Conan the Librarian

So, I know that it\'s a bit early for a Friday funny but you just have to look at Conan the Librarian and his hilarious true tales of life in a library.
It was sooooo hard to pick a single example but here\'s a little sample for you:
\"I am looking for a book with this call number, but I can\'t find it,\" a student tells Conan. \"Which call number?\" Conan asks. The student shows him a slip of paper with \"327 p. 22 cm.\" written on it. Conan, ever the diplomat, pauses for a moment and then says to the student, \"I\'m sure we can find the book, but do you happen to recall what the title is?\"

Mayor asks library officials to resign

The mayor of Warren (Macomb County, MI) has asked the library director and the Library Commission chairman to resign over their handling of a \"slush fund\". This fund of $18,000 has been used by them to pay for trips to ALA but also more controversially, Kiwanis dues and political fund-raiser tickets. The mayor wants all spending to be approved by City Council and thinks, in times of big library budget deficits, it should go towards \"library-related items\" such as books. The two officials refuse to resign and defend their activities as representing and promoting the library within the community. Make up your own mind by reading this story from the Macomb Daily.

Strange behavior

This story from the San Jose Mercury News on how a court has issued a restraining order against a veteran San Jose police officer accused of making harrassing phone calls to the director of the County Law Library which recently dismissed him from a part-time security job.

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Libraries will benefit from building sale

San Diego\'s First National Bank Building, the city\'s first high-rise office building built in 1909, will be sold to a private developer and all the proceeds will go to the branch libraries. The Stephen and Mary Birch Foundation, the philanthropic organization which last owned the building, donated it to the city with the proviso that any money made from its sale had to go to improving San Diego\'s libraries reports this little story from Sign On San Diego.

Preserving our 21st century digital heritage

This interesting feature from ABC News takes a detailed look at the issues surrounding the need to preserve the mass of information now being produced in digital form. It looks at efforts made by the Library of Congress and initiatives such as The Internet Archive to find ways of capturing this part of our cultural heritage and storing it for posterity. An excellent story with lots of useful links.

\"If somebody were to try to write a dissertation today about the Web in 1994, say, they would be hard-pressed to find the kind of archival primary materials that they\'d want.\"

It\'s library week in Botswana

Today marks the beginning of Library Week, hosted by the Botswana National Library Service reports this story from the Botswana Press Agency. The theme is \"Libraries - Gateway to an informed and educated nation\", to link in with Vision 2016, by which Botswana aims to be an informed and educated nation. It will be celebrated in public, special and education libraries and village reading-rooms.

Libraries forced to charge to make ends meet

This story from The Jerusalem Post tells how possibly 50% of Israel\'s public libraries have been reduced to charging patrons to borrow books, even though charging fees is illegal. This is the only way they can stay open because they are so short of money. Librarians and library supporters have been demonstrating in front of Jerusalem\'s main public library to try to get the extra funding needed.

Harry Potter artwork on sale

This story from Ananova reports that the original artwork from the first Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher\'s Stone, is to be auctioned at Sotheby\'s of London and is expected to fetch about 25,000 pounds sterling (just under $40,000). It is a 1977 watercolor by Thomas Taylor, though the editions I have seen of Harry Potter and the Sorceror\'s Stone (as it was called in the US) had a different cover, I think.
Sotheby\'s will also be auctioning a letter in which JRR Tolkien apparently accuses Walt Disney of being a business cheat.

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New Internet Scout weblog

I have just found out that the excellent Internet Scout Report has a brand new weblog. It already has some interesting links including one to a digital exhibition by the University of Nevada, Las Vegas on \"Early Las Vegas\" and a browser emulator which lets you look at web pages on the early 1.0 and 2.0 versions of browsers.
If you have never heard of the Scout Report, it is \"a weekly publication offering a selection of new and newly discovered Internet resources of interest to researchers and educators\" and is well worth a look.

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God and Bibliographic Control

An interesting article from the always valuable First Monday tracing the history of the bibliographic control of printed sermons and its role in the development of the art generally:

This essay will focus on the field of homiletics in America, especially within the mainline Protestant tradition, which can trace its beginnings to the New England settlers in the 17th century. The invention of the printing press two centuries before had increased the need for bibliographic control across Europe, and when printing arrived with the settlers in America, that same need followed. The first homiletical textbooks came from the printing of sermons, and young ministers \"turned to these ordination sermons to supplement their apprenticeships with working pastors.\" The first libraries in America were theological libraries, stemming from the work in England of an Anglican minister named Thomas Bray and his Society for the Propagation of the Gospel. By the early 19th century, homiletics was transformed into a formal academic discipline with the establishment of seminaries and divinity schools across America.

