating the book stacks under the building’s main reading room and was to have been paid for with $150 million from New York City and the proceeds from the sale of the Mid-Manhattan, at 40th Street, and the Science, Industry and Business Library in the former B. Altman building, on Fifth Avenue at 34th Street.

Los Angeles School Libraries Suffering

From the LA Times:

L.A. Unified paid for library staff in every school before the recession began in 2008. Today, it provides librarians in high schools but leaves most elementary and middle school campuses to make tough choices on whether to use their limited discretionary funds on library aides, nurses, counselors or other key staff.

Since 2011, the union has alleged that L.A. Unified laid off their members, then illegally allowed parent volunteers, instructional aides and others to do their work at nearly four dozen campuses. The district issued a bulletin last year clarifying that library work can be performed only by those with proper credentials, but the union asserts that violations are still occurring. Without trained staff to make sure books are properly checked out, returned and refiled, she said, thousands have gone missing.

Aiming to stem the problems, the Los Angeles Board of Education recently agreed to form a districtwide task force to seek ways to improve access to school libraries with more dollars, alternative arrangements and collaboration with other public libraries and charitable organizations.

Video Parody: "So Read It Maybe" New York State Reading Association

Fired for Taking Candy from a Baby

Dateline: GOBLES, MI (AP)

A dispute over how a librarian treated visitors has turned into a federal lawsuit in western Michigan.

Shirley Whitt claims she was a victim of discrimination, based on age and other issues, when the Van Buren District Library said it would transfer her from the Gobles branch. She had worked there for more than 20 years.

But the library, west of Kalamazoo, denies any discrimination. It says patrons regularly complained about Whitt’s “poor demeanor” and “unwelcoming attitude.”

Over the years, Whitt was accused of pulling a sucker from a child’s mouth, treating kids harshly and taking a stuffed animal from children.

Only for the Fortunate Few? School Libraries in Chicago

From The Chicago Sun-Times: A beautiful new library opened last week in Humboldt Park for the 800 students of Daniel R. Cameron Elementary School. Puffy pillows await children for story time; new chairs sit at brand new tables, and shelves of books line the long, light-filled room. Quotes from children’s literature adorn the freshly painted walls. “Let the wild rumpus start!” reads one from Maurice Sendak’s “Where the Wild Things Are.”

A very grateful Cameron community celebrated the opening with Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett, who praised the room as “absolutely amazing” and told children that libraries were her favorite place as a girl.

“You are fortunate now to have a library,” Byrd-Bennett said at Thursday’s festive ribbon-cutting. “We know you’re going to be successful because you have this precious resource.”

But still, 252 of the 527 Chicago Public Schools that are staffed by union teachers lack a librarian, and 18 more schools have just a part-time librarian, according to the Chicago Teachers Union. By CPS’ count of 658 schools, which includes charters, 517 schools have libraries, according to district spokesman Joel Hood, who did not provide a count of librarians.

Beall's List

Some academic journals have embraced a “gold open access model” of publishing, wherein the scholars whose work appears in the journal pay for the privilege. Bob speaks with Jeffrey Beall, an academic librarian at the University of Colorado Denver who has assembled a list of "predatory journals" - journals that may be more interested in profit than academic contributions

MP3 here.

Kickstart Library A to Z illustrations, book and advocacy tools...

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1875601273/library-a-to-z-illustrations-book-and-advoca...
Libraries are great. But are they just about books? No! To highlight this we'll produce a visual A to Z of what makes libraries so fantastic.

At Library Camp East Gary from Voices for the Library proposed a session to crowd source an A to Z of words that reflected the positive activities and values of libraries, as well as positive representations in books, songs, films and other media.

We've a great illustrator (Josh Filhol) lined up to take the A to Z list that attendees at the Library Camp and Voices for the Library helped pull together and turn it into a series of brilliant images.

Once we have a series of 20+ images (we may need to combine some letters due to lack of "words" - we'll decide as we get suggestions in!), they will be put together in a few different ways:

Secret Libraries of New York City

http://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/secret-libraries-of-new-york-city
As the debate continues over the renovation of the main branch of the New York Public Library — a design by Norman Foster that would radically overhaul the stacks and other features of the historic Beaux-Arts building — we are looking at some of the city's less visible libraries. The NYPL has an incredible branch system around the boroughs, but it's only a part of New York City's literary resources. From private clubs, to nonprofit societies, to pop up places right out in the streets, here are some of our favorite secret libraries of the city.

One NYC Indie Bookstore Survives By Being Small And Specialized

http://www.npr.org/2014/05/03/309045602/one-nyc-indie-bookstore-survives-by-being-small-and-...

Posman's Chelsea store is one of three that the small independent chain currently operates in Manhattan. The other two are in Grand Central Station and at Rockefeller Center. John Mutter, editor-in-chief of Shelf Awareness, an online newsletter about books and publishing, stated that each separate store caters to a specific market, and that niche marketing is one reason Posman has succeeded where others have failed. The Grand Central store is aimed at commuters; the Rockefeller Center store caters to tourists and travelers; and the Chelsea Market store is filled with cookbooks.

Even in this age of e-books and the convenience of buying online — a market dominated by Amazon — plenty of readers still love browsing through bookstores.

The novel is dead (this time it's for real)

Literary fiction used to be central to the culture. No more: in the digital age, not only is the physical book in decline, but the very idea of 'difficult' reading is being challenged. The future of the serious novel, argues Will Self, is as a specialised interest

http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/may/02/will-self-novel-dead-literary-fiction

F Scott Fitzgerald stories published uncensored for the first time

Sexual innuendo, drug references and antisemitic slurs removed by newspaper editors restored in new edition of Taps at Reveille

The original editions of the stories, she said, "will give people the sense that Fitzgerald is actually a bit edgier, particularly in his later stories; that there is more grit in these tales than people think."

http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/may/01/f-scott-fitzgerald-stories-uncensored-sexual-in...

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