City of Houston Closing Digital Divide

The City of Houston, TX has launched a campaign to close the digital divide by offering free e-mail addresses and use of free computer software for all residents. There are already about 1,000 computers available for use in libraries and police stations. The article also mentions the fact that corporate giving to technology programs may be waning in light of economic slowdown. Looks like libraries are still the only game in town. more... from USA Today


Portland, OR is Kid Friendliest

USA Today has an article on the most kid friendly city in the US. A group called Zero Population Growth ranks cities every year based upon a set of seven quality of life factors, one of which includes access to libraries. Of the 239 American cities ranked for this year, Portland, OR takes home the prize. Thanks, in part, to their great library service. more...


Rebuilding a Library From War\'s Ashes

The Jaffna, Sri Lanka public library, a bastion of Tamil culture destroyed during that country\'s civil war, is being rebuilt:

On a fateful night 20 years ago, Sinhalese police officers rampaged through this town\'s public library, one of the great repositories of the Tamil people\'s history and culture, and committed an act of ethnic vandalism that helped set this country on a path to civil war. They stormed into the grand public rooms of one of South Asia\'s finest libraries and set 97,000 volumes ablaze.

Rare old manuscripts written on palm leaves and stored in fragrant sandalwood boxes, miniature editions of the Ramayana epic from the children\'s section, yellowing collections of extinct Tamil-language newspapers — all were consumed in a roaring conflagration that convinced many Tamils that the Sinhalese were out to annihilate their very identity. . . Now, finally, the library is being rebuilt here in the Tamils\' cultural capital. It is a hive of activity, with workers laying bricks and plastering over the bullet holes. . .

[More from the New York Times (registration required).]

Museum Stocks Web with History

For Federal Computer Week, BJ Ramos writes...

\"With more than 3 million artifacts and a mere 750,000 square feet of exhibit space, the National Museum of American History turned to the Web and partnered with an online investment site to share more of its collection with the public. The result, being unveiled today in Washington, D.C., is HistoryWired billed as a virtual tour of a few of the museum’s favorite things. The 450 initial offerings, selected by museum curators, include famous, unusual and everyday items.\" more...


Merritt Fund Helps Librarians in Need

Jim Kuhn writes \"It\'s hard to believe, but after more than thirty years of assisting librarians, there are still those out there who don\'t know about the LeRoy C. Merritt Humanitarian Fund.

And what they don\'t know ... can\'t HELP them.

A sister organization to the American Library Association, the Merritt Fund gives unique aid to librarians who face:

· Workplace discrimination on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, race, color, creed, age, disability, or place of national origin;

· unfair employment practices;

· professional and personal adversity due to their defense of intellectual freedom.

Since its inception in 1970, the Fund has provided over $80,000 in grants to support librarians in their fight for intellectual freedom and professional integrity. Some of the individuals who received grants include:\"



Ultimate Bathroom Reading

Ananova has this important announcement: A German company will soon print novels on toilet paper. Although most will be works whose copyright has expired, they have been approached by a living novelist. The new product will be unveiled at next year\'s Frankfurt book fair.

Free Speech Advocates Actually Like this Idea

For The Seattle Times, Catherine Tarpley writes...

\"The King County Library System is tightening its rules on Internet access to prevent children from viewing pornography or other objectionable material on library computers. The 41-branch library system is installing software that would make it impossible for children to use unfiltered computers, which can access all Internet sites, if parents make such a request. Parents can notify the library system if they want their child to have filtered Internet access or no access at all. Children whose parents have not expressly asked that their access be restricted will have free use of all library-system terminals.\" more...


Come Browse the Weird Wide Web

For The Dallas Morning News, Tim Wyatt writes...

\"Truth is stranger than fiction because it would take way too much effort to conjure up half the stunts people pull off in the real world everyday. That\'s why we went out in search of connoisseurs of odd news – those who dedicate too much time to mining nuggets of strangeness buried in the daily news cycle. Wire services for the truly weird, if you will.\" For a list of links pertaining to the weird but true, Click Here.


Poky Little Puppy Finds New Home

From The Business Journal (WI)...

Random House will soon be taking over operations of Golden Books, publishers of \"Little Golden Books.\" Classic Media will take over the entertainment division of the downed organization. The acquisition comes after a federal bankruptcy court approved the sale of the organization by \"a joint bid betwen Random House and Classic Media for $84.4 million plus liabilities.\" During its operational time, Golden Books published over 500,000 titles, including the favored \"Poky Little Puppy.\" more...


(Ir)religious bricks in Redmond

reprinted a story about religious
messages on bricks
at the King County (Redmond, WA) Public

The original author responded to messages like \"Christ Died
For Our Sins. He Rose Again. 1
Cor 15:3-4
.\" by buying his own bricks: \"God Kills
Babies. Read 1
Samuel 15:3
. And God Is Love??\".

Inspired by this, a local has contributed not
only a photo
but has bought his own bricks, including
\"Socialize Microsoft\" and \"Worship a Daemon:
Run FreeBSD\".