This issue also contains the article Positioning the Public Library in the Modern State: The Opportunity of the Children\'s Internet Protection Act (CIPA).

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Harry Got It All Wrong

This could be the funniest thing I\'ve ever read. Harry Potter rides his broomstick with the brush part at the back in the upcoming movie.

A high priest of British White Witches said broomsticks should be ridden the other way round, and has wished for the film to do badly at the box office until the studio admits it got it wrong.

``Warner Bros claims the film is an accurate portrayal of things that happen in witchcraft, yet woodcuts from the 16th and 17th centuries show broomsticks being ridden with the brush part in the front,\'\' said Kevin Carlyon, who has his own coven in Sussex, southern England.\"

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What’s Important?

AbcNews is running an Interesting Story on issues facing the preservation sector.
They managed to avoid Baker in this one somehow.

\"In 20 years, we will try to find first editions of their works, and we will look for their papers on the market,\" she says. \"If they have stuff on disk, and we collect their disks, that means we have to have technology to be able to read their disks. … We\'re still buying Mark Twain letters. We haven\'t really grappled with somebody from the [19]90s yet.\"

David & Goliath in Japan

Asahi has a Story on the record number of small book shops closing in Japan.

They say about1,300 bookstores closed last year and 6,400 have disappeared since 1995. Most big stores are not in much better shape, this is a result of a bubble in the book retailing business.

Bookstores also face tough competition from discount stores selling remaindered or almost-new books, from online bookstores, public libraries and ``manga cafes,\'\' where customers can browse among current manga comic.

I think we have now run this same story from the US, Ireland, England, and now Japan.

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Search Engine Best Of

Google has started up a Best Of Page. It\'s weak compared with Yahoo, and Lycos, but it\'s a start.
I would assume there are other pages out there, like these, I don\'t know about, can anyone make any suggestions?
It\'s always interesting to see what people think is worth reading.

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Medical journals at knock-down prices

Six major journal publishers have agreed to offer researchers and students in developing countries either free or dramatically discounted online access to their medical journals, reports this story from the New York Times. This comes in response to a request from the World Health Organization and covers \"about 1,000 of the world\'s top 1,240 medical journals\". However, there is still work to be done as not all the institutions have the computers on which to access these online journals and the big university presses still have to be asked. But did you know that access to the British Medical Journal and The Lancet have been free for years?
[NB. You will need to register for a free NYTimes password to access this article.]

Spanish classes @ your library

Students aged from 8 to 67 are learning Spanish at the classes offered by the Neighborhood Library, Fairmount (TX). In a population which was 55.3% Hispanic in the recent Census, the library is doing something really valuable for the community, as the participants in this story testify [from the Star-Telegram, Fort Worth, Texas].

Dickens letter sells for GBP5,000

Fourteen letters written by Charles Dickens between 1849 and 1854 were sold at auction today in Tavistock, Devon (UK). The most expensive of them sold for 5,000 pounds sterling (about $7,500) and they will all stay in the UK, with many being bought by public institutions and museums. More from the BBC News.
These letters were found tucked inside a book owned by a direct descendent of Georgina Morson, governess of a women\'s refuge founded by Dickens in 1847.

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Trustees seek help solving library space problem

The trustees of Epsom Town Library (NH) are holding a public form tomorrow to try to figure what to do about the cramped, inaccessible, century-old building in which the library is currently located. They have found it very difficult to get support for a plan to build a new library and office complex, despite the fact that volunteers have been raising money for a new building since the 1980s, reports this sad story from the Concord Monitor.

\"In the meantime, when a reader wants The Grapes of Wrath or The Great Gatsby, librarian Nancy Claris heads out to a trailer beside the library where adult fiction written before 1980 is stored. She carries a flashlight because the trailer does not have electricity [...]\"

Oklahoma libraries to filter all internet use

Oklahoma City Metropolitan Library System has voted to filter Internet access for adults as well as children at its 19 libraries, reports this story from ChannelOklahoma. Library staff will be able to provide unfiltered access to certain \"legitimate\" sites that may be \"inadvertantly blocked\" by the filters, such as one including breast cancer information.
There is a survey on this story, where readers are encouraged to vote on whether they think adult access should be filtered in libraries. At the time of writing, the \"no\" voters are slightly in the lead.

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A library burns in Gormenghast

Andy Breeding writes \"Last night, in PBS\'s airing of Gormenghast, a library burns, driving Lord Groan mad. Read about the set and the scene on the PBS web site:\"


The library set

The library burns

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