November 2003

Harry Potter: Not just for the library

One From CT where — The world of Harry Potter, credited with inspiring millions of children to read, is now being used to get students excited about physical education.

Justin vanGelder, a first-year gym teacher at Horace W. Porter School, is among those across the country incorporating the game ”quidditch” into their curriculum.

‘Huck Finn’ a masterpiece — or an insult

Huck Finn a masterpiece — or an insult comes to us from Seattle Post-Intelligencer, where they say a mother & daughter have led the assault in Renton against Mark Twain’s novel, marshaling vigorous arguments against a work that is widely regarded as a masterpiece — yet that also ranks with the books most consistently challenged in the nation’s classrooms, according to the American Library Association.

Unruly patrons raising ruckus with library workers

Bob Cox send in News From MA where a few recent incidents at the Pollard Memorial Library, which reopened in May 2002 following a two-year, $10 million renovation have city officials concerned and taking action.

For example, last month a part-time library assistant, Marie Morrissette, 39, suffered a bloody lip and chipped tooth when a scarfed assailant hurled a frozen egg at her face as she sat behind her basement-level desk.

Abuse the PATRIOT Act? Never!

Fang-Face writes Michael Isikoff, of Newsweek, has an article reprinted at about the feds using the PATRIOT Act to get financial records in a manner that would otherwise be clearly illegal. He wrote in part:

In Las Vegas, the Feds used a little-known provision in the Patriot Act that allows them to quickly obtain financial records of suspected terrorists or money launderers. Law-enforcement agencies can submit the name of any suspect to the Treasury Department, which then orders financial institutions across the country to search their records for any matches. If they get a “hit”—evidence that the person has an account—the financial institution is slapped with a subpoena for the person’s records.

The Feds might have gotten the same records even without the new law—but only if they had hard evidence that a suspect was doing business at a particular bank. In effect, the Patriot Act allows the Feds to search every financial institution in the country for the records of anybody they have suspicions about—the very definition, critics say, of a fishing expedition.

Library troubles in Canada

Two LISNews readers sent in stories about Canadian libraries this week. Janet Clark points us to The Globe and Mail

Friendships in Claresholm [Alberta], a town of 3,622, have dissolved. Smiles on the street have been replaced by people who shuffle by with their heads down.

News of screaming matches and an anonymous leaflet campaign swept through the streets like a prairie grass fire. A flood of letters poured in to the weekly newspaper.

The municipality wound up in court recently, pitted against some prominent citizens.

All over a library.

Meanwhile, zamiel gives us a CBC item about library closings in Regina, Saskatchewan:

REGINA – The Regina Library System recently announced that it will close the Dunlop Art Gallery and three library branches in 2004. Patrons are questioning the decision, which will eliminate 27 jobs and a number of library services.

“I really feel that this is a blow to the city and the province,” said art historian and Dunlop Gallery patron Annie Gerin. “To me, this is not just related to the library. There’s a much broader cultural issue here that hasn’t been discussed at all by the board.”

Fears for Murdoch’s books

Charles Davis writes: “from
The BBC:

There are fears a collection of 1,000 books that belonged to novelist Dame Iris Murdoch may leave the country. The books are being sold by the novelist’s widower, Professor John Bayley, who said it was “painful” to sell his late wife’s library but he had no room for them in his Oxford home.

The collection is on sale for £150,000 and there are fears it may go to the United States which, along with
Japan, has shown some interest.”

E-books and the professional magician

David H. Rothman writes “Multimedia e-books can be a godsend for people learning special skills. Check out E-Books and the Professional Magician, a cogent essay by Stephen Gambuti, author of Dirty Little Secrets of Magic and other writings. He is a professional magician who has appeared in New York comedy clubs and given an off-camera performance for Robin Leech of “Lifestyles of The Rich and Famous.” In his essay for TeleRead, Steve in effect makes a powerful case for multimedia e-books for skill-builders of all kinds–ranging from aspiring auto mechanics to future surgeons (and perhaps present practitioners, too). He focuses on his own experiences. But he’s really made a powerful generic argument for skill-oriented e-books with animated graphics.”