Librarians

Love In the Stacks and ...Happily Ever Afters

From USA Today, an interview with Romance Writers of America's Librarian of 2014, Sean Gilmartin.

Interviewer: From your bio on RWA's website: Growing up, (Sean) would read his mother's romance novels, partially for the juicy parts, and knew that one day he would write a romance himself.

Why romance novels? What about them appeals to you personally?

Sean: Love is a complicated and strange thing. I have always been drawn to the bond that love creates between people, whether that is romantic or not. I am fascinated by love that blossoms unexpectedly. To have a rough and tough character who vows to never open his or her heart, only to have it stolen by the last person they expected … ah, it gets me every time!

As a teen librarian I keep up-to-date with YA novels and many of them have some form of romance in them. If you think about popular songs or movies, there is usually some aspect of a loving relationship between two characters. It's almost inescapable. When I read romance I get hopeful and happy because two people are finding a love that completes them. I find it so satisfying when I finish a novel and everybody lives happily ever after.

How a Librarian Made Me a Surveillance Skeptic

From Marketplace.org: I was at a dinner table about a year ago, right after the first Edward Snowden leaks, when I heard for the first time an argument I've heard many times since.

"Why should I care? I'm not doing anything wrong." This appears to be the opinion of the majority when it comes to the idea of the government using surveillance to fight terrorism. By Pew Research's estimates, 56 percent of Americans support the government listening in while it fights the "bad guys." And it has been this way for something like 12 years -- right after the September 11th attacks and the beginning of the war on terror.

All of this thinking about surveillance, government, and legislation has also reminded me of a chapter in my own history that I haven't thought of in a while. During my junior year of college in 2003, I worked in the D.C. office of a moderate Republican Congressman. My main job was to answer constituent correspondence with letters that represented the Congressman's policy positions, which he would then sign. One day near the end of my spring semester, I had an assignment I couldn't complete: I was supposed to answer a constituent letter about a proposed expansion of the Patriot Act. The letter had been sent, and signed, by librarians throughout the Congressman's home state who were opposed to the Patriot Act's allowance of officials to access library records. They were asking the Congressman to oppose any extension or expansion of the legislation, and really to roll it back entirely. As I was preparing to tell the librarians that the congressman fully supported the legislation, I made a discovery. One of the librarian signatures on the constituent letter was familiar to me. It belonged to my mother.

Librarian Laurence Copel Earns Lemony Snicket 'Noble Librarians' Recognition

Laurence Copel, youth outreach librarian and founder of the Lower Ninth Ward Street Library in New Orleans, is the inaugural recipient of the Lemony Snicket Prize for Noble Librarians Faced with Adversity. On June 29, Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket) will present her with a $3,000 check, $1,000 travel expenses, a certificate and "an odd object from Handler's private collection" during the American Library Association's Conference & Exhibition in Las Vegas.

"Copel is recognized for her extraordinary efforts to provide books to young readers of the Ninth Ward," said ALA president Barbara Stripling, adding that she "is a brilliant example of how librarians can serve as change agents. Her leadership and commitment show the vital role that librarians and libraries play in energizing and engaging the communities that they serve."

Known to the children in the Lower Ninth Ward as the Book Lady, Copel moved to New Orleans from New York City in 2010 and opened a library in her home through self-funding and small donations while living on $350 a week. She also converted her bicycle to a mobile book carrier allowing her to reach children and families that could not travel to her home. Story via Shelf-Awareness.com.

What's Really Wrong With Google? And Why Librarians Rock!

Nancy K. Humphries gets to the heart of the matter in this Huffington Post piece.

"Google often fails to serve people who search it or the people trying to get their sites noticed. All too often Google's results completely miss the mark....

Google will never equal the library in precision and accuracy because this company is too arrogant to even listen to a librarian. Google employees are young, so young they still believe that only they know how to do things.

