International

Call for Library Community to Respond to Beslan Massacre

Michael McGrorty has posted this thoughtful piece at Library Dust, expressing his sadness at the events in Beslan, particularly in light of the fact that this horrendous crime happened in a school.

I think that we of the library community should devise some way of contributing to the healing of Beslan. We as much or more than any others understand the goodness, the restorative power of books and reading. We need to help Beslan’s children become children again. What better balm than a new, safe place for them to enjoy reading? The book is the furthest thing from the bomb; it is a tool of civilization and reason, the one invention we can hold up to the universe without shame, perhaps our finest gift to posterity. I think we need to build a library in Beslan. For its children and for our own, for an answer when they ask what all the dying meant.

He follows up with information about how individuals can contribute.

Sexual Minorities Library in Calcutta

An NGO in Calcutta, India, called Saathii, is forming a library focused solely on sexual minorities. (It seems to have an AIDS focus as well.) Funded partly by the Elton John AIDS Foundation, the library will include personal stories, history, self-help, directories, documentaries... The library is not a lending one, and the catalog is not online yet. But, according to the perception of Anupam Hazra, one of the directors, there is a large need for this kind of information and the library will supply information to distant patrons as well. See The Telegraph India for the story.

Efforts to Save Texts Damaged in German Library Fire

AshtabulaGuy writes "The Daily Telegraph reports that current preservation and recovery efforts with respect to the Weimar library collection are using new techniques pioneered in only the last couple years. Books that are damaged are being frozen to help mitigate water and fungus damage. Digital imaging efforts are also underway to try to preserve some amount of the heritage from the collection. The article does note that much of the collection was never copied so things that cannot be saved may wind up being lost to the sands of antiquity. An editorial from the Telegraph also discusses the Weimar collection hopefully being much like a phoenix to rise from the ashes in some part at least."

Faulty Electrical Cause of Weimar Library Fire

UPDATE to last Friday's story on the Weimar library fire:
LISNews

From Expatica News: WEIMAR - Dilapidated electrical equipment has been pinpointed as the cause of the fire at the famed Duchess Anna Amalia Library in Weimar which destroyed 30,000 irreplaceable books, a newspaper reported Tuesday.

The Thueringer Allgemeine newspaper said police and crime investigators had come up with the preliminary conclusion which pinpointed the source of the fire to old electrical equipment dating back to the communist era, located beneath the roof. More here.

Australian Library system passes its shelf life

Australia's libraries run the gamut from bustling modern Central libraries to smaller distant libraries in less populated regions, such as the North Western Library Service co-operative in rural NSW, 120 kilometres west of Dubbo.

Here the librarians (described as "knowledgeable, patient people") are beginning to lose their patience when it comes to out of date computers.

The libraries of Warren, Bogan, Coonamble and Gilgandra in a cotton and wool-producing region used to run library cataloguing software on four separate 486 servers - one in each library - with the main one housed at Warren. To connect the sites, librarians had to email their database to Warren at 12:30pm every day. "Every lunchtime, three libraries would email their collection and borrowing data via dial-up and the girls in Warren would do the consolidation through an old version of Libero (library management software). They would input the emails, create an updated file and email it back to the libraries. It used to take up to an hour a day," says Darren Arthur, manager of finance and administration, Warren Shire Council.

More from The Age (registration required).

Buenos Aires Attracts 3,000 to IFLA Conference

Fang-Face writes "There is
a notice about the IFLA conference at American Libraries Online, focusing primarily on the financial difficulties plaguing the event. The IFLA web site doesn't seem to have anything about the event yet; the update indicator was still set at 18 Aug as of my writing this."

From Windows to Linux in Singapore

Resolvoannouncedtoday that The National Library Board of Singapore has completed the migration of 52 Windows NT Domain Controllers to a Linux-based solution in all its 26 sites nationwide.

For those of you interested in getting down to the real nitty-gritty, here's the pdf.

Police Chiefs Want More Access to Private E-mail, Internet Communication

Canadian police want the federal government to revamp 30-year-old Criminal Code provisions and give them greater access to fight hi-tech crime carried out via e-mail, the Internet and other forms of electronic traffic. Police organizations want more power, through lawful access with warrants, to monitor e-mail, web surfing, instant messaging, mobile telephones and telephone services that use Internet connections.
The police are especially concerned about child pornography, exploitation of children, and organized crime. Read all about it.

China Asks Libraries to Restrict Access to Magazines

In addition to use of traditional illegal drugs (cocaine, heroin, opium and marijuana), Chinese youth are starting to engage in the manufacture of the newest designer drugs, such as ecstacy, mix and Ketamine. One of the accused, Zhu Huaping, who faces trial, learned how to make Ketamine from a magazine at a public library and bought the raw materials in a market.

Chinese officials from the Ministry of Security are planning a crackdown on the manufacture and use of drugs in dance clubs and other popular hangouts, and are also asking libraries in the country to restrict access to books and magazines containing information on how to manufacture the drugs.

According to this article from China Daily , drug use is on the rise both in large cities and remote villages of China.

Soothing Murderer's Feelings with $1200 Political Correctness

The Privacy Act is completely out of hand when a convicted murderer can get a payout for "hurt feelings" because he couldn't read all of a letter about himself, says National's Law & Order spokesman Tony Ryall.

He is commenting on a report that the Human Rights Review Tribunal has awarded a prisoner $1200 for hurt feelings and humiliation because the Corrections Department did not show him all of a letter that made allegations about his behaviour while he was on temporary release from jail. Read More.

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