February 2004

SF Board of Supervisors seeks authority over federal law enforcement

conservator writes “The San Francisco Board of Supervisors is seeking authority to approve federal law enforcement requests for private (e.g., library) records from San Francisco city departments. Proposition E, which goes before voters on the March 2 ballot, was approved by eight members of the Board–including then-supervisor Mayor Gavin Newsom. A legislative aide to Supervisor Jake McGoldrick, who sponsored the measure, is quoted in the report as saying that federal officials probably will not challenge the ordinance if voters approve it: ‘they’ll ignore us.'”

At Waconia’s library, there’s nothing to check out

Bob Cox writes

For a definition of “confusion,” look into Waconia’s new library. But don’t look for it in a book. There aren’t any.

There isn’t any heat or electricity, either. Although the other tenants of the city’s new $12 million downtown project moved into sparkling new offices and cozy apartments last month, the library space remains empty, cold and dark, thanks to disagreements between city and county officials.

City Administrator Susan Arntz said the city has always been clear about what it would provide for the new library, a branch of the Carver County system. She said the city assumed responsibility for the exterior of the building and agreed to contribute $175,000 toward finishing the 11,920-square-foot interior space. More…..

‘Da Vinci Code’ publisher drops fight to stop book

Bob Cox writes

Random House Inc. yesterday said it intended to drop its demands that a Nashville publisher retitle an upcoming critique of the best-selling mystery novel, The Da Vinci Code.

Thomas Nelson Inc. is preparing to distribute a Texas theologian’s analysis of Dan Brown’s mystery novel. But the title of Darrell Bock’s forthcoming book — Breaking the Da Vinci Code — had raised the ire of Random House.

100th anni-Seus-sary

Bob Cox writes

Nearly 13 years after her husband’s passing, Geisel leads the global enterprise that has sprouted from Seuss’ beloved books – watching over the Cat in the Hat, the Grinch and all the other critters and characters who live on in movies, toys, games and ventures that perhaps not even the imaginative doctor could have envisioned. Wonderful Dr Seus!!

Havel to play library card

Gary Price writes

A year into his post-presidential life, Vaclav Havel is taking a cue from his American counterparts.

The dissident/playwright-turned-politician’s life and legacy will be the focus of a presidential library, modeled on similar institutions in the United States dedicated to 10 former presidents. The project is being overseen by the nonprofit company Knihovna Vaclava Havla, co-founded by former first lady Dagmar Havlova, and a six-person administrative board that met for the first time Feb. 16. Havel publicly announced the project the next day during a wide-ranging interview with Czech journalists, his first such meeting since leaving office in February 2003.

Organizers say the library will serve as a research center and repository for Havel’s writings and records related to his public life. It will also host exhibits on the communist era, the dissident movement and the re-establishment of Czech democracy and will host seminars and conferences on global issues and human rights.

Nudist Library in Florida Celebrates 25th Anniversary As Literary Treasure

Gary Price writes

It doesn’t appear in travel guides or lists of offbeat destinations, but with books, magazines and other literary treasures dating back to the beginning of modern nudism, the American Nudist Research Library (ANRL) has been visited by scholars and historians from around the world. And, in 2004, nude recreation enthusiasts are urged to visit, as the ANRL Library celebrates its 25th anniversary at Cypress Cove Nudist Resort in Kissimmee, Florida with a year of special events and activities. Read the full story here.

Can public libraries ever work?

Bob Cox writes:

If we didn’t have public libraries, and if somebody proposed them, the proponents would – you can be certain – never dream of suggesting the operation of one under the same roof as a bookstore. The inevitable harm to the bookstore from the unfair, taxpayer-subsidized competition would be obvious.

In fact, though, when asked recently if that proximity ever caused any sort of problem with the mall people, the head of the Dayton library system said simply, “No.” A nonissue. Nothing.

Despite their universal acceptance and their harmlessness, however, libraries are having problems these days. They have fallen on hard budgetary times in various places. In California, there have been waves of layoffs. Seattle has had temporary closings. In Montgomery County, as a result of state budgetary cutbacks, there have been shortened hours, reductions in the purchase of new books, difficulty in serving growing communities and other problems. Read more here.

Settlement is music to libraries’ ears

Madison County’s 12 public libraries will soon be stocking hundreds of brand-new music CDs – and it won’t cost the taxpayers a cent.

The CDs come as part of the settlement of a national antitrust lawsuit. Forty states, including Alabama, brought the lawsuit, alleging five major music companies and three music retailers had entered into illegal price-fixing agreements to prevent discount stores from selling cheaper music. Read more on this here (you may need to enter basic demographic information prior to reading article).

Photographer’s Analog Archive Contradicts Photo Hoax

Luis Acosta writes “Ken Light, whose 1971 photo of John Kerry was digitally doctored to make it appear that Kerry shared a stage with Jane Fonda and then distributed widely throughout cyberspace, should be applauded for maintaining a good archive of his analog photo negatives, which has enabled him to refute the hoax. He writes about the lessons for his Ethical Problems in Photography class in
today’s Washington Post
(free registration required).
At age 20 Light knew that “negatives are sacred, and that every roll of film must be carefully filed away for future use.” He notes “how easy and professional-looking these distortions of truth have become in the age of Photoshop.” Light says that this hit home for him when he found that “somebody had pulled my Kerry picture off my agency’s Web site, stuck Fonda at his side, and then used the massive, unedited reach of the Internet to distribute it all over the world.””