I personally witnessed a speaker from Google tell members of The American Society of Indexers at a San Francisco conference that Google had gotten rid of the one librarian on staff in Palo Alto. She was a former cataloger; she was too "nitpicky.""

Brewster Kahle, the Librarian of 404 Billion Websites

http://motherboard.vice.com/read/brewster-kahle-the-librarian-of-404-billion-websites

An engineer who once studied artificial intelligence and co-founded web ranker Alexa, Kahle, 53, is armed with an obsession to collect everything. You’ll find part of the physical embodiment of his Alexandria-like collection in a former Christian Science church in San Francisco, where near-life-sized paper mâché dolls of the Archive's friends and benefactors occupy the pews. There's also a repository in Richmond, California, which is filled with a million books, and, to serve up the Wayback Machine—a historical backup of the web's pages that launched in 2001 and recently passed the 400 billion mark—there's a datacenter stored inside a shipping container that holds three petabytes (that's one thousand terabytes) and can process 500 requests per second.

Who owns Iraqi Jewish history? A personal story

In 2013, Maurice Shohet, an Iraqi Jew who now lives in Washington, D.C., received a surprising email from the National Archives. A librarian had recovered his elementary school record that was left behind nearly 40 years ago when he and his family fled Iraq. The record is part of a cache of thousands of personal documents and religious texts that were found at the start of the Iraq War, drowning in the cellar of a building run by one of the world's most wanted men.

Video Parody: "So Read It Maybe" New York State Reading Association

Only for the Fortunate Few? School Libraries in Chicago

From The Chicago Sun-Times: A beautiful new library opened last week in Humboldt Park for the 800 students of Daniel R. Cameron Elementary School. Puffy pillows await children for story time; new chairs sit at brand new tables, and shelves of books line the long, light-filled room. Quotes from children’s literature adorn the freshly painted walls. “Let the wild rumpus start!” reads one from Maurice Sendak’s “Where the Wild Things Are.”

A very grateful Cameron community celebrated the opening with Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett, who praised the room as “absolutely amazing” and told children that libraries were her favorite place as a girl.

“You are fortunate now to have a library,” Byrd-Bennett said at Thursday’s festive ribbon-cutting. “We know you’re going to be successful because you have this precious resource.”

But still, 252 of the 527 Chicago Public Schools that are staffed by union teachers lack a librarian, and 18 more schools have just a part-time librarian, according to the Chicago Teachers Union. By CPS’ count of 658 schools, which includes charters, 517 schools have libraries, according to district spokesman Joel Hood, who did not provide a count of librarians.

Your own personal librarian

The Multnomah County Library has taken a step further into the digital era, offering patrons a more personal online experience than ever before.

Several weeks ago, the library quietly launched My Librarian, an online tool that lets readers connect with a real-life librarian, without actually visiting a library branch. Instead, readers can build a relationship with one of 13 librarians through video chats, blogs and phone calls to discuss their favorite books.

Full story

Freeze! It's the Library Police

Observations from librarian/writer Roz Warren:

After 15 years of library work, this is what I’ve learned:

Most library patrons are decent, honest, honorable people who wouldn’t dream of stealing from us.

The scum who do want to steal from us will do so and can’t be stopped.

A while back, a woman applied for a library card at my library, received it, then checked out our entire astrology section and carried it off forever.

She ignored all of the polite overdue notices we emailed her. Then she ignored the many fretful mailings the library dunned her with.

Something else I’ve learned, working at the library? Dunning an unrepentant book thief is a complete waste of postage.

And, of course, she never darkened our doors again. Why would she? She had what she’d come in for.

Those astrology books were hers now.

She was an astrology buff, so maybe she was just doing what that day’s Horoscope had told her to do. “You‘re a Virgo and your moon is in Saturn? This is a good month to steal library books.”

My supervisor, who takes this kind of thing seriously, stewed about our astrology book thief for weeks. She longed to phone her up and say “Shame on you! Return our books this minute. Or else.”

But that goes against library policy, so her hands were tied.

Reprinted from Broad Street Review.

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