June 2006

Access to answers makes archivist’s job enviable

The Columbia Daily Tribune Takes A Look At Kris Anstine. Kris is the person who normally answers the phone at the University of Missouri’s archives office and fields the questions from folks like Ol’ Clark who know just enough about history to be dangerous.

No question seems to be too tough for him. He makes the caller look like a genius, and when you apologize for bothering him he says: “That’s not a bother; that’s my job. If you don’t call, I’ll be unemployed.”

E-books still having a difficult time catching on

One From Canada.com: For book lovers, no digital device has yet proven as cool or as user-friendly as the iPod has for more than 42 million music lovers. Most books are still printed on paper — much like they have been since Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press in 1450.

“They’re not as aesthetically pleasing and they don’t have the same tactile feel as paper,” the 61-year-old Mr. Simpson said of e-readers, although he does like his machine’s ability to do searches and look up words.

And the librarians shall lead them

Nice One From The Times-Picayune. Chris Rose says the American Library Association convention this weekend was a serious step in the right direction. “I don’t mean to read too much into this event, but it’s a sign that New Orleans is ready to be, once again, New Orleans when drunken librarians in relax-fit jeans and plaid shirts cavort in the halls of fancy hotels.”

Net Neutrality Amendment Fails

A Senate panel rejects legislation that would have stopped broadband ISPs from offering preferential treatment to certain companies and content. Wired Reports The amendment, offered by Sens. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) and Byron Dorgan (D-North Dakota), would have prevented broadband providers from giving priority to any individual company’s content or services.

The panel tied 11-11 in its vote on the amendment, and chairman Ted Stevens said it failed.

Congress eyes Net porn laws

From The AP: Internet providers told Congress on Tuesday they’re doing all they can to combat online child pornography, but they were told to expect legislation.

Several providers voiced skepticism about creating new laws that would force them to retain data about their users’ online activity.

Any such measure would be costly, easily circumvented and would “fall far short of its intended goal,” AOL chief counsel John Ryan told a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing.

Lawmakers, however, said more must be done to stop the availability of child porn on the Web and chat rooms where pedophiles troll for young victims.

Good Press For Libraries In Des Moines

stevenj writes “An article in the Des Moines Register reports on the “Long Overdue” report on American libraries. The article profiles Iowa first lady Christie Vilsack, one of 34 civic leaders interviewed for the report, which was sponsored by the Americans for Libraries Council and paid for by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Vilsack, who has toured nearly 500 of Iowa’s 543 libraries, said Iowa libraries have added coffee shops, increased the number of computer workstations, and opened themselves for gatherings and other activities. You can find this highly positive article at:

MPS told to beef up school library oversight

Pete writes “School librarians are getting the short end of the budgeting stick according to this Milwaukee Journal Sentinel story

In Wisconsin, state officials have given Milwaukee Public Schools 14 months to ensure that every school library is overseen by a licensed librarian – something that has not been happening at about three dozen MPS schools.

The Department of Public Instruction on Monday released results of its investigation of a 2-year-old complaint from the Milwaukee teachers union that many schools were violating rules calling for schools to use certified librarians.”

A state government discovers filtering’s limits

jepling writes “State’s effort to block Web sites has plenty of holes: Inconsistency sparks criticism
Kentucky state employees can still surf to humor, sports, blogs, and other sites despite efforts to filter them. The state’s campaign to filter Web sites has not been entirely successful, as shown by a reporter’s sampling of sites on a state computer. The purpose of the filtering is to keep state employees focused on state business while on state time.
Louisville Courier-Journal has the scoop

A Letter from Harper Lee

Harper Lee, author of To Kill a Mockingbird, has written a letter for Oprah’s magazine on how she became a reader as a child in Monroeville Alabama in the 1930’s, according to the AP via CNN .

In the letter, Lee tells that she became a reader early on. Her older siblings and her mother read a story a day; and her father read newspaper articles to her. “Then, of course, it was Uncle Wiggly at bedtime.” In her hometown, books were scarce, making her treasure them all the more. “Now, 75 years later in an abundant society where people have laptops, cell phones, iPods, and minds like empty rooms, I still plod along with books,” she wrote.