News

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

Blueprints for Auschwitz camp found in Germany

Charley Hively sent over news The original construction plans believed used for a major expansion of the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz in 1941 have been found in a Berlin flat, Germany's Bild newspaper reported on Saturday.

Something to consider - Google and the library

While reading up for my last post I found this article, which discusses Google's intent to manage %100 of the information in the world. Now, I'm sure that some people who read this post are going to think that this is about how evil Google is, but I do not intend that to be the main point of this post. As with my other post regarding Google, I simply want to bring all aspects of the situation to light to counter the heavy boosterism that seems to override issues regarding Google, especially in relation to libraries. It has been my understanding that the library was a place where people could go to get unbiased access to information on any subject, well, any legal subject, as outlined in a number of documents associated with libraries, such as the ALA Library Bill of Rights and the Intellectual Freedom Manual. -- Read More

Google's growth makes privacy advocates wary

Most people today appear to me to love Google, but how much do people really know about this 'indispensable' tool? I'm not going to post an extended rant about how evil Google is in some people's eyes, but I do think that this AP story is worthy of consideration, especially considering the integration that Google is developing with libraries.

Google's growth makes privacy advocates wary

Summary:

This article discusses how information that is collected by Google could be used in violation of current privacy statutes. Some Google tools, such as their Chrome web browser transmit your keystrokes before you press the Enter key. This information is then analyzed by their systems to predict your search terms and offer suggestions. There is an option to turn this feature off, but the activity still occurs, just without user notification, giving the sense that web activity is now 'private'. Along with the information typed into the web browser, your computers Internet address is also recorded, creating a history much like what is visible in your local web browser, but on their servers.

Key concepts from the article:

"It's about having a monopoly over our personal information, which, if it falls into the wrong hands, could be used in a very dangerous way against us,"

“Court says that with all its products, Google has more opportunities than its peers to capture personal information without users realizing it. “ -- Read More

Around the World, Praise for Obama

The Washington Post features an international perspective of the people's choice of Barack Obama as America's next president.

Slideshow and reporting from Britain, Kenya, Japan, Lebanon and Indonesia.

Additional reactions from abroad via the New York Times.

Obama Wins

NYTimes, November 5, 2008 A Historic Day for the USA and the World
Obama Elected President as Racial Barrier Falls(report) / (editorial)

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