Kenney: It's time for ALA to set its journals free

Brian Kenney: "librarians are the most vocal advocates for open access to journal content—except, apparently, when it’s their own publications. I suspect this is because of ALA’s outdated, carrot-on-the-end-of-the-stick, publishing model: keep the publications locked away as the supreme benefit of membership. "

Finally, there is common sense. If you want your content to be used, then readers need to be able to discover it through a search engine and read it in a click. Or find it in their feed aggregator. We need to be able to forward it, post our disagreements with it, blog about it, and have it pushed to us on Facebook. It must, in short, be integrated into our professional lives. Or else it becomes irrelevant, no matter how good it might be.

Information Specialist as Detective Contest

The Canadian Association of Special Libraries and Information Services (CASLIS) invites Canadian information specialists to explore their creative side and apply their skills to solve a mystery.

To enter the contest, we want you to create an information specialist (be it librarian, records manager, archivist, knowledge management consultant, or whoever) who makes use of their professional skills to turn detective. You don't need to write the entire novel. Just give us:

* A title
* An outline plot summary
* An extract

The total length of the entry (including the title, summary and extract) should be no more than 500 words long. Entries will be judged on their entertainment value and the inventive use they make of our specialist skills rather than their potential interest to a literary agent.

Entries will be reviewed by a jury composed of librarians and mystery writers. The winner will be awarded a $50 gift certificate from a mystery bookstore. The jury members are:

* Evette Berry, Calgary Public Library
* Ross Gordon, Director, RCMP Library and Canadian Police College Library
* Mary Jane Maffini, mystery writer and lapsed librarian

All submissions will be published in the October 2008 edition of Special Issues: Bulletin of the Canadian Association of Special Libraries and Information Services. Members of the Canadian Library Association will be invited to vote for the winner of a People's Choice Award who will receive a $25 gift certificate from a mystery bookstore.

Ain't Love Grand?

The Romance Writers Association has announced the names of the 2008 winners of the Rita and Golden Hearts Awards. Congratulations to the winners.

In the event you're not a romance reader, the website has a special page for librarians with the nitty-gritty on the genre...could be a patron is seeking out a paranormal romance?

ALA President Stepping Down, Offers Final Book Recommendations

Soon to be the former President of ALA, regular NPR guest Loriene Roy shares highlights from her time leading the organization, what the future holds for her and one final list of suggested literary "musts" for the inquiring mind. Here's the nine-minute interview on NPR.

ALA - Fun but too big

Hi All,

Last week I vacationed at ALA prior to a visit with my Dad. I've written up a few sessions over at Free Government Information.

It was great to meet people and match names to faces and to hook up with people that I'd previously met at govdocs conferences that I don't get to any more.

But it was just so big! I missed so many people that I would have liked to have met. And then I had to pass up invites for things that would have involved 4 hours plus driving (hi Stephen K).

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Should Librarians Rely on Associations for Technology Guidance?

Eric Schnell wonders Should Librarians Rely on Associations for Technology Guidance?

The shelf life of technology has gotten so short that I not so sure I should expect any professional association to provide me with guidance. While annual meetings are a great place to hear about emerging technologies, I believe it should be a part of every librarian's continuous learning process to explore themselves (using tools such as RSS and blogs!) and no longer wait patiently for an annual meeting to hear about them. One needs to find out for themselves how these tools can be used in their daily lives and not wait for someone else to tell them

Authors talk about libraries for Ireland's library week

Booker Prize winner Anne Enright is just one of the authors who talk about their favourite libraries on Library Ireland Week's website at Joseph O'Connor talks about his time at the NYPL while John Boyne says he prefers books to the net.


Beyond Mediocre; or thoughts on running for ALA Council

Christopher Harris Writes About why he's running for Council.

Though it will be a rough road that will need to be mapped as we proceed, I do think we are on the right road in seeking positive changes that maintain the position of libraries as centers for all types of information. As Godin reminds us in a phrase that mirrors Berry’s concerns about the devaluation of library services: “If it were any other way, it would be easy. And if it were any other way, everyone would do it and your work would ultimately be devalued [Godin].” For our work as librarians not to be devalued, we need to change. And, ALA Council must change.

ALA Legal Goons Bring Hammer Down on LITA-L

If you don't read LITA-L you've been missing out on some classic legal decisions. On Wednesday 2 list members posted links to pages about Lawrence Lessig running for congress under the subject "Lawrence Lessig for Congress?" One was Lessig's campaign page, the other, a pointer to the Facebook group "Draft Lessig for Congress." There were no follow-up messages, there was no discussion, nothing more than 2 list members pointing to a few web sites under a subject that ended with a question mark. 7 hours later, LITA-L readers were told to:

"discontinue this discussion. Our legal counsel has advised that "the Internal Revenue Code prohibits ALA from supporting or opposing a candidate for public office. Treasury regulations define the phrase "candidate for public office" as meaning "an individual who offers himself, or is proposed by others, as a contestant for elective public office.""

Most surprising, this message closed with this warning:

"I will be removing all messages on this topic from LITA-L. Please do not continue this discussion."

By now you're probably thinking of all the lawyer jokes you know, but don't finish that thought! The punch line came yesterday afternoon:

"And then in today's American Libraries Direct, which is surely more directly connected to ALA as an organization than lita-l, we see a similarly informational blurb, "Lessig considers a run for Congress"

Midwinter roundup

I have to present my Midwinter report at work today, so I figured I'd organize my thoughts here.

COMM--my new committee is the Committee on Membership Meetings, or COMM. We pick a topic for discussion and lay out the agenda for the sparsely attended ALA Membership Meetings at Annual. I always try to attend these and I'm not sure why others don't. Too many conflicts, I'd guess? This year we'll be discussing electronic participation, which should be interesting and timely. Very smooth committee, I very much enjoyed the meeting. Things actually got done!

Balancing Baby and Book--a new discussion group for ACRL about parenting in academia. Probably one of the best things I attended. I met a lot of other new parents and future parents and we got to compare how our places of work dealt with balance issues. I hope this goes somewhere--I haven't heard from anyone since we left Philly.

EBSCO Lunch--EBSCO is doing some interesting things but I lost the handouts. I don't remember any groundshaking revelations though.

NMRT All Committee Meeting and Candidate Forum--I am running for NMRT Treasurer so I got to answer questions about what I would do if I won. I'm almost 'graduated' from this group (you can only belong for your first ten years of ALA) and I will miss it when my time's up.

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