Ask LISNews

Stealth Advertising Hits The Library?

Rob Lopresti writes:\"
You may have heard recent reports about so-called \"stealth advertising,\" in which people called \"leaners\" are hired to tout a product. For example, one might lean against the bar in a crowded pub talking about a wonderful new beer. I may have just encountered the library equivalent. Yesterday I received an email from someone with no obvious connection to my university asking if we owned certain books. Since some of the ones we didn\'t own seemed relevant to our curriculum I looked them up on Google. Here is the page that came up first. Turns out all these books were published by Agora. Was my correspondent hoping to find the books in order to write a profitable review? Or was there a different purpose in mind?\"


Who should be on a READ poster?

There are lots of celebrity READ posters, but I\'m sure there\'s always room for more. I\'d like to see the Dixie Chicks on a poster promoting reading.

Who\'s your favorite candidate for a new READ poster?


Using an electronic messaging system?

Laura van Manen writes: \"I am interested in any library which is using an electronic messaging system. For example... a client sitting at the PC in the Reading Room needing help, clicks on an \"Assistance\" icon which sends a message to the Information Desk where staff are alerted and then can move across to assist the client...without the client having to leave the PC. Does anyone have any examples or software they would suggest we investigate?\"

You can email her at [lvanmane at], or post your answer below.


Bookless Library Branch:Glorified Computer Lab?

Marisa Ramirez writes \"One of the newest library branches in Tucson, Arizona has a unique feature: a library sans books. The Santa Rosa Learning Center, funded from a federal grant by the Housing and Urban Development Department\'s (HUD) Hope VI Project, is reminiscent of a computer lab, providing entirely web-based resources.

The idea of the project is to bridge the digital divide in the historically impoverished neighborhood of Barrio Santa Rosa.

Is anyone aware of another public library branch that consists entirely of computers? How can a bookless library like Santa Rosa claim to be any more than a glorified computer lab?

Santa Rosa Website

Arizona Daily Star article featuring Santa Rosa Library Branch\"


Library users as consumers

Mike Winter writes \"Since Troy Johnson, the moderator at the Librarians\' Book clubhas just posted the most recent titles slated for discussion, and one of them is \"Why We Buy,\" by Paco Underhill, a self-styled \"retail anthropologist,\" this seems like a good time to ask for comments on a topic I have been thinking about lately. In comparing libraries as they are today to what they were in the U.S. in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, it seems to me that library building and design, and arrangement of the collection and services, etc., points to a definite shift in the overall nature and function of libraries. In brief, what I see is that libraries were once much more like religious or governmental agencies, but that now they are much more like retail outlets, both real and virtual.

Part of this is that the library, which was once much more solidly connected with reading as part of reflection, discussion, and argumentation, has lost these functions as the publishing sector has lost some of them as well. Also, as publishing has become much more commercialized and profit-oriented, the library has followed suit and become much more like a place marking off a large, potentially very lucrative set of consumer markets. From the citizen, that is, the reader is now more like a customer; and library, from being a public agency with all sorts of idealistic ideas about the public good, is now more like a Nordstrom or a Safeway than a church or a government agency. I\'d be interested in hearing what others think about this general idea. \"


Ask LISnews: Racy book covers and WebPAC content ratings?

Our library system\'s new web catalog contains images of some book covers, and some of those images might be a little racy: Sexual State of the Union, Drawing the Female Nude, and so on. I\'m wondering what sort of content rating is appropriate for the catalog as a whole (it does \'contain\' visual depictions of partial and full nudity, after all). I\'d also be interested in finding examples of books with cover images that might offend patrons? Sometimes there\'s an offensive cover on an otherwise unobjectionable item, such as Blind Faith\'s album showing a nude teenage girl holding a remarkably phallic model airplane. So a more general (and, yes, titillating) question is: what books have the raciest cover images?


Of Our Cataloging Terminologies

Loretta writes: \"Most libraries divide up their collections using these two general names, \"fiction\" and \"non-fiction.\" However, we are perpetuating a mistake when we send patrons to \"non-fiction\" to retrieve Shakespeare and folktales and myths. No wonder people have trouble distinguishing the differences between the two categories.

Now I know that Dewey had classifications for fiction and biographies, but that most libraries have segregated these two collections, in addition to other choices individually made.
But can\'t we come up with terminology that more correctly describes that section of our libraries?
I find it hard to believe that there aren\'t other librarians bothered by this, I mean we certainly can spend hours ad nauseum discussing the finer points of cataloging decisions.\"

I\'ll also add, many of the same types of user UN-friendly things happen on most library websites.


Why Don\'t You Carry Playboy??

Len writes: \"This Story, and Comments on This One
lead me to believe it is uncommon, if not unheard of, for
libraries, both public and academic, to circulate
Playboy, Hustler and other pornographic magazines.

I see, as a common argument for filtering, \"well,
libraries don\'t carry playboy, why should they provide
access to it on the internet?\". I am not asking for
reasons for or against this argument.
Why don\'t libraries carry Playboy? Certainly some
must, the exception is not what I am after here, it is the
average library I wonder about, I know I\'ve never seen

I have no good answer for Len, but it seems like a
simple question for You:
Why doesn\'t your library circulate Playboy or


What Web Would You Pay For?

So I keep reading News On Yahoo!, Mostly Bad News.

I Put that together with Paid Search Results, Calls for the End of the \"free\" web, and MicroPayments, and I got thinking...

What happens if the web crawls into a pay-per-view, micropayment, or some other kind of non-free model in the future? What if Microsoft or AOL get their way and we (we as in endusers) pay for everything. I can think of 4 sites I\'d pay for Slashdot, Metafilter, Yahoo!, and Google. Add a few maybes to that list, Wired, Moreover, Camworld,and CNET. But I think my list is Atypical for a librarian.

So what sites would you pay for if you had to pay for the privilege of viewing? What sites are so useful you wouldn\'t mind paying for? What sites can\'t you live without?


BookShare Answers Your Questions

The Fine folks over at BookShare have provided answers to all the questions provided by the ever inquisitive LISNews audience.

Read on below to see how they do things, and why. This is an interesting project, one that could have some impact on some libraries in the future.



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