News

Reprieve for Philadelphia Libraries

Update: Mayor Nutter and the Free Library of Philadelphia will halt their plans to shut down 11 branch libraries Wednesday after 5:00 p.m after a judge from the Court of Common Pleas ruled against the closures, as reported by MSNBC and Philly.com.

Ten Stories That Shaped 2008

It's that time again! Read on for some highlights from this year's library news.

10. OCLC Claims Ownership of Data In OPACs

As if charging libraries to provide it cataloging records wasn't enough... what's next? Suing a library-themed hotel?

9. Annoyed Librarian Joins Library Journal

Though some love to hate her, everyone's favorite snarky semi-anonymous blogger continues to garner attention. -- Read More

Declining U.S. Newspaper Circulation Potentially Signals Decline In Literacy

Americans are doing less well than global competitors on a key index of literacy, according to a literacy survey by Central Connecticut State University.

From All Headline News: This study attempts to capture one critical index of our nation's well-being -- the literacy of its major cities--by focusing on six key indicators of literacy: newspaper circulation, number of bookstores, library resources, periodical publishing resources, educational attainment, and Internet resources. The information is compared against population rates in each city to develop a per capita profile of the city's "long-term literacy"-a set of factors measuring the ways people use their literacy-and thus presents a large-scale portrait of our nation's cultural vitality," Dr. Jack Miller, CCSU President says.

Seeing the Future in NPR’s Custom News Podcast

National Public Radio has introduced a nifty little feature that lets you create your own custom podcast of NPR content on topics that interest you. Type in Obama or Madonna or whatever, and you can sign up for a stream of NPR clips that match your keywords that can be downloaded to your computer, smartphone, iPod or Zune.

I’m highlighting this, not because I think this particular feature will be all that widely used, at least in its current incarnation. Podcasts are not a mass market phenomenon now. For most services, only a small fraction of users choose any option that involves customization. And while NPR has done a decent job of making the service easy to use, it still has a few steps to it.

But I am very interested because I think that NPR is onto something that really shows where digital media is moving, especially for news.

Full story in the New York Times

Vanessa Hudgens: Family Library Outing

In my never ending quest to make LISNews the #1 source for celebrities visiting libraries stories, I'm happy to report While most of her fellow starlet friends were busy getting ready for the American Music Awards, Disney actress Vanessa Hudgens was enjoying some quality time with family on Sunday (November 23).

After Stream of Library Complaints, EVA Subscription Services Finally Responds

For months, more than a dozen library customers of EVA Subscription Services, based in Shrewsbury, MA, have expressed enormous frustration after not receiving periodicals ordered and finding that their calls and emails to EVA went unreturned. One customer even filed a complaint with the local Better Business Bureau (BBB), which closed the case as “unanswered,” two filed complaints with the Massachusetts Attorney General’s (AG) office, and several expressed concerns on library electronic mailing lists.

LJ, after being alerted to libraries’ concerns, contacted EVA, whose president Mary Cohen, was deeply apologetic, even if her explanation for why the company dropped the ball likely won’t convince certain customers.

See the full story here.

Long Time Director Returns As Trustee

Richard Ostrander served as the Director of the Yakima Valley Regional Library for 24 years. He now returns to the library as a Yakima County appointed member of the library's board of trustees.

It's an interesting move, especially since YVRL went through an administrative shakedown earlier this year culminating with the firing of the director. It seeme there were questions about how she handled her authority and how the board of trustees approved anything she requested without any discussion. It was a sordid affair that played out on the pages of the local paper and in the court of public opinion.

Ostrander, who has an operating library in the YVRL system named after him, replaces a board member who served ten years, the maximum term length for a YVRL board member.

Censorship activists move outside the library

Summary
It is common to hear of challenges to books in libraries, such as this recent story - one of many - about 'And Tango Makes Three', or this one about a young adult book that was successfully remove from a school library, but a challenge to a bookstore? In this BBC story, an author, a poet, was singled out by a religious group who lobbied a local book store to not sell his latest work, a book of poems that they felt were "blasphemous". In the end, the bookstore merely canceled the book signing that has been scheduled - they still sell the book in question despite the protests.

My thoughts
Some time back the author Salmon Rushdie published a book that followers of a different religion felt was blasphemous to their beliefs. They condemned him for his writings and the outcry in much of Western world was quite great in his defense. Sales of the book skyrocketed. People openly supported Rushdie, a national of the same country as the author of this book of poetry. What is different in this case? -- Read More

Spencer Iowa Paper Reports on the Upcoming Dewey Movie

The hometown heroes, Vicki Myron and the late Dewey Readmore Books are headed for the spotlight. Kind of like Marley & Me.

Here's the Spencer Daily Reporter's story about the upcoming New Line film starring Meryl Streep as Vicki Myron.

Los Angeles' LED Billboards Draw Opposition

Story on NPR:
Hundreds of Los Angeles' 11,000 billboards are going digital — lighting up neighborhoods with flashing LED ads selling Coke, sitcoms and designer clothing. Some are, however, complaining about light pollution. Now the City Council is considering the billboards' environmental impact. Listen to full piece here.

Some articles to consider when debating the banning of billboards:

Menthe, D. Writing on the Wall: The Impending Demise of Modern Sign Regulation Under the First Amendment and State Constitutions. George Mason University Civil Rights Law Journal v. 18 no. 1 (Fall 2007) p. 1-50

Burnett, D., student author Judging the Aesthetics of Billboards. The Journal of Law & Politics v. 23 no. 2 (Spring 2007) p. 171-231

Calo, M. R., Scylla or Charybdis: Navigating the Jurisprudence of Visual Clutter. Michigan Law Review v. 103 no. 7 (June 2005) p. 1877-98

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