International

British Poem Protests Library Closings

UK author Julia Donaldson has penned a poem in protest at planned library closures.

The writer, who was named Children's Laureate and awarded the MBE last year, said she had used libraries since she was a child and still visited her local branch to research and write her best-selling books.
Her poem, released on Friday to mark National Libraries Day, describes them as places to "meet your heroes, old and new, from William the Conqueror to Winnie the Pooh". The 62-year-old writer, who was born in London but lives in Glasgow, said she wanted to make a serious point in a fun way. She said: "It's just more interesting to put the reasons I love libraries in that form rather than write an earnest article about it. If we lose libraries, we would lose readers and we would become a less literate country." Campaigners say hundreds of libraries face closure, with some groups taking legal action in a bid to save them.

Her Library Poem reads: "Everyone is welcome to walk through the door. It really doesn't matter if you're rich or poor. There are books in boxes and books on shelves. They're free for you to borrow, so help yourselves.
"Come and meet your heroes, old and new, from William the Conqueror to Winnie the Pooh. You can look into the Mirror or read The Times, or bring along a toddler to chant some rhymes. -- Read More

LISTen: An LISNews.org Program -- Episode #182

This week's episode brings a segment-sized version of the infamous Tech for Techies as well as an essay looking at the legislative steps for the proposed Stop Online Piracy Act and how there may yet be other points at which the bill could be killed.

Direct download link: MP3

Creative Commons License
LISTen: An LISNews.org Program -- Episode #182 by The Air Staff of Erie Looking Productions is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

Some Books Saved by Egyptian Protestors at the Institut d'Egypte

Further to our earlier story on Cairo's library fire, here's some positive news:

From Al Masry Alyoum (Egypt Independent) :

In the wake of the fire that destroyed much of the manuscript collection at the Institut d'Egypte on Saturday, scores of pro-democracy protesters have told of their efforts to salvage books and other rare documents from the smoking ruins.

The institute, which was built by Napoleon Bonaparte on Qasr al-Ainy Street, was set ablaze during fighting between security forces and pro-democracy protesters on Saturday morning. Many rare documents dating back to Napoleon's campaign in 1789, including an original copy of the Description de l'Egypt, were damaged by fire or else by water used to put out the flames.

Protesters began salvage operations later on Saturday, as fighting continued around them, removing books and manuscripts from the building and arranging them on the pavement outside. They made contact with officials at the Ministry of Culture, who arranged to collect the works and remove to the safety of the Dar al-Kutub building on the Corniche.

Death and Destruction at Cairo Library During Political Clashes

Cairo (CNN) -- The new round of bloody clashes between pro-democracy protesters and Egypt's security forces left 10 people dead Saturday, including six by live ammunition, even though the new prime minister denied that live fire was being used by his forces.

Meanwhile, 213-year-old Egyptian maps and historical manuscripts -- described as "irreplaceable" -- were destroyed after a library in Cairo was among structures set ablaze during the clashes, officials said.

Egypt's Prime Minister Kamal Ganzouri, appointed by the military earlier this month, condemned the library attack, which he called an "arson committed by the protesters who portrayed no patriotism in protecting the symbols of the historical civilization of this nation." The 200,000-book library is called the Scientific Center.

Destroyed in the fire were the original manuscript of the "description of Egypt" and "irreplaceable maps and historical manuscripts preserved by many generations since the building of the Scientific Center in August 1798 during the French Campaign," Ganzouri said in a statement

Reports from CNN and DP News.

CILIP/National Literacy Trust Press Release on School Libraries

The Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals, the British counterpart to the American Library Association, issued jointly with the UK's National Literacy Trust a press release condemning the announced 2012 closure of Hertfordshire Schools Library Services.

Killing It With Legislation, Not Force

Rik Myslewski reports in The Register that Wikipedia is looking at a possible upcoming blackout. Declan McCullagh at CNET notes that this is part of a possible protest response to the proposed Stop Online Piracy Act being debated by the United States Congress that has potential extraterritorial effects.

Meanwhile, The Hill reports that Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt characterizes SOPA as criminalizing the fundamental structure of the Web and all its interlinked nature.

