May 2008

Library director’s job in jeopardy

The Leader-Telegram – Eau Claire,WI, Reports When Michael Golrick was hired to head the L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library in October 2006, the well-spoken, outgoing library director seemed like the perfect fit to invigorate a library fundraising campaign.

Nineteen months later, as fundraising efforts have fallen far short of expectations, it appears the Library Board and Golrick will part ways because of an apparent dispute about his job performance.

The board is scheduled to meet today in closed session to discuss “terms and conditions of a potential separation agreement with the library director,” according to the Library Board meeting agenda.

Usability testing on Vufind

Katie Bauer posted this one to NGC4LIB:
Of possible interest to those who may be contemplating doing usability testing on their OPAC, Yale recently conducted two tests on pilot VuFind installations at Yale. One study looked at a subject based presentation of ebooks for the Cushing/Whitney Medical Library

and the other looked at a pilot test of Vufind with a sample of 400,000 records drawn from the Library’s Voyager system

Test questions were drawn from user search logs in the current library system, and some were designed to test for those problems that the logs have demonstrated exist for patrons, such as incorrect spellings, and incomplete title information. In reading the reports please be aware that some of the problems uncovered may have had a lot to do with peculiarities of the Yale implementation, such as the sample of records imported into VuFind for this test, and less to do with VuFind itself.

In general participants were intrigued by the possiblities offered by facets, although the topic facets in particular did not always seem to function as they expected or desired. The most desired feature participants wanted to see developed was an easy direct export from the catalog to a bibliographic citation management tool such as RefWorks and Endnote (while other catalogs may have this feature already, the current Voyager system at Yale does not a direct export feature.)

Microsoft Live Book Search and Brewster Kahle

Teleread has a blog entry titled “Death of Microsoft Live: Don’t be so quick to rejoice, Brewster”. The entry opens with this line, “Brewster Kahle at the Internet Archive rejoices that Microsoft is killing Live Book Search and the related book digitization activities.”

I read the article that Teleread linked to about Kahle and I would not say he was rejoicing about Microsoft dropping Live Book Search. What he does say about Micorosoft is very positive. (In my view) While Microsoft is taking its cash with it, the company is leaving in place all the equipment that it paid for and is releasing all scans of public domain works for any use, not just education and research. According to Kahle, Microsoft has done more than it is contractually obligated to do as it ramps down its involvement with OCA.

Borders’ Web-Based Plan to Save the Book

Yesterday you may have seen the notice on LISNEWS that the Borders website in now live. There is an 8 minute piece on NPR about Borders, their website and the magic shelf.

In an effort to shore up flagging sales in an industry plagued by declining purchases, Borders started selling books online Tuesday. New York Times reporter Brad Stone says the company has a new business plan, and that they’ve also created something called a “Magic Shelf.”

Listen to complete piece at NPR.

MA Library will not privatize

The Tewksbury Advocate – Concord,MA – Reports The one place in town you can visit Charles Dickens, Geoffrey Chaucer and Lord Byron — as well as master the art of Tae Kwon Do — will continue to remain public.

Three months after the town’s Financial Planning Task Force entrusted the Tewksbury Public Library’s Board of Trustees to investigate the benefits of privatizing the town’s public library, the trustees concluded they cannot support a decision to privatize the library.

“It is certainly not the best interests of the taxpayer to hire a company that holds a monopoly on any particular service,” the Trustees wrote in their letter.

ACLU files suit in Poplar Bluff ‘Harry Potter’ librarian case

ACLU files suit in Poplar Bluff ‘Harry Potter’ librarian case: The American Civil Liberties Union of Eastern Missouri announced today via news release that it has filed a suit on behalf of a part-time librarian in Poplar Bluff, Mo., who was disciplined after she objected to participating in the promotion of a “Harry Potter” book.

The employee had religious objections to the promotion, “which she believed encouraged children to worship the occult,” according to the news release.

A Strategy for Openness: Enhancing E-Records Access in New York State

Ithaca Journal reports A report released last week demands the attention of our state Legislature and governor as New York moves forward in the digital age.

The report, “A Strategy for Openness: Enhancing E-Records Access in New York State,” sets a game plan for the state to ensure New York’s government documents are accessible to citizens as the state continues to produce information electronically.

Small library opening at BART station

BART has teamed up with the Contra Costa County Public Library system to set up a novel automated book-lending system that will launch Thursday at the Pittsburg/Bay Point station.

A vending-like machine located at the station will hold some 400 books that can be checked out for free by anyone with a valid Contra Costa County library card. A patron will insert the card, get access to the available titles and check out up to three books. A robotic arm will retrieve the books. cuts Kindle e-book reader price by $40

Web retailer Inc. has nipped $40 from the price of its Kindle e-book reader.

The $399 Kindle launched last November and sold out in hours. Amazon sorted out its supply chain and manufacturing problems, and the device was back on sale in April.

Amazon spokesman Drew Herdener said Tuesday that Amazon’s cost of manufacturing the Kindles dropped as it increased the number produced. He would not say how many of the e-book readers have been sold to date.

The Kindle’s new $359 list price is still higher than Sony Corp.’s competing Reader, which retails for $299.

Story here