December 2007

The Library’s Helpful Sage of the Stacks

Article in the New York Times.

Most writers remember exactly how they met David Smith.

“I first heard about him a few years ago from a friend, also a writer, who whispered his name as if it were some sort of Masonic secret passed on down the ages,” Alexander Rose recalled.

Daniel Okrent heard about him from David Margolick. Jeremy Schaap learned of Mr. Smith from Joe Goldstein, the legendary sports publicist, who was helping Mr. Schaap with research and for whom Mr. Smith unearthed an elusive biography of the boxer James J. Braddock. Roy Blount Jr., who says he always tries to be inconspicuous at the New York Public Library because he worries that he “could be expelled for not being up to the books,” was browsing in the main reading room one day when “David approached me, and I thought: Uh-oh, here it comes. I’m unconsciously humming or something.

Article continued here.

New Orleans Cocktails Stir Up Memories

You can sit at the bar at Commander’s Palace in New Orleans and drink history. Order a Sazerac – it’s the very first cocktail, dating back to the early 1800s, when Antoine Peychaud, who owned an apothecary in the French Quarter, served customers a recipe of his own bitters and Sazerac cognac for extra zest.

Cousins Ti Adelaide Martin and Lally Brennan, who preside over Commander’s Palace, say of this drink, “Cocktails would never have caught on if the original one wasn’t such a perfect concoction.”

Martin and Brennan are the authors of In the Land of Cocktails, a compilation of cocktail recipes and stories about drinking in New Orleans.

Listen to the complete story at NPR.

A Retiring Librarian Tells Her Story

Fay Clow, about to retire as the Director of the Bettendorf (IA) Public Library, says with a laugh that it was ‘money’ that drew her to her chosen profession.

“I graduated from college and had planned on being an English teacher. When I got to the education courses, I decided I just hated it. So I graduated with a bachelor of arts degree. I was looking around for some scholarship to go for my masters. I applied for a scholarship to library school and got it. So it was just a matter that I got the scholarship. I didn’t know until I started the course work and the actual work of being a librarian that I loved it. It was a perfect fit. But I didn’t know it at the time I applied to go to library school.” More of this interview from Quad-Cities Online.

Congress Earmarks $3 Million to Reopen EPA Libraries

Buried in two short paragraphs within the voluminous omnibus appropriations bill Congress sent this week to President George W. Bush is a Christmas present for EPA scientists and anyone else that wants to use the library network of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Congress ordered the EPA to restore its library services across the country and earmarked $3 million for that purpose, according to Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, PEER, a national association of workers in natural resources agencies.

Creating a Lego legacy @ Your library

Students from around the county added a stop to the Saranac and Clarksville libraries to their Christmas break plans Thursday to build Lego creations.
“It’s pretty cool,” said 8-year-old Jacob Rowley.
The libraries provided all the necessary Legos for each child to build whatever they wished and provided movie rentals to those participating.

New Research Paper from Stanford Info Lab: Reference: Questioning Yahoo! Answers

Gary D. Price (MLIS, Librarian, Director of Online Information Resources,, Editor, ResourceShelf and DocuTicker) sent over a A Link To Research Paper from the Stanford Info Lab: Questioning Yahoo! Answers.

Yahoo! Answers represents a new type of community portal that allows users to post questions and/or answer questions asked by other members of the community, already featuring a very large number of questions and several million users. Other recently launched services, like Microsoft’s Live QnA and Amazon’s Askville, follow the same basic interaction model. The popularity and the particular characteristics of this model call for a closer study that can help a deeper understanding of the entities involved, their interactions, and the implications of the model. Such understanding is a crucial step in social and algorithmic research that could yield improvements to various components of the service, for instance, personalizing the interaction with the system based on user interest. In this paper, we perform an analysis of 10 months worth of Yahoo! Answers data that provides insights into user behavior and impact as well as into various aspects of the service and its possible evolution.

Gen y in the library

All the talk about how libraries are losing the younger generation is apparently just that…talk. A survey done by Pew Internet & American Life Project found that the biggest group is actually Generation Y, the 18-30 year olds. While they may no longer be using the library for what we would call “traditional” reasons, they are using the library.

U.S.’s first Carnegie Library in jeopardy

Despite efforts by a wide range of supporters — including two Coweta County organizations — the future of the nation’s first Carnegie library looks bleak.

Glenn A. Walsh, a nationally-known expert on Andrew Carnegie and the public library movement he supported, is spearheading efforts to save the Allegheny Regional Branch of The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, America’s first publicly-funded Carnegie Library. Walsh offered his expertise and support when local fans of Newnan’s Carnegie Library mounted an effort to return library services to the historic downtown facility.