Government Docs

Do We Need This Government Agency? 'Let Me Google That'

Story at NPR about a bill to get rid of the NTIS.

Related blog post: S. 2206 set to eliminate NTIS: fundamentally misunderstands the Internet

Tories torch and dump centuries of priceless, irreplaceable environmental archives

Links over at BoingBoing and Mefi. Many collections such as the Maurice Lamontagne Institute Library in Mont-Joli, Québec ended up in dumpsters while others such as Winnipeg's historic Freshwater Institute library were scavenged by citizens, scientists and local environmental consultants. Others were burned or went to landfills, say scientists.

Immigration Bill Gets a Library Add-On

Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) is offering a library amendment to the immigration bill that the Senate is considering this week. The amendment, #1223, would make public libraries eligible for funding for English language instruction and civics education, and would also add Susan Hildreth, the director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to the Task Force on New Americans. The American Library Association (ALA) is asking its members to call their Senators in support of Reed’s amendment.

According to the Congressional Record, Reed said that the amendment “recognizes the longstanding role that libraries have played in helping new Americans learn English, American

civics, and integrate into our local communities. It ensures that they continue to have a voice in these critical efforts… This amendment expands on the recent partnership between U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and IMLS.” He also cited IMLS statistics which say that more than 55 percent of new Americans use a public library at least once a week.

Story from Library Journal.

Petition the White House: All Public Schools Should Employ a Full Time Librarian

Sign and circulate til January 27 if you agree!.

Please tell the Obama Administration that librarians are important to us and that one should be present in every school.

Certified school librarians are trained to guide students through different forms of information, teach them how to navigate various technologies and, of course, help them to discover great literature and to foster a love of reading.

Studies have shown (e.g. Pennsylvania School Library Project) that students in schools with a full-time librarian have better outcomes than students in schools with no librarian. Although links may not be posted here, more research can be found with a simple google search.

Unfortuanately, many schools are eliminating librarians as a cost saving measure because their positions are not mandated by the state or federal government.

U.S. Government Printing Office: Public Papers of the President

Glenna Hall, CIA Librarian

By Glenna Hall, guest contributor to The Atlantic:

When Jim (James Fallows, regular columnist on temporary book leave) asked us to send him some biographical information, I mentioned that during my five-year stint at the U.S. Library of Congress, I had worked for several obscure non-library-service outfits, one of which was funded by the CIA. At that time, in the late '60s and early '70s, there were numerous peculiar units stuck around LOC -- in basements, in the stacks, in odd corners. For almost a year, another group I worked for was tucked away beneath the gorgeous ceiling of the Great Hall during a major overhaul of the Reading Room. Why was all this stuff located there? Well, that's where the books were.

My second job at LOC was with a group called the International Organizations Section. When I first arrived, I was struck by how many of the employees spoke English as a second language or were fluent in a number of languages. My immediate supervisor spoke and read Greek; one of my eventual friends was a Czech who also spoke Polish (he taught me how to pronounce "Zbigniew Brzezinski"). There were upward of a dozen desks, arranged in a block. The real feature of the big room, though, was a huge tub file filled with index cards and card dividers. -- Read More

AOTUS at NFAIS

I had the pleasure of hearing David Ferriero, Archivist of the United States (and the first librarian to hold the position) speak this morning at the NFAIS conference in Philadelphia. I'll sleep better tonight knowing our national records are in good hands.

In addition to all the serious things he talked about (the twitter feed was #nfais11 and it was probably blogged somewhere) he told about a challenge put to the readers of the Prologue: Pieces of History blog: If our Founding Fathers had Twitter. Not quite The Gettysburg Powerpoint Presentation but still amusing.

Amazon Selling Kindle Version of Wikileaks

Among its many services, Amazon.com offers hosting for websites in the form of data storage. When Wikileaks dumped a massive cache of diplomatic cables onto the Internet, it didn't take long for some technologically minded people to find out that Amazon had been hosting Wikileaks' data and content for quite some time. Yet, after the blow up over the cables, Amazon tossed Wikileaks from their servers, siting violations of their terms of service.

So make of this what you will, but Amazon UK is selling a Kindle version of the Wikileaks data. You can also have a look at the customer comments.

Seattle's Top Librarian Might Be Heading to Washington DC

After just a year and a half as the city librarian, Susan Hildreth may be leaving Seattle — at President Obama's request.

Hildreth has been nominated to be the director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services, she confirmed on Wednesday.

"It's a great honor," Hildreth said, adding that the opportunity to serve in Obama's administration is "very compelling."

The Senate must confirm her nomination, so it would likely be months before Hildreth took the position. The institute is responsible for distributing all federal funds allocated to the country's libraries and museums, she said.

Hildreth estimated that her annual salary is about $165,000. She would not comment on whether she pursued the position or if the White House contacted her.

Hildreth was named Seattle's librarian in November 2008. Since assuming the post in early-2009, she has led the library system through a challenging period of deep budget cuts.

Seattle Times reports.

The Public Access Crusade of Carl Malamud

Despite being public property, government documents are not necessarily free or easy to obtain. Carl Malamud of Public.Resource.Org details his decades-long quest for open access to "America's Operating System."



Transcript and MP3 download here.

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