News

Obama's BlackBerry

In the library world, we rely on technology. We e-mail our colleagues and co-workers. We use the web to find information for us and for others. As a profession, and like many other professions, we've grown increasingly attached to digital communications and we'd find ourselves hard pressed to make do without them.

Not so with the highest office in the United States. The President of the United States really doesn't engage in e-mail because of laws regarding the archiving of Presidential communications, but also because of security. While the ability to send a message instantly to POTUS is a powerful thing, if that message contains classified information and it's intercepted by a hacker, then we're talking a matter of national security.

Nevertheless, our new President is a bit of a geek and is addicted to e-mail and his BlackBerry. He's explicitly stated that "They're going to pry it out of my hands."

So how do you provide the security needed by the President when all he really wants is to use the same tools millions of people use every day? Simple. You get him the most secure BlackBerry ever made.

The Jig Is Up for Amazon; New York Court Dismisses Challenge of State's Internet Sales Tax Provision

In a significant victory for New York's independent retailers, a New York State judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by Amazon.com that challenged the state's Internet Sales Tax provision. The provision, which went into law on June 1, 2008, requires online retailers with certain selling activities in the state, such as Amazon.com, to collect and remit sales tax on sales made in New York State. A similar lawsuit by Overstock was also dismissed, according to Reuters.

In dismissing Amazon's challenge, Judge Eileen Bransten wrote: "The neutral statute simply obligates out-of-state sellers to shoulder their fair share of the tax-collection burden when using New Yorkers to earn profit from other New Yorkers," as reported by CNN Money. Bransten also noted that Amazon.com had failed to state a claim and that "there is no basis upon which Amazon can prevail," according to CNN Money.

Adults Reading More Fiction

For the first time since 1982, "the proportion of adults 18 and older who said they had read at least one novel, short story, poem or play in the previous 12 months has risen [to 50.2%]," according to a National Endowment for the Arts study being released today, reported by the New York Times.

The increase was most notable among 18-24 year olds and involved novels and short stories more than poetry or drama. Literary reading also increased among Hispanic Americans.

For the first time, the study included Internet reading, which some thought might have helped boost rates, although the AAP's Pat Schroeder suggested that some people don't count reading online or on e-readers as "book" reading.

Other possible explanations for the jump: one community, one read programs; the popularity of the Harry Potter and Twilight series; and "individual efforts of teachers, librarians, parents and civic leaders" to promote literature and reading. Booksellers, too, we'd think.

The study is called "Reading on the Rise: A New Chapter in American Literacy" and is based on data from the Census Bureau compiled last year.

Donkeys boost Ethiopian literacy

It may be low-tech (and decidedly green) but it works, according to this BBC story about donkey powered mobile library sevices.

"If you leave them practising their letters and walk out through the garden gate, you will find another group of children, clustered under a shady tree, absorbed in their books.

Parked alongside them is a brightly painted wooden cart, with sides which fold down to display the shelves of books.

The two donkeys which pull it are resting in another patch of shade.

This is Ethiopia's first Donkey Mobile Library - the brainchild of an expatriate Ethiopian now living in the United States."

New Year's Day Flooding in Clackamas County Library

A flood caused by a New Year's Day storm destroyed thousands of books at the library in Estacada, OR on Friday.

"Everything on bottom shelves is gone," said library director Katinka Bryk.

The town is in Clackamas County, where the rains were heavy and Gov. Ted Kulongoski declared a state of emergency.

More from the Seattle PI.

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).

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