Demographic Rambling

Four years of podcasting with LISNews.org has been interesting. The statistics make things even more interesting. Sadly, I do not have a complete set of data points. Those that I do have worry me.

Location is key. When it comes to covering the Library & Information Science world, our main focus is not geography but instead topical matters. Based upon what data I can derive from FeedBurner's limited statistics, we may cover the right topical matters but hit all the wrong areas of geographical coverage.

From the limited geographical data I have, the bulk of listeners to LISTen: An LISNews.org Program happen to be located in places like the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Canada. US listenership actually comes in a bit lower than would be expected. This may also reflect regional preferences in how you subscribe to podcast content since the FeedBurner link is but one way to subscribe. We simply lack data for some means of subscribing to the podcast.

What can I do with having primarily a foreign audience while the content is primarily produced with a domestic US focus? Some changes in content focus may be necessary perhaps. The big problem with that is that we have virtually no budget and are tethered to the south shores of Lake Erie in a township called Ashtabula. We really do not have the assets in place to cover stories in the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Canada. Expansion of assets would otherwise be necessary and we do not have a way to do so quite just yet.

The fifth year of the program is now underway. I want to make changes this year. A big one would be to secure funding for shortwave distribution. With the lessons of this year in terms of how fragile the Internet is, having a backup is important. Considering how much of the listenership is located outside North America, such would be a viable backup that would also skirt around national blacklists and firewalls.

Getting the resources to cover foreign stories is an even harder thing than simply buying blocks of airtime with money we don't have. Foreign collaborators would be necessary. Without any way to compensate them it is kinda hard to recruit such people. Indigenous correspondents would allow for better coverage anyhow compared to trying to secure a travel budget and visa clearances for international travel. We could previously handle this sort of thing through judicious use of Skype but with as unreliable as Time Warner Cable has been locally we cannot go with that option.

These speed results help illuminate what we are paying USD$39.95 to get:



The easy part is knowing what you want to do. The hard part is finding the resources to bring such to fruition. The search for resources is the big challenge for year five, it seems.

Creative Commons License
Demographic Rambling by Stephen Michael Kellat is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at erielookingproductions.info. -- Read More

British Library Website Defaults to Amazon.com, and Booksellers Aren't Happy

MediaBistro reports: The venerable British Library is being criticized this week for a new suggested sales platform that it is currently testing. The online catalog for the British Library now includes an extra link on most book listings. In addition to request reserve, and checkout a title, patrons can now also find the book on Amazon.co.uk. If Amaozn doesn’t have the title then the page lists a “More titles to consider” link instead.

Naturally this has Amazon’s competitors up in arms. Johnny de Falbe, co-owner of London’s Sandoe bookshop, had this to say: “The British Library, a public institution, should not be offering this link to Amazon, which is not (last I heard) a public institution. And if the British Library, of all people, are not supporting British bookshops, and positively steering business away from independents, then why should anyone else have any faith, or interest, in independents?”

And he’s not alone. James Daunt, managing director of Waterstone’s, was not pleased with the development, saying: “It’s disappointing to say the least that a very British institution is driving readers away from local libraries and high street bookshops."

The British Library is on the record as saying that this was not a deliberate choice; it’s the default option for the platform offered by ExLibris, the company who built the British Library’s website.

16.1 million visits to public libraries - the Movie!

There are 16.1 million visits to public libraries in Ireland each year and the Irish Library Council has produced a nice video publicizing the fact and promoting public libraries - see it on Vimeo.

A Librarian On the Other Side of the World

Interesting profile of Yeri Nurita, a librarian at the National Library of Indonesia in the Jakarta Globe.

Among other subjects, the interviewer asks her about the sort of problems the library deals with...

"First and foremost is maintenance. It’s really essential to fumigate the books frequently to protect them from insects, but fumigants are scarce and we can only do it once every two years. Second, fungi. Fungi appear due to the humidity inside the library. We can’t afford to keep the air-conditioner running 24 hours a day, but it should been on the whole day to keep the room less humid. Also, security issues — books keep going missing, either from being misplaced or by theft."

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