April 2008

Trapped on a Plane With Nothing to Read

In Monday’s Shelf Awareness, we were offered several options for this unfortunate but frequent predicament via the San Francisco Chronicle: “Commit your passport number to memory . . . Try to figure out what all the fuss is about Sudoku. . . . Concoct an elaborate revenge fantasy about the guy two rows ahead of you . . . the Skymall catalog, of course. . . . Turn to the route map in the back of the in-flight magazine and memorize the locations of all the “stan” countries of Central Asia.”

In yesterday’s S.A. issue, Jean Lambert Ross, branch administrator of the Potomac Library of the Prince William Public Library System in Virginia, wrote:

I enjoyed the advice in yesterday’s Shelf Awareness about what to do when trapped for 16 hours in a plane with nothing to read but also have one idea to add that has never failed me for self-entertainment. Think of the title of book, preferably one with only two or three words (for example, The Great Gatsby) and write the title on a scrap of paper. Then challenge yourself to see how many words you can make out of the letters in that title. (Rat; sat, bat; bye; gag; stab; stay; and on and on.) This killed three hours for me once when trapped with nothing to read while waiting for a ride. Enjoy!

The Sky Might Be Falling in Holbrook MA

According to Wicked Local, there are problems ahead for the town of Holbrook, Massachusetts. The public library might close, the senior center might close, the schools might lose more teachers.

Town Selectmen Vice Chairman Paul Currie said that he is concerned about the effects of closing the library and the Council On Aging. “It saddens me that the library and the Council On Aging would be closed,” he said. “There are a number of young people and a big population of the elderly who use the library. Not all elderly people have access to computers. A lot of the elderly depend on the Council On Aging to get to doctors’ appointments.” Currie said that the town is in an overall bad financial situation and the proposed override is a temporary fix.

Selectmen Chairman Paul Stigas said there is a lot of misinformation floating around relative to the town’s budget woes, adding that the town’s financial crisis and likelihood of massive service cuts are real. He also said it would ultimately be up to the voters if the library and Council On Aging stay open. “If the town doesn’t want the library, so be it,” he said.

“Let me tell you, the sky is falling,” he said. “It’s no joke. We’re not blowing smoke.”

Want to Surf the Web in Spanish? Here’s a Guide

PR Newswire announced today that Finding Dulcinea has launched a Spanish-language version of its Web Guides which includes:
“How to Search the Web,” “Health,” “U.S. Politics,” “Immigration,” “Cinco de Mayo” and “Survival Guide toNew York City.” FindingDulcinea (Librarian of the Internet) plans to add more Spanish-language Web Guides in the future, based on user feedback.

The AOL Latino 2006 Hispanic Cyberstudy revealed that only 15 percent of U.S. Hispanic Internet users read online content in Spanish only, with most users switching back and forth between English and Spanish.

Finding Dulcinea is a division of Dulcinea Media, Inc. “a Silicon Alley team of savvy Internet users” according to their website. Their mission is to “untangle the Web, freeing it of clutter and spotlighting only the sites that matter.”

Preserving Gay and Lesbian History, at the Library

Tens of thousands of New Yorkers celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising in 1994 discovered to their happy surprise that there was an enormous archive of gay and lesbian social history in an elegant building at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street.

It was called the New York Public Library (and will soon be known as the Stephen A. Schwartzman Library as well).

The library’s exhibition on lesbian and gay life, “Becoming Visible: The Legacy of Stonewall” drew a record-breaking 17,258 visitors in its first week at the beginning of this month. One man, who cried as he walked through the Gottesman Exhibition Hall, said that such a show in such a setting made him feel he had “a place, a legitimate place, in the fabric of this country.” NYT Blogs.

UF professor Twitchell admits he plagiarized in several of his books

A University of Florida English professor has admitted to plagiarizing in several of his books, triggering an internal ethics inquiry and potentially jeopardizing his reputation in academia and beyond. Potentially??!! I’m no legal/English language/academic expert, but I’d say plagiarizing several of your books would no doubt jeopardize your reputation in academia and beyond…

“I have used the words of others and not properly attributed them. I am always in a hurry to get past descriptions to make my points, a hurry that has now rightly resulted in much shame and embarrassment. I have cheated by using pieces of descriptions written by others.”

PCs For Seniors

The BBC reports that Microsoft UK is developing a computer aimed at seniors.

The device will have a simple interface and come bundled with software which they feel might be of use to senior citizens. Software ideas include prescription management and photo organization software. Another interesting point: The computer will also include software that helps train the user in standard tasks like getting online and using the internet safely, an idea which could well serve public library computers.

Microsoft US, in conjunction with HP, already makes a computer targeted toward seniors.

Whatever happened to book borrowers?

Julia Eccleshare Wonders Whatever happened to book borrowers? She says people seem to have forgotten how to take things out from the library and return them…

However nimbly they have adapted, modernised, lost books and gained technology, become determinedly “functional” as invaluable resource centres rather than bookstores, the libraries are always needing to boost their profile. They need more borrowers and yet, one of their biggest problems, in my experience, is that “borrowing” is not a readily understood modern concept, however well-embedded it was in Carnegie’s day.

Singles Night @ Your Library

Sounds like a romance novel, but it’s not…BBC reports from Wales:

“Jack was browsing the shelves of the Dylan Thomas section when he spotted her thumbing through Iris Gower’s latest romantic offering.

“Captivated, he approached, slowly and slightly awkwardly. “A quick glance at her lapel and his heart skipped a beat as he saw what he was hoping for.

“A pink badge! The mysterious stranger was also there, in Swansea Central Library that Friday evening, for singles’ night.”

Who’s a “Broad”? She Could Be the Librarian

Meta Wagner of PopMatters does not like the word “bitch” (except when Tina Fey says it) but she likes the word “broad.” She comments: “This species of woman is endangered because, to flourish, society must appreciate a zaftig figure, hard-won lines, and unapologetic strength.”

And according to this piece in Alternet she…

Is not the librarian with glasses and her hair in a bun who then tosses her glasses and shakes out her hair to lure a man. She’s the librarian. Period.

She’s more than 50% of us, and I’d like to bet she’s more than a statistical half of LISNewsterz. Shout it out broads!!