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"Rain Man" Protagonist Kim Peek Loves the Library

NASA is studying Kim Peek's brain. He's the autistic-savant young man, now aged 53, who inspired the movie "Rain Man" released in 1988.

Apparently, he's gotten even smarter than he was back then.

Last week, researchers had Peek undergo a series of tests including computerized tomography and magnetic resonance imaging. The researchers want to compare a series of MRI images taken in 1988 by Dr. Dan Christensen, Peek's neuropsychiatrist at the University of Utah, to see what has since changed within his brain.

Peek is called a "mega-savant" because he is a genius in about 15 different subjects, from history and literature and geography to numbers, sports, music and dates. But he also is severely limited in other ways, like not being able to find the silverware drawer at home or dress himself.

At home in Utah, Peek spends afternoons at the Salt Lake City Public Library poring over books, even memorizing phone books and the Cole's address directory. Story from Deseret News .

Is Clinton a rock star? - Understanding search results

Grumpy Librarian writes "For an example of someone not understaning what their search results mean, here's a quote in the Washington Post's Media Notes:
And for those keeping track of Clinton's campaigning, a Nexis search of just the past week finds 114 stories mentioning both "Bill Clinton" and "rock star." Bruce Springsteen, move over'

Well, Mr. Kurtz, this doesn't tell us much, as an article that says "Former President Bill Clinton and rock star Bruce Springsteen are among thousands of celebrities campaigning this week..." would be included in your results.

I bet you'd find a bunch searching on Bush AND "Red Sox Pitcher" but not many people believe Bush will be taking the mound."

Former School Librarian, Now Radical Lawyer, On Trial

In a suit filed by Attorney General John Ashcroft on behalf of the Department of Justice, a defender of those who seem to need her the most, attorney Lynne Stewart is once again in the news. She's on trial for allegedly "aiding terrorism by relaying Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman's messages of war to his followers", according to the DOJ.

Today's New York Times has an article on Ms. Stewart, age 65, describing her (stereotypically!) as looking "much like the public school librarian she once was, wearing her gray hair in a proper bowl cut and dressed in a conservative black and brown dress and orthopedic lace-up shoes." She worked as a public school librarian in Harlem (NYC) in the 1960's.

Ms. Stewart insisted that she had always kept her distance from the sheik's politics. "I'm my own person, I have my own beliefs," she said. She said she had grown skeptical of religious fanaticism when she attended an evangelical Christian college. She insisted that she had never abetted or even endorsed the Islamic holy war preached by Mr. Abdel Rahman, an Egyptian cleric convicted of conspiring to blow up New York City landmarks.

"I'm not in the habit of fundamentalism," Ms. Stewart said.

PBS Interview with the New Poet Laureate

Ted Kooser is a down-to-earth guy from Nebraska. He's also the new Poet Laureate of the U.S.

Here he's interviewed by Jeffrey Brown of PBS (read or watch in streaming video). They talk about some of the inspiration for his poetry, including subjects as mundane as "The Last Tomato" (in the garden).

A snippet from the interview, on the subject of 'making a living' as a poet:

    JEFFREY BROWN: You did work for an insurance company for many years. Is that because it's hard to make a living as a poet?

    TED KOOSER: Absolutely, yeah. You know, you publish a poem in the very best magazine in this country and you get enough money for a sack of groceries, you know, and that's about it.

    So I needed some sort of a job that I could, you know, where I could continue my writing on the side and so on. So that's what I did.

and yet...ANOTHER Librarian Story

Susan North is retiring after thirty years (wow) behind the desk of the Ames (IA) Public Library, to be, as she puts it a "nanny granny."

In this interview in the Ames Tribune , North tells how she began working in a library while still a student at Iowa State, when she thought she might pursue a career as "the first female president of the United States", a desire that faded quickly. Even in junior high and high school, North worked in her local (Waterloo) library. Speaking of her years at the library she said, "It has been great being a librarian. It's always like we've been dispensing sweetness and light. Now just recently it's been a little harder, what with some of the (controversial) film series and the advent of the Internet."

Another Librarian's Story

This one's about Phil Stohrer, another resident of Michigan and a teacher who was at first reluctant to a become a school librarian. He now loves his work, and has been honored as "media specialist of the year by the Michigan Association of Media in Education".

"I have always enjoyed technology, and back (in the mid 70's) that meant slide projectors and movie projectors -- not the kinds of things we use today," he said. "When a book was worn out or missing, then you spent a lot of time taking those cards back out. I spent a good deal of my time alphabetizing and shuffling little cards. Now, with computers, all that is gone. The whole circulation process is automated."

Here's the story from MLive.

One Librarian's Story

The Cadillac (MI) News is interviewing one resident a week, and this week it's reference librarian Lisa Marie Popp of the Cadillac-Wexford Public Library. She talks with the interviewer about the pros, the cons, the technology, and the stresses of her job.

She's mostly pretty darn happy, but is concerned for the future of librarianship.

More on the Misspelled Mural

ffirehorse writes "Yet another twist on the misspelled library mural story ..... the muralist is now saying she will come back and correct the errors because, in her words, 'I really want people to see the work's meaning so they stop making issues of things that are unimportant.'"

In Life...and Death...A Great Friend of the Library

Although former volunteer Dr. Jane Carver Holmes, who died of cancer last year at the age of 76, will be missed by the Lakeland (FL) Public Library, she will never be forgotten.

She bequeathed to the library (among other arts and health care organizations) a sum of $875,000, this after having served as a loyal volunteer--and donor--for over twenty years.

Portrait of a remarkable lady at The Ledger Note: slow to load, but be patient, it will.

Librarian Strikes it Rich

Miami Beach (FL)School librarian Sandra Maurice is a multi-millionaire. No, not by virtue of a payraise, but from buying a winning lotto ticket.

Story from the AP .


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