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Ten Stories That Shaped 2013

Once more we look back at the notable library happenings of the past year.

Memorable Stories

10. Timbuktu Library Rescue

In January, Islamic militants torched an archive that had contained many ancient manuscripts. Fortunately, prior to this, people had removed the materials from the city.

9. The Hudson Falls Free Library Reading Contest

Tabloids loved the story of a library director who tried to take the perennial winner of a children's reading contest out of the running. Two librarians lost their jobs over the scandal.

8. Fairfax County Library's Dumpster

Libraries discard and destroy titles from their collections all the time, but when it's done sloppily and in plain sight, outrage ensues.

Hip Trends

7. MOOCs! Video Games! Makerspaces! 3D Printing!

Are these nifty new avenues to reach patrons, or a feature creep beyond a library's mission?

6. Little Free 'Libraries'

Although perhaps better named "community bookshelves," the growth of the Little Free Library movement continued this year. How many are in your neighborhood?

5. The New Librarian Stereotype

Commenting about the latest calendar models in the profession, a LISNews poster noted, "the bun wearing shushing librarian stereotype is long dead. Now the stereotype is hipster tattooed librarians."

Big Issues

4. Open Access versus Publisher Profits

In a case of "If you have haters then you must be doing something right" (similar to the harassment of Jeffrey Beall over his list of predatory publishers), Science published a flawed hit piece on Open Access journals.

3. Metadata Wants To Be Free

As more libraries move to web-scale discovery systems, the issue of interoperable metadata will become important. A vendor dispute highlights how libraries can be caught between competing economic interests.

2. Kindle MatchBook &c.

A Churchill 'Quote' That U.S. Politicians Will Never Surrender

NPR piece about quote attributed to Churchill that cannot be verified. Librarians are often asked to find quotes and many librarians are asked to verify quotes.

Here is a quotes website attributing the quote to Churchill:
http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/w/winstonchu135259.html

Apps, Babies, & the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood

This past Wednesday, the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood--an organization best-known for "taking down" Baby Einstein videos a few years ago--urged the FEC to look into the marketing of apps for babies. The CCFC is both looking particularly at apps by Fisher-Price and Open Solutions, and more generally arguing that apps have no educational merit whatsoever when it comes to young children. There's been heavy media coverage (Mashable, NYT, Slate, HuffPo, etc). At School Library Journal, Rachel G. Payne, coordinator of early childhood services at Brooklyn Public Library, offers her take in Are Learning Apps Good for Babies? At Little eLit, I offer mine in Apps & Babies: Keeping Our Heads (and our iPads).

NH Libraries Busy in the Electronic Age

A positive story identifying services in NH libraries covered by a prominent NH newspaper.

http://www.unionleader.com/article/20130408/NEWS/130409256

Ten Stories That Shaped 2012

It's that time again... let's look back at this year's top library headlines.

10. Bird Flu Study is Published

After researchers found a way to spread H5N1 to humans, an interesting test ensued of the bounds of free speech versus public health. Citing concerns over bioterrorism, a government panel wanted to ban publication of the scientific findings. The paper was printed, in full, in the journal Science.

9. Remember Those Boycotts?

Multiple generations of librarians have lamented over costly journal prices. Aside from the continued drive for
public access to funded research, libraries and now finally scholars are boycotting Elsevier and the American Chemical Society. Here's hoping the Open Access movement against profiteering publishers keeps growing.

Quote of the Year

"The economics of publishing print no longer worked and that's why we're going to go all digital" - Newsweek editor Tina Brown. How does your employer intend to survive?

8. Begun, the E-Book Wars Have

As e-books continue to gain mainstream dominance, thorny issues over lending, pricing, and the future of publishing remain crucial to follow.

7. Library Evolution Sparks Protests

Some library administrators now realize that running a change averse institution no longer has the survival value that it once did. The very notion of change, however, is still antagonistic to some. Two notable examples of adapting libraries this year are Harvard University and the New York Public Library.

6. National Library Efforts

LeBron James, open book: Star credits reading for making him calmer during playoffs

"Turns out there's nothing whatsoever feigned about LeBron's one-man book club. Nobody's paying him to read (although it's OK for folks to be paid to lose weight on TV). He's not doing product-placement favors for any author buddies. Simply, LeBron James decided before the playoffs he would be best served if he stopped watching hour after hour of sports on television, and got off the Internet, and stopped tweeting, and stopped reading Twitter."

Ten Stories That Shaped 2011

It's time again to look back at the good, the bad, and the ugly library stories of the past year.

Honorable Mention: Lenny Bruce Should Have Been a Librarian

Hot on the heels of the popular book Go the Fuck to Sleep comes a straight-talking site that all library marketers should take note of: Go the Fuck to the Library.

10. Neither Fax nor E-mail nor IM

Print-based industries are struggling, and the United States Postal Service is no exception. I couldn't help but hear the Postmaster General boast about not paying bills online and wonder how many analogous things librarians do, such as instructing students in the "old ways" of doing research.

9. Terry Jones burns a Quran

A copy of the Quran was burned by pastor Terry Jones in his church on March 20, 2011. Although not widely covered by mainstream media, the burning was condemned by Afghan President Hamid Karzai. During the ensuing protests in Afghanistan, at least 30 people were killed. Among the dead were United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan employees, who were shot and decapitated.

8. Occupy Wall Street makes a "People's Library"

The OWS movement in New York City got attention for forming a library. When the protests ended, things didn't go so well for the library, however. Depending on who you ask, it's either the "destruction of a library" or the "eviction of illegal squatters who had some books confiscated."

7. Greg Mortenson: Humanitarian or Swindler?

Though not as flashy as the James Frey or Jayson Blair scandals, Mortenson's publications were also charged with containing inaccurate and possibly fabricated information. A 60 Minutes hit piece was followed by a class action lawsuit against Mortenson's charities.

6. Borders Goes Bankrupt

A U. of California Librarian asks: What happened to the American flags on the moon?

"As a symbol of the Fourth of July holiday, it is easy for the conversation this time of year to turn to iconic American flags, like the flag the Marines raised at Iwo Jima; the one firefighters put up at ground zero; and the one that flew over Fort McHenry and was the inspiration for what would become our national anthem."

"As the space shuttle program comes to an end this week, CBS News decided to look into the flags the astronauts left behind on six trips to the moon. What's become of them?"

Ten Stories That Shaped 2010

It's time again to take a look at the memorable headlines of the year.

10. YouTube Sensations

Although viral videos are nothing new, libraries found themselves involved in a few catchy clips this year, and even got Old Spice guy involved in their cause.

9. Libraries and DVDs and Netflix, Oh My

Libraries check out a lot of movies, in case you haven't heard. A library touting their use of Netflix, however, ran afoul of many due to the admitted violation of Netflix's terms of use.

8. Piracy Crackdown

Many Chicken Little essays cropped up over the seizure of domains by Homeland Security, questioning the due process involved and decrying the potential for censorship that the new law affords.

7. Under New Management

The corporate takeover of public libraries and the commercialization of academic libraries should have us all thinking about our workplace of the future.

6. Gizmo of the Year: iPad

Since its spring release, Apple's life-changing tablet has been put to use by many libraries. How is your library using iPads?

5. I For One Welcome Our New Media Overlords

My how times have changed. Gone are the days of video stores and print magazines, right?

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