And, no, it\'s not too late to get in on the


Seth Finkelstein writes \"I\'ve just released a new
anticensorware investigation.
Available at:

BESS\'s Secret LOOPHOLE (censorware vs. privacy & anonymity)

Abstract: This report examines a secret category in N2H2\'s censorware,
a product often sold under the name \"BESS, The Internet Retriever\".
This category turns out to be for sites which must be uniformly
prohibited, because they constitute a LOOPHOLE in the necessary
control of censorware. The category contains sites which provide
services of anonymity, privacy, language translation, humorous text
transformations, even web page feature testing, and more. \"


Technology Puts a Lock on CDs

For BBC News, David Schepp writes...

\"Sharing music recorded on compact discs among friends over the internet has proven itself to be as American as apple pie and baseball. But music-swapping is a pastime that may be soon halted if recording companies have their way. Some major record labels have have signed on with encryption firms that have developed technologies to halt the
so-called pirating of copyrighted music. For the encryption companies it may mean millions of dollars in profits as record label after record label signs on to take advantage of the new, seemingly perfected technology. For the record companies, however, it could be a public relations disaster.\" more...

Black Book of Communism Distributed to Free Libraries in Russia

From AllNews, Someone writes...\"Russia\'s centrist party Union of Right Forces has published another 100,000 copies of The Black Book of Communism to send it for free school libraries in Russia.\" According to Leonid Gozman, of the Union of Right Forces, \"The book should be available to every pupil in Russia. It should provide an adequate understanding of the danger represented by the Communist ideology, which has yet to be finally overcome in Russia.\" more...

School Board Considers Anti-Profanity Ban

Like this would ever really work... The Glynn County School Board is considering an all out ban on the use of profanity. According to the article, the \"comprehensive anti-profanity policy would ban any books, programs and activities that contain bad words.\" I wonder what you would get for saying the \"f\" word in the girls locker room? more... from Online Athens.


British Library website to chart Black and Asian history

Always helpful with stories from the other side of the world, Charles Davis writes \"The British Library is to build a website charting 465 years of Black and Asian history in London.
The plan is to establish a website culling records from a
number of different sources, including the British Library
and India office.
Co-ordinators at the London Metropolitan Archives plan to
have the database up-and-running in time for Black History
month in October next year.
\"This project is one of the most ambitious of its kind as it
covers sources for several centuries of London history from
1536 onwards,\" said LMA head archivist Deborah Jenkins.
The project will be funded by £30,000 from the British
Library and Re:source, the Council for Museums, Archives
and Libraries.
Story from

Digital Library Leader Speaks Against Filtering

Paul Jones, Director of \"the site formerly known as SunSITE\" among other things, has written an opinion piece on filtering. This is nothing new but it is clearly stated.

More interesting to me is the opposing editorial by a Duke law professor.

First, I object to the broad analogy of comparing Internet sites and the Internet to books and all the books in the universe.


Tolkien re-enactors tourtured in Kazakhstan

jude writes \"People who re-enact scenes from Tolkiens books are being tortured in Kazakhstan. I\'m sure you\'re
received this story 500 times by now. Let me be the 501st.

Full Story \"

It turns out thousands of fans dress up and re-enact scenes from the book in Kazakhstan,and the police don\'t like it one bit.

Reference Books Nearing Extinction

Jackie Bourdelaine writes \"According to this one at the San Francisco Chronicle, \"space-hogging reference tomes are obsolete.\" Links to replace some of those useless reference books are even included, along with some reviews. \"

They say LibrarySpot is the place to go for answers.


God\' monkey sits through lecture before studying

Charles Davis writes \"A monkey sat quietly through an economics lecture at an
Indian college before going to the library and flipping
through a holy book.
Students at Madanpur Mahabir College in Bhubaneswar,
Orissa, say the monkey listened to the lecture with \"rapt
The monkey then went to the library and looked at the
Ramayana, a Hindu holy book, and sat on a statue of the
monkey god Hanuman before quietly leaving the college.

Full Story \"


Zimbabwe Book Fair Struggles On

The Zimbabwe International Book Fair, \"a week of book deals and literary debate . . . unmatched anywhere else south of the Sahara,\" has just wrapped up in Harare:

Last weekend, an Angolan publisher spoke on \"The Challenge of Publishing in a War-Torn Country\" and a Botswanan publishing manager explored \"The Risk of Producing Books in Indigenous Languages.\" During the week, writers could choose among workshops like \"Copyright Control: Can Africa Achieve It?\" and \"What Influences Does Religion Have in Writing for the Future?\" In hotel corridors and downtown cafes, scholars continued their discussions and debates in French, Portuguese and English.

In the gardens, amid row after row of bookstalls, eager publishers displayed even greater range, with works in adopted tongues and indigenous ones, like Yoruba and Tigrinya, Zulu and Afrikaans and Zimbabwe\'s languages, Ndebele and Shona . . . Librarians learn how to make their little budgets go a long way and can win small book-buying prizes. [More from the New York Times (registration required).]


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