Politics

LISTen: An LISNews.org Podcast -- Episode #123

Movement of the Moment Looks to Long-Ago Texts

Tea Party supporters, many of whom gathered in August in Washington, have made best sellers out of books by long-dead authors like Frédéric Bastiat and Friedrich Hayek.

Full article in the New York Times

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.

Chinese Author Released After Being Arrested by Authorities

Story from Global Times: A popular political author who was arrested after he published a book that claimed officials in Weinan, Shaanxi Province, embezzled funds intended for residents who were forced to relocate has been released.

Xie Chaoping was accused of "illegal trading" after his book came out.
The procuratorate in Linwei district, Weinan, announced Friday that the arrest was not approved because of insufficient evidence, according to News Cnxianzai, a website operated by the Hubei Changjiang Publishing Group.

The report said Xie and his wife, Li Qiong, returned to Beijing Friday night. Xie was arrested August 19. His book accused the local migrant bureau officials of embezzling funds intended for residents who had to relocate because of the decades-old Sanmenxia reservoir project.

The book, which was ruled an illegal publication by the provincial press and publication bureau, described how the residents were forced to leave their land in Weinan for the reservoir.

Xie paid 50,000 yuan ($7,340) to Flash Magazine to publish the book in May. Some 10,000 copies of the book were inserted into the magazine as a supplement.

The writer was quoted in the report saying that he did not regret writing the book. "I am fighting against some corrupt officials in the capacity as a journalist," he said.

City of Airheads: Villaraigosa Dismantles L.A.'s Vaunted Library System

Above is the headline, unedited, in today's LA Weekly in which Patrick Range McDonald cites the devastating choices of LA's mayor and city council in carrying out "an unprecedented, and punishing, raid on the libraries."

The article goes on: Last spring he convinced the City Council to close the city's central and eight regional libraries on Sundays, then slashed $22 million from the 2010-11 budget and closed all 73 libraries on Mondays beginning July 19. Library officials say as many as 15,000 youths — plus an untold number of adults — have been turned away every closed day this summer.

Unlike the angry City Council in New York, which successfully fought a large library budget cut proposed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Los Angeles City Council President Eric Garcetti and 4th District City Councilman Tom LaBonge, chairman of the council's Arts, Parks, Health and Aging Committee, quickly caved on Villaraigosa's proposed 2010 budget, of which the library cuts were a part.

LA Weekly article. Some interesting commentary from readers too...

If They're Burning Qur'ans, ALA Says 'We'll Read Qur'ans'

From American Libraries: Book burning is the most insidious form of book banning, and just as the American Library Association is preparing to celebrate the freedom to read during Banned Books Week, along comes one Rev. Terry Jones of the 50-member Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida. The reverend’s idea of world outreach is to commemorate the 9/11 terrorist attacks of 2001 with a public burning of the Qur’an, the Muslim holy book. Gen. David Petraeus had personally pleaded with the reverend to restrain himself because of the potential for retaliatory violence.

Meanwhile, the American Library Association and librarians across the country will move the Qur’an to the top of the Banned Books Week agenda. (Leading the way by modeling tolerance, an Oklahoma public library has been hosting an exhibit of artwork inspired by Muslim tradition.)

“Free people read freely,” says Barbara Jones, director of the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom. “That is a fundamental principle of the American Constitution and a basic mission of public libraries. We don’t burn books, we read them.”

Thanks to Jenny Levine for the lead.

Presidential Library Smack Down

Hawaii...or Illinois? (some might suggest elsewhere...)

The Honolulu Star Advertiser reports that Hawaii has an early lead in pitching the islands as the future home of President Barack Obama's library, museum and think tank. However yet another Illinois-Hawaii smack-down is brewing over where it will actually end up.

The Hawaii Legislature has sent the White House a joint resolution that it passed last session urging Obama to pick Hawaii as the site for his library. Officials at the University of Hawaii are creating working groups in the next few weeks that will study a wide variety of issues, including finding a suitable site for the complex, designing it, deciding how to best manage the archives, designing museum exhibits and learning how best to create a related academic program and research center.

And on Sunday a Hawaii delegation led by Reed Dasenbrock, UH vice chancellor for academic affairs, will fly to Washington, D.C., to meet with the head of the presidential library division of the National Archives and to Little Rock, Ark., to meet with the director of the Clinton Presidential Center and the Clinton Foundation.

Watch the Net Neutrality FCC Hearings Thursday Night

Note from Senator Al Franken of MN:

A few weeks ago, Google and Verizon announced a proposed policy framework that they claimed would protect net neutrality, but it does not apply to wireless Internet services. It does not protect net neutrality -- it undermines it.

We've set up a special link so you can watch the hearing, courtesy of the UpTake -- it starts at 6:00 Central Time (7:00 Eastern) tonight.

Please invite your friends to watch by Tweeting and posting to Facebook. This is a big opportunity for us to stand up for net neutrality -- and stand up to big corporations who want to own the flow of information in America.

New York's Mayor Suggests To a Reporter That He Visit the Library

...to read the Bill of Rights.

New York Times Cityroom Blog: On a campaign blitz on Tuesday, NYC's Mayor Michael Bloomberg was dogged by questions about the Islamic Community Center project near Ground Zero.

In Philadelphia, where he endorsed the Democratic candidate for Senate, Joe Sestak, he tersely told off a critic. “Look, I would suggest you go from here directly to the library. Get a copy of the Bill of Rights and you’ll realize that everybody has a right to say what they want to say.”

Mr. Bloomberg also fielded questions about the Islamic center, known as Park51, in Washington, where he traveled to back the re-election campaign of Mayor Adrian M. Fenty. He ended the day with an appearance at a fund-raiser for Michael N. Castle, the Delaware Republican vying for a Senate seat.

The Islamic center is a thorny issue for national politicians, with recent polls showing that most Americans oppose its construction. [ed- I like what one commenter says about it - "As someone who lives and works in lower Manhattan, I’ve noticed that one’s hysteria over Park51 seems to be inversely proportional to one’s proximity to it."]

According to their website, the Park51 facility will include a library.

Accused School Librarian Still on the Job

A Redding (CA) School District librarian accused of embezzling and stealing from a school and parent club has not been placed on leave, an administration official said Wednesday.

Wanell Stolz is still working as an information specialist at Juniper Elementary and Cypress Elementary schools, district Superintendent Diane Kempley said before a special board meeting called to discuss “various employee evaluations” in closed session Wednesday.

Two parents who arrived at the meeting late and did not address the board said while the board was in closed session that they are concerned about having Stolz, who was arrested last week, working around their children.

“With everything that is going on with her case, I really don’t think she should be working with kids,” said Alisha Woodruff, who has two children who will be attending Juniper School when classes begin next week. The accused librarian is the wife of Redding School District Board of Trustees President Rein Stolz. Redding.com.

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