April 2002

1 librarian speaks out against the PATRIOT Act

From the Baltimore Sun. Thanks to Carol Casey for the heads up:

There are [many] provisions of the Patriot Act that offend librarians because of excessive secrecy or censorship, but what we surely cannot abide is the government\’s intrusion on library confidentiality.

When the public\’s reading habits and personal communications are subject to government surveillance within the library, the delicate relationship of trust between libraries and their patrons is shattered and the chill on free expression and the right to know may be irrevocable.

This is not a partisan issue.


Tome Raider stole antique books worth £1.1m

Charles Davis passed along this one from
The Guardian on a Cambridge graduate who stole antique books and pamphlets worth an estimated £1.1m from libraries and then sold them at auctions and is now facing a lengthy jail term. The Police named him the \”Tome Raider\” after they busted him with books like Principia Mathematica by Sir Isaac Newton, works by Galileo,
and The Wealth of Nations by the Scots economist Adam
In total he stole 412 extremely rare antiquarian books making
the haul one of the biggest of its kind in British legal history.
Some have been returned to the libraries but hundreds of the
books have never been traced.

\”We don\’t assert he actually got them out of the libraries in the
first place but what he did afterwards was to pretend to be the
owner to sell them or store them away for later, we say, to make
quite a pile of money. We are not dealing with last year\’s law
book. We are going back hundreds of years with some of them.
They are valuable and he knew that.\”

See also, BBC Story on stopping book thieves in stores.

Johns Hopkins U. trades Baltimore new building for old library land

From the Baltimore Sun:

Counter to the trend of city library branch closures, an Enoch Pratt Free Library branch will be built in East Baltimore, compliments of a wealthy neighbor. Johns Hopkins Medicine plans to acquire the neighboring site of the Broadway branch for expansion and, in exchange, build a branch roughly the same size as the existing library by late 2004, Pratt and Hopkins officials said . . .

Library officials estimate that Hopkins would spend $4 million to build the 14,000-square-foot replacement for the Broadway branch, completed in 1970 . . .

Hopkins views the land on which the library sits as a prime spot for a building offering patient, residential and family services, said Terry Todesco, a Hopkins spokeswoman.


Top Dog at Hennepin County Responds to Berman Petition

Steve Fesenmaier passed along This Response from Michael Opat, Chair of the Hennepin County Board of Commissioners Commissioner from District 1. He is the person who could put a stop to the destruction of the Berman database.

He says \”In short, we have moved on. Mr. Berman has moved on. Perhaps you should consider doing the same.\”

Ender points out you can see 2 earlier Stories for some background info.

Web radio stations shut down to protest LOC/Copyright Office ruling

From the Radio and Internet Newsletter, more evidence of the widespread impact of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act:

Hundreds of Internet radio stations and channels across America are shutting off their music streams on Wednesday, May 1st, in a \”Day of Silence\” to highlight their concern over the upcoming U.S. Copyright Office ruling on royalty rates that may shut down or bankrupt the vast majority of the nascent Internet radio industry.

The Librarian of Congress is required to set \”sound recordings performance royalty\” rates for Internet radio stations by May 21st — and an arbitration panel (a \”CARP\”) working for that office has recommended a rate of $.0014 per listener per song (or $.0007 for broadcast simulcasts). Many webcasters say the proposed royalty rate is the equivalent of 200% or more of their revenues . . .

More information here and here.

21 Dog Years: Doing Time @ Amazon.com

From the web site of Mike Daisey, actor, author, playwright, and ex-employee of Amazon.com.

\”Mike Daisey worked for Amazon.com during two of its tumultuous early years. Now, his Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) has expired, allowing him to tell the real story of Amazon.com — how he learned to slavishly love idealistic mouthbreathers, sixty-hour weeks, and the cult of personality that is Jeff Bezos. His new Off-Broadway show and book, 21 Dog Years: Doing Time @ Amazon.com, chronicle these adventures.\”

\”Boy meets dot-com, boy falls for dot-com, boy flees dot-com in horror. So goes one of the most perversely hilarious love stories you will ever read, one that blends tech culture, hero worship, cat litter, Albanian economics, venture capitalism, and free bagels into a surreal cocktail of delusion.\” More

Smelly feet in library – update

Charles Davis writes \” Story from

A defendant with smelly feet has accused a Dutch judge of
bias after he ordered him to put his shoes back on in court.

Teunis Teun was before a court in Den Haag after ignoring
a ban on him going into a public library.

The smell of his feet have forced library users to leave the
building several times. He is in the habit of going in and
taking his shoes and socks off.

When he did the same in court, the judge ordered him to put
them back on. Teun then accused him of prejudice and
made an official complaint.

A panel of three other judges must now to sit to decide
whether the unnamed judge did show prejudice in Teun\’s

The Het Nieuwsblad newspaper reports that the
unemployed 39-year-old is nicknamed Rancid Teun by

He is charged with unlawfully entering the library by violating
the ban and could face up to six months in prison.

Teun told the judge: \”The only way to get rid of those smelly
feet is to wear shoes is little as possible. There is nothing
better than giving them some air.\